Philippines

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  Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    The Corporation Code of the Philippines, enacted in 1980, regulates the activities of private stock and nonstock corporations and includes requirements on the preparation of financial statements and having statements audited by an independent certified public accountant (CPA).

    Accounting Framework

    In 2006, the Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC) was created by the Board of Accountancy (BOA), a government agency operating under the Philippines Professional Regulation Commission, as part of the implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act (RA) 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act. The FRSC is responsible for adopting and promulgating applicable corporate accounting standards in the Philippines. The FRSC has adopted the IFRS as the Philippine Financial Reporting Standards (PRFS) with several limited modifications and the PFRS for Small-and Medium-sized Entities (PFRS for SMEs), which is the IFRS for SMEs without modifications.

    The PFRS are subject to the approval and pronouncement of the BOA and the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which prior to the 2006 was solely responsible for establishing the accounting standards for companies under its regulation. In 2011, Securities Regulation Code (SRC) Rule 68 was revised to state that the SEC must consider the standards adopted by the FRSC for SEC-regulated companies, which include listed companies and most limited liability companies. Accordingly, the SEC has established a three-tier financial reporting framework. Public interest entities must apply the full PFRS. These entities are considered to be a company that meets any of the following criteria: (i) companies with total assets of more than Philippine Pesos (PHP) 350,000,000 (approximately US$8,000,000) or total liabilities of more than PHP 250,000,000 (approximately US$6,000,000); (ii) companies who securities trade in a public market; (iii) companies that are in the process of filing their financial statements for the purpose of issuing any class of instruments in a public market; or (iv) companies that hold secondary licenses issued by regulatory agencies.

    SMEs are permitted to use PFRS for SMEs provided that they do not fall into one of the categories of entities listed above. Finally, micro-sized entities have option to use either income tax basis accounting standards effective 31 December 2004 (standards before entities transitioned to PFRS), or the PFRS for SMEs. Micro entities are entities with total assets and liabilities below PHP 3,000,000 (approximately US$70,000) and that are not otherwise required to file financial statements with the SEC.

    In addition, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; the Philippines Central Bank) has required all banks to follow PFRS since 2005.

    Auditing Framework

    While audit requirements are outlined in various legislations—SRC Rule 68, the National Internal Revenue Code, and the General Banking Code 2000—in sum, all companies in the Philippines must have their financial statements audited by a CPA. According to the Philippine Accountancy Act, this means a CPA member of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

    The BOA created the Auditing and Assurance Standards Council (AASC) in 2006 in order to adopt and disseminate applicable auditing standards in the Philippines. The AASC has adopted the Philippine Standards on Auditing, which are adopted from the ISA and pronouncements issued by the IAASB. The AASC will develop country-specific standards and practice statements to address specific auditing issues not covered by the IAASB pronouncements.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    The Republic Act (RA) 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act, as revised and enacted in 2004, stipulates that the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), which operates under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), is responsible for the regulation of professional accountants in the Philippines. In accordance with the act, the practice of accountancy encompasses work in public accountancy, commerce and industry, education/academe, and government.

    The Republic Act (RA) 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act outlines the procedures for individuals who wish to practice accountancy. Candidates must first pass a licensure examination administered by the BOA. In order to be eligible to sit for the examination, applicants must meet the following criteria: (i) be a Filipino citizen; (ii) be of good moral character; (iii) be a holder of the degree of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy conferred by a school, college, academy or institute duly recognized and/or accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) or other authorized government offices; and (iv) not been convicted of any criminal offense.

    Upon successfully completing the exam, individuals may be registered with the BOA and receive a Certificate of Registration from the BOA and a professional identification card issued by the BOA and the PRC. Once registered with the BOA as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), individuals must join an accredited, national professional accountancy organization of which there is only one in the Philippines—the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). Finally, candidates must then complete three years of meaningful practical experience in order to receive a Certificate of Accreditation from the BOA permitting them to publicly practice. CPAs in Public Practice (auditors) must renew their Certificate of Accreditation and professional identification card every three years with the BOA and the PRC and comply with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

    As outlined above, there are three entities involved in the regulation of professional accountants: the PRC, the BOA, and PICPA. Their respective responsibilities are as follows.

