Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants
Member | Established: 1971 | Member since 1978
The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), established in 1971, regulates the accountancy profession in accordance with the BICA Act of 2015. The BICA Act empowers the BICA, among other responsibilities, to define professional accountants; establish the requirements for entry into the profession; promote the best standards of practice in financial reporting and in the expression of professional opinions; establish ethical requirements; carry out investigation and disciplinary processes for its members, as well as quality assurance reviews for licensees; and register and license professionals wishing to practice accountancy. The BICA does not have its own qualification program and accepts candidates from the following certifying bodies as specified in the BICA Act: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada; Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The BICA is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean, an acknowledged accountancy grouping of IFAC.
Statements of Membership Obligations (SMOs)
The Statements of Membership Obligations form the basis of the IFAC Member Compliance Program. They serve as a framework for credible and high-quality professional accountancy organizations focused on serving the public interest by adopting, or otherwise incorporating, and supporting implementation of international standards and maintaining adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure the professional behavior of their individual members.
Prior to the enactment of the BICA Act of 2015, which provides the legal foundation for a quality assurance (QA) review system in the jurisdiction, the BICA had already introduced a QA review system for its members. To operationalize the QA review system, the BICA signed a contract with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and established a Practice Monitoring/Peer Review Committee to oversee the QA program and follow up on review results.
The BICA has organized seminars and workshops, disseminated information to its members on the QA review system, and established guidelines for the QA review system in collaboration with the ACCA and ICAC.
During the next round of its Action Plan update, the BICA is encouraged to provide an update on the new QA review system and ensure that the resulting QA system is in line with the requirements of SMO 1.
Prior to the adoption of the BICA Act 2015, the BICA had developed different strategies to modify its qualification requirements to incorporate IESs. The BICA promoted the adoption of regulations that would be necessary to achieve compliance with the IESs. At the same time, the BICA has worked to incorporate international best practices in the areas for which it has direct responsibility, such as continuing professional development (CPD). As such, the BICA has established a mandatory CPD requirement for its members, with a system in place to monitor and enforce compliance.
In addition, the BICA provides training and seminars for its members and works to raise member awareness about the BICA Act through presentations. Also, the BICA is developing guidelines to address the assessment of applicants who are not members of the prescribed bodies (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) to ensure fulfillment of IESs.
The BICA submits comments on IAESB Exposure Drafts via the regional Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
The BICA is encouraged to consider plans for adopting a process for assessing the competencies of members in local tax and business law.
Having adopted ISA by reference to be applied in all audits, the BICA supports its members with the implementation of the standards by providing training, disseminating information on new and modified IAASB pronouncements, and including standard-related topics in its continuing professional development activities.
The BICA has ongoing processes to adopt new and revised standards and to submit comments on IAASB Exposure Drafts.
With the passage of the BICA Act of 2015, the BICA has direct responsibility for setting ethical requirements and is authorized to incorporate revisions and amendments to its Code of Ethics. However, even before the adoption of the BICA Act, BICA members were required to adhere to the 2013 IESBA Code of Ethics.
The BICA has developed workshops and training activities to promote the effective implementation of the IESBA Code of Ethics, has included ethics topics in its continuing professional development activities, and disseminates information on the updates of the IESBA Code via its website and newsletter. In addition, the BICA monitors compliance with ethical requirements through its investigative and disciplinary system.
The BICA is encouraged to consider participating in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on IESBA Exposure Drafts and other IESBA consultative papers.
The BICA has no responsibility for the adoption of public sector accounting standards. Nevertheless, it has been promoting the adoption of IPSASs to the Ministry of Finance since 2011. As part of these efforts, the BICA holds meetings on an annual basis with the Auditor General and key government ministries to continue raising awareness about IPSASs. The BICA has also been involved in meetings with the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre’s consultant who is responsible for the IPSAS technical assistance program.
In addition, the BICA has included IPSAS topics in its continuing professional development activities and training to support member understanding of the standards.
The BICA is encouraged to distribute information on recent developments and revisions issued by the IPSASB to entities responsible for the adoption of IPSASs as well as its members.
As part of its responsibilities outlined in the BICA Act of 2015, the BICA has implemented an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system that is in line with all revised SMO 6 requirements and is in the process of operationalizing it. The BICA was proactive in working with the government to amend the legislation that has aligned the I&D requirements in The Bahamas with those of SMO 6. In addition, the BICA launched an education campaign to inform the public about the revised I&D process.
The BICA also provides information and guidance to its members through its website, publications, and continuing professional development activities.
During the next round of its Action Plan update, the BICA is encouraged to indicate if the revised I&D system is operational and ensure that it is in line with the requirements of SMO 6.
Having adopted IFRS by reference, the BICA supports its members with the implementation of the standards through conducting technical workshops. To this effect, the BICA has increased the number of hours in its continuing professional development system dedicated to IFRS. It distributes information on new and modified IASB pronouncements to its members and maintains a program for responding to IASB Exposure Drafts in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
IFAC bears no responsibility for the information provided in the SMO Action Plans prepared by IFAC member organizations. Please see our full Disclaimer for additional information.