Conference examines realities, outlooks of accounting and auditing in Palestine

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Seventh Accounting Day drew local and international experts, discussed policy and practice

Accounting students, experts, and professors examined the outlooks and realities of accounting and auditing, as professions, in the Seventh Accounting Day, entitled “Accounting and Auditing: Prospects and Challenges.” The event was held on campus at Birzeit University on Saturday, May 5, 2018. 

In her address, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics Dr. Grace Khoury noted that such an event – held with the support of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Palestine for Credit and Development - Faten –  bolsters the relationship between the faculty and local community organizations. 

“Our faculty members held many initiatives that serve to strengthen our relations with public, private, and community organizations and institutions, such as establishing an advisory council representing major sectors and companies in the Palestinian economy; offering an Executive Masters of Business Administration; and offering a program in actuarial financial sciences,” said Khoury, adding that the event will explore social responsibility and how to apply international accounting standards locally. 

Hind Muhtaseb, chair of the Department of Accounting at Birzeit University, highlighted the importance of accounting, both as a discipline and a profession, due to its ability to organize, categorize, and forecast financial information. 

“The increased demand for accounting majors, and the increased accounting enrollment at Birzeit University, show that skilled, qualified accountants are needed in the Palestinian job market and abroad. We’ve made it our mission to provide our students with the most informative material and the most useful skills for their future careers,” added Muhtaseb. 

Hazem Sababa, a representative for PricewaterhouseCoopers – one of the largest auditing and financial services firms in the world, with $38 billion in revenue annually – emphasized his firm’s interest in education, saying, “We support education as part of our corporate social responsibility, and we benefit students who excel in auditing by supporting them with the needed expertise and skills.” Sababa went on to say that many of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ employees are Birzeit University graduates. 

Chairman of the Palestinian Association of Certified Public Accountants Khalil Riziq considered accounting to be one of the fastest-developing professions, noting that the public accountants’ association, which was established over 30 years ago, has over 200 employees as of 2018, and it still needs more young, competent financial auditors and professionals. 

The event comprised two sessions. The first, Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures, was chaired by Adnan Humos, a professor of accounting at Birzeit University, and featured Dr. Hasan Yousef’s “The Corporate Social Reporting Practices Among Palestinian Listed Companies: Extent and Determinants” and Anwar Jayyousi – of Faten –  who also reviewed corporate social responsibility. 

The second session, Applying International Accounting Standards in Palestine, was moderated by Mirabo Shammas and included Sababa, who addressed “Automation and Auditing”; Dr. Saher Aqel – from Al-Quds University – who discussed “The Reality of Applying the International Accounting Standards of the Independent Auditor in Palestine”; Samiah Totah – from Bisan Systems – who gave a presentation of the accounting software offered by her firm; and Jamal Milhem – from the Palestinian Association of Certified Public Accountants – who gave an “Overview of International Standards of Auditing.”