What Is the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions?

The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) is a not-for-profit organization that was established to maintain and promote Shari'ah standards for Islamic financial institutions, participants, and the overall industry. The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) was created on February 26, 1990, to ensure that participants conform to the regulations set out in Islamic finance.

The founding and associate members, as well as the regulatory and supervisory authorities of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, define the acceptable standards for various functions. This includes areas such as accounting, governance, ethics, transactions, and investment.

Key Takeaways

  • The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) oversees Islamic banking to ensure its members follow the rules and prohibitions set forth by Shari'ah law.
  • In Islamic banking, the collection of interest (riba) is forbidden, and sharing of profits and losses amongst the community is mandated.
  • Due to the increased role of global finance, and the importance of Arabic and Muslim regions in the world economy, the AAOIFI is constantly updating its best practices and guidelines to adjust for new innovations such as hedging instruments and derivatives.

Understanding the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions

In Islamic finance, there are unique rules, restrictions, and requirements regarding business and investing. In order to be considered acceptable, transactions must adhere to the principals under Shariah. The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions sets compliance standards for institutions that wish to gain access to the Islamic banking market.

The AAOIFI is continually updating its scope to include the various new financial instruments entering markets around the world. For example, new hedging mechanisms would first need to be discussed and accepted by the AAOIFI before any member would offer these services.

Islamic Finance Basics

Two fundamental principles of Islamic (shari'ah) banking are the sharing of profit and loss, and the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest by lenders and investors. Islamic law prohibits collecting interest, known as "riba." Although Islamic finance began in the seventh century, it has been formalized gradually since the late 1960s. This process was driven by the tremendous oil wealth that fueled renewed interest in and demand for Sharia-compliant products and practice.

To earn money without the use of charging interest, Islamic banks use equity participation systems. Equity participation means if a bank loans money to a business, the business will pay back the loan without interest, but instead gives the bank a share in its profits. If the business defaults or does not earn a profit, then the bank also does not benefit.

For example, in 1963, Egyptians formed an Islamic bank in Mit Ghmar. When the bank loaned money to businesses, it did so on a profit-sharing model. To reduce its risk, the bank only approved about 40% of its business loan applications, but the default ratio was zero.