Revision of International Education Standard 4
Saleem Kharwa (Chair)
Adrian Pulham (Secretary)
Objective(s) of project
To improve the clarity and implementation of IES 4 by (1) applying the new IAESB drafting conventions, (2) updating the concepts and terminology to conform to the revised Framework for International Education Standards for Professional Accountants, and (3) clarifying issues resulting from changes in the environment of accounting education and the experience gained from implementation of the Standards by IFAC member bodies.
IES 4 shall be revised to assist IFAC member bodies in prescribing the professional values, ethics, and attitudes to be acquired by professional accountants through learning and development during professional accounting education undertaken as part of Initial Professional Development (IPD).
IES 4 was approved for publication in 2004 and became effective January 1, 2005.
At its November 2006 meeting, the IAESB agreed to conduct a detailed review of existing IESs and the framework underpinning the IESs, to determine areas where the clarity of standards could be improved and/or additional guidance most usefully developed. The IAESB agreed to suspend any further work on redrafting or revising the IESs until the work on the Framework project was substantially complete.
At its October 2009 meeting the IAESB agreed the project direction to redraft and revise all eight IESs.
In December 2009 the IAESB published the new Framework for International Education Standards for Professional Accountants, which enhances the relevancy, consistency, and applicability of its publications to IFAC members. The Framework also includes an appendix, "IAESB Drafting Conventions," which will be used to increase the clarity of its standards.
Issues that this project will consider include:
IES 4 – Professional Values, Ethics And Attitudes
(i) Consider clarifying the Standard’s requirements to ensure that accounting education programs continue to meet the core competence required for the various roles of a professional accountant
(ii) Revise the Standard to ensure consistency with the terminology and concepts set out in the revised IFAC Code of Ethics.
Task Force progress / Board discussions to date
June 2013: The IAESB received a revised draft of IES 4, Initial Professional Development – Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes and an Issues paper that identified significant issues resulting from the drafting of the revised version of IES 4. These discussions covered: technical issues pertaining to development of learning outcomes for competence areas, and editorial suggestions to improve clarity. More specifically, the IAESB agreed with the task force’s proposals on: using a tabular format to present the learning outcomes for each competence area, subject to positioning the minimum level of proficiency so that it can be associated directly with each competence area; including a footnote to Table A to explain what is meant by the term, Level of Proficiency; adding further explanation that describes how the level of proficiency should be used in the context of the competence areas; using the following competence areas: professional skepticism and professional judgment; ethics principles; and commitment to the public interest; assigning an intermediate level of proficiency to each of the three competence areas because they apply to all professional accountants during IPD and will be developed over time throughout their careers and through further CPD; amending the learning outcome on professional skepticism to read as follows: “Apply a questioning mindset that assesses critically financial information and other data relevant to the role of a professional accountant”; reorganizing the learning outcomes for the competence area of Ethical Principles so as to show application of relevant ethical requirements before explaining approaches to ethics; changing the verb, “compare,” in the learning outcome (c) (iv) to the verb, “analyze,” so as to strengthen the learning outcome and align it with the intermediate level of proficiency required of an aspiring professional accountant; amending the wording of paragraph A14 to read: “… it is usual to integrate professional values, ethics, and attitudes ....”; amending paragraph A17 to reflect the competence areas represented in Table A of IES 4; and publishing IES 4 at the same time as IES 2, and 3 to improve understanding of the three IESs. Following a full discussion of issues resulting from the April 30th teleconference meeting with the IAESB CAG and a page-by-page editorial review of the revised draft, the IAESB approved the final content of International Education Standard (IES) 4, Initial Professional Development – Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes (Revised).
