The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) has opened a new office in Dubai to serve its growing membership base in the Middle East and help market its qualification in the region.
The director of international business development for the US-based institute, Jim Gurowka, said the IMA has been active in the Middle East for the past four years, although it has had members in the region for more than ten years.
Prior to opening the office, member support and services were based out of the US or provided in conjunction with local course providers.
Growing membership base
The institute has about 7,000 members in the Middle East now, compared to about 2,000 five years ago. There are members in every Middle East state – with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia being the three most popular locations.
Gurowka said the Middle East and China are the IMA’s two main growth markets at present. “What we are finding, especially in the Middle East, is as these countries’ economies develop and businesses become more global, there is this huge need for internal accounting and finance expertise.
“They really haven’t had a huge need before as they were either small companies, or insular, or government-controlled organisations. There wasn’t the need for the great decision-making, planning, support, budgeting and forecasting that the internal finance and accounting experts provide,” he said.
The Dubai office will initially be staffed by just one person – IMA Middle East business development manager Faten Dabboussi, although Gurowka said it will grow quickly.
Cost and the sheer demand from members and other stakeholders will be the two main challenges the office will face, Gurowka predicted. “Costs in Dubai are escalating quite rapidly,” he said. “I think we are also going to have issues of dealing with the sheer demand that the office is going to face. People like face to face meetings, especially in the Middle East… When we first talked to our members about the office being opened, suddenly the staff there got flooded with hundreds of emails, both congratulating them and saying ‘when can we meet’.”