Benin

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  Ordre des Experts-Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Bénin

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    The corporate financial framework of Benin is determined by legislation issued by two regional bodies: the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). Legislation issued at the regional level by WAEMU and OHADA has a significant impact on the legal and regulatory framework for commercial entities, banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies in Benin as well as on the accountancy profession. Benin, as a member of the two regional groups, harmonizes national laws with directives issued at the regional level.

    WAEMU’s eight member states share the CFA franc as a common currency, a common securities regulator, and a stock exchange. In addition, since its creation, WAEMU has also progressively developed activities to assist with accounting and auditing standard-setting and to support the development of the accountancy profession. OHADA sets common business regulations, including accounting standards, and adopts unified commercial laws and other legislative norms that, once adopted, become domestic law in its 17 member states. Member states are required to establish a Conseil National de la Comptabilité (CNC) with responsibility for implementation of accounting and auditing directives at the national level.

    OHADA and WAEMU are responsible for the development of member countries’ accounting standards. The WAEMU Treaty gives responsibility to the WAEMU Council to set the accounting standards to be applied by the member states. In accordance with the WAEMU Regulation N° 3/97/CM/UEMOA, the WAEMU delegated its accounting standard-setting activities to the Conseil Comptable Ouest Africain, which in turn now adopts the OHADA standards for application in the WAEMU member states.

    The OHADA Uniform Act Relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups 4/1997 (revised January 2014) and OHADA Uniform Act Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems 2/2000 stipulate accounting, auditing, and financial reporting requirements for the OHADA member states. CNC-OHADA, established in 2008 through an OHADA Uniform Act, adopted the OHADA Accounting System in 2001, which differs from IFRS and comprises a three-tier system that allows companies to prepare full or abridged financial statements based on their size. With assistance from the World Bank, revisions to the OHADA legislations governing accounting standards are underway in order to bring the requirements in line with international best practices. As of 2016, a new Uniform Act on accounting standards is being finalized and submitted to the Council of Ministers for review. The new Act is expected to introduce IFRS for public interest entities as well as a revised OHADA Accounting System for Small- and Medium-sized Entities.

    The OHADA Uniform Act Relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups 4/1997 (revised January 2014) and OHADA Uniform Act Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems 2/2000 stipulate that statutory audits are mandatory for all public companies and limited liability companies that exceed one of these three thresholds: (i) share capital in excess of CFA franc 10 million; (ii) sales volume greater than CFA franc 250 million; or (iii) have more than 50 permanent employees. Banking and insurance legislations also require mandatory audits of banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies.

    Auditing standard-setting at the regional level is determined by WAEMU Regulation No. 01/2009/CM/UEMOA of 2009, which established the Council of the Chartered Accountants Profession (Le Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable (CPPC)). The CPPC is responsible for defining auditing, standards for the WAEMU member states. The CPPC was the recipient of funding from the World Bank in 2010 to develop ISA-based auditing guidelines. However, as of 2016, the CPPC has not yet established auditing standards at the regional level.

    In the absence of regional and national auditing standards, the Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin has established a self-regulatory requirement whereby its members must use Clarified ISA without modifications when conducting audits. It states that it uses the French translations of ISA produced by other French professional accountancy organizations that followed the IFAC Policy on Translations; the requirement, however, has no legal backing.

    Banking and insurance regulators—Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)), WAEMU Banking Commission, and the Commission Régionale de Contrôle des Assurances (Regional Insurance Control Commission)—issue instructions on accounting and auditing requirements for entities within their purview. Under the OHADA Uniform Act Relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups, the Instruction of the Governor of the BCEAO of January 1st, 1996, and the WAEMU Treaty, banks and other financial institutions are obliged to use the Bank Chart of Accounts established by the WAEMU Banking Act (1990) supplemented by BCEAO Regulations. Banks are required to appoint two auditors, who are subject to prior approval by the Banking Commission. Insurance companies are required to apply accounting standards outlined in the Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés d’Assurance (Inter-African Conference on Insurance Markets (CIMA)) Code 1992. The CIMA Accounting Chart differs significantly from IFRS. Listed entities must comply with regulations issued by the regional stock exchange, Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    Entry requirements for the accountancy profession are set at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation N°. 12/2000/CM/UEMOA, which introduced the Degree in Accounting and Finance (DECOFI) and the Higher Education Degree in Accounting and Financial Management (DESCOGEF) as pre-requisites to practice the profession in WAEMU countries Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) states the qualification system has been reformed to align with International Education Standards. The DESCOGEF qualification is for Certified Accountants and the DECOFI qualification is for Chartered Accountants. The DECOFI is a five-year professional accountancy education program that includes a three-year practical experience requirement and intermediate and final professional exams. Only Chartered Accountants registered by a professional institute in WAEMU countries are permitted to practice auditing. Furthermore, all candidates for entry to the profession must complete three years of verified practical experience and pass final examinations with the Regional Commission for the Formation of the Accounting and Financial Experts, an external body recognized by WAEMU.

