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State Board Report

January 2017

While Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest civilizations known to archeologists, its accounting profession is currently in a state of rebirth. Representatives from the Accounting and Auditing Board of Ethiopia (AABE), an organization formed by an act of the Ethiopian Parliament less than two years ago, came to meet with NASBA President and CEO Ken L. Bishop and other staff members on December 16 at the New York City NASBA office. Ethiopia is now a federation of nine provinces speaking multiple languages, with Amharic being the official language that is spoken by only about 29 percent of the population. However, the most common foreign language spoken in Ethiopia is English, and the U.S. and U.K. models of regulation of the accounting profession are admired.

AABE Director General Gashe Yemane asked President Bishop about the challenges involved in bringing multiple states together to work for uniformity in regulating the profession. Mr. Bishop stressed the need for the cultivation of regional professional bodies that can then come together to have input in the creation of standards and regulations. While Parliament has given the AABE the power to license accountants in Ethiopia, President Bishop advised: “You want all provinces to be part of the group that is setting up the law.”

Currently several of the major international accounting firms are offering consulting in Ethiopia; however, to perform audits one must be a resident in that country. The AABE representatives estimated nearly all of the Ethiopian professional accountants are ACCA members and a few are U.K. chartered accountants or U.S. CPAs. When federal licensing of accountants recently came into place in Ethiopia, all of the practicing auditors were grandfathered in. However, within five years they will all have to meet the requirements set by the AABE to continue to practice. The AABE is developing a road map to set out its strategy and anticipates asking for NASBA’s input on building a similar forum for their states, reported Ermias Eshetu, CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange and AABE member.

President Bishop underscored the need for developing and maintaining trusting relationships with the member states.

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