By James Bennett
UK accounting body the ICAEW launches Associate Chartered Accountant qualification.
The increasing demand for "world-class financial professionals" in the GCC and high standards of corporate governance has led the Institute of the Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to launch its flagship qualification in the Gulf, its president has told Arabian Business.
The ICAEW on Tuesday launched the internationally recognised Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualification in the Gulf.
Richard Dyson said that the institute was responding to rising market needs and that when it comes to technical rigour, transparency, ethical grounding and producing business leaders of tomorrow, "there is no qualification like the ACA".
"The big challenge facing the Big Four accounting firms, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Deloitte, is that they are constantly being forced to deliver high standards wherever they are in the world and the Gulf is now one of those places," he said.
Based in Dubai and Bahrain, Dyson said that the institute would take in 50 students, mostly Emirati, for the three-year course, in January next year. "We hope to double this intake the following year," Dyson said. "The DIFX is also looking to train ACAs very soon."
The ACA is regarded worldwide as a leading financial business qualification with members working both in practice and in business. Qualified ACA professionals work in more than 140 countries.
"The international relevance of the qualification opens up a huge variety of career opportunities", added Dyson.
Nearly 500 accountants in the Gulf region, including 300 in the UAE, already hold the ACA and are members of the ICAEW, but this will be the first time that the qualification will be taught locally.
"Dubai has one of the top 10 exchanges in the world and is growing at such a rapid pace that who knows where they'll be in the next few years. Such a dynamic environment demands world-class accounting qualifications," he said.
"The Dubai Financial Services Authority has challenges facing it but it is still in an early stage of development. It will come on in leaps and bounds in the coming years," Dyson added.
The ICAEW has recently been undergoing a global expansion plan setting up training centres in China, Russia, Malaysia and Pakistan only two months ago.
The course will be taught by Phoenix Financial Training in Dubai and Bahrain from next year.