    Additionally, WAEMU Regulation No. 01/2009/CM/UEMOA of 2009 grants the Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable responsibility for defining auditing, ethics, and quality control standards.

    At the national level, Law No. 2004-03 of 2006 stipulates that the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the regulation of the accountancy profession and establishes OECCA-Benin, the only professional accountancy organization in the country. The Ministry of Finance appoints a Commissaire du Government—a government official that must be present at all meetings of OECCA-Benin’s Council and General Assembly meetings as well as Disciplinary hearings—to carry out its regulatory duties.

    Under the Law, OECCA-Benin is responsible for: (i) ensuring compliance with professional standards; (ii) establishing ethical requirements; (iii) establishing an investigation and discipline system; (iv) maintaining a register of members in good standing; and (v) approving membership applications for the institute.

    Law No. 2004-03 of 2006 stipulates that Chartered Accountants and Certified Accountants, the two regulated categories of professional accountants in Benin, must be members of OECCA-Benin. Chartered Accountants must (i) obtain one of two professional certifications recognized by the government, that is, the regional DECOFI described above or the French Diplôme d’Expertise Comptable (DEC), and (ii) complete 48 hours of continuing professional development annually. The French DEC is also a five-year program with a three-year practical experience requirement and intermediate and final exams. Certified Accountants must hold a DESCOGEF qualification. The Law N° 2004-03 permits the grandfathering of Chartered Accountants and Certified Accountants who were previously allowed by the Ministry of Finance to join OECCA-Benin’s membership when the institute was established. Furthermore, the Law specifies that audits must be performed by Chartered Accountants or professional accounting firms registered with OECCA-Benin.

    Lastly, banks are required to appoint two auditors, who are subject to prior approval by the WAEMU Banking Commission.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    There is no independent audit oversight authority in Benin.

    Auditors are regulated at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation No. 12/2000/CM/UEMOA, which introduced the Degree in Accounting and Finance as a mandatory qualification for Chartered Accountants, who are the only individuals permitted to publicly practice auditing in WAEMU countries. The WAEMU Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable is responsible for defining auditing, ethics, and quality control standards based on WAEMU Regulation No. 01/2009/CM/UEMOA.

    At the national level, auditors are regulated by the Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) in accordance with Law 2004-03 of 2006. OECCA-Benin is responsible for: (i) ensuring compliance with professional standards; (ii) establishing ethical requirements; (iii) establishing an investigation and discipline system; (iv) maintaining a register of members in good standing; and (v) approving membership applications for the institute.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    The Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) was established by Law No. 2004-03 of 2006 and it is the only legally recognized professional accountancy organization in Benin. Membership of the institute is mandatory for all Certified Accountants, Chartered Accountants, and firms.

    Under the Law, OECCA-Benin is responsible for: (i) ensuring compliance with professional standards; (ii) establishing ethical requirements; (iii) establishing an investigation and discipline system; (iv) maintaining a register of members in good standing; and (v) approving membership applications for the institute.

    OECCA-Benin is actively involved in regional standard-setting bodies. It was the previous chair/president of the Conseil National de la Comptabilité of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa, the regional accounting standard-setter, and also chairs the Quality Control Committee of the Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable, the regional auditing standard-setter.

    In addition to being an Associate of IFAC, OECCA-Benin is a member of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa and the Fédération Internationale des Experts-Comptables Francophones (International Federation of Francophone Accountants). It is also a founding member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants.

