Qatar

Member Organizations

Member Organization Associate

  Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statutory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    The financial accounting and auditing reporting framework in Qatar is established under the Audit Law No. 8 of 2020, Law No. 8 of 2012 regarding Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) as amended by Decree Law No. 22 of 2018, and Commercial Companies Law No. 11 of 2015 (as amended by Law No. 8 of 2021)

    Accounting Framework

    Law No. 8 of 2012 regarding Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) as amended by Decree Law No. 22 of 2018 gives the QFMA authority to supervise and regulate the financial market in Qatar. This includes authority to establish financial reporting requirements.

    In accordance with Commercial Companies Law No. 11 of 2015 (as amended by Law No. 8 of 2021), all listed companies are required to prepare consolidated and separate company financial statements “in accordance with the accounting principles approved internationally”. Regulations of the QFMA have defined this to mean IFRS Standards as issued by the IFRS Foundation.

    The QFMA Offering and Listing Rulebook of Securities requires all listed companies to prepare their financial statements in line with IFRS Standards. Similarly, the QFMA Offering and Listing Rulebook of Securities “Second Market” requires companies whose securities trade in that market prepare their financial statements in line with IFRS Standards. Both these Rulebooks are available from the QFMA’s ‘Initial Public Offerings (IPOS)’ page (English).

    Furthermore, all entities that meet the definition of a small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) are permitted to use the IFRS for SMEs Standard. According to Ministerial Decision No. 250 of 2018 on the Unified Definition of SMEs, SMEs are defined as companies established under Qatari Law, with no more than 250 employees and annual revenues not exceeding QAR100 mn. The three categories that fall under SMEs are (i) micro-sized entities that have no more than 10 employees with an annual turnover under QAR1 mn; (ii) small-sized companies with a no more than 50 employees with an annual turnover of more than QAR1 mn but less than QAR 20 mn; and (iii) medium-sized enterprises with no more than 250 employees and a turnover of more than QAR20 mn but less than QAR 100mn.

    The Qatar Exchange (stock exchange) has permitted some Islamic financial Institutions to use accounting standards by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), with IFRS Standards required if AAOIFI does not address an issue.

    Auditing Framework

    Audit Law No. 8 of 2020 further requires the application of ISA as adopted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) in Qatar, which are ISA as issued by the IAASB for audits of all types of companies. As of the date of the assessment, the 2020 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements is in use.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    Auditors and Accounting Experts are the only segments that are regulated at the state level as per Qatar Financial Markets Authority Law No 8 of 2012 by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA); the Audit Law No. 8 of 2020 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), and Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts by the Ministry of Justice. Other accountants, such as bookkeepers are self-regulated.

    Regulation of Auditors

    The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) was established under Law No. 33 of 2005 (as amend by the Amiri Decree of Law No. 14 of 2007 and Law No. 10 of 2009) as an independent supervisory and regulatory authority of financial markets in Qatar. Law No. 8 of 2012 regarding Qatar Financial Markets Authority, as amended by Decree-Law No. 22 of 2018, confirms the QFMA’s independence and having all the powers required for conducting its regulatory, supervisory and control functions more effectively in compliance with the provisions of Law No. 33 of 2005, as amended. QFMA is responsible for QFMA is responsible for (i) conducting regulatory, supervisory and control functions and establishing financial reporting standards; (ii) audit quality assurance reviews for listed entities; and (iii) investigation and disciplining auditors of public interest entities (PIEs).

    The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), under Audit Law No. 8 of 2020, is responsible for (i) defining initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD, respectively) requirements for auditors; (ii) conducting audit examinations and issuing audit licenses; (iii) establishing auditing standards for all statutory audits; (iv) establishing ethical requirements; (v) conducting an investigation and disciplinary system for auditors of non-PIEs; and (vi) maintaining the registry for auditors and audit firms.

    To practice audit, candidates must (i) complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited university in Qatar (or equivalent as deemed appropriate by MOCI); (ii) complete three (3) years of practical experience after graduating from university and provide a certificate of training in an accounting office; (iii) pass the Qatari CPA Exam prior to registration; and (iv) obtaining a practicing license from MOCI. Auditors are required to complete 60 continuing professional development (CPD) hours annually via MOCI-approved trainers. The Qatari Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA), subject to oversight by the MOCI, is responsible for delivering the CPD program for auditors.

