ICAEW expands footprint in China
and Middle East

Europe’s largest professional body has continued to develop
relationships in China, the Middle East and other developing
markets around the world.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales
(ICAEW) this month launched a Chinese IFRS certificate and revealed
it would set up a joint project team with the Chinese Institute of
Certified Public Accountants (CICPA), with the aim of conducting
detailed research and investigating comparisons between the
Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) and the Chinese CPA
qualifications.

ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza told TA these measures
are designed to strengthen ties between the two bodies as well as
to help China develop its accounting profession to an international
standard.

“The Chinese Ministry of Finance and the CICPA recognised that as
China becomes more important on the global scene they have a need
for more high quality accounting professionals than they currently
have,” he said.

One of the areas in which the ICAEW is keen to help the Chinese
profession is the application of IFRS. Izza says the ICAEW was
approached to produce a Chinese version of its Certificate in
International Financial Reporting Standards, which has been
marketed in other parts of the world. The certificate offers
learning materials and accreditation to accountants who demonstrate
knowledge and competence in IFRS and International Accounting
Standards.

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“In discussions with friends in China, they expressed a view that
as China itself was going to be launching its own IFRS, which it
did earlier this year, it would be very helpful if a similar
facility was available within China,” Izza said, while adding that
the translation process proved challenging.

Another growing initiative between the two bodies is a top-up
programme, which gives qualified CICPA accountants an opportunity
to gain exemptions and complete the ACA qualification. Izza
explained: “The first year we had 77 enrolled and this year we’ve
got about 129. We are looking at the best of the Chinese doing
this.”

CICPA secretary general Chen Yugui said the agreement “demonstrates
another positive step from CICPA towards implementing its
international strategy and enhancing Chinese accountants’ standing
and influence in the world”.

The ICAEW is pursuing activities in other developing markets and
has launched its ACA in the Middle East. The course will be taught
in Dubai and Bahrain from 2008. “There aren’t strong professional
bodies in that part of the world and it tends to be that they have
taken training from other jurisdictions and brought it in,” Izza
explains. “We actually think there is an opportunity for us to work
to raise standards but secondly to practise work with local bodies
so that in time you can see the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain
and Qatar having strong domestic bodies [that] are going to uphold
those values which we take for granted.”

In recent times, the institute has launched its qualification in
Russia, Cyprus and Malaysia, and has sealed an agreement to launch
in Pakistan. Izza says plans are under way to launch in other
destinations, including countries in South-East Asia.