Ghana

Member Organizations

Member Organization Associate

  Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana)

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    The Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992) governs the corporate financial reporting, accounting, and auditing requirements in Ghana. The Act outlines the preparation and publication of financial statements and provides legal backing to the standards that have been issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG).

    In 2007, the ICAG adopted IFRS as the accounting standards required for the preparation of financial statements of all government business enterprises, banks, insurance companies, securities brokers, pension funds, and public utilities. In 2010, the institute adopted IFRS for SMEs, with the mandatory use of those standards becoming effective beginning in 2015. In 2013, A Guide for Micro-sized Entities Applying the IFRS for SMEs was issued for micro-entities. It is a not a separate standard but includes only those requirements of IFRS for SMEs that are likely to be necessary for a typical micro-entity. Other entities are permitted to use either full IFRS or IFRS for SMEs.

    The Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992) stipulates that all companies registered under the law, regardless of size or public interest level, must be audited by auditors registered with ICAG and must file audited financial statements with the Registrar of Companies. Under the Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992), ICAG is also the auditing standard setter in Ghana, and adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB.

    The Bank of Ghana, the National Insurance Commission (NIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stipulate additional regulations for entities under their supervision in line with the Banks and Specialised Deposits-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 918), the Insurance Act 2006 (Act 724), and the Securities Industry Act 2016, (Act 929, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Regulations, 2003 (L.I.1728), respectively. Regulations issued by these agencies all maintain that relevant companies must apply IFRS when preparing their financial statements and be audited in accordance with ISA.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    The Chartered Accountants Act (Act 170) 1963 establishes the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) with a mandate to regulate the accountancy profession. Chartered Accountants (CA) and Practicing Accountants (PA) are regulated by ICAG through mandatory membership. ICAG also offers the Accounting Technician Scheme, West Africa’s program (ATSWA). As part of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa, the ATSWA qualification is regionally recognized. In Ghana, successful completion of the ATSWA program enables individuals to take on middle-level managerial jobs and can serve as an introduction to the CA Program; however, it does not appear that Accounting Technicians must join ICAG after completing the examination and therefore be subject to further regulation.

    ICAG’s responsibilities include: (i) setting accounting and auditing standards; (ii) maintaining and publishing a register of chartered accountants and practicing accountants; (iii) issuing and renewing licenses for qualified members to practice accountancy; (iv) setting and monitoring compliance with initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements for its members; (v) setting ethical requirements for its members; (vi) investigating and disciplining members for breach of rules and other professional standards; (vii) monitoring conduct and performance of members, including quality assurance reviews; and (viii) setting public sector accounting standards.

    To receive the designation of CA, individuals must complete a program of professional accountancy education, have three years of practical experience, pass ICAG’s final examinations, and subsequently join ICAG.

    The Institute’s Education and Training Committee is responsible for determining the curricula and syllabus for its professional qualifications and conducting the qualifying examinations. The National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABPTEX) set education standards for universities, which are responsible for delivering part of the qualifying education programs leading up to taking ICAG’s examination.

    To use the designation of PA and practice auditing, CAs must obtain a practicing license from ICAG, which must be renewed annually. Obtaining a practicing license requires four years of practical experience (of which three should be with an audit firm) and two years of post-qualification experience. Under the Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992), all audits must be conducted by a Practicing Accountant registered and licensed by ICAG.

    In addition, in line with the Insurance Act 2006 (Act 724), the National Insurance Commission approves auditors providing services for entities under its supervision; and under the Banks and Specialised Deposits-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 918), the Bank of Ghana (BoG) requires banks to rotate audit firms every six years. The BoG may not approve auditors appointed at an annual general meeting if the auditors do not meet the relevant criteria.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    There is no independent audit oversight body in Ghana.

    Auditors are regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) in accordance with the Chartered Accountants Act 1963. The Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992) stipulates that all companies registered under the law, regardless of size or public interest level, must be audited by auditors registered with ICAG and must file audited financial statements with the Registrar of Companies. Under the Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992), ICAG is also the auditing standard-setter for Ghana and adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB.

    ICAG is responsible for: (i) setting auditing standards; (ii) maintaining and publishing a register of practicing accountants (i.e. auditors); (iii) issuing and renewing licenses for qualified members to practice accountancy; (iv) setting and monitoring compliance with initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements; (v) setting ethical requirements for its members; (vi) investigating and disciplining members for breach of rules and other professional standards; and (vii) monitoring conduct and performance of members, including quality assurance reviews.

    In addition, in line with the Insurance Act 2006 (Act 724), the National Insurance Commission approves auditors providing services for entities under its supervision; and under the Banks and Specialised Deposits-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 918), the Bank of Ghana (BoG) requires banks to rotate audit firms every six years. The BoG may not approve auditors appointed at an annual general meeting if the auditors do not meet the relevant criteria.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG)

    ICAG was established by the Chartered Accountants Act (Act 170) 1963. ICAG’s membership comprises Chartered Accountants (CA) and Practicing Accountants (PA). Membership in ICAG is mandatory to use those designations. ICAG’s responsibilities include: (i) setting accounting and auditing standards; (ii) maintaining and publishing a register of CAs and PAs; (iii) issuing and renewing licenses for qualified members to practice accountancy; (iv) setting and monitoring compliance with initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements; (v) setting ethical requirements for its members; (vi) investigating and disciplining members for breach of rules and other professional standards; (vii) monitoring conduct and performance of members, including quality assurance reviews; and (viii) setting public sector accounting standards.

    In addition to being a member of IFAC, ICAG is a member of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa, and the Pan African Federation of Accountants.

