National initiatives for improving accounting education and strengthening professional accounting organizations (PAO) in Azerbaijan were discussed at a workshop organized by the World Bank’s CFRR on November 22-23.

The event was part of the Strengthening Auditing and Reporting in the Countries of the Eastern Partnership (STAREP) regional program, which is supporting European Union Eastern Partnership countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, establish transparent policy environments and effective institutional frameworks for corporate reporting. Internationally compatible accounting education at universities and for professional development is a key requirement to build the capacity needed to support better quality corporate financial information. The STAREP Accounting and Auditing Education Community of Practice (EduCoP) are working together to modernize the education and development of accountants and auditors and develop a timetable for overhauling accounting education.

Over 40 participants representing the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Taxes, the Azerbaijan Accountants and Risk Professionals Association, Young Accountants Public Union, universities, PAOs, and regulators took part in the Baku workshop. They considered the next steps in accounting education reform for Azerbaijan, including national reform initiatives, and worked together on developing a detailed Country Action Plan of practical next steps to further modernize accounting and auditing education at university and professional levels.

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National initiatives for improving accounting education and strengthening PAOs in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani members of the EduCoP outlined the lessons learned at a Regional EduCoP meeting in Minsk in October 2016, including the need to reach ‘international standard’ in education to effectively contribute to a stronger business environment. There was discussion of International Education Standards and good international practices in accounting education reform. Participants considered possible initiatives to further strengthen the quality of accounting and audit education in Azerbaijan, and emphasized the need for World Bank support to implement these initiatives. The workshop sought to raise awareness of the role and potential contribution of PAOs to reform efforts. Practical insights and examples of good international practices illustrated how PAOs can take a leading role in accountancy education, help strengthen the profession, and contribute to effective accounting and audit regulation in support of economic development. Participants shared views and considered options for strengthening the role and functions of PAOs and improving their collaboration with the local universities, and learnt how to ensure PAO good governance.

Next steps include follow-up discussion of the Action Plan among stakeholders in Azerbaijan to reach consensus on the various initiatives proposed and integrate them into a structured proposal. Some key priorities were presented and discussed at the Regional EduCoP meeting on November 28, 2017.