Cayman Islands

Member Organizations

Member Organization Associate Other PAOs

  Islands Institute of Professional Accountants

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    In the Cayman Islands only companies that are regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) are required to prepare, publish, and file financial statements. CIMA-regulated companies are those which are established under the Banks and Trust Companies Law, the Insurance Law, Mutual Funds Law, Securities Investment Business Law, and the Companies Management Law. These laws refer to generally accepted accounting principles without specifying accounting standards to be applied. In practice, however, the standards applied depends on the client due to the international nature of business in the Cayman Islands and the majority of financial statements are prepared under U.S. GAAP or IFRS.

    In addition, listed companies are subject to the listing rules of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange (CSX) which require financial statements to be prepared in accordance with IFRS or US, UK, or Canadian GAAP.

    Other Cayman Island entities which have been established under the Companies Law (2016 Revision) are required to keep proper books of accounts but do not need to publish or file financial statements as they are not subject to oversight by CIMA or any other government body. Small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) that may be required to prepare or choose to prepare general purpose financial statements may use IFRS for SMEs or another recognized GAAP framework.

    Audit reports issued from or within the Cayman Islands must be by a licensed member of the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants. The governing Accountants Law and Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations prescribe that the audit must be conducted in accordance with ISA, US GAAS or a standard assessed as equivalent with those by the Institute or the IAASB and in practice, the overwhelming majority of audits are conducted using US GAAS or ISA. Additionally, listed companies are required to have their statements audited in accordance with ISA or another set of standards approved by CSX.

    Cayman Island entities which have been established under the Companies Law are not subject to annual audit although the Law states financial statements may be audited from time to time as determined by the company.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    The accountancy profession in the Cayman Islands is regulated by the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) and the Auditors Oversight Authority (AOA).

    The Accountants Law of 2016 establishes the CIIPA and determines licensing and registration requirements for the profession. Under this Law and regulations known as the Accountants (Disciplinary) Regulations of 2016, the Accountants (Application for Membership) Regulations of 2016 and the Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations of 2016, CIIPA is responsible for (i) licensing all practitioners engaged in public practice; (ii) maintaining a public register of its members; (iii) verifying initial professional development requirements of recognized foreign institutes; (iv) implementing continuing professional development requirements; (v) setting ethical requirements for members; (vi) establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system; and (vii) establishing an investigative and disciplinary system for its members.

    In order to be licensed to engage in public practice in the Cayman Islands, individuals must be a member of good standing in one of the CIIPA-recognized Overseas Professional Accounting Institutes (OPAI) and be registered as a Regular Member of CIIPA, be a resident of the Cayman Islands, have at least seven years’ post qualification practical experience with five of those years as an assurance professional in an approved training firm a reasonable proportion of which in the most recent 2 years and in a supervisory or managerial role on assurance engagement teams and apply for license to engage in public practice. Public practitioners may also be subject to assessments as prescribed on competence, integrity, capability, accessibility and commitment.

    Individuals who are not engaged in public practice requiring a license may voluntarily join CIIPA as Regular, Student or Associate Member and become subject to CIIPA’s regulations. For Regular membership CIIPA relies on the applicants membership of a recognized (as proof of competence) institute, but CIIPA will also consider applicants for membership from OPAIs that are not recognized by CIIPA and will assess the educational and practical experience of the candidate in order to determine if the competence requirement is met.

    The AOA is only responsible for supervising auditors of market traded, designated and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA)-specified companies in accordance with the Auditors Oversight Law of 2011 as amended. It is not authorized to set standards, regulate the accountancy profession, supervise financial reporting other than through its inspection activities, or to supervise securities regulation. AOA Recognized Auditors are subject to the AOA’s QA reviews and investigative and disciplinary procedures.

    Finally, auditors that carry out audits for companies that are regulated by the CIMA are subject to approval and disqualification by CIMA.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    Auditors in the Cayman Islands are largely regulated by the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) in accordance with the Accountants Law of 2016. However, auditors of market traded companies are also subject to the supervision of the Auditors Oversight Authority (AOA).

    Auditors of all companies are required to be a Practitioner Member of CIIPA and have a practicing license. In order to be licensed to practice publicly in the Cayman Islands, individuals must be a member of good standing in one of the CIIPA-recognized Overseas Professional Accounting Institutes (OPAI) and be registered as a Regular Member of CIIPA, be a resident of the Cayman Islands, have at least seven years’ post qualification practical experience with five of those years as an assurance professional in an approved training firm a reasonable proportion of which in the most recent 2 years and in a supervisory or managerial role on assurance engagement teams. Public practitioners may also be subject to assessments as prescribed on competence, integrity, capability, Accessibility and Commitment.

