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The IFAC PAO Development & Advisory Group (the Group) helps IFAC support strong, sustainable professional accountancy organizations around the world as part of the IFAC’s capacity building efforts. The Advisory Group actively contributes to IFAC’s strategic objectives, especially in preparing a future-ready profession, by fulfilling the “4As”:

  1. Advise and provide insights on trends to IFAC and opportunities relevant to capacity building for PAOs, as well as implications for development of the accountancy profession.
  2. Advocate for strengthening of PAOs in support of the profession, including through outreach activities and speaking engagements.
  3. Provide assistance and mentoring to developing PAOs as they strive to improve and meet IFAC’s membership obligations and global best practices.
  4. Enable access to resources and expertise from IFAC member organizations and partners, including international development partners, to support PAO development (e.g., guidance, resources, and tools).

The time and technical expertise (#3) that Group members and IFAC can provide to member organizations together can result in powerful changes – but it does take time. Reaching internationally recognized benchmarks requires consistent effort from PAOs and rarely happens overnight. Importantly though, PAOs do not have to go through this alone, since IFAC and its volunteers stand ready to provide support. One prime example of this is the ongoing commitment and teamwork between Group member, Jamal Milhem, Group Technical Advisor Mahalah Groves, and IFAC staff member, Dana Jensen, which has been carried out from 2018 to present. Over the last four years, they have enhanced outreach in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region based on three priority areas—non-member engagement; member engagement; and capacity development—and put into practice the Group’s remit.


We invite you to learn more about their efforts by accessing their case study, presented at the October 2021 Advisory Group meeting: 

Click here to access the presentation slides.
Jamal Milhem

Jamal Milhem joined the IFAC PAO Development & Advisory Group in January 2018 for the first term 2018-2020 and was reelected for second term 2021-2023. He was nominated in 2018 by The International Arab Society of Certified Accountants (IASCA) and has been a member of the PAOD&AG since then. Mr. Milhem was also elected by the PAOD&AG as the chair of the MENA Working Group.

Mr. Milhem is currently the Executive Director and partner of TAGI in Palestine and a member of the TAGORG executive Management Council (TAGI is an International Audit firm, Member of FOF and one of TAGORG firms with more than 100 offices worldwide). He has more than 28 years of experience in public accounting and advisory services in different countries in TAGI and TAGORG. In addition, he has more than 7 years of experience in higher education in different universities in Palestine related to teaching and development of accounting education programs.

Mr. Milhem has joined the Palestinian Association of Certified Public Accountants (PACPA) in 1997 (PACPA is a national PAO and an IFAC member), and he has been serving as a board member since 2003 and was elected as vice-president of PACPA from 2010 to 2016 and reelected as a vice president since 2018. He also chaired Code of Ethics Committee and Quality Assurance Committee in PACPA. Furthermore, he has been elected as a board member of IASCA since 2011, (IASCA is a regional PAO and an IFAC member). Mr. Milhem was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, AICPA – Montana State (USA) from 2000 till 2011. Mr. Milhem also served as a member of many other national professional committees, e.g. National team for AML risk assessment, National Palestinian WTO Accession Team, steering committee for National Team for Transparency and licensing committees in the Palestinian Capital Market Authority i.e. (financial analyst), (financial consultant), (investment consultant) and (IPO manager).

Mr. Milhem has earned his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and auditing in 1992, and Master degree in business administration in 1994 from University of Poona, Symbiosis College, India. He has obtained the CPA certification from Montana State Board of Public Accountants – USA in 1998.

Mahalah Groves

Mahalah Groves is Head of Capacity Building at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).  ACCA’s global community of 227,000 members and 544,000 and future members is based across 176 countries.  Mahalah supports many of ACCA’s key partnerships across the global accountancy profession and has oversight of ACCA’s funded international development work.

Mahalah has been with ACCA since 2008 and, in her current role as Head of Capacity Building, she leads a wide variety of development projects to strengthen the accountancy profession. A portfolio that currently includes capacity building projects across Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and South Asia. Her experience includes initiatives to implement international standards, develop strategy, and strengthen qualifications and regulation – and to support partner bodies in their journey toward membership of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Since 2017, Mahalah is a technical advisor to a member of the IFAC Professional Accountancy Organisation Development Committee (PAODC). Mahalah also plays a key role in ACCA’s partnerships with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the international development community.

Prior to joining ACCA, Mahalah’s professional experience included intellectual property and brand development.


Dana Jensen

Regional Manager, IFAC

Dana Jensen manages the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Caribbean regions under the IFAC Member Compliance Program, as well as the IFAC Membership Program, to support the adoption and implementation efforts of international standards and best practices amongst IFAC’s member organizations as well as non-members. 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); she is currently Prince Sultan University-Banque Saudi Fransi’s Fellow in Islamic Finance (2021-2023) and is also pursuing a Diploma in Islamic Finance from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants® (CIMA®) (2023).

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