IFR4NPO in Egypt – Reflections of the Country Champion

Mohamed Adbelrahman, Deputy CEO, MEK Foundation

The IFR4NPO Country Champion in Egypt, Mohamed Adbelrahman recently hosted a meeting for anyone with an interest in non-profit financial reporting. We asked him to share his reflections.

IFR4NPO in Egypt – Reflections of the Country Champion

The level of interest was excellent; we had participants from auditors, local non-profit organisations, international donor agencies such as Alwaleed Philanthropies and Terre Des Hommes, as well as freelance consultants. We also had very good representation from different countries in the region; The state of Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain, The state of Palestine (West Bank), Kingdom of Jordan, the state of Lebanon, Arab Republic of Egypt and even someone from Canada wo works with NPOs in the region.

At a macro level the longer-term benefits include increased public confidence and greater access to funds for the sector. At a practical level, it can also reduce the time spent on reporting by NPOs, releasing more resources for mission focused activities. Participants also identified the following useful outcomes:

  • Increase the quality of audit assurance, while reducing the cost in the longer term
  • Appropriate level of disclosures (financial and non-financial) that really enhance the meaningfulness and usefulness of the reports.
  • A means for readers to better evaluate ‘return on investment’ in a non-profit context.

In a nutshell: regulators and donors. Regulators set the policy and define the standards that NPOs in our jurisdictions must follow. Donors approve the budgets for their funds and also set the reporting frameworks for their project reports, which has a significant influence on the way NPOs set up their accounting systems. It will be critical to engage both these groups of stakeholders.

Much as participants from the region were optimistic about the project and its outcome, they were also very aware of the significant challenges to overcome, such as:

  • The cost of implementation, training and change when the standards are finalized might be a challenge to some NPOs
  • The local standards in each country in the region are different, so it might take time and require flexibility in case countries wish to make national level adaptations

We were encouraged to participate in the consultation process during 2021. The Consultation Paper Executive summary has been translated into Arabic, and the project is keen to receive responses from the region, which can be done via the website here.

There will be a Regional Consultation Event, held in Arabic, for North Africa and the Middle East on 25 May, specifically to take a closer look at some of the proposals in the Consultation Paper, and to discuss opinions with peers as we formulate our response to the Consultation. It is for all stakeholders in the region including regulators, donors, accounting bodies, non-profit organisations and their auditors. Click here for more details and to register.

We are so grateful to Mohamed Abdelrahma and all our Country Champions for their wonderful voluntary service in reaching out to stakeholders all over the world! You can find details of the meeting, including a video recording here.