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UAE’s Accounting Standards & Their Significance For Businesses

April 20, 2023
Fortius Team
The image illustrates a biopsy procedure used to diagnose cancer.

In the world of business, accounting is one of the most critical lifelines that keep a business running smoothly. While its prime objective is to help you stay on top of your income and expenses, accounting also ensures statutory compliance with the laws of the land. Above all, it delivers insightful financial information that facilitates better decision-making processes. And, reliable accounting services like Fortius help it make it even easier for you.

In a nutshell, the importance of accounting should never be underestimated.

The UAE business environment has accounting standards that serve as a foundation for UAE-based organizations. If you are new to the UAE business ecosystem, this blog will help you understand the accounting standards practices in our country and their importance.

Accounting Standards Explained by Top Accounting Services in UAE

The term “accounting standards” refers to a set of principles and processes designed to ensure consistent bookkeeping and other accounting activities. Accounting standards encompass all aspects of the financial picture of a company, including:

  • Assets
  • Income
  • Expenses
  • Liabilities
  • Shareholders’ equity

Generally, like in all countries, UAE appoints regulatory authorities, investors, and bank officials to inspect if an organisation’s accounting standards are accurate and current. However, it is not mandatory for companies in Dubai to comply with all accounting regulations. Nevertheless, their accounting practices must align with Dubai’s accounting standards and operational objectives.
Let’s analyze UAE’s accounting standards in detail.

Two Primary Accounting Standards Followed in Dubai

As far as accounting standards are concerned, Dubai follows Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and International Financial Reporting Standards.

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

The International Accounting Standards Board or IASB developed IFRS accounting standards. Accounting standards like the IFRS are designed to help financial managers carry out their duties and responsibilities. It primarily focuses on certain situations and business dealings relevant to accounting.

The IFRS’s methodical procedure with guiding principles is used by accountants worldwide to ensure accurate accords. Moreover, all companies listed on stock exchanges and in countries adopting IFRS must comply with these standards.

Furthermore, International Financial Reporting Standards apply to companies and organisations that have adopted them voluntarily.

As far as the UAE is concerned, the IFRS is implemented with certain objectives, which include:

  • Taking the unique requirements of small and mid-sized businesses.
  • Encouraging adherence to all rules and regulations to achieve the aligned goals.
  • Achieving quality solutions by integrating national and international accounting standards and the IFRS.

The main aspects of the IFRS are as follows:

  • It enables companies to create exploration and asset approval strategies.
  • Businesses conducting commercial, financial, economic, and related activities must comply with IFRS regardless of their legal structure.
  • A company’s individual and consolidated financial statements must adhere to IFRS. Known as “other financial reporting,” the details include accounting records that facilitate the comprehension of a complete set of financial statements or improve the users’ capacity to make economic decisions.
  • The fundamental purpose of financial statements is to furnish the details about an organisation’s financial status, operations, and cash flow to staff, creditors, shareholders, and the public.

The rapidly-evolving UAE business landscape creates the grounds for businesses to have a clear and compelling financial reporting system. Hence, it is essential to implement International Reporting Financial Standards to ensure business conduct if you run a business in the UAE.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

GAAP lays all the essential principles that deal with the complexities and accounting legalities of managing corporate accounting. Accounting methods based on GAAP are approved and used by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). GAAP is predominantly used to deal with balance sheets, distinctive classifications, shared estimations, and revenue recognition.
As a prominent accounting standard, GAAP has three main objectives:

  • Feasibility that ensures the principles are applicable without significant expenses related to complexities.
  • Objectivity to ensure the principles are not influenced by the accounting expert’s personal bias and judgment.
  • Relevance to ensure the principles are relevant to the extent of providing valuable and meaningful information for users.

Likewise, GAAP has four important principles:

  • Materiality Principles, which state that all material information is recorded and irrelevant, are excluded during decision-making.
  • Cost Benefit Principle which states that the expense of applying a principle should not exceed the benefit it provides.
  • Prudence or Conservatism Principle which calls for the recording of all potential losses and excluding all potential gains.
  • Consistency Principle which states that all rules and principles used for recording transactions should remain consistent with maintaining comparability.

By implementing GAAP, organisations can:

  • Keep investors and stakeholders informed about the company’s financial conditions.
  • Ensure complete transparency and accuracy of all financial statements and reports.
  • Follow an organised structure and formal for financial reporting to ensure accuracy and comparability across businesses.

The Accounting Scenario in the UAE

Business leaders sometimes need help determining which options to consider when complying with financial rules. For many years, UAE-based businesses had no established standards. Later, the SCA or Securities and Commodities Authority made it mandatory for all companies to comply with IFRS mandated by the Central Bank of the UAE.

Hence, all companies listed under the following exchanges are required to comply with IFRS:

  • NASDAQ Dubai
  • DFM or Dubai Financial Market
  • ADX or Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange

Consequently, all companies listed legally on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange since 2003 are required to submit IFRS financial statements. Talk to the Fortius Consulting team to understand more about UAE’s accounting standards and the accounting services we offer.

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