The Oman Association of Chartered Public Accountants (OACPA) is a newly formed professional accountancy organization (PAO). It was established on May 22, 2016, pursuant to Resolution No. 80/2016 of the Minister of Social Development and became operational in 2020. Effective 2024, it is applying to become an Associate member of IFAC with sponsorship from ACCA. With its recent formation and potential to provide resources to the government, regulators, and professional accountants in the area, OACPA is an excellent case study as an emerging PAO.
The activities of a new professional accountancy body largely depend on the resources available, as well as strong partnerships. The relationship between OACPA and ACCA was formally established in 2022, which led to a signed partnership agreement in November 2023. Under this partnership agreement, OACPA and ACCA hosted the first ever Oman International Conference on Accounting and Auditing, under the patronage of H.E. Qais Al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Investment Promotion on January 29-31, 2024.
The conference, which attracted over 400 accountants and auditors from the private and public sectors, featured Asmaa Resmouki, President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Sheikh Mahfouz Alum, OACPA Chairman, Maggie McGhee, Executive Director Strategy and Governance, ACCA, and other eminent figures.
At the conference, it was announced that the key regulator for the profession, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Promotion (MCIIP), will be transferring regulatory oversight over the accountancy profession to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in the coming year. With these changes on the horizon, OACPA is at a turning point where it must ensure it has its own regulatory structure that fits into the new national legal framework.
Following the important announcement, IFAC President Asmaa Resmouki, together with OACPA (represented by Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Executive Director) and ACCA (represented by Zarif Ludin, Head of Institutional Partnerships and Malek Sarieddine, Regional Head of Partnerships – Middle East) met with the Executive President of the CMA alongside the conference. During this meeting, the group discussed the various elements of the new regulatory structure, and areas where OACPA can play a role in the jurisdiction for investigations and disciplinary processes, licensing systems for auditors, and monitoring systems for members in public practice. Additional support is needed for developing accounting and auditing legislation that establishes clear institutional arrangements for regulation and enforcement of international standards to provide a clear mandate for OACPA that recognizes the unique position that it can hold within the financial infrastructure of Oman. This meeting greatly aided in raising awareness of the importance of a strong accountancy profession and the role OACPA can play in the economy as a resource for national accountancy development.
When PAOs maintain appropriate capacity, they can operate in the public interest; develop capable and competent professional accountants; promote strong professional and ethical standards; act as a resource to government, regulators, and other key stakeholders on accountancy related issues; and enhance the quality of financial reporting and auditing through education and training, quality review, investigation and discipline of professionals. On its journey towards IFAC membership, OACPA will be among the first PAOs to pilot the IFAC PAO Development Advisory Group’s Strategic Planning Toolkit which will help develop a framework that better articulates OACPA’s value proposition. The resulting strategic plan will use IFAC’s IMPACT approach to help OACPA’s various stakeholders such as the CMA, better understand how and why PAOs do the work that they do, the value they contribute to society, and how and with whom they engage. Stay tuned for the launch of this toolkit in June!