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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. 

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A group of 11 people standing on stage at a conference

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.

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IFAC President Asmaa Resmouki together with OACPA at meeting

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!

Call to Action: Contact Dana Jensen, staff lead of the IFAC PAO Development Advisory Group, if your PAO is interested in piloting the toolkit.  E-mail: DanaJensen@ifac.org

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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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Malek Sarieddine standing in a suit with crossed arms
Malek Sarieddine

Regional Head of Partnerships

In his role as Regional Head of Partnerships for ACCA Middle East, Malek Sarieddine is responsible for leading the organisation’s public sector strategy in the region, working closely with both public and private sectors to lobby governments and associations.

ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and upholds a mission to promote accountancy as a cornerstone profession, developing individuals from diverse backgrounds to grow and flourish their careers as ACCA-certified professionals.

With a dynamic career spanning more than 19 years, 15 of which have been within the education space, between academic and professional institutions. Malek’s professional mandate is to create awareness and strengthen the profile of ACCA in the region. Reporting directly to the head of ACCA Middle East, he is responsible for facilitating dialogue on key industry issues with government entities and educational institutions.

A skilled and strategic manager, Malek supports government entities and national accountancy bodies across the Middle East with upskilling nationals in the area of accounting, finance and ethics at the same time developing and shaping the accounting profession in line with regional nationalization agendas.

Through Malek’s collaboration with governments, employers and the international donor community such as the World Bank Group and USAID, he works on a broad range of capacity-building projects to strengthen accountancy skills and infrastructure to ensure accountants across the Middle East are working to the same high international standards.

Alongside this, Malek’s proven ability to identify, nurture and develop key relationships and partnerships is reflected in his reputation as a trusted and highly sought-after expert. Committed to raising the standards of accountancy in both private and public sectors, he is committed to ACCA’s mandate to support professional development through promoting its educational and professional learning programmes and certificates that shape and develop the next generation of accounting and finance professionals.

As Head of Partnerships for ACCA in the Middle East, Malek is responsible for leading business development and public sector agenda in 11 countries, engaging and supporting ACCA stakeholders; more than 20,000 students, affiliates and members across the region, who work in all sectors and all levels of business across the Middle East.

Managing and building strategic relationships with regulators, policy makers, business leaders, partners and the ACCA Middle East stakeholder network to influence debate and conversation around key issues that impact the ongoing economic development of the region. Alongside linking up the challenges within the accounting world in the Middle East and shining a light on global topics such as sustainability, the audit regulatory environment, digital innovation with the profession.

ACCA believes that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society that supports both public and private sectors. That’s why we’re committed to the development of a strong global accountancy profession and the many benefits that this brings to society and individuals and why Malek acts as a conversation starter raising awareness around the integral role that accountants and finance professionals play to businesses and economies particularly within the Middle East using adoption of IFRS, VAT, public sector moving from cash to accrual-based accounting, business sustainability during this current pandemic as validation, given the professions lead on this areas.

Malek works closely with many educational and academic institutions and across the region to encourage new generations to not only understand the importance of the almost pandemic proof profession, but the significant role a professionally qualified accountant plays in building economies, thus encouraging the next generation to consider and undertake a career in accountancy and finance, whilst raising the importance of the financial literacy agenda being embedded at an early age.

Malek ensures that through his role in the Middle East, ACCA is seen as a force for public good and remains true to its core values of building a sustainable global profession by re-investing surplus to deliver member value by leveraging our research and professional insights continue to answer today’s questions that prepares us for tomorrow, actively encourages continued professional development and continues to shape and develop the accounting and finance profession for the next generation.

Experienced in consultancy, strategic partnership management and market development, Malek draws on an extensive and established network across the Middle East and has worked with prestigious regional and international entities including ICDL Arabia, Direct English, Mediaglass Middle East, ICDL GCC Foundation and Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University.

His roles prior to ACCA included key positions with Dubai Government’s E-Learning Academic Institution, as well as the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) the official international awarding and accreditation body for computer literacy in the Middle East.
Malek holds a BSc in Management Information Systems from the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut and live in Dubai with his wife and daughters.

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Ahmed Abdul Rahman wearing a suit and standing in front of a sign at a conference smiling at the camera
Ahmed Abdul Rahman

General Manager

Ahmed Abdul Rahman, the General Manager of the Oman Association of Chartered Public Accountants (OACPA) since April 2021. He plays a crucial role in overseeing the Association operations and ensuring compliance with  standards and regulations.

His responsibilities  include coordinating professional development programs, and fostering collaboration among members of the association, being one of the team  for the enactment  national occupational standers of accountancy & Auditing in Oman,  Ahmed focused on quality education, well-defined regulations. He played a significant role in OACPA to try to get IFAC membership.  He played a significant role sign Strategic Partnership  with ACCA.

In addition, he has experience of more than 5 years of working with international Financial Services in Oman As technical analyst for stock market

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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).