Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ACCA Pakistan recognises new members

ACCA Pakistan held its New Members Ceremony in Islamabad on Monday, 27 February 2012 to celebrate the achievement of 75 new ACCA members from the north region, who have attained the membership milestone during the last year. The ceremony commenced with welcome address, delivered by Ms. Noor Aftab, head of ACCA Islamabad who welcomed the new members to the ACCA fraternity and motivated them to continue their training and development through Continuous Professional Development for successful career progression. Ms. Noor advised the new ACCA Members to work for Pakistan’s financial landscape - securing Pakistan’s economic future. Later, Arif Masud Mirza, head of ACCA Pakistancongratulated the new members on their remarkable success and shared with them the benefits of professional training and development required by these new members in order to excel further in their career.

The ceremony was graced by the presence of Mr Mumtaz Haider Rizvi, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as the chief guest. Mr Rizvi presented awards to ACCA's long standing workplace mentors in Pakistan including Waqar Zafar Ahmed, partner Ernst and Young Ford Rhodes Sidaat Hyder and Co. Chartered Accountants and Saleem Akhter Bhatti, Head Finance & Accounts and Company Secretary, Khushali Bank Limited.

In his address, Mr Mumtaz Haider Rizvi appreciated the efforts of ACCA for providing excellent education and employment opportunities. ‘ACCA Pakistan provides a unique platform for young accountants who understand the heart of business activity and also enables them to work for the betterment of their country by acquiring latest finance and accounting skills.’

Qaiser Abbas, Founder & Chief Inspiring Officer, Possibilities Pvt Ltd conducted an hour long motivational session for the young professionals titled ‘unleashing the inner potential’. The ceremony was attended by ACCA Members, employers and media representatives.

Friday, February 17, 2012


New online ‘risk healthcheck’ for businesses is launched by global accountancy body
Businesses need to work harder to spread responsibility for risk management across the whole organisation, according to a new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The survey of more than 2,000 ACCA members found accountants at the business coal-face have a vital role to play in successful risk management, and that they stand ready to do more.

The survey also found a statistical link between the use of accounting practices that contribute to managing risk and lower occurrences of dysfunctional behaviour. The survey also found differences in the perception of a company’s exposure to risk between those at board level and those accountants working below board level.

‘Risk happens at all levels of business,’ says Paul Moxey, head of risk management and corporate governance at ACCA. ‘It doesn’t sit in silos. Risk management needs to be something undertaken by everyone in an organisation so it is fully integrated.

‘The survey shows accountants have an excellent grasp of the risks faced by their organisation and the steps needed to manage those risks. The survey also shows clear support among accountants for ‘challenging senior people’ as being part of good business culture. Accounting is really about providing information to help make good decisions, and good decisions mean less risk. The accountant’s day-to-day role is all about managing risk, even if people don’t think about what they do in that way.

‘The results are both encouraging, in terms of what accountants do and would do more of, and frightening in terms of the extent of dysfunctional revealed. There is a big problem to be addressed. Businesses need to make sure they use the risk awareness and risk management skills of their qualified accountants, and not miss an opportunity to effectively integrate risk management.’

The value of accountants’ contributions can be lost through their misuse. Accountants in the survey reported very high levels of ‘bad behaviour’ around risk management. Examples include frequent ‘gaming’ of forecasts, providing optimistic versions to avoid criticism or pessimistic ones to reduce expectations. Only 1% of respondents reported never seeing any of the bad behaviours asked about in the survey at their organisation.

However, the survey did find a statistical link between the use of good risk management practices by accountants and incidences of dysfunctional behaviour: More good practices correspond with less dysfunctional behaviour. Types of good practice include aspects of management accounting, forecasting, reporting and quality controls, decision support and controls over wrongful behaviour. Accountants who thought dysfunctional behaviours most widespread, most wanted to make more use of the good practices.

Some of the highest scores for good practices were from small organisations. Their stereotype as unsophisticated is perhaps an oversimplification.

The survey also found those in more junior roles are more aware of both risks and ‘bad behaviour’ than their board-level colleagues.

‘Non-execs were more likely than anyone else to identify ‘personality’ factors – such as planned dishonesty or the opportunistic abuse of power – as causes of problems rather than more controllable factors, such as financial pressure on an organisation’ explains Paul Moxey. ‘They were also much more optimistic about the frequency of ‘bad behaviour’ than anyone else, and were more enthusiastic about management tools the survey shows to have debatable effectiveness, such as budgetary controls.

‘It may be because senior levels are less involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation, or because they’re taking a broader view of the business. It might be the way information is reported to them needs to be improved.’

The survey findings have been used by ACCA to develop an online ‘risk healthcheck’ for businesses. Using this resource, businesses can compare themselves to the practices and experiences of businesses from the survey, and identify areas for improvement.