    Regulation of Accounting Experts

    In accordance with Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for (i) defining initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD, respectively) requirements for Accounting Experts; (ii) establishing ethical requirements for Accounting Experts; (iv) establishing an investigation and disciplinary system for Accounting Experts; and (v) monitoring performance of Accounting Experts.

    To become an Accounting Expert, candidates must (i) complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited university in Qatar (or equivalent as deemed appropriate by MOCI); (ii) complete ten (10) years’ experience after graduating from university (provide a certificate of training in an accounting office); (iii) complete the training and testing program organized by the Ministry of Justice to obtain registration in the Register of Accounting Experts. Registered Accounting Experts are not required to complete a CPD requirement.

    Regulation of non-Accounting Experts

    Graduates from universities in Qatar or equivalent foreign universities recognized by the MOCI who do not wish to seek registration as ‘Accounting Experts’ may practice accounting immediately upon graduating since there is no requirement to obtain an accounting license or pass an examination.

    Subject to oversight by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, QCPA’s responsibilities include: (i) delivering continuing professional development programs; and (ii) monitoring its members’ compliance with ethical requirements and communicating developments relevant to the profession.

    All accounting professionals in the jurisdiction may choose to join QCPA and be subject to its rules and regulations.

    To join QCPA, candidates must (i) hold a valid university degree in accounting or equivalent as duly recognized by MOCI; and (ii) work in the field of accounting and auditing. Accounting university students can register with QCPA and benefit from membership by attending seminars, workshops, training for employment opportunities, and career development benefits. All QCPA members are required to (i) adhere to QCPA’s code of conduct and professional ethics, (ii) complete annual CPD requirements (60 training hours); and (iii) pay annual membership fees to remain in good standing. Conditions to remain members in good standing are stipulated in Article No. 9 of the Decision of the Minister of Civil Service Affairs and Housing No. 6 of 2007, in accordance with Law No. 12 of 2004 regarding the Associations and Private Institutions (as amended by the Law No. 12 in 2006) and the Law No. 30 of 2004 regulating the Auditing Profession].

    Lastly, since Qatar is a largely expat-based country, there are several accountancy professionals practicing in the jurisdiction with foreign qualifications that are recognized by MOCI. These accountancy professionals are subject to their respective membership organization’s education (and ethical) requirements—ACCA Global, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA Global), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)—which are generally aligned with the 2019 IES requirements.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) was established under Law No. 33 of 2005 (as amend by the Amiri Decree of Law No. 14 of 2007 and Law No. 10 of 2009) as an independent supervisory and regulatory authority of financial markets in Qatar. Law No. 8 of 2012 regarding Qatar Financial Markets Authority, as amended by Decree-Law No. 22 of 2018, confirms the QFMA’s independence and having all the powers required for conducting its regulatory, supervisory and control functions more effectively in compliance with the provisions of Law No. 33 of 2005, as amended.

    QFMA is responsible for (i) conducting regulatory, supervisory and control functions and establishing financial reporting standards; (ii) audit quality assurance reviews for listed entities; and (iii) investigation and disciplining auditors of public interest entities.

    QFMA is not a member of International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants

    QCPA is the only professional accountancy organization in Qatar and was established in 2007 as a voluntary membership organization for professional accountants by the Decision of the Minister of Civil Service Affairs and Housing No. 6 of 2007, in accordance with Law No. 12 of 2004 Regarding the Associations and Private Institutions (as amended by the Law No. 12 in 2006) and Law No. 30 of 2004 Regulating the Audit Profession. QCPA members provide the following services (i) accounting and bookkeeping; (ii) auditing (as regulated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Financial Markets Authority); (iii) financial management; (iv) consultancy; (v) banking services (overseen by the Central Bank); (vi) internal audit; (vii) management accounting; (viii) digital transformation; and (ix) tax services (regulated by the Ministry of Finance).

    Subject to oversight by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, QCPA’s responsibilities include: (i) delivering continuing professional development programs; and (ii) monitoring its members’ compliance with ethical requirements and communicating developments relevant to the profession.

    While QCPA is not a member of IFAC, it is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council Accounting & Auditing Organization and the Arab Federation of Accountants and Auditors.

