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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

Executive Director

Mr. Jamal Milhem has joined the IFAC PAO Development & Advisory Group (PAOD&AG) in January 2018 for the first term 2018-2020 and was reelected for the second term 2021-2023. 

Mr. Milhem is currently the Executive Director and a partner of TAGI in Palestine and a member of the TAGORG Executive Management Council from 2015-2022 (TAGI is an International Audit firm, Member of FOF and one of TAGORG firms with more than 100 offices worldwide). He has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting and advisory services in different countries in TAGI and TAGORG. In addition, he has more than 8 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. He was elected as vice-president of PACPA from 2010 to 2016, reelected as a vice president since 2018-2020 and elected as PACPA president for the years 2021-2022. He also chaired different committees in the PACPA such as the Code of Ethics Committee and the Quality Assurance Committee. Furthermore, he has been elected as a board member of IASCA since 2011, (IASCA is an accounting organization working across the MENA region 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 and 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 his Master degree in business administration in 1994 from the University of Poona, Symbiosis College, India. He joined a PHD Accounting and Finance program in the Arab American University, Palestine in 2022.  He has obtained his CPA certification from the 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
Dana Jensen

Senior Manager, IFAC

Dana Jensen is a trilingual 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).

Dana was born in New York to parents that worked at the UN as diplomats. She identifies as a Third Culture Kid with family in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. She lived in several countries in the Middle East including Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon before settling back in New York for University and Graduate level studies in 2004. While currently residing in New York with her husband and kids, Dana continues to travel to the Middle East regularly.