• Register
Return to: Home > News > Assurance and Accounting > Syria’s only status quo

Syria’s only status quo


Syria, once a pearl of the ancient and classical antiquity, has been plunged in a civil war for nearly four years and as the dreadful anniversary approaches the complexity of the situation only seems to increase, lessening all hopes of a resolution.

But as Europe continues to wonder how to deal with the waves of migrants and potential risk of terrorism as well as whether to intervene in Syria, and as the rest of the world wonders if the ripple effects will reach their shores, how are the local businesses dealing with the day to day?

Hisham El-Moukammal, chief executive officer of CHPA, a firm with offices in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, says that despite the difficult times there is still some work for professional services firms. Especially working for retail businesses, local banks, NGOs and industries as well as universities.

His firm offers the full range of audit, tax and advisory services, however he says audit remains the main activity representing 70% of its activity. Asked whether the firm's staff have left the country he says that so far they have all remained in Damascus.

"While our office is in Damascus we can still pick up some work in other cities around Syria, even though there are some provinces we simply cannot go," he explains. "But for the provinces that we can access we have no problem going there and doing the work."

If there is some work for professional services firms, the economy is too impacted by the political situation and the civil war for accountants to hope for growth. "At the moment for the firms working in Syria it is only about maintaining their positions and keeping their existing clients," El-Moukammal. "We hope that peace will come back and we can make the most of the potential opportunities to grow, but for now it is only about maintaining our position in the market."

As opposed to Syria, El-Moukammal says that it has been a good year for his firm in Iraq and Lebanon. The latter being the country out of the three with most opportunities at the moment. He anticipates that 2016 will be a difficult year in Iraq as there is a cash flow issue at government level and an economic crisis is looming. As for Lebanon, El-Moukammal believes that despite the difficulties there is scope for optimism.

International Accounting Bulletin issued a call for comment to Syrian professionals through international networks and associations. The majority of the global organisations said they didn't have a member firm in Syria, while a few agreed to talk off the record.

As a result of the international sanctions against Syria issued in the last 4 years, it is tricky for international brands to operate in the country. Nevertheless this magazine understands that most international accounting networks have retained member firms in Syria. Those firms are operating under their local names without reference to their international affiliation brand.

International Accounting Bulletin has been told that the Big Four in particular have been impacted by the conflict due to the original size of their operation in the country. With high salaries, currency devaluation and profitability issue this magazine understands that the Big Four in Syria have reduced their staff by 70%. This information couldn't be verified.

Top Content

    South Africa: sensing new opportunities

    It has been an interesting couple of years for the profession in South Africa. A number of high-profile scandals have brought the profession and the role of auditors into sharp public focus, brewing a distrust towards accountants and a large expectations gap. Joe Pickard reports.

    read more

    Ghana: a quest for consistency

    Ghana’s current economic profile would suggest a fertile landscape for purveyors of accounting services. But inconsistent approaches to compliance and application of standards – coupled with problems in the banking sector and consequent liquidity constraints – have created a challenging environment. Paul Golden writes.

    read more

    Drone technology: audit takes to the skies

    The movement towards a digitised era has already impacted the auditing profession in a number of ways, from blockchain to artificial intelligence. Now firms are taking to sky and using drone technology in their audits. Mishelle Thurai speaks to Big Four firms to find out more.

    read more

    SBC: a new alliance joins the market

    Jonathan Minter speaks to Paul Tutin, chair of founding firm Streets Chartered Accountants, about why the business and its European partners took the decision to launch their own association.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.