In Poland: Joining the Global Economy One Accountant at a Time

April 2, 2015

World Bank Group

The end of the school semester in Warsaw, and across Poland, means students are cramming for exams just before the break. And for those who are studying to be accountants and financial auditors, the standards for success are getting higher.

With support from the World Bank and the Swiss Enlargement Contribution, the country’s next generation of financial experts will go through extra classes and rely on new online courses to reach international financial reporting standards called IFRS.

Mariusz Kuciński, a consultant at PKF, an advisory and international business services firm in Warsaw, says this is a good thing. “I see this training effort in a positive light, IFRS standards are needed by a limited, but important, group of companies and banks. But, thanks to this widely disseminated effort, people now know what IFRS is, and that’s a really positive thing.”

Currently, about 1,500 of the larger businesses in Poland rely on IFRS-trained financial analysts.

Poland boasts about 7,000 accountants and 3,500 auditors. At the Warsaw University of Technology Business School, professors are training the next generation of financial services advisors – from future CEOs to auditors – with an emphasis on joining the global economy.


" IFRS standards are needed by a limited, but important, group of companies and banks. People now know what IFRS is, and that’s a really positive thing. "

Mariusz Kuciński

consultant at PKF

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An increasing number of Polish students who are studying to become accountants and financial auditors means also that the country’s next generation of financial experts will rely on new online courses to reach international financial reporting standards.


“What we try to help our students understand, is that it’s not just the accounting standards, this is reading the truth, the economic truth behind the numbers,” says Prof. Witold Orłowski, the director of the Warsaw University of Technology Business School. His colleague, Robert Patterson, a Canadian and long-term resident of Poland, agrees.  “We’re getting away from the ideas that used to be prevalent, because we’re operating in an emerging market that used to be centrally planned for many years, where accounting is all about compliance with rules and regulations.”


" International standards help in our communication with investors, because those standards make a company more transparent. "

Zbigniew Nasiłowski

CFO at Enel-Med


Helping Smaller Businesses and the Larger Economy

The changes are important for the Polish economy overall, because clear, well-prepared and transparent financial information is vital for foreign investment. That’s according to Zbigniew Nasiłowski, CFO of Enel-Med, a chain of 14 clinics and two hospitals, which has been publicly traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2011.

“International standards help in our communication with investors, because those standards make a company more transparent,” Nasiłowski explains, “and for us, as a company listed on the Polish stock exchange, it is very important for us to communicate with our investors properly.”

So far, more than 3,500 people have been trained in international accounting standards, attended workshops, and joined conferences on IFRS. Teresa Cebrowska, who trains accountants for the Accountants Association in Poland, thinks the new standards are good for the country. “I can compare these new standards to a Christmas gift, people want to get the training and know IFRS standards. And it has also helped train us trainers, helped us teach better and provide better methodology in accounting skills.”

The Polish stock market lists more than 500 private companies, and experts say international accounting and auditing skills will help the country maintain growth and diversify the economy. The idea is that the new standards will help individual businesses in the short term, and the entire economy in the longer term. Economists say a clear, transparent framework for fundamentally important financial information is crucial for the country’s growing business environment.


3,500
people in Poland have been trained in international accounting standards so far


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