    The PRC operates under the offices of the President of the Philippines and its mandate is to regulate and supervise the practice of all professionals. The PRC administers the examination, accreditation, inspection and monitoring, and CPD procedures of all 43 professional bodies that encompass the fields of health, business, education, social sciences, engineering and technology and operate under the PRC’s supervision. In turn, the professional bodies are responsible for governing their respective professions’ practice and ethical standards. The professional body for accountancy is the BOA.

    The BOA, under the Republic Act (RA) 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act, is responsible for: (i) supervising the registration, licensing, and practice of accountancy in the Philippines; (ii) maintaining a registry of registered and accredited CPAs; (iii) issuing and renewing Certificates of Registration and Accreditation; (iv) adopting ethical, accounting and auditing standards, taking into consideration international standards and generally accepted best practices; (v) conducting quality assurance (QA) reviews; (vi) investigating violations of rules and regulations and issuing sanctions; (vi) preparing and issuing the syllabi of the subjects for examinations in consultation with the academe, preparing questions for the licensing examination; and administering and releasing the results of the examinations; (vii) ensuring all tertiary educational providers comply with policies and standards prescribed by the CHED.

    Thirdly, the PICPA is responsible for: (i) promoting and maintaining high professional and ethical standards among accountants by adopting a Code of Ethics for its members as a task delegated by the BOA; (ii) developing and improving the accountancy education; (iii) protecting the CPA designation; and (iv) carrying out the fact-finding component of investigations upon the delegation and approval of the BOA and the PRC.

    Finally, auditors of public interest entities are subject to additional requirements. Only individual external auditors and auditing firms that are accredited by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can perform statutory audits of financial statements of publicly listed SEC-registered entities. They are subject to the QA review system operated by the SEC and any penalties imposed by the SEC for lack of compliance with professional standards. Auditors providing services to banks or insurance or cooperatives are required to be accredited with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Insurance Commission and the Cooperative Development Authority of the Philippines, respectively.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    There is no independent audit oversight authority in the Philippines. As such, auditors are regulated at the state level by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), and at the professional level by the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). In order to offer auditing services in the Philippines, individuals must be registered and accredited by the BOA and PRC and be a member of PICPA. The respective mandates of the organizations as related to auditors are outlined below.

    The PRC operates under the offices of the President of the Philippines and its mandate is to regulate and supervise the practice of all professionals. The PRC administers the examination, accreditation, inspection and monitoring, and continuing professional development procedures of all 43 professional bodies that encompass the fields of health, business, education, social sciences, engineering and technology and operate under the PRC’s supervision. In turn, the professional bodies are responsible for governing their respective professions’ practice and ethical standards. The professional body for accounting and auditing is the BOA.

    The BOA, under the Republic Act (RA) 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act, is responsible for: (i) supervising the registration, licensing, and practice of accountancy in the Philippines; (ii) maintaining a registry of registered and accredited CPAs; (iii) issuing and renewing Certificates of Registration and Accreditation; (iv) adopting ethical and auditing standards, taking into consideration international standards and generally accepted best practices; (v) conducting quality assurance (QA) reviews; (vi) investigating violations of rules and regulations and issuing sanctions; (vi) preparing and issuing the syllabi of the subjects for examinations in consultation with the academe, preparing questions for the licensing examination; and administering and releasing the results of the examinations; (vii) ensuring all tertiary educational providers comply with policies and standards prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education.

    Thirdly, the PICPA is responsible for: (i) promoting and maintaining high professional and ethical standards among accountants by adopting a Code of Ethics for its members as a task delegated by the BOA; (ii) developing and improving the accountancy education; (iii) protecting the CPA designation; and (iv) carrying out the fact-finding component of investigations upon the delegation and approval of the BOA and the PRC.