    The Accountants Law of 2016 establishes the CIIPA as well as licensing and registration requirements for the profession. Under this Law and regulations known as the Accountants (Disciplinary) Regulations of 2016, the Accountants (Application for Membership) Regulations of 2016 and the Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations of 2016, CIIPA is responsible for (i) licensing all practitioners engaged in public practice; (ii) maintaining a public register of its members; (iii) verifying initial professional development requirements of recognized foreign institutes; (iv) implementing continuing professional development requirements; (v) setting ethical requirements for members; (vi) establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system; and (vii) establishing an investigative and disciplinary system for its members.

    Additionally, the AOA was established by the Auditors Oversight Law of 2011 as amended and is responsible for conducting QA reviews of audits of market traded, designated, and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority-specified companies and conducting investigations and issuing sanctions as it deems necessary. AOA is not authorized to set standards, regulate the accountancy profession, supervise financial reporting other than through its inspection activities, or to supervise securities regulation.

    The AOA is a member of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    There is only one professional accountancy organization in the Cayman Islands: the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA), formerly known as the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants (CISPA). CIIPA is a membership organization comprised of Student, Associate, Regular, and Practitioner Members from recognized foreign professional accountancy organizations and Registered Firms. In order to practice publicly in the Cayman Islands, membership of the institute as a Practitioner Member is mandatory.

    Under the Accountants Law of 2016 and supplementary regulations known as the Accountants (Disciplinary) Regulations of 2016, the Accountants (Application for Membership) Regulations of 2016 and the Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations of 2016, CIIPA is responsible for (i) licensing all practitioners engaged in public practice; (ii) maintaining a public register of its members; (iii) verifying initial professional development requirements of recognized foreign institutes; (iv) implementing continuing professional development requirements; (v) setting ethical requirements for members; (vi) establishing a quality assurance review system; and (vii) establishing an investigative and disciplinary system for its members.

    The institute is a Member of IFAC.

  • Projects or Other Information

    In the Cayman Islands, auditors of market traded companies are subject to regulation of both the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) and the Auditors Oversight Authority (AOA). This includes the quality assurance (QA) reviews and investigative and disciplinary procedures of each organization. Due to the overlap in responsibilities, in 2017, CIIPA and AOA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to clarify the role of CIIPA and AOA with respect to auditors and auditing firms of market traded companies.

    The MoU was executed in February 2017 and it was decided that CIIPA could continue carrying out QA reviews for all audits. Cooperation between the two entities will inform the scheduling of visits and for firms that are AOA-registered. CIIPA will conduct its own reviews but may not include the AOA audits in its file selections. In the event of deficiencies, CIIPA will delay undertaking an investigation if the AOA is already or planning to investigate and would subsequently determine appropriate next steps.

    Additionally, in 2016, CIIPA engaged in discussions with Cayman Islands Monetary Authority to draft a memorandum of agreement (MoA) to replace a previous protocol from 2007 that would provide for more cooperation regarding QA reviews, the registration of firms, and the licensing process. CIIPA expects to execute the MoA by mid-2017.

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    In the Cayman Islands, both the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) and the Auditors Oversight Authority (AOA) are authorized to conduct quality assurance (QA) reviews in accordance with each entities’ founding legislation and subsequent amendments.

    The Accountants Law of 2016 and the accompanying Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations of 2016 empowers the CIIPA to establish a mandatory QA review system for all audits while the AOA is responsible for conducting QA reviews for audits of listed companies in accordance with the Auditors Oversight Law of 2011 as amended.

    Due to the overlap in responsibilities, in 2017, the AOA and CIIPA executed a Memorandum of Understanding to clarify the role of CIIPA and the AOA with respect to auditors and firms of listed companies. The MoU was executed in February 2017 and it was decided that CIIPA could continue carrying out QA reviews for all audits. Cooperation between the two entities will inform the scheduling of visits and for firms that are AOA-registered. CIIPA will conduct its own reviews but may not include the AOA audits in its selections.

    CIIPA indicates that registered firms are subject to its QA review system every three years. Through the Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations of 2016, ISQC 1 is the adopted quality control standard and ISA and US GAAS are the prescribed auditing standards.

    CIIPA has contracted the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to carry out its QA review visits on its behalf. The ICAEW operates QA review visits that fulfills SMO 1 requirements with long-standing policies to review its system and maintain compliance with SMO 1.

