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Accounting Nationalization: Welcome move to achieve long-term benefits

Following the footsteps of the retail and engineering professions, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in Saudi Arabia has implemented 30% localization of the accounting profession in line with Vision 2030, which came into effect on 12 June 2021. The Nationalization Scheme, or Nitaqat, is a policy adopted by the Ministry of Labour that requires Saudi enterprises to hire local people on a quota basis. The government aims to create more than 9,800 jobs in the private sector by localizing jobs in this profession. This article will dive into details in the Saudization plan, how the government is facilitating it, and what needs to be done to achieve the goal. 

The accountant Saudization profession would cover as many as 19 streams. The occupations include 

Saudi accountants’ minimum salary should not be less than SR6,000 ($1,600) for bachelor’s degree holders and SR4,500 for diploma holders to qualify for the Nationalization rate. 30% localization will be implemented only to the companies that employ more than five accountants. Companies that failed to meet the requirement may face the consequences such as not being able to change the Iqama profession, no transfer of sponsorship to or from the company, no renewal of work permit for any employees, etc. 

Economic specialists in the country lauded the government’s decision and described it as a positive move in the right direction. The KSA government has developed several initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between the number of qualified accountants and the actual demand for them. 

Women’s accountancy program 

The importance of the accounting profession in the national economy is enormous, and it also serves as a backbone of any enterprise. The KSA government emphasizes the participation of women in this profession to achieve its long-term development objective. With the help of the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA), the government has launched a program for Saudi women, encouraging them to join the profession. 

Training, qualification, entrepreneurship, and employment are all included in the curriculum. It’s part of the Saudi government’s attempt to empower women and expand their economic engagement. SOCPA joins hands with local universities, helping more than 10,000 students benefit from the program and initiatives. SOCPA is also attempting to build a support center for small and medium-sized businesses. A volunteer club and accounting leaderships, the empowerment platform, and the women’s council are all part of the women’s program.

Professional verification program 

With the cooperation of the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation, the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry (HRSD) launched a professional verification program for validating the expertise of skilled workers in the Saudi labor market. The main objective of the initiative is to improve the quality of skilled workers in the labor market, increase their productivity, improve the quality of services they deliver, and decrease the influx of untrained workers. To meet the labor market requirements, the government targets more than 1000 specialized professions and upskills the workforce according to international standards. 

While efforts have been made by the government, there can be a shortage of qualified Saudi CFOs or qualified Saudi financial directors in the future, hindering the nationalization plan if the supply chain is not timely prepared. To avoid such situations, the government plans to qualify more Saudi people and encourage young Saudis to build a robust network of qualified employees by initiating different programs in the coming days. 

The government believes that adding the accounting profession to the nationalization list will encourage more students to pursue careers in accounting in Saudi Arabia, resulting in scaling up the pipeline of qualified nationals. Most importantly, localization of accounting will enable Saudis to have a greater influence on decision-making at the highest levels of organizations, ultimately contributing to Vision 2030 and the national economy.  

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