Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda
Associate | Established: 2008 | Associate since 2012
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (iCPAR) was established under the Law on the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (iCPAR) No. 11 of 2008 with the mandate to regulate the accounting profession in Rwanda and serve the public interest. iCPAR confers two designations for its members: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Accounting Technician depending on their course of study. It is the only body authorized to register and grant practicing certificates to CPAs in Rwanda.
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.
The iCPAR has direct responsibility for establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system and, in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), carried out the first cycle and pilot phase of audit reviews in September 2015. iCPAR members will be able to use these initial assessments as a foundation for future QA reviews and improvements. iCPAR reports that it provides continuous training for members on its Audit Quality Assurance (AQA) framework and review program. To this effect, the AQA framework is readily available for reference on its website. The institute plans to prepare an annual summary report of audit review results for publication in the institute’s journal. In line with its responsibility to establish a QA system, iCPAR plans to publish quality control standards and implementation guidance for firms in accordance with ISQC 1 and will work with ACCA to develop quality control manuals. iCPAR is also in the process of recruiting a Practice Monitoring Officer to monitor continued compliance through 2016.
Having completed a self-assessment against the revised SMO 1 requirements, iCPAR should incorporate the actions it is undertaking to strengthen its QA system within its Action Plan.
iCPAR is responsible for establishing initial professional development and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for professional accountants. With the assistance of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland, iCPAR’s CPA qualification was developed in line with IES. iCPAR indicates that it is now in the final stages of developing a practical experience framework aligned with IES 5, and this will enable students completing the iCPAR qualification to gain relevant practical experience in addition to being mentored to become responsible professionals.
In 2016, iCPAR reports it is considering how to review its current syllabus. As part of the DFID-funded IFAC professional accountancy organization (PAO) Capacity Building program, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) will work with iCPAR to review and strengthen the institute’s syllabus, curriculum, study materials, and examination. Stakeholders noted that the accounting curricula used in higher education accounting degree programs do not focus on IPSAS, IFRS and ISA, and do not adequately cover professional values and ethics.
To carry out its responsibility in implementing CPD requirements, iCPAR has planned several CPD events for its members in 2016, and monitors compliance with pre and post-event evaluations. Also, as part of the IFAC PAO Capacity Building program, ACCA will assist iCPAR in strengthening the CPD program to align it with IES requirements. Several stakeholders expressed the need for iCPAR to provide CPD courses geared toward the practical implementation of the standards.
In addition, iCPAR plans to publish articles on its website addressing CPD requirements and to notify all members about IES requirement updates on a continuous basis.
When the information is available, iCPAR is encouraged to provide an update in its Action Plan on the various activities it will undertake as part of the IFAC PAO Capacity Building program to fulfill the revised IES requirements and enhance its training and educational programs.
The application of ISA is required by law, and iCPAR has direct responsibility for their adoption and enforcing implementation. iCPAR reports that it has adopted ISA in accordance with its mandate.
To support the implementation of ISA, the institute is providing training and educational workshops to its members and audit practitioners. In 2016, iCPAR reports that it will develop and implement a continuing professional development program on ISA requirements entitled “Practitioners Session on International Standard on Related Services 4440 Series and Other Matters Affecting the Public Practice.” The institute will also focus on establishing a working group on ISA in 2016 and developing a mechanism for researching and responding to members’ technical ISA questions on.
Additionally, iCPAR participates in the international standard-setting process through an established a mechanism for commenting on Exposure Drafts issued by the IAASB and circulating comments to members for input. The institute states that it is already disseminating IAASB pronouncements to its members.
The institute is encouraged to clarify in its Action Plan if it has established an ongoing process to incorporate revisions to the standards.
With direct responsibility for establishing a Code of Ethics for its members, iCPAR has adopted the 2010 IESBA Code of Ethics and is reviewing the requirements of the Code that that are in effect as of 2016. To assist members with the implementation of the Code and raise awareness about consequences of non-compliance, iCPAR reports it is developing informational brochures and other educational materials on the Code based on the 2014 Code of Ethics Handbook. iCPAR disseminates the Code and other pronouncements via a variety of mechanisms such as members’ handbooks, journals, newsletters, continuing professional development programs, and disciplinary hearing reports.