    The AOA has also contracted the ICAEW to carry out the QA inspections of listed entities. The ICAEW operates QA review visits and inspections which are in line with SMO 1 requirements as mentioned above.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    There is no law that defines initial professional development (IPD) requirements in the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) is only responsible for verifying the IPD requirements of recognized Overseas Professional Accounting Institute (OPAIs) as part of its membership registration process.

    Through a due diligence process, CIIPA recognizes 21 OPAIs as having IPD requirements that comply with IES 1-6 (as of 2014) and relies on their membership designations to indicate competence when admitting new members. CIIPA does set continuing professional development (CPD) requirements in its Application for Membership Regulations; however, these Regulations only apply to members if their OPAI does not stipulate its own CPD requirements. CIIPA’s CPD requirements are in line with IES 7 and it has issued a Helpsheet on competence and capability to reflect IES 8.

    In addition, CIIPA has developed its own Cayman business environment training course for all new members. The course has been offered in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and completion will become a condition of registration by 2018.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    The 2016 Accountants Law and Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations prescribe that audits must be conducted in accordance with ISA, US GAAS or a standard assessed as equivalent with those by the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants or the IAASB. To date no other standards have been assessed as equivalent. The Cayman Islands Stock Exchange (CSX) listing rules requires listed companies to have their statements audited in accordance with ISA or another set of standards approved by CSX.

    Other pronouncements issued by the IAASB such as International Standards on Review Engagements (ISRE), International Standards on Assurance Engagements (ISAE), International Standards on Related Services (ISRS) have not been adopted but the International Standards on Quality Control (ISQC) is prescribed in the Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    The Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) is responsible for setting ethical requirements for all public practitioners and other professionals voluntarily joining the institute, and its Accountants (Quality Assurance) Regulations of 2016 prescribe adherence to the latest IESBA Code of Ethics.

    All members are required to confirm compliance with the latest IESBA Code when first applying for CIIPA membership and during the annual renewal process.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    The Portfolio of Finance and Economics within the Cayman Islands’ Government is responsible for setting public sector accounting standards that are consistent with generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP) as required by the Public Management and Finance Law (2013 Revision). The Law defines GAAP as IPSAS or, where is no guidance provided by those standards, the IFRS as issued by the IASB.

    All the government ministries in Cayman use accrual-basis IPSAS as well as approximately 30% of statutory authorities. The other 70% use IFRS as do government-owned companies.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    In the Cayman Islands, professional accountants may be subject to investigative and disciplinary (I&D) procedures from the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA) and/or the Auditors Oversight Authority (AOA).

    The Accountants Law of 2016 and the associated Accountants (Disciplinary Regulations) of 2016 provide CIIPA with the legal authority to establish I&D processes for all practitioner and regular members of the institute.

    CIIPA has established an Investigation Committee to investigate complaints. The Investigation Committee can then either dismiss the matter or refer it to the Disciplinary Tribunal and/or the relevant member’s Overseas Professional Accounting Institute. Matters can be appealed to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

    Additionally, the AOA may conduct investigations and issue sanctions as deemed necessary for auditors of market traded companies in accordance with its authorities stipulated in the Auditors Oversight Law of 2011 as amended. Some components of the SMO 6 requirements seem to have been incorporated into the AOA’s I&D system; however, all auditors are also subject to the I&D system of CIIPA which, as mentioned above, is in line with SMO 6 requirements.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    In the Cayman Islands only companies that are regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) are required to prepare and file financial statements. CIMA-regulated companies are those which are established under the Banks and Trust Companies Law, the Insurance Law, Mutual Funds Law, Securities Investment Business Law, and the Companies Management Law. These laws refer to generally accepted accounting principles without specifying accounting standards to be applied. In practice, however, the standards to be applied depend on the client due to the international nature of business in the Cayman Islands and the majority of financial statements are prepared under U.S. GAAP or IFRS.

    In addition, listed companies are subject to the listing rules of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange which require financial statements to be prepared in accordance with IFRS or the US, UK, or Canadian GAAP.

    Other Cayman Island entities which have been established under the Companies Law are required to keep proper books of accounts but do not need to publish or file financial statements as they are not subject to oversight by CIMA or any other government body. Small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) that may be required to prepare or choose to prepare general purpose financial statements may use IFRS for SMEs or another recognized GAAP framework.

    There is no indication that the Cayman Islands intend to move to one particular set of standards or to adopt national accounting standards.

    Current Status: Not Adopted

Disclaimer

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.

Methodology

Methodology
Last updated: 04/2017
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