Egyptian accountants predict improved business after chaos

A SENIOR partner at PwC Egypt has warned that his country’s accountants and auditors could face a flood of work if businesses and public authorities resume normal work.

When chaos broke-out in Cairo in January, accounting firms suffered. Blocked roads, curfews and protests throughout Egypt’s major cities kept offices, banks and shops closed, with significant financial repercussions. While many businesses reopened in the second week of February after President Hosni Mubarak resigned, the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) closed and banks have opened sporadically.

PwC’s Tarek Mansour told Accountancy Age although many employees were returning to work, challenges remain due to a widespread “slowdown in business, delays in the audit process and closing accounts.”

But there could also be additional demand for accounting services for helping clients work through the turmoil: “New services will be provided, like business continuity plans, government reform consultation, accounting and payroll outsourcing,” said Mansour.

And looking ahead, drastic political changes in Egypt could mean a crackdown on financial corruption and a prominent role for detailed and honest accounting.

Egyptian Accounting Standards are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) with minor differences adopted a few years ago, but corruption is high: Egypt ranks 111th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index. “Changes will require companies to be more transparent and have stricter rules on implementation of accounting standards,” said Mansour.

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