Greece

Member Organizations

Member Organization Associate Other PAOs

  Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Greece

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    As a member of the European Union (EU), Greece is subject to the accounting, auditing and financial reporting requirements established in EU Regulations and Directives as transposed into national laws and regulations.

    The requirements for the preparation of financial statements are established in Law 4308/2014, which was issued to transpose the EU Directive 2013/34. Under the law, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Ministry of Development & Competitiveness are responsible for establishing accounting and auditing standards. The Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE), subject to the supervision of the MoF, provides advice on the standards. Following the enactment of Law 4308/2014, the MoF issued Ministerial Circular 1003/2014, which contained new provisions for general rules on keeping accounting books and records.

    Law 4308/2014 introduced differentiated financial reporting requirements for different types of companies depending on their size in terms of annual turnover, number of employees, and total assets, specifying applicable accounting standards. Under the law, public interest entities (PIEs)—listed companies, banks and financial institutions, and insurance companies—are required to use IFRS Standards as adopted by the EU for the preparation of their financial statements. IFRS should also be applied by other types of entities defined in Article 1.3 of the Law. All other companies are required to apply the Greek General Accepted Accounting Principles (Greek GAAP), which differ from the IFRS, and may apply IFRS if they wish to do so. IFRS for Small-and Medium-Sized Entities has not been adopted and there are no plans to do so.

    Meanwhile, Law 4336/2016 establishes requirements for mandatory audits. Under the law, all PIEs and all companies that meet two of the following criteria for two consecutive years are subject to mandatory statutory audits: (i) total assets of EU 4,000,000; (ii) net turnover of EU 8,000,000; and (iii) average employees of 50 for the year. The auditing standards are set in the Law 4449/2017, which was issued to transpose the Audit Directive and Regulation (EU) No 537/2014. The law directly adopts ISA, as translated and incorporated into the official Gazette, without modifications.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    The audit profession is regulated at the state and professional level by two laws. First, the Law 3148/2003, as amended by the Law 4449/2017, which established the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE)—the public oversight authority that operates subject to the supervision of the Minister of Finance (MoF). Second, the Presidential Decree No. 226/1992, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 341/1997, which established the Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece (SOEL). Only Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are permitted to conduct audits, and every CPA must be employed by an auditing firm.

    In accordance with the Law 4449/2017, candidates who wish to acquire the title of CPA and become a SOEL member are required to meet specific requirements defined in the Law such as: (i) have a university degree; (ii) pass final professional accountancy examinations; and (iii) have five years of practical experience. Two years of practical experience need to be completed after passing the final exam.

    The ELTE’s responsibilities include: (i) maintaining a registry of CPAs and audit firms; (ii) overseeing SOEL activities—maintaining a registry of CPAs and audit firms; administering the professional examination of CPAs; establishing and enforcing initial and continuing education requirements; (iii) providing advice to the MoF on standards; (iv) developing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system; (v) setting ethical requirements for CPAs following proposals made by the SOEL; and (vi) establishing a quality assurance system (QA) for CPAs of all public interest entities (PIEs). Some responsibilities of ELTE do overlap with the responsibilities of the SOEL.

    For example, the SOEL carries out the following regulatory activities under the oversight of ELTE: (i) maintaining a registry of CPAs and audit firms; (ii) administering the professional examination of CPAs; (iii) establishing and enforcing initial and continuing education requirements; and (iv) conducting QA inspections of CPAs of non-PIEs.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    The Law 3148/2003, amended by the Law 4449/2017, established the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE) as the public oversight authority of the auditing profession in Greece subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Finance (MoF). ELTE is a member of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators.

    ELTE’s responsibilities include: (i) maintaining a registry of CPAs and audit firms; (ii) overseeing the Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece’s (SOEL) activities—maintaining a registry of CPAs and audit firms; administering the professional examination of CPAs; establishing and enforcing initial and continuing education requirements; (iii) providing advice to the MoF on standards; (iv) developing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system; (v) setting ethical requirements for CPAs following proposals made by SOEL; and (vi) establishing a quality assurance system for CPAs of all public interest entities.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    The Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece (SOEL)

    Presidential Decree No. 226/1992, amended by Presidential Decree No. 341/1997, established SOEL in 1992 as a legal entity. Before the establishment of the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE), SOEL acted as a supervisory body for the auditing profession. The institute’s current mandate, under ELTE’s supervision, includes: (i) maintaining a registry of CPAs and audit firms; (ii) administering the professional examination of CPAs; (iii) establishing and enforcing initial and continuing education requirements; and (iv) conducting QA inspections of CPAs of non-public interest entities.

    In addition to being a member of IFAC, the SOEL is a member of Accountancy Europe.

  • Projects or Other Information

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    In Greece, a mandatory quality assurance (QA) review system is required for all statutory audits of financial statements. Under Law 4449/2017, the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE), operating under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance, is responsible for conducting the reviews.

