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Harmonisation: pressing issues in accountancy

The harmonisation of international financial reporting standards - a welcome idea or an unwelcome one? Dr Alan Parkinson (UCL) went to Dubai to ask the question.

Written by Keith McDonald |

Dr Alan Parkinson, UCL School of Management
Dr Alan Parkinson reviews his debate on reporting standards with ACCA delegates in Dubai. Watch here.

It’s an important issue for many in the accountancy profession - how does one converge the different reporting methods and standards across countries and cultures?

Would it be practical to have standardised reporting methods?

These were among the questions that Alan Parkinson discussed recently with ACCA students, members and affiliates in Dubai.

Dr Parkinson travelled with Lynsie Chew, also from the School of Management at UCL, as part of a promotional tour for the University of London's MSc Professional Accountancy.

They spoke to prospective and current University of London students at the PwC Academy in Dubai before Dr Parkinson engaged in debate with ACCA delegates. Over 180 registered for the event at the Nassima Royal Hotel.

Split decisions

Parkinson discovered that views were split on the issue of harmonisation.

Some were in favour. A harmonised set of reporting standards would allow chief financial officers and investors to understand each other more clearly and speak 'a common language'. It could also facilitate easier movement of financial capital around the world.

Others were more reluctant, as cultural autonomy remains important to financial reporting.

"If you view countries as being collectives of people with views, attitudes, values, beliefs - what they might perceive as an 'imposition' of standards by what is sometimes referred to as an 'Anglo-Saxon culture' is something that doesn’t necessarily sit easily with harmonisation", Parkinson explained.

Despite the divergence in views, over half the ACCA delegates believed that reporting standards remains an important issue for them in their profession.

Professional accountancy video
The University of London's MSc Professional Accountancy is the only master's degree with ACCA recognition.

MSc Professional Accountancy - one of a kind

The debate reflects the topical nature of assessments that students encounter once they embark on the master’s programme.

Through the discussion of harmonisation, a previous assessment topic, delegates saw how theoretical debate informed by their background contributes towards an academic degree.

Available to study anywhere in the world, the MSc Professional Accountancy is the only master’s degree with ACCA recognition.

ACCA professional level papers meet the credit requirements for much of the qualification, so the master’s can be achieved by completing as few as two modules.

This creates a cost-effective and time-effective method of earning a master’s degree from the University of London.

Shagufa Jamaldeen earned a distinction after completing the MSc in Dubai in just six months.

She presented to students at PwC Academy, saying they could embrace the flexibility and allow themselves longer to complete if they needed it.

The next application deadline for the Master's in Professional Accountancy is Monday 11 June. View course details.

A master's in six months.

Shagufa Jamaldeen - Professional Accountancy - Dubai

"The programme content of the master’s degree was relevant and addressed global issues that finance professionals are facing in the workplace."

A master's degree in six months - Shagufa's story

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