Shahied Daniels, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), has been elected Chair of the Edinburgh Group. The Edinburgh Group is a coalition of 16 accountancy bodies representing over 900 000 Professional Accountants in Africa, North and South America, Australasia and Europe. SAIPA is a member of the Edinburgh Group.
Mr Daniels said the appointment was the pinnacle of his long career in accounting. He has held many leadership positions in accounting both here and globally over the years, and in 2015 the International Accounting Bulletin named him one of the 50 most influential people in global accounting.
“As an African, this exceptional honour is yet another validation of the fact that South Africa and Africa are increasingly ready to play their part in supporting and reinventing the role of small and medium-sized practices, Professional Accountants in business and, generally, the SME sector of the global economy,” he said in his acceptance speech.
The Edinburgh Group champions the interests of small and medium-sized accountancy practices and Professional Accountants generally. Professional Accountants typically work in businesses or operate practices that service SMEs and non-profits in the main. Professional Accountants are integral to the development of financially sound businesses, and so have a critical role to play in growing economies and creating sustainable jobs. The Edinburgh Group also sees its role as helping to promote the role of accountants in business in developing economies.
Globally, it is recognised that SMEs are the engines of growth and job creation, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that SMEs account for 60-70% of jobs in OECD countries, and a disproportionately large share of new jobs. The World Bank says that SMEs account for approximately half of all employment in the developing world. 
In his acceptance speech, Mr Daniels emphasised that he would work tirelessly towards lobbying for the interests of Edinburgh Group stakeholders with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) as well as other industry bodies.
Kantha Naicker, Chair of SAIPA, congratulated Mr Daniels on the appointment on behalf of the board. “Shahied has provided, and continues to provide, visionary leadership for our organisation, and he will make an enormous contribution as an advocate for the role of Professional Accountants in growing economies and creating jobs across the world,” she said. “His appointment enhances the standing of both South Africa and SAIPA itself on the global stage.”
 OECD, “Small businesses, job creation and growth: facts, obstacles and best practices”, available at http://www.oecd.org/industry/smes/2090740.pdf.
 The World Bank, “New Evidence Shows Way Forward for SME Growth and Job Creation”, (30 November 2016), available at https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/11/30/new-evidence-shows-way-forward-for-sme-growth-and-job-creation.
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