Institute of Financial Accountants
Member | Established: 1916 | Member since 2008
Established in 1916, the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) is an internationally recognized professional accountancy membership body. Its members work within micro and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or in micro and small- to medium-sized accounting practices advising micro and SME clients. The IFA is part of the Institute of Public Accountants of Australia Group, the world’s largest SME-focused accountancy group, with 35,000 members and students in 80 countries. The IFA offers a program of professional qualifications and education as well as resources, events, training, and seminars. The IFA is an awarding organization recognized by Ofqual, the UK public body responsible for maintaining and monitoring standards for general and vocational qualifications and examinations. The IFA is also recognized by HM Treasury to regulate our members for the purposes of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
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.
Having no direct responsibility for the quality assurance (QA) of auditors in the UK, the IFA focuses on monitoring compliance of its members with ethical requirements and the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations. The IFA periodically carries out a review of its ethical requirements and Member’s Handbook. The organization provides comprehensive information to its members on anti-money laundering, performs reviews (questionnaires and random visits), and investigates complaints. It also responds to exposure drafts and consultations, in particular to those of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, the IFAC’s Professional Accountants in Business Committee and Small and Medium Business Practices Committee. Furthermore, the IFA is considering the development of a practice assurance scheme during 2017.
The IFA is encouraged to include details about the plans for its practice assurance program in the next iteration of its SMO Action Plan.
The IFA is responsible for adopting initial professional development and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members. It reports that its requirements are generally compliant with the IES for all members. Previously, only members in practice (offering accountancy, taxation, and consultancy services to the public) were required to comply with CPD; however, since January 1, 2015, all members must fulfill its CPD requirements, which are in line with the IES. The IFA is also focused on implementing a CPD monitoring framework for all members based on the new mixed (input and output) approach. The IFA will be undertaking a syllabus review during the 2016–2017 period, taking into consideration the IES. The IFA is currently in the process of reviewing and updating the written ethics assessments, to be completed in 2016. The body also considers and responds to IAESB exposure drafts and consultations.
The IFA has no responsibility for the adoption of International Standards on Auditing (ISA) or for the training of auditors, given that IFA members do not provide audit services. IFA provides updates to its members on relevant activities and on standards issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. While the IFA has no responsibility for the adoption of ISA, it does monitor the adoption of ISA in the UK and considers whether it needs to promote or support adoption in any way.
The IFA has adopted the 2012 IESBA Code of Ethics for its members. It monitors the IESBA’s activities and seeks to participate in consultations in representation of the SME and SMP community. The IFA assesses its members’ knowledge of the IESBA Code, and requires ethics as part of its continuing professional development. It also promotes online courses to members on ethical issues for accountants, professional skepticism, ethical compliance, and professionalism and ethics. To further support its members, the IFA will be developing enhanced website content in this area in 2016.
The IFA has no responsibility for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, nor does it have any members in the public sector. The IFA considers the UK to be compliant with IPSAS, although the government has not formally adopted the standards. Considering its limited ability to influence adoption, the IFA has not planned any actions in this area.
IFA’s Disciplinary Regulations for its members were revised in 2013 to ensure compliance with SMO 6 requirements. The IFA provides information and guidance to its members and the public in general through its website and other publications. It liaises with other professional bodies and authorities where members are involved in misconduct, disclosing information as required. The IFA has ongoing processes in place to review the effectiveness of its I&D system regularly, which includes recruitment of new members for its Conduct Committee, providing training to committee members, and reviewing regulations, processes, and documentation.
While the IFA has no responsibility for IFRS adoption, it supports implementation of IFRS by its members by embedding IFRS and IFRS for SMEs into its qualification program and continuing professional development. The IFA also promotes adoption and use of IFRS in the UK, promotes IASB consultations to its members, and responds to IASB consultations. The IFA will be reviewing its IFRS qualification syllabus in the 2016–2017 periods.
The IFA is encouraged to showcase its activities supporting adoption and implementation.
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.