    Accordingly, ELTE has established a QA review system for auditors of all public interest entities (PIEs)—listed companies, banks and financial institutions, and insurance companies. As far as non-PIEs QA reviews are concerned, ELTE has delegated the reviews to the Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece (SOEL). In fulfilling this responsibility, SOEL maintains a QA system under the oversight of ELTE. In Greece, auditors providing services to PIEs are inspected every three years, and non-PIEs are inspected every six years.

    SOEL reports that it has assessed the QA review systems against the best practices of SMO 1 and concluded that the systems fulfill the requirements.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    Law 4449/2017 outlines general initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements for Certified Public Accountant (CPA), auditors, and authorizes the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE) and the Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece (SOEL) to further set and implement educational requirements. Professional accountants other than CPAs do not seem to be subject to any educational requirements.

    In accordance with the law, candidates who wish to acquire the title of CPA and become a SOEL member, are required to: (i) have a university degree; (ii) pass a final professional accountancy examination; and (iii) have five years of practical experience. Two years of practical experience need to be completed after passing the final exam.

    ELTE is responsible for oversight of the professional accountancy examination and determines the content of the examination syllabus, which seem to now be the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) examinations. In addition, SOEL has established a local Taxation and Law exam in Greek, to earn the CPA designation.

    SOEL is empowered by Presidential Decree 341/1997 to administer the professional examination of auditors and establish other IPD and CPD requirements for its members. Law 4449/2017 does establish mandatory completion of at least 120 hours of CPD over three years by members of SOEL. ELTE monitors compliance with CPD requirements through the quality assurance program.

    SOEL reports that its educational program incorporated the requirements of the 2015 revised IES.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    The auditing requirements are set in Law 4449/2017, which was issued to transpose the Audit Directive and Regulation (EU) No 537/2014. The law directly adopts ISA, as translated and incorporated into the official Gazette, without modifications. In accordance with the law, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness are responsible for the adoption of auditing standards.

    The Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece and the public oversight body—the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board—collaborated to translate the 2009 version of ISA and ISQC 1, as well as the 2011 version of ISAE 3000, the 2014 ISAE 3420 and the revised ISAs 700, 260, 570, 705, 706 and 720. It remains unclear if there are plans to adopt the 2018 ISA.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    Law 3693/2008, as amended by the Law 4449/2017, introduced the application of the IESBA Code of Ethics to all Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Under the law, the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE), the audit oversight authority, is responsible for the enactment of a code of conduct for CPAs, taking into consideration the provisions of the IESBA Code of Ethics, following proposals made by the Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece (SOEL).

    SOEL reports that the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics was translated into Greek, in cooperation with ELTE. The Code was approved by ELTE and published in the Greek Government Gazette (FEK A 3916/7.11.2017). No plans to adopt the 2018 International Code of Ethics, which also includes the NOCLAR standard issued in 2016, have been reported.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    The Government of Greece is responsible for issuing public sector accounting and reporting standards. The Law 3429/2005 states that applicable public sector accounting standards and requires all public entities to use IFRS Standards in the preparation of their financial statements.

    As reported by the Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece, the decision to adopt IPSAS in Greece is contingent on developments at the EU level. IPSAS have not been translated into Greek. As of the date of the assessment, there are no plans or timeline to adopt IPSAS in the jurisdiction.

    Current Status: Not Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    Under Law 4449/2017 the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE), operating under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance is responsible for establishing a mandatory investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for all Certified Public Accountant—all auditors in the jurisdiction.

    ELTE has established a Disciplinary Council, which consists of the Board of ELTE and two members of the Legal Counsel of the State. The ELTE’s Quality Control Board (SPE) is tasked with carrying out the investigative procedures while the Disciplinary Council issues sanctions.

    According to Institute of Certified Accountants of Greece, the I&D system operated by ELTE partially complies with the best practices of SMO 6 and legislative changes would help to harmonize the existing I&D procedures with best practices.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    The requirements for the preparation of financial statements are established in Law 4308/2014, which was issued to transpose the EU Directive 2013/34. Under the law, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Ministry of Development & Competitiveness are responsible for establishing accounting standards. The Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (ELTE), subject to the supervision of the MoF, provides advice on the adoption of these standards.

    Under the law, public interest entities—listed companies, banks and financial institutions, and insurance companies—are required to use IFRS Standards as adopted by the EU for the preparation of their financial statements. IFRS should also be applied by other types of entities defined in Article 1.3 of the Law.

    All other companies are required to apply the Greek General Accepted Accounting Principles (Greek GAAP), which differ from the IFRS, and may apply IFRS if they wish to do so. IFRS for Small-and Medium-Sized Entities has not been adopted and there are no plans to do so.

    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: 09/2019
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