March 2013 : The IAESB received an Analysis of Respondents Comments document on the Exposure Draft of IES 4 and an Issues paper that identified the substantial issues as a result of comments from respondents. The IAESB agreed with task force proposals on: (1)using a tabular format to present the learning outcomes for each competence area; (2) retaining the following competence areas: professional skepticism and professional judgment; ethics principles; and commitment to the public interest; (3) on the minimum level of intermediate for these 3 competence areas; and (4) changing the learning outcome to read as follows: Apply a questioning mindset to critically assess financial information and other data relevant to the role of a professional accountant. In addition, the IAESB acknowledged that it was important to publish IES 4 at the same time as IES 2, and 3 to improve understanding of the three IESs. The IAESB also requested that the mastery level be removed from Appendix 1 of IES 4 and the formulation of the Objective paragraph be amended to describe the objective in terms of the IES and to recognize the obligation of the aspiring professional accountant. As a result the IAESB instructed the task force to consult with the CAG on these issues and then to develop a revised draft that included the suggestions of the IAESB and CAG.
June 2012: The IAESB reviewed a revised draft of IES 4 and discussed task force’s proposals on content issues relating to the revised draft. The IAESB agreed with the task force’s proposals to (1) include proficiency levels for each competence area, and (2) include professional judgment and professional skepticism as competence areas, (3) improve the focus on acting in the public interest in the requirement on a framework for professional values, ethics, and attitudes. The IAESB also agreed with task force proposals to include requirements on assessing the development of professional values, ethics, and attitudes, and to regularly review the professional accounting education program. The IAESB also agreed with the task force’s proposal on editorial amendments to the Explanatory Material section. After a page-by-page review of the revised draft the IAESB approved the content of the Re-Exposure Draft of IES 4 for a 75-day public exposure period ending on October 11th, 2012. A copy of the exposure draft can be obtained at the following link: IES 4 Initial Professional Development-Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes (Proposed Revision)
March 2012: The IAESB reviewed the revised draft of IES 4 and discussed task force’s proposals on content issues relating to the revised draft. The IAESB agreed with the task force’s proposals to (1) include a requirement on assessment to assess the achievement of professional values, ethics, and attitudes of the aspiring professional accountant, and (2) to refer to ‘relevant ethical requirements’ rather than the ‘IESBA Code of Ethics’. The IAESB requested the task force to (1) redraft the proposed learning outcomes in a tabular format that included levels of proficiency and (2) improve the clarity of the requirement on the framework of professional values, ethics, and attitudes with regards to its public interest focus.
October 2011: The IAESB received an Analysis of Respondents Comments on the Exposure Draft of IES 4, a revised draft of IES 4 showing the task force’s proposals, and an Issues paper that identified the significant issues as a result of comments from respondents. The IAESB deliberated on issues relating to: (1) including a requirement on reflective activity; (2) clarifying the implementation guidance needed for a requirement on reflective activity; (3) the appropriateness of the Objective section; (4) clarifying the requirement on assessment; and (5) clarifying terminology and definitional issues (e.g., professional values, ethics, and values; professional skepticism) in the Explanatory Materials section and the Glossary of terms. The IAESB instructed the task force to; consult with the CAG on issues raised by the comments from the IAESB discussion and ED respondents; and to develop a revised draft that included the suggestions of the IAESB and CAG.
March 2011:The IAESB approved the release of an exposure draft of IES 4, Professional Values, Attitudes, and Ethics, for public comment until July 15th, 2011. A copy of the exposure draft can be obtained at the following link: Exposure Draft IES 4
November 2010: The IAESB reviewed and provided comments on the 1st draft with the aim of developing a revised draft of IES 4. The IAESB agreed that (1) the proposed learning outcomes of IES 4 were appropriate for a program of professional accountancy education and aligned themselves with those proposed taxonomy used in developing learning outcomes for IES 2 and that (2) ethics education occurring during IPD should be the primary focus of IES 4, but that the Explanatory Material section needed to discuss ethics education to reflect a life-long learning approach and be viewed as a continuum, occurring over both IPD to CPD stages of a professional accountant's career.
May 2010: The IAESB identified and discussed issues relating to the redrafting of IES 4.
February 2010: The IAESB identified key issues and questions for targeted consultation on the revision
of IESs 1-5.
October 2009: The IAESB considered the project proposal and agreed a project direction for revising the eight International Education Standards.
June 2009: The IAESB identified key issues that should be covered in the project's proposal.
The release of IES 4, subject to the PIOB's approval of due process activities, is expected in quarter 4 of 2013.