Education and Training Associated with the Implementation of IFRS in Saudi Arabia

  • Sami Obaid Alshahrani

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this study is to examine the education and training associated with the implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Saudi Arabia. Underpinned by Institutional Theory, a mixed-methods research approach was employed to obtain a holistic picture and in-depth understanding of the investigated topic. The first research method consisted of a questionnaire survey aimed to obtain the perceptions of a large number of accounting academics, professional trainers and preparers of financial statements with regard to IFRS education and training. The second research method consisted of twenty semi-structured interviews with the same targeted groups, to expand and gain in-depth views from a range of interviewees on the subject of the study.

The findings suggested that SOCPA is the primary provider of IFRS training, with a small number of Saudi universities incorporating IFRS curricula and teaching the subject in the country. The findings also indicated that teaching methods adopted to deliver IFRS education and training were diverse, including classroom-based learning , online-based learning and others, although traditional classroom-based learning consisting of lectures is the most frequently used teaching approach in academic institutions. In addition, the results revealed that the education and training associated with IFRS was largely ineffective due to poor interrelationship and communication between three actors, namely: SOCPA, universities, and companies. There was a virtual absence of cooperation between universities and companies with regard to IFRS training.

The findings also highlighted key institutional factors such as educational, language, economic, and political features, IFRS complexity, and the principles-based nature of IFRS, which impacted the education and training associated with IFRS in Saudi Arabia. For example, educational factors such as a dearth of suitably-qualified accounting academics and trainers, poor continuing education and training, and adoption of IFRS educational programmes from other countries were identified as the key educational features affecting the development of accounting education and training associated with the implementation of IFRS in Saudi Arabia. With respect to language related factors, both the poor quality of translated IFRS and the lack of updated IFRS materials in the Arabic language were viewed as problematic. The findings also indicated that political factors (specifically, the Saudi government) played a key role in developing the accounting education system in the country by supporting and funding IFRS adoption and the education and training associated with the standards, with the aim of promoting a greater understanding of IFRS and making better use of it. In addition, the study found that the presence of a robust economy had a substantial role in developing accounting education in general and IFRS education in particular. However, economic factors such as the prohibitive costs associated with IFRS education could pose a barrier to widespread acquisition of IFRS knowledge. Finally, the findings revealed that the complicated nature of IFRS was a problem for those seeking to obtain the necessary IFRS education and training. Meanwhile, the principles-based nature of IFRS had an impact on the development of IFRS education, as its greater flexibility plays a substantial role in providing understanding of a potential opportunity for the exercise of professional accounting judgement.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsJazan University
SupervisorTheresa Dunne (Supervisor) & Gizella Marton (Supervisor)

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