Paul Moxey concludes: ‘This is a very timely report as now is a critical time for risk management. The financial crisis highlighted the disastrous consequences of senior management effectively ignoring risk management. Risk management has since risen up the agenda, but its importance hasn’t always been reflected in budgets or actual actions and there’s a danger it will be forgotten about once the current crisis has passed. Businesses need to take this opportunity to properly integrate risk management into their business processes.

‘Integrated risk management is vital for any business that wants to pursue sustainable growth. We hope businesses take advantage of the insights on offer as part of the ‘healthcheck’


New exams enjoy successful launch
Results from the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) examinations in December 2011 show there continues to be strong demand for a professional accountancy qualification in times of economic uncertainty. More than 190,000 students sat papers, with over 6,000 taking a major step towards membership of the global body for professional accountants.
Candidates around the world took more than 363,000 papers, with 6,313 students successfully completing their final ACCA exams.
At the Fundamental level, pass rates were particularly pleasing. The pass rate of the F7 Financial Reporting exam at 56% was significantly higher than in recent times. All other pass rates at the Fundamental level remained close to their historic averages. At the Professional level, the results for the Essential papers remain strong whilst results for the Options papers are less good. The P5 Advanced Performance Management result was very disappointing at 29%. In response to a number of sessions of poor performance in the Options papers ACCA has carried out work to offer a range of support for students taking these papers to help improve the pass rates. This will be available shortly. 
Clare Minchington, ACCA executive director - learning, said: 'We congratulate those who have succeeded in their exams – and we are delighted to see that more than 6,000 have completed their examinations, having been able to demonstrate the financial knowledge and professional skills which are needed by organisations in challenging economic conditions. We look forward to welcoming them to ACCA membership on completion of their practical experience requirements'.
In December 2011, ACCA’s new Foundations in Accountancy suite of awards was first examined as paper-based and computer-based exams (CBEs). This is an exciting and significant milestone achieved for ACCA. Almost 13,000 paper-based Foundation in Accountancy exams were sat in December 2011 in addition to over 34,000 exams sat as CBEs that month.  
Commenting on the successful first exam session for Foundations in Accountancy, Clare Minchington said: 'We are really proud that we have successfully delivered our first exam session for Foundations in Accountancy. As a global body, the planning and implementation of any new qualification and syllabus is a lengthy process – simply because we have to ensure a robust infrastructure is in place to deliver the awards to the high standards our stakeholders expect and deserve from ACCA'. 
As a professional body which has professionalism and ethics at the core of everything it does and stands for, ACCA made the decision when it introduced Foundations in Accountancy to make it mandatory for every student completing a diploma or certificate from the range of awards to pass Foundations in Professionalism – a free online interactive module which tests ethics and professionalism. 
'All accountants, irrespective of what level they choose to operate, should know, understand and demonstrate what it means to act professionally and ethically when carrying out their work,' said Clare Minchington. 
ACCA will start to award the new certificates and diplomas after the February exam results are released, to students who have successfully passed the relevant exams and completed the online ethics module. 
For more information about Foundations in Accountancy, see the 'Related Links' section to the left of this article. 
December 2011 session ACCA Qualification pass rates were:
Paper F1, Accountant in Business, 63%* 
Paper F2, Management Accounting, 53%* 
Paper F3, Financial Accounting, 54%* 
Paper F4, Corporate and Business Law, 49% 
Paper F5, Performance Management, 38% 
Paper F6, Taxation, 48% 
Paper F7, Financial Reporting, 56% 
Paper F8, Audit and Assurance, 36% 
Paper F9, Financial Management, 38% 
Paper P1, Governance, Risk and Ethics, 51% 
Paper P2, Corporate Reporting, 48% 
Paper P3, Business Analysis, 51% 
Paper P4, Advanced Financial Management, 34% 
Paper P5, Advanced Performance Management, 29% 
Paper P6, Advanced Taxation, 39% 
Paper P7, Advanced Audit and Assurance, 31%
December 2011 session Foundations in Accountancy pass rates were: 
Introductory Certificate in Financial and Management Accounting
FA1, Recording Financial Transactions, 69%* 
MA1 Management Information, 65%* 
Intermediate Certificate in Financial and Management Accounting
FA2, Maintaining Financial Records, 62%* 
MA2, Managing Costs and Finance, 57%* 
Diploma in Accounting and Business
FAB, Accountant in Business, 46% 
FMA, Management Accounting, 41% 
FFA, Financial Accounting, 42% 
Foundation Specialist papers
FAU, Foundations in Audit, 53% 
FTX, Foundations in Taxation, 70% 
FFM, Foundations  in Financial Management, 40%
* Combined pass rates for paper-based and computer-based exams.