  • Projects or Other Information

    Since 2012, the World Bank has been working on the implementation of a project to assist Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) to improve the investment climate within the OHADA member countries. The project aims at improving corporate financial reporting through the update of the OHADA Uniform Act Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems of February 22, 2000, to bring it in line with international best practices. As of 2016, a new Uniform Act on accounting standards is being finalized and submitted to the Council of Ministers for review. The new Act is expected to introduce IFRS for public interest entities as well as a revised OHADA Accounting System for Small and Medium Enterprises.

    In addition, the project envisions the adoption of a new OHADA Uniform Act Relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups of April 17, 1997, to adopt applicable auditing standards in accordance with international standards. Additional components of the project also include developing a code of ethics; establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system, and an effective investigation and discipline (I&D) mechanism. As of 2016, the Code of Ethics has been drafted and distributed for consultations before being approved by the accountancy profession. It is expected to be completed by April 2017. The status of the QA review system and the I&D system elements are unknown at this time.

    Furthermore, the project also included assisting OHADA Secretariat in the development of a regional professional qualification curriculum and continuing professional development. The World Bank reports that the implementation of this component has been delayed and a mid-term review is underway to accelerate the implementation of this activity.

    At the national level, since 2012, OECCA-Benin has been waiting for the Ministry of Finance’s approval of amendments to Law 2004-03 of 2006, which would enable the adoption and implementation of ISQC 1 and a QA system.

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    At the regional level, West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation No. 01/2009/CM/UEMOA authorizes le Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable (CPPC) to establish a quality assurance (QA) review system. Draft regulation establishing this requirement was finalized by the Council of Ministers of the WAEMU in 2014. However, due to delays the CPPC has recommended that member states pursue the adoption and implementation of QA systems and quality control standards at a national level. The Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) currently chairs the Quality Assurance Committee of the CPPC.

    The World Bank is also supporting the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) in developing and implementing a QA review system in its member countries. The status of this project is unknown. OHADA will be directly responsible for the implementation of the QA system in countries in its member states and WAEMU will adopt the system of OHADA.

    Due to delays at the regional level, in 2012, OECCA-Benin submitted amendments to the Law No 2004-03 of 2006 which would legally require the adoption and implementation of a QA review system and ISQC 1 as the applicable quality control standards. The amendments are still pending the Ministry of Finance’s approval. OECCA-Benin reports that in 2014 its General Assembly approved internal regulations adopting a QA system for its members. However, the implementation of the QA review system has been postponed until 2017. OECCA-Benin has declared its commitment to operationalize its QA system in line with the requirements of SMO 1 and carry out its first voluntary QA reviews by March 2017.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    Entry requirements for the accountancy profession are set at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation No. 12/2000/CM/UEMOA. The regulation introduced the Degree in Accounting and Finance (DECOFI) and the Higher Education Degree in Accounting and Financial Management (DESCOGEF), for Chartered Accountants and Certified Accountants, respectively, as mandatory requirements to practice accountancy within WAEMU countries. To practice the profession, candidates are also required to complete 3 years of verified practical experience and must pass final examinations with the Regional Commission for the Formation of the Accounting and Financial Experts which is an external body recognized by WAEMU.

    At the national level, Law No. 2004-03 of 2006 transposes the entry requirements set at the regional level into national legislation and establishes continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for Chartered Accountants. The Law stipulates that the Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) is responsible for overseeing initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements for the profession.

    In 2009, the Ministry of Secondary Technical and Professional Training and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research established a national accountancy curriculum that provides students with necessary education to obtain the DECOFI and DESCOGEF qualifications. OECCA-Benin has reviewed the curriculum and reports it is in line with IES requirements.

    OECCA-Benin has established CPD requirements for its members of at least 48 hours per year and indicates that the regional qualification system has been reformed be in line with IES and as such, its initial professional development and CPD requirements are both aligned.

    It is unclear whether French translations of the IES are available to those with responsibility for professional accountancy education programs.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) Uniform Act Relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups 4/1997 (revised January 2014) and OHADA Uniform Act Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems 2/2000 stipulate that statutory audits are mandatory for all public companies and limited liability companies that exceed determined thresholds. Banking and insurance legislations also require mandatory audits of banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies. However, no auditing standards are specified.

