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The Professional Accountancy Organization Development Advisory Group (PAO DAG) plays a crucial role in IFAC’s global capacity building initiatives, aiming to foster robust and sustainable Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) worldwide in alignment with the public interest. 

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Phase 1 Strategy Development Guide
Phase 1: Strategy Development Guide

In the ever-evolving landscape of professional accountancy, establishing a solid strategic foundation is pivotal for the success of new and smaller Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs).  Recognising this need, the PAO DAG, let by Chair Ms. Jelena Misita, initiated a Strategic Planning workstream at the February 2023 DAG meeting specifically targeting the unique challenges faced by PAOs in smaller and less developed settings.   .

The working group responsible for this workstream has committed to crafting a comprehensive guide, designed to provide PAOs with a clear and practical framework for formulating, implementing, and monitoring an effective strategic plan.  This resource aims to provide PAOs with a clear “What”, “Why”, and practical “How” framework for developing, implementing, and monitoring an effective strategic plan guiding them through their journey from inception to fruition.   

Commencing with a thorough environmental analysis, the guide lays a robust foundation, enabling PAOs to identify their  strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, thereby charting a clear and visionary course towards success.  The transition from vision to tangible results requires strategic initiatives, meticulously guided by SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related) objectives, ensuring that each PAO’s goals cam come to fruition.

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Phase 2 Implementation Plan
Phase 2: Implementation Plan

Collaborative stakeholder engagement plays a pivotal role in this journey through alignment with their expectations, fostering a sense of shared ownership and commitment.

The next phase in the guide will involve prudent resource allocation and detailed action planning to ensure that PAOs are equipped for the challenges ahead. Detailed action plans, akin to navigation charts, break down initiatives into actionable steps, assigning responsibilities and deadlines to facilitate efficient implementation.

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Phase 3 Monitoring Guide
Phase 3 Monitoring Guide

During the execution phase, clear articulation of the strategic plan's benefits, paired with addressing concerns, will garner support from all quarters. Consistent monitoring and adaptability are paramount, likened to steering through changing waters.

The process of data collection and analysis will provide PAOs valuable feedback on progress and informs decision-making. Rigorous evaluation against objectives will also ensure that strategies are fine-tuned for optimal impact.

The comprehensive guide will serve as a strategic blueprint empowering new and smaller PAOs to harness the power of strategic planning, providing them with the tools for understanding, action, and perpetual improvement.  By understanding the "Why" behind each step and implementing the "How", this toolkit will empower PAOs to thrive and adapt to change, toward a prosperous future in the realm of professional accountancy.

The guide will also map key functions of a PAO with IFAC’s Statements of Membership Obligations (SMOs) providing clear benchmarks for both current and potential IFAC member organizations and a pathway for PAOs to continuously improve.

In discussions with a number of PAOs they have indicated their interest in the toolkit, which underlines the relevance and need for this resource. This toolkit is poised to provide invaluable support, guiding PAOs through their strategic journey.

In preparation, the DAG is set to conduct pilot testing of the toolkit’s implementation, enabling the group to refine the final product based on this real-world application.  The Strategic Planning Workstream will continue to engage with PAOs that have expressed interest in using the toolkit, particularly new and smaller-sized PAOs. Please contact Dana Jensen, Senior Manager, IFAC (DanaJensen@Ifac.org) if your PAO is interested in being included as a pilot case study for the toolkit between November 2023-January 2024. 

Stay tuned for the launch of the strategic planning toolkit in Q1 of 2024!

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Sheree Ebanks

Sheree Ebanks has been a member of the IFAC PAO Development & Advisory Group since January 2020, a nomination she received from the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA).

As the CEO of CIIPA, Mrs. Ebanks brings over 40 years of experience in banking, wealth management, and governance. Her expertise has been pivotal in advancing the accounting profession and the financial services sector in the Cayman Islands. With a strong understanding of the industry's opportunities and challenges, she is committed to promoting high standards of ethics, education, and excellence among accountants while fostering collaboration and innovation among stakeholders.

In addition to her role at CIIPA, Mrs. Ebanks serves as the Chairperson of the Caribbean Utilities Company and the Public Service Pensions Board. She is also a Board Member and Audit Committee Chair of the Royal Bank of Canada (Cayman).

Mrs. Ebanks’s previous experience includes a notable career with one of Cayman's largest banks, where she was the director and Head of Wealth Management. In this role, she oversaw trust and fiduciary services, asset management, and fund administration, contributing significantly to strategy and profitability. She retired from the bank in 2013 after 33 years of service.

Mrs. Ebanks's academic credentials include an MBA from the University of Liverpool and an Accredited Director designation from the Chartered Governance Institute of Canada. She is also a certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMLS). In 2022, she was awarded with the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour in recognition of her substantial contributions to the financial services sector.

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Zarif Ludin
Muhammad Zarif Ludin

Head of Institutional Partnerships

Zarif Ludin is the Head of Institutional Partnership at ACCA and leads and develops strategic partnerships with regional and global accountancy organizations, donors and development agencies, and represents ACCA in external forums and consistently promotes ACCA’s global contribution to public value. Zarif Ludin serves ACCA’s Category “A” observer at the IFAC board and PAODAG as a Technical Assistant and is a member of the Ethics working group at CAPA.  

Zarif Ludin was the Chief Executive of CPA Afghanistan at the Ministry of Finance, Afghanistan, since June 2013, being responsible for the enactment of accountancy law, the establishment of the executive office, board and related technical committees and the capacity building of accountants and auditors. Zarif Ludin focused on quality education, well-defined regulations and CPA Afghanistan’s recognition on national, regional and international platforms. He played a significant role in obtaining South Asia Federation of Accountants (SAFA) and Confederation of Asia and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) associate memberships for CPA Afghanistan. He initiated the idea of Strategic Partnership and revenue sharing for CPA Afghanistan jointly with ACCA.

In addition, he has experience of more than 12 years of working with different Organizations like USAID and US embassy-funded programs, Financial Institutions and Banks, NGOs and Universities as a Finance Manager, Program Coordinator and part-time Lecturer. Zarif holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Graduate Institute of Geneva.

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Dana Jensen
Dana Jensen

Senior Manager, IFAC

Dana Jensen is a Senior Manager with more than 10 years of experience working at IFAC to support the development, adoption, and implementation of high-quality international standards. She is primarily responsible for managing engagement with the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Caribbean regions at IFAC. She is also the lead staff responsible for managing the IFAC Professional Accountancy Organization (PAO) Development & Advisory Group, which actively contributes to IFACs strategic objectives by raising awareness on PAO development, facilitating adoption and implementation of international standards and best practices, and empowering PAOs with guidance, leadership, and technical assistance. Since 2021, Dana has led IFAC’s Islamic Finance thought leadership program to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it promotes socially responsible development and links to economic growth and social welfare.

Prior to her time at IFAC, Dana was a Policy Coordinator at the United Nations (UN) in the Department for Peacekeeping Operations. She holds an MSc from Columbia University (2011); Prince Sultan University-Banque Saudi Fransi Graduate Fellow in Islamic Finance (2021-2023); and holds a Diploma in Islamic Finance from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) (2023).