  • Projects or Other Information

    The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) began engaging informally with the Qatari Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) since 2016. The partnership was first formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in February 2017. Under the MOU, QCPA and ACCA collaborate to develop the accountancy profession in Qatar; this includes providing support to students, QCPA members, accountants, auditors, and finance professionals in the country, across both the private and public sectors. QCPA and ACCA have worked together to provide access to ACCA qualifications, such as ACCA Certificate in IPSAS in English and Arabic, Certificate in International Financial Reporting (Cert IFR), Certificate in International Auditing (Cert IA), Certificate in Public Financial Management (Cert PFM) and the ACCA Ethics and Professional Skills Module. In addition, ACCA has supported QCPA with continuing professional development (CPD) sessions, joint webinars, joint-meetings, and conferences - in areas like digital transformation and Fintech. QCPA and ACCA are planning to expand their collaboration, to support QCPA to enhance their capacity and work together to develop the accountancy profession in the country. ACCA and QCPA have met regularly since the MoU has been in place and have continued to meet virtually throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    In accordance with the Qatar Financial Markets Authority Law No 8 of 2012, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) has the authority to conduct and has established a quality assurance (QA) reviews for listed entities.

    In 2021, the Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) conducted a self-assessment of the QFMA QA review system and identified several gaps in terms of alignment with SMO 1 requirements pertaining to (i) scope of the system, (ii) quality control standards and other quality control guidance; (iii) review cycle; (iv) QA review team; (iv) corrective and disciplinary actions; (v) consideration of public oversight, and (vi) regular review of implementation and effectiveness.

    QCPA indicates that it is engaging in discussions with the Ministry Commerce and Industry (MOCI), QFMA, Qatar Central Bank, etc.) to issue a decree regarding the adoption of a QA review system to be applied to all auditors in the jurisdiction in line with SMO 1 requirements. A timeline has not yet been established.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    Audit Law No. 8 of 2020 and Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts establish some initial professional development (IPD) and general continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for Auditors and Accounting Experts, which are further defined by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ), respectively. Details of the IPD and CPD requirements are presented below which appear to incorporate some, but not all, of the revised 2019 IES requirements as of the date of the assessment.

    To practice audit, candidates must (i) complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited university in Qatar (or equivalent as deemed appropriate by MOCI); (ii) complete three (3) years of practical experience after graduating from university and provide a certificate of training in an accounting office; (iii) pass the Qatari CPA Exam prior to registration; and (iv) obtaining a practicing license from MOCI. Auditors are required to complete 60 CPD hours annually via MOCI-approved trainers. The Qatari Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA), subject to oversight by the MOCI, is responsible for delivering the CPD program for auditors.

    To become an Accounting Expert, candidates must (i) complete a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from an accredited university in Qatar (or equivalent as deemed appropriate by MOCI); (ii) complete ten (10) years’ experience after graduating from university (provide a certificate of training in an accounting office); (iii) complete the training and testing program organized by the Ministry of Justice to obtain registration in the Register of Accounting Experts. Registered Accounting Experts are not required to complete a CPD requirement.

    Graduates from universities in Qatar or equivalent foreign universities recognized by the MOCI who do not wish to seek registration as ‘Accounting Experts’ may practice accounting immediately upon graduating since there is no requirement to obtain an accounting license or pass an examination.

    All accounting professionals in the jurisdiction may choose to join QCPA and be subject to its rules and regulations. QCPA reports to be in the process of launching its own Chartered Accountant qualification by December 2022 under oversight of the MOCI. All QCPA members are required to (i) adhere to QCPA’s code of conduct and professional ethics, (ii) complete annual CPD requirements (60 training hours); and (iii) pay annual membership fees to remain in good standing.

    Lastly, since Qatar is a largely expat-based country, there are several accountancy professionals practicing in the jurisdiction with foreign qualifications that are recognized by MOCI. These accountancy professionals are subject to their respective membership organization’s education requirements— Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Global, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA Global), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

    More information is needed to determine the extent of alignment with the 2019 revised IES requirements at the jurisdiction level.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    Under the Audit Law No. 8 of 2020, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) is responsible for the adoption of auditing standards to be applied in Qatar. As of 2022, the 2020 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements , as issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standard Board (IAASB) is adopted to be applied for all types of companies.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    It The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) adopt the IESBA Code of Ethics as issued by IESBA via Audit Law No. 8 of 2020 and Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts, for Auditors and Accounting Experts, respectively. As of the date of the assessment, the 2021 Handbook of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants is in effect.

