March 25, 2018, Cairo – The Department of Accounting at The American University in Cairo (AUC) is now the first undergraduate accounting program in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East to receive the maximum exemption from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the United Kingdom. This accreditation exempts students from nine out of the 14 courses – the maximum number of exemptions possible – required to sit for the ACCA exam and become a chartered certified accountant who can work all over the globe.
“The ACCA accreditation is very timely and is an indication of the quality of the accounting program at AUC,” said Khaled Samaha, professor and chair of the Department of Accounting. “Furthermore, it aligns AUC’s mission with that of the School of Business: internationalization.”
As a result of the ACCA accreditation, which applies for three years, AUC’s accounting students are only required to complete five courses outside of their undergraduate courses to become ACCA-certified. They are even able to begin the process of certification in their final undergraduate year, leaving them with about a year of studying left before they can take the ACCA exam.
In addition, the ACCA accreditation grants an extra perk that enables AUC accounting graduates to take remaining courses over a year with master’s students at the University of London. If they succeed at obtaining good grades in these courses and pass the ACCA exam, they end up with ACCA certification and the added bonus of a master’s degree from the University of London.
An accounting graduate, Selim Tarek '18, a teaching assistant who also minored in economics and graduated with high honors, sees how significant this accreditation is for current students. "The ACCA accreditation is very important for us because it gives accounting students the opportunity to be exempted from nine out of 14 courses," said Tarek. "So we graduate with an accounting degree and more than 60 percent of the ACCA certification done. Having the ACCA certification gives us the right to work as public auditors internationally and locally, after passing a local tax exam. The accreditation also means that AUC accounting exams are similar to ACCA exams, which means all problems are taken from real life. They are just as difficult as real life situations. These exams train students to be ready to work in accounting and the auditing field."
To become an auditor, individuals have to sit for professional certification exams. While Egypt has its own Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification, this exam is taken in Arabic, only allowing professionals to work as auditors within the country. To be certified internationally, individuals need to be CPA-certified in the United States or take the ACCA exam in the United Kingdom.
As part of the accreditation process, the Department of Accounting had to demonstrate that their program offers a level of education and content that matches the ACCA program.
“This will add a lot to the accounting program, especially as many students now want to declare as accounting majors,” said Samaha. “This will also have a good impact on Egypt’s market. We are doing the best we can. This is the maximum that an accounting program can get.”
ACCA ensures the prestige of the program by regularly reviewing university curricula, courses and exams and interviewing faculty before making a determination about accreditation. AUC’s accounting program was first granted eight exemptions in 2017, but was quickly granted nine exemptions based on updates by the end of the year. Though these updates are not typically retrospective, ACCA made an exception for AUC, deciding that accounting students who graduate on or after January 1, 2017 are exempted from nine modules of the certification program.