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SAIF Zone is one of the largest free zones situated in the northern part of United Arab Emirates. It was established in the year 1995 and is located near the Sharjah International Airport. It services over 5,500 companies from across the world. The companies operating in the free zone belong to various industries such as IT services, manufacturing, media, trading and many others. There are minimal restrictions on businesses operating within this Free Zone. Fewer limitations and restrictions make SAIF Zone an attractive option for formation of new ventures and for branch offices of foreign companies wanting to venture in to the Middle East region.

Like many other free zones in the UAE, the SAIF Zone is independently governed by a local free zone authority. All the registered companies are required to conduct their business activities in accordance with the rules and regulations established by the free zone authority. The established rules and regulations are used as a tool by the free zone authority to regulate the business environment within this Free Zone.

Incentives for SAIF Zone Registered Organizations

Businesses registered with Sharjah Free Zone benefit from the following incentives:

  • Exemption from corporate and personal tax
  • Total foreign ownership
  • No restrictions on repatriation of capital and profits
  • No currency restrictions
  • Labor accommodation

Types of Business License

It offers businesses with four types of free zone licenses. A free zone business license is given to the company depending on the nature and type of its operations. The licenses offered are as follows:

  • Commercial License
  • General Trading License
  • Industrial License
  • Service License
  • Free Zone Business License

The companies wanting to conduct their operations in this free zone are required to establish a legal presence and obtain a free zone business license from the free zone authority. Once the company starts operating its activities within the free zone, it is then required to renew its free zone license on annual basis. The process for renewing the license is comparatively easy and requires only some paperwork and a renewal fee. In order to renew free zone license the company must comply with the external audit requirement of the free zone authority. External audits of all these entities must be performed by SAIF Zone approved audit firms.

External Audit Services in SAIF Zone

The free zone authority requires all the registered companies to conduct an external audit of their annual financial statements by one of the approved Auditors in SAIF Zone. The purpose of an external audit is to determine whether the financial statements are prepared in compliance with the applicable accounting standards and represents a true and fair view of the company’s financial position. An independent external audit provides the free zone authority and company’s other stakeholders with assurance that the company’s financial statements are complete and that the company is not involved in any kind of illegal or fraudulent activity.

The authorities require companies to appoint SAIF Zone registered auditors that are independent and have no personal interest or stake in the results of the external audit. The companies are also required to submit their external audit report to the free zone authority as it is an important part of the process for renewal of the free zone license. The most important information in the external audit report is in the form of the auditor’s opinion on the company’s annual financial statements. The auditor’s opinion can either be a favorable one indicating that no issues were found in the company’s processes and financial reports or an unfavorable one indicating that there were errors and omissions in the company’s annual financial statements.

Audit firms in SAIF Zone are required to perform external audit of registered companies in accordance with the International standards on auditing and regulations set by both the free zone authority and the UAE government. After completing the external audit the auditor first discusses the audit report with the company’s management and then after discussions the report is finalized and then issued to the company’s management and shareholders.

Approved Auditors in Sharjah Free Zone

Only the audit firms approved by the Sharjah Free Zone Authority can provide external audit services within the free zone. Some changes were made to UAE laws relating to audit in the year 2014. The purpose of these changes was to make the audit process more transparent and to reduce the impact of auditor’s bias on the audit process. The financial audit firms are required by the authorities to provide proof of their staff members participating in continuous educational and professional development programs. Every four years, companies are required to change their appointment of auditors in order to maintain the auditor’s independence.

Benefits of Statutory External Audits in SAIF Zone

One of the major benefits of an independent external audit is that it assists businesses in renewing their license as external audit requirement is an integral component of the process for renewing license. The external audit report establishes the trust of shareholders and other stakeholders in the company’s financial reports and also makes it easier for the company to get financial assistance from third parties like banks, financial institutions and portfolio investors.

The external audit report also provides confidence to potential investors that are interested in investing their resources in different ventures. An audit report with favorable results provides the authorities with assurance that the company is complying with the applicable rules and regulations. The general public can use an external audit report as a tool to determine whether the company is involved in any activity that can cause harm to the society and environment in any way possible. Employees view the audit report as an indicator of job security and financial stability. The external audit report also provides confidence to owners and other stakeholders in the company’s management team. External audit not only ensures compliance with various rules and regulations but also assists in regulating the company’s internal environment as well.

Nadeem & Umendra Chartered Accountants’ Audit Services

Nadeem and Umendra Chartered Accountants is a well reputed and recognized audit firm in the UAE. Nadeem and Umendra Chartered Accountants is a SAIF Zone approved audit firm. We offer audit services in other UAE free zones as well. Our objective at Nadeem and Umendra Chartered Accountants is to make sure that every audit we perform is of exceptional quality. We are also registered with all leading banks and financial institutions based in the UAE.

Nadeem and Umendra Chartered Accountants provide its clients with high quality audit services executed by highly trained and experienced accounting and auditing professionals.

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