    Graduates from universities in Qatar or equivalent foreign universities recognized by the MOCI who are not registered as Auditors or Accounting Experts are subject to ethical requirements if they choose to join the Qatari Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA).

    QCPA indicates in its 2021 SMO Action Plan that its Code of Conduct is based on the 2018 edition of the Handbook, which as of the date of the assessment, is not the latest version available. However, QCPA provides its members with copies of the 2021 edition of the Handbook in English. QCPA indicates that it is in the process of updating the requirements based on the 2021 edition of the Handbook to be completed by December 2022. QCPA also plans to submit a permission request to IFAC to translate the 2021 Handbook into Arabic.

    Lastly, since Qatar is a largely expat-based country, there are several accountancy professionals practicing in the jurisdiction with foreign qualifications that are recognized by MOCI. These accountancy professionals are subject to their respective membership organization’s ethical requirements—ACCA Global, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA Global), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    The Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, has not adopted IPSAS in Qatar, and there is no timeline for doing so.

    In its 2021 SMO Action Plan, the Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) reports that some public entities such as the Qatar University, for example, one of the largest government universities, included IPSAS-based accounting in its educational programming.

    Current Status: Not Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    There are multiple stakeholders involved in the investigation and disciplinary (I&D) processes of accounting professionals in Qatar in accordance with various laws.

    The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) is responsible for conducting an I&D system for auditors of non-public interest entities (PIEs), where as the Qatari Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) is responsible for I&D of auditors of PIEs, and the Ministry of Justice is responsible for I&D of Accounting Experts in accordance with the Audit Law No. 8 of 2020, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority Law No 8 of 2012, and the Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts, respectively.

    The Qatari Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) conducted a gap analysis of the I&D systems in the jurisdiction for Auditors and Accounting Experts and reported gaps pertaining to administrative processes (timeframe targets for disposal of all cases), public interest considerations (lack of process for the independent review of complaints on which there was no follow-up established), and liaison with outside bodies on possible involvement in serious crimes and offences.

    QCPA also operates its own I&D system for members. The QCPA General Assembly will meet in December 2022 to incorporate amendments to the Association’s law and seek approval from the Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs to align its I&D system with SMO 6 requirements.

    Lastly, since Qatar is a largely expat-based country, there are several accountancy professionals practicing in the jurisdiction with foreign qualifications that are recognized by MOCI. These accountancy professionals are subject to their respective membership organization’s I&D processes—ACCA Global, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA Global), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    Law No. 8 of 2012 regarding Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) as amended by Decree Law No. 22 of 2018 gives the QFMA authority to supervise and regulate the financial market in Qatar. This includes authority to establish financial reporting requirements.

    In accordance with Commercial Companies Law No. 11 of 2015 (as amended by Law No. 8 of 2021), all listed companies are required to prepare consolidated and separate company financial statements in accordance with the accounting principles approved internationally. Regulations of the QFMA have defined this to mean IFRS Standards as issued by the IFRS Foundation.

    The QFMA Offering and Listing Rulebook of Securities requires all listed companies to prepare their financial statements in line with IFRS Standards. Similarly, the QFMA Offering and Listing Rulebook of Securities “Second Market” requires companies whose securities trade in that market prepare their financial statements in line with IFRS Standards. Both these Rulebooks are available from the QFMA’s ‘Initial Public Offerings (IPOS)’ page (English).

    Furthermore, all entities that meet the definition of a small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) are permitted to use the IFRS for SMEs Standard. According to Ministerial Decision No. 250 of 2018 on the Unified Definition of SMEs, SMEs are defined as companies established under Qatari Law, with no more than 250 employees and annual revenues not exceeding QAR100 mn. The three categories that fall under SMEs are (i) micro-sized entities that have no more than 10 employees with an annual turnover under QAR1 mn; (ii) small-sized companies with a no more than 50 employees with an annual turnover of more than QAR1 mn but less than QAR 20 mn; and (iii) medium-sized enterprises with no more than 250 employees and a turnover of more than QAR20 mn but less than QAR 100mn.

    The Qatar Exchange (stock exchange) has permitted some Islamic financial Institutions to use accounting standards by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), with IFRS Standards required if AAOIFI does not address an issue.

    Current Status: Adopted

Disclaimer

IFAC bears no responsibility for the information provided in the SMO Action Plans prepared by IFAC member organizations. Please see our full Disclaimer for additional information.

 

Methodology

Methodology
Last updated: 11/2022
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