Ramzi S. Al-Ariqi of the Yemen Association for Certified Public Accountants to YT:”Due to the lack of sound legislation and enforcement mechanism, the accountant profession is facing grave challenges” [Archives:2004/742/Business & Economy]

May 31 2004

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
Ramzi S. Al-Ariqi is the President of the Yemen Association of Certified Public Accountants. He was elected to the presidency on October 20, 2003. He graduated from Sana'a University in 1986 with a major in economics and a minor in accounting. He also received his Master's in Accounting and Auditing from the University of Oklahoma, USA in 1996.
Ramzi is a Licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) from the State of Colorado, USA, and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) from the American Institute of Management Accountants.
Ramzi is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the American Institute of Management Accountants.

When the Association was established?
The Yemeni Association of Certified Public Accountants was established 1992. However, since its inception, the Association has not been able to play an important role in the development of a sound accounting and auditing profession. The Association also was not able to provide for the professional development for its members. This is mainly due to the lack of financial resources, which are less than US $ 3,000 each year, and lack of support from the related institutions.

How many members in the Association?
Currently, there are about 700 members in the Association, and 220 of them are actively involved in auditing practice.

Are there any female members in the Association?
Yes, there are few female members. Despite the fact that we are not able to attract many female members to the auditing profession, we have few female members in the associated and they also are represented on the board of directors and in the operational management.

What is the current situation of the profession in Yemen?
Sine the collapse of Enron and WorldCom in the US in 2002, the accounting and auditing profession in many countries has been facing may challenges, including shaken public confidence, new regulations and more restrictions on auditors from providing specific consulting services to audit clients. In Yemen, due to the lack of sound legislation and an enforcement mechanism, the profession is facing grave challenges in order to restore the business community's trust in auditing practices. In addition, practitioners lack the required accounting and auditing resources including continuing professional education and training. Practitioners also working in an environment without formal local or international accounting and auditing standards.

Is the Yemeni Government doing all it should do for the profession in Yemen?
I don't think so. As you aware, the Yemeni government started a successful economic reform package in 1995. It has also been enhanced by administrative and financial reform in recent years. We believe as part of this reform, greater efforts should be directed toward comprehensive reform of the accounting and auditing profession in Yemen. Such reform is essential for the development of private and public sectors. It is also impossible for current Yemeni businesses to be developed further and for the Yemeni Government to establish a Yemeni stockmarket without sound accounting and auditing practices that enhance quality financial reporting and transparency. We believe that the government is not doing enough in the development of the accounting and auditing, which is the milestone in the development of the Yemeni economy.
Currently there is mission from the World Bank performing an assessment of strengths and weaknesses of accounting and auditing practices in Yemen. We hope that the results of the assessment will help in the development of accounting and auditing practices in Yemen.

What are the services provided by the Association to its members?
After it has been elected, the Board of the Association adopted a formal annual plan. The plan calls for major reform in the profession. This includes working with other relevant supervision bodies in developing the appropriate mechanism for enforcing current laws and regulations, formation of the High Council for the Accounting and Auditing Profession and coordination of efforts in order to adopt sound accounting and auditing standards. We also started joint efforts with the Auditors Licensing Committee at the Ministry of Industry and Trade in order to introduce the first auditors' qualification exam this year. The plan also called for conducting a training needs survey.

What are the future projects' of the Association?
Many. Some of our future projects are; 1) Preparation of a long term strategy for the profession; 2) Establishment of a training institute for the accounting and auditing profession, which might be established by the government or by the Association with support from the government and international donors, 3) Issuance of the Yemeni Accounting Journal 4) Joining the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

What are the main problems facing the Association?
We have many problems. Lack of adequate financing for the Association activities, which prevent us from adopting any plans with significant objectives is our primary challenge. However, the Association is currently working hard to overcome this problem by increasing membership fee and looking for other sources of income. We are also facing some other problems such as a lack of formally adopted accounting and auditing standards, low awareness of the rules of auditors, etc.