Isang Pinoy: Dubai Accounting Jargon

November 24, 2009

Call me the dumb, but I thought of sharing this anyway for fellow Filipinos starting to work in a finance department here in the Sand Pit =)

Philippine English communication is basically patterned from Americans.  But this host country follow European communication at the most. Of course, it still depends on the mix of people there is. Mingling with Indians take Indian communication, as is with Arabs who have Arab vocabulary. But in a mixed environment, the outcome would be everything from each one. I now work with people from India, UK, Scotland, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, France. And each has their own jargon. They have to forgive me as I need time to digest their phrases so I pickup the correct message.
For a newbie accountant from the Philippines (without experience dealing with companies on this part of the globe), let me randomly identify the most common differences. Hey, dont expect something on IFRS or GAAP and those standards. These are just the ABCs of adjusting to work here having got used to Philippine settings:

Be warned though that the below are generally observed, but it could be different for some companies.

1) Filipinos write 09/01/09 for September 1, 2009. Dubai reads 09/01/09 as 09 January 2009.
2) They read invoice number 77722 as triple seven double two. They spell out letters Em- Ay – double Zed for Mazz. Yes, they are used to say "double" for two letters or two numbers coming next to each other. And they say Zed for the letter Z.
3) If they say 100 gran, they mean 100,000. A gran is a thousand.
4) If they say 100-odd, they mean "more or less 100". Same with 100-ish for "near to or about 100"
5) They say P and L (Profit and Loss) for Income Statement
6) They start the explanation of journal entries with "Being…" for our "To…"
7) They say Earnings Before Tax, we say Income Before Tax
8) They say "to book", we say "to record"
9) If they say "Being True-up of", they mean "To adjust accrual/ deferral to actual numbers"
10) Accrual release - for that portion of accrual which no invoice has been accounted against and not re-accrued.

This is the list for now, that I shall update should I remember more. But should you know more that I missed, please let me know!

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