Moreover, as part of the DFID-funded IFAC professional accountancy organization Capacity Building program, iCPAR will work to update the syllabus to include the Code of Ethics and continue to assist members with the practical implementation of the Code. Stakeholders noted the need to provide more educational sessions on the requirement of the IESBA Code of Ethics.
The institute is encouraged to include examples in its Action Plan of activities it is undertaking to assist members with implementation and to raise awareness of the Code.
At the regional level, the East African Community Protocol includes a requirement for member states to adopt accrual-basis IPSAS. At the national level, iCPAR is responsible for adopting this requirement. iCPAR uses its best endeavors in partnership with key stakeholders to support compliance and implementation. iCPAR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and other key public sector entities to develop a roadmap and strategies for the implementation of IPSAS. Local governments have indicated they would welcome iCPAR’s technical support to provide training for their staff. As part of the MoU, the local governments have already provided training to build public sector accounting capacity.
To complement these efforts, iCPAR is establishing a focus group to address public sector accounting issues with representatives from the government and the MoF. The institute reports that it is also reviewing its education syllabus to increase the number of IPSAS topics. The institute is also considering a proposal to either have two streams leading to the accounting technician qualification (private and public sector) or to have a balanced course of study covering both private and public sector accounting. There are further discussions underway to have a post-qualification program for public sector accounting resulting in a certificate or diploma from the course. Stakeholders have indicated there is a need for iCPAR to consider delivering short courses on IPSAS and their implementation.
To keep members informed about standard-setting developments, iCPAR disseminates IPSASB standards, guidelines, and papers on a continuous basis and comments on IPSASB Exposure Drafts.
The institute is encouraged to provide an update in its Action Plan on the status of a new post-qualification program and/or implementation of a new accounting technician qualification for the public sector as well as the establishment of the focus group. iCPAR is also encouraged to include examples of dissemination mechanisms and training for members on IPSAS in its Action Plan.
iCPAR is directly responsible for an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for its members and has established a Disciplinary Commission, as mandated by iCPAR Law 2008, to investigate and hear cases. There is an Appeals mechanism component. iCPAR indicates in its 2016 Action Plan that it will present proposals to its Council on separating the investigation and hearing committees to enhance independence. This activity will be undertaken as part of the DFID-funded IFAC PAO Capacity Building Project.
iCPAR has developed a brochure for informing the public on iCPAR and its I&D system and is working on creating a webpage for educating the public on the I&D system as well.
The institute is encouraged to conduct a self-assessment of its I&D system against the revised SMO 6 requirements and report on the extent of compliance in its Action Plan as part of its restructuring activity. iCPAR should then indicate in its Action Plan how it plans to address gaps in compliance, if any. iCPAR is also encouraged to offer more information to members and students on its I&D process as stakeholders have expressed that members and students should be more exposed to the I&D process.
With direct responsibility for adopting IFRS, iCPAR states that it adopts IFRS and IFRS for small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) as issued by the IASB.
iCPAR holds quarterly workshops on IFRS for university students to raise awareness on the standards. The institute also established a mechanism to ensure that accounting education curricula include IFRS and IFRS for SMEs and intends to meet with university staff and review their syllabi to highlight the need to provide students with IFRS-based case studies and course content. iCPAR reports that it has signed MoUs with several universities that intend to register their students for iCPAR certifications. Accordingly, iCPAR expects this to encourage universities to align their curriculum with iCPAR’s.
In addition to working with universities, iCPAR partners with regulators and other stakeholders to enhance compliance with IFRS, and participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on IASB Exposure Drafts and other public consultations. It also states that it notifies members of new developments and revisions to the standards via email and has included the application of IFRS in its continuing professional development (CPD) courses.
iCPAR is encouraged to provide more details in its Action Plan on the actions it is undertaking to support its members with the implementation of IFRS. These may include conducting training, workshops, and seminars. Based on input from several stakeholders, iCPAR could also consider offering CPD courses for members geared toward the practical implementation of IFRS.
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