Accounting is one of the oldest professions in history. Scientists, experts, and specialists have proven its vital role of entering and proving business and economic operations in all forms, starting with barter, to buying and selling in gold and silver, then paper currencies, and recently using credit cards, and the expected future use of electronic money.
The nation’s body of laws, revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), organized the registration process as one of the most important landmarks of the accounting system, as an economic information system.
Allah, the Almighty, said in the Qur'an:
"O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down. Let a scribe write it down in justice between you."
The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has attached special importance to accounting since the reign of His Majesty the late King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud in the mid fourteenth century A.H. It included the trading system issued by virtue of Royal Decree No. 32, dated 15/1/1350 A.H., corresponding to 2/6/1931 A.C., the rulings of which regulate commercial bookkeeping and proof of business operations.
Royal decrees and ministerial decisions continued to regulate the accounting profession. The Companies Law issued by virtue of Royal Decree No. M6, dated 22/3/1385 A.H., corresponding to 22/7/1965 A.C., obligated all companies operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to have their financial statements prepared and reviewed by a chartered accountant, the scope of whose duties and responsibilities were defined by the decision of His Excellency the Minister of Commerce issued No. 422 of 1388 A.H., corresponding to 1968 A.C.
In 1395 A.H., corresponding to 1974 A.C., the first basis for organizing the profession in the Kingdom was established. A higher committee for chartered accountancy was assigned the task of supervising the profession. The role of many academic institutions has emerged in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until the establishment of the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants in 1412 A.H., corresponding to 1991 A.C.
Umm Al-Qura University had a noteworthy contribution to the evolution of the accounting profession. The Accounting Department was established in 1405 A.H., corresponding to 1985 A.C. as one of the branches of the Department of Islamic Economics, to graduate specialized personnel to meet the country's need for accountants with Islamic accounting knowledge, and to spread the culture of accountancy among the sons and daughters of this country. A large number of students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and visiting students from Umm Al-Qura University have pursued this major.
Early in 1421 A.H., the Department of Islamic Civilization and Systems merged with the Department of Islamic History. As a result, the Accounting section became an independent section separate from the Islamic Economics Department. There are currently approximately 1,000 male and female students in the Accounting Department. The Accounting Department operates under the umbrella of the College of Business Administration.
The study plan has been developed several times to keep pace with developments in the fields of accounting sciences. The most recent study plan (1425 A.H. plan) for graduation required successful completion of the study of 147 units of study at eight levels; the equivalent of four years. The number of units of study in each level ranges between 17-19 units. This is indicated by the approved study plan for obtaining a Bachelor of Accounting currently applied in the Accounting Department.
The Accounting Department offers the following postgraduate programs: Master of Accountancy with a thesis, Master of Accountancy, Master of Government Accounting, and Master of Internal Auditing. During the academic year 2019-2020, work has been underway to develop a doctoral program in accounting, which is expected to be accepted at the beginning of next year.
The process of developing accounting programs in the Accounting Department is a continuous process. This is done with the aim of keeping pace with developments in the global and local markets aimed at graduating qualified personnel who are able, in the full sense of the word, to build this country and contribute to realizing Saudi Vision 2030.
Allah is the Grantor of success and He guides to the right path.
Muhammad bin Khalaf Al-Shimari
March 9, 2020 A.C.