UAE – As the UAE increasingly becomes a thriving hub for entrepreneurs, the demand for accounting and finance skills will rise to sustain business and ensure success and survival amidst regional and global economic pressures, according to financial experts.
Recent analysis revealed by professional networking site LinkedIn showed that the UAE has the highest percentage of members indicating entrepreneurship as their job function across the Middle East, noting a 98.3 per cent growth rate based on the study conducted between March 2015 and March 2016.
Rob Alder, Head of Business Development, Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), said: “The UAE’s booming small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and growing number of startups require a strong foundation in order to sustain their business – and properly managing finance is crucial. Accounting and finance management are life-long business skills that are paramount for every entrepreneur to ensure their business will continue to grow. It is in fact essential to their survival.”
AAT, a globally recognized player in the accounting and finance sector with around 135,000 members in more than 90 countries, noted that 58 per cent of its members work for SMEs.
“Many of our members worldwide provide professional support to SMEs and young startups who prefer to handle their finances hands-on. But whether you want to manage your own finances, get another employee to manage the finances or hire someone to do the task, it pays off to ensure that the individual who will do the job is skilled and professionally trained,” explained Rob Alder.
For many SMEs, book or record keeping is necessary for day-to-day operations such as the sending of invoices, payments to suppliers and staff, purchases and receipts, among others. This financial tool is also useful in preparing basic financial statements. AAT noted that of its 88,000 students who enrolled in 2016, about 5,000 have registered for bookkeeping qualifications, nearly six per cent of its total current students and a figure that is increasing year on year. The London-based institute highlighted that there is an increasing demand for bookkeeping qualifications worldwide and has recently partnered with Professionals & Accountancy Center (PAC) Dubai to provide its range of accounting and finance qualifications and courses across the Middle East.
“Entrepreneurs are often quick at creating innovative products and services, but can often be unaware as to tackling the accounting and finance aspect of the business, seeing it as a tasking job that needs to be complied with. However, the key to know if a business is a good business is not what it sells but how well it manages its accounting books. At the end of the day, accounting and finance are the tools that can ensure success for entrepreneurs who have learned the ways to use them smartly,” Rob Alder added.
SMEs are the backbone of the UAE economy and many small businesses continue to open in the country. The UAE Ministry of Economy has reported that SMEs comprise roughly 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country. In Dubai alone, more than 22,000 SMEs were established in 2015, according to Dubai’s Department of Economic Development.
“Keeping UAE SMEs on track requires strong and stable accounting and financial tools, which do not have to incur high cost for the business. To begin with, young businesses simply need to maintain a bookkeeping system or appoint a bookkeeper or an accountant to do the job and make running the business much easier. Something as simple as a bookkeeper’s input can greatly help a business to develop and grow further,” Rob Alder concluded.
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