  • Projects or Other Information

    In 2014, the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) proposed a new Chartered Accountants Act, clarifying ICAG’s responsibilities in the area of accounting and auditing standard setting and enabling non-accountants to sit on its Disciplinary Committee. Subsequently, ICAG decided not to move forward with the proposed new Act, but rather to develop a new bill to Act 179 incorporating these matters. The proposed bill was put forth to Parliament; however, at its most recent meeting in November 2018, approval was not yet achieved.

    In 2015, the ICAEW and ICAG partnered to strengthen Ghana’s accountancy education, training, and qualification examination system through a Department for International Development-funded IFAC PAO capacity building project. ICAEW operates a project to assist ICAG in enhancing its professional accountancy qualification examination system, as well as develop roadmaps to enhancing accreditation of educational institutions and training offices, tuition provided by the ICAG College, and the practical training and experience of newly qualified professional accountants. The project will help ICAG develop its reach, influence, and capacity to fully support Ghana’s continued economic development. Please see the SMO 2 note on ICAG’s profile for further information.

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    In accordance with Section 23 of the Chartered Accountants Act 1963, the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) is responsible for conducting quality assurance (QA) reviews of statutory audits. In 2008, ICAG developed a Quality Assurance Monitoring (QAM) system that is managed by its Audit Quality Monitoring (AQM) Department. Its scope includes all statutory audits.

    The QAM system became operational in 2012 after ICAG signed a twinning agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales to receive support in training its QA reviewers. While this agreement ended in September 2018, ICAG indicates that it has built up the capacity of reviewers and practitioners and seeking funding to further extend the partnership. ICAG has conducted full monitoring visits at 224 firms. At this time, the reviews are still conducted in the learning stage with the next round of inspections carrying possible sanctions for any non-compliance.

    ICAG has conducted a self-assessment of its QA system against the revised SMO 1 requirements and reports that its QA system meets these requirements.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    Section 9 of the Chartered Accountants Act 1963 empowers the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) as the entity responsible to set initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members—i.e. individuals who hold the designation of Chartered Accountant and/or Practicing Accountant. These include completing a program of professional accountancy education, having three years of practical experience, and passing ICAG’s final examinations.

    The Institute’s Education and Training Committee is responsible for determining the curricula and syllabus for its professional qualifications and conducting the qualifying examinations. The National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Board for Technical Education are responsible for setting education standards for universities that are part of the qualifying education programs leading up to taking ICAG’s examination.

    ICAG works to ensure that programs are line with the IES requirements by continuously reviewing its curricula against new and revised IES and has signed MoUs with universities to monitor their programming. With the support of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales under the DFID-funded IFAC Capacity Building Program, ICAG has taken significant steps to improve the accountancy education system in Ghana and meet the revised IES requirements for IPD training.

    The institute has set CPD requirements at 35 hours per year.

    Additionally, ICAG also offers the Accounting Technician Scheme, West Africa’s program (ATSWA). As part of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa, the ATSWA qualification is regionally recognized. In Ghana, successful completion of the ATSWA program enables individuals to take on middle-level managerial jobs and can serve as an introduction to the CA Program. Accounting Technicians do join ICAG after completing the examination and therefore are subject to the institute’s CPD obligations.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    Under the Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992), the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) is responsible for adopting auditing standards in Ghana and adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB.

    ICAG’s Technical and Research Committee advises the ICAG Council on all revisions to the standards to ensure that they are adopted in accordance with their effective date.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) is responsible for adopting ethical requirements for all professional accountants in accordance with Section 9 of the Chartered Accountants Act 1963. ICAG has adopted the IESBA Code of Ethics as issued by IESBA and incorporates revisions on an ongoing basis as they become effective. The 2018 International Code of Ethics is therefore applicable in the jurisdiction.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    In 2014, the Ministry of Finance approved the adoption of accrual-basis IPSAS upon the recommendation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.

    The challenge now lies in implementation as public accounts prepared by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department currently use a modified accrual basis of accounting.

    ICAG has supported the Ministry of Finance in the creation of a Working Group to establish a strategic roadmap for the implementation of IPSAS. Previously, the deadline for implementation of the standards was in 2019 but this was not feasible due to resource constraints. In light of new funding from the Swiss government, ICAG reports that that the roadmap has been re-launched and new goal for complete implementation is 2023.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) is responsible for establishing an investigation and discipline (I&D) system for all professional accountants in accordance with the Chartered Accountants Act 1963. The institute has established a Professional Standards and Ethics Committee (PSEC) to investigate any cases. A separate disciplinary committee will be constituted if the investigation warrants disciplinary action. ICAG indicates that it continuously evaluates the independence of panel members and maintains records of cases and publishes cases when necessary.

    ICAG has conducted a self-assessment of its I&D system against the revised SMO 6 requirements and has noted gaps that are primarily due to legal constraints. According to law, all members of its disciplinary committee must be professional accountants. Other gaps relate to administrative processes such as timeframe targets for handling cases and tracking status of cases and performing regular reviews of the system.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    The Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992) governs the corporate financial reporting, accounting, and auditing requirements in Ghana. The Act outlines the preparation and publication of financial statements and provides legal backing to the standards that have been issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG).

    In 2007, the ICAG adopted IFRS as the accounting standards required for the preparation of financial statements of all companies whose securities trade in a public market. IFRS are also required for the financial statements of all government business enterprises, banks, insurance companies, securities brokers, pension funds, and public utilities. In January 2012, IFRS for SMEs was officially adopted effective 2015.

    Current Status: 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: 12/2019
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