    The Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable (CPPC) is the regional auditing standard-setter based on the West African Economic and Monetary Union Regulation No. 01/2009/CM/UEMOA of 2009. The CPPC was the recipient of funding from the World Bank in 2010 to develop ISA-based auditing guidelines. The CPPC has not yet issued any auditing standards and it is not clear if there is a timeline for the adoption and implementation of ISA at the regional level.

    In the absence of regional and national auditing standards, the Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin has established a self-regulatory requirement whereby its members must use Clarified ISA as issued by IAASB without modifications when conducting audits. It states that it uses the French translations of ISA produced CPA Canada that followed the IFAC Policy on Translations; the requirement, however, has no legal backing.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    At the regional level, West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation No. 01/2009/CM/UEMOA grants authority to the Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable (CPPC) to determine ethical requirements for member states. The CPPC has not yet adopted a Code of Ethics.

    The World Bank is also supporting the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) in the development of a Code of Ethics for its member states. As of January 2016, a draft Code has been produced and is being circulated for consultations. OHADA will be directly responsible for the implementation of the Code in its member countries and WAEMU countries will apply OHADA’s standards.

    At the national level, Law No. 2004-03 requires the Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) to ensure that its members adhere to its established ethical standards. Having first issued its Code of Ethics in 2009, in 2012, the OECCA-Benin issued a revised Code of Ethics for its members in order to align with the French translation of the 2009 IESBA Code of Ethics and reports to have most recently reviewed and revised its Code to align with the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics.

    However, this Code of Ethics does not have legal backing and OECCA-Benin has been lobbying the government to approve the Code since 2012. It expects approval by December 2017.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    At the regional level, West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation No.09/2009/CM/UEMOA requires adoption of IPSAS by members of WAEMU by 2017.

    However, in the interim, at the national level, the government of Benin is responsible for adopting and implementing the “Comptabilité publique”, the applicable public sector as issued by WAEMU, which differ from IPSAS.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    At the regional level, the World Bank is supporting the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) in the development of an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for the accountancy profession its member states. There is no further information available at this time regarding the status of a regional I&D system. The West African Economic and Monetary Union is expected to adopt the system of OHADA for its member states.

    At the national level, Law No. 2004-03 grants authority to the Ordre des Experts Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Benin (OECCA-Benin) to establish an I&D system for its members for misconduct and breaches of professional and ethical standards. OECCA-Benin has established an Investigation and Discipline Commission that is responsible for investigating charges submitted by the Council and issuing sanctions. Respondents may appeal decisions of the Commission to the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court.

    The institute has also established a National Chamber of Discipline which handles civil and criminal cases of sanctioned members that wish to appeal their decisions. A magistrate of the Ministry of Justice oversees OECCA-Benin’s I&D system.

    In 2016, OECCA-Benin conducted a self-assessment of its I&D system against the SMO 6 requirements and identified gaps in the initiation of proceedings that require improvements. It has plans to analyze the gaps and establish a plan to achieve compliance with SMO 6 in 2017.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    As a member of West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA), Benin accounting standards are defined in WAEMU Regulation No. 04/96/CM/UEMOA, WAEMU Regulation No. 05/CM/UEMOA, OHADA Uniform Act Relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups 4/1997 (revised January 2014), and OHADA Uniform Act Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems 2/2000. The Conseil Comptable Ouest Africain is authorized by WAEMU Regulation No. 3/97/CM/UEMOA to set accounting standards for member states and has adopted the standards set by OHADA. The OHADA Accounting Standards are not in line with IFRS.

    OHADA is conducting a review process to align its standards with IFRS. With support from the World Bank, a new Uniform Act on accounting standards is being finalized and submitted to the Council of Ministers for review. The new Act is expected to introduce IFRS for public interest entities as well as a revised OHADA Accounting System for Small and Medium Enterprises.

    Banks are obliged to prepare their financial statements in accordance with the Bank Chart of Accounts determined by the WAEMU Banking Act (1990), while insurance companies use the Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés d’Assurance (CIMA) Accounting Chart outlined in CIMA Code 1992. Some of the requirements of the IAS/IFRS had initially been incorporated in the WAEMU Banking Law, the Central Bank of West African States regulations, and CIMA Code but were not updated in an ongoing manner.

    Current Status: Not Adopted

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Methodology

Methodology
Last updated: 02/2017
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