    Lastly, auditors of public interest entities are subject to additional requirements. Only individual external auditors and auditing firms that are accredited by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can perform statutory audits of financial statements of publicly listed SEC-registered entities. They are subject to the QA review system operated by the SEC and to any penalties imposed by the SEC for lack of compliance with professional standards. Those who are auditing banks, insurance companies, or cooperatives, are required to be accredited with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Insurance Commission and the Cooperative Development Authority of the Philippines, correspondingly.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    The Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA)

    The PICPA was founded in 1929 and is the accredited professional accountancy organization by the Philippines Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Membership of the institute is mandatory for all professional accountants in the jurisdiction. The institute has a national office headquarters located in Manila and supports field offices throughout all regions of the country. It is primarily responsible for: (i) promoting and maintaining high professional and ethical standards among accountants by adopting a Code of Ethics for its members; (ii) developing and improving the accountancy education; (iii) protecting the CPA designation; and (iv) carrying out the fact-finding component of investigations upon the delegation and approval of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy and the PRC.

    In addition to being an IFAC Member, PICPA is also a member of Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA) and has led leadership roles in both CAPA and AFA in pursuit of their common objectives to develop the accountancy profession within the region.

  • Projects or Other Information

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    The Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), under the Republic Act 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act 2004, is responsible for setting quality control standards and establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system for all auditors while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is solely authorized to carry out QA reviews for auditors of listed companies as per the Securities Regulation Code Rule 68.

    The BOA created the Auditing and Assurance Standards Council (AASC) in 2006 in order to adopt and disseminate applicable quality control standards in the Philippines. The AASC has adopted the Philippine Standards on Quality Control, which is based on ISQC 1.

    In 2010, the BOA established a Quality Assurance Review Office (QARO) and its Quality Assurance Review Program (QARP), which were approved by the Professional Regulation Commission. The implementation of the QARP has been planned; however, key personnel that would carry out the functions of the QARO and the QARP are still being recruited and therefore no QA reviews have been carried out as of February 2018. Once the QARO is staffed for operations, it appears that the BOA will utilize a risk-based approach to conduct the reviews and its overall process will align with SMO 1 requirements.

    Due to the delay of the BOA’s QARP, the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) established a voluntary QARP (VQARP) for its members—which includes all auditors—with the assistance of the World Bank and the Association of Certified Public Accountants in Public Practice. Guidelines for the voluntary QARP were approved in January 2016 and PICPA began carrying out reviews in April 2016 although it has only been able to carry out a limited number of inspections due to the voluntary nature of the program. Its VQARP follows the same methodology as the BOA’s QA system.

    Lastly, the SEC operates the SEC Oversight Assurance Review (SOAR) Inspection program. A SEC Memorandum Circular No. 9 Series of 2017 issued in August 2017 will now permit the SEC to carry out onsite inspections of audit firms handling audits of listed companies. Prior to this, the SEC would do a desktop review of listed companies’ audited financial statements every three years and could impose penalties for material deficiencies. According to PICPA, the SOAR Inspection Program fulfills the SMO 1 best practices.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    The Republic Act 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act stipulates the initial professional development requirements for Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in the Philippines. These include specific education, examination, and practical experience requirements.

    The accountancy education programs and CPA examination are regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Tertiary education providers may offer accountancy programming that is in line with the requirements prescribed by the CHED while the examination is offered by the BOA.

    The Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) reports that the requirements outlined in the law are in line with the IES requirements. Further, it notes that the CHED issued several memorandums in 2017 that revise policies for university accountancy curricula to comply with the competency framework issued by the IAESB.

    The law also mandates that CPAs comply with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements issued by the BOA and approved by the PRC. CPD is required to be offered in coordination with the accredited national PAO—PICPA—and CPD providers must be accredited. For these purposes, the PRC has established a CPD Council.

    In November 2016, the BOA issued Board Resolution No. 358 Series of 2016, “Increasing the Required Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Units from Sixty (60) to One Hundred twenty (120) Credit Units within a Compliance Period of Three (3) Years for all CPAs and Changing the Thematic Areas to Competence Areas” to align with latest IES requirements. In July 2017, the BOA issued operational guidelines that made these requirements effective and by 2019, all CPAs will be required to comply with 120 hours of CPD.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    While audit requirements are outlined in various legislations, in sum, all companies in the Philippines must have their financial statements audited.

    The Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA) created the Auditing and Assurance Standards Council (AASC) in 2006 in order to adopt and disseminate applicable auditing standards in the Philippines.

    The AASC has adopted the Philippine Standards on Auditing (PSA) which incorporate the ISA and pronouncements issued by the IAASB and include additional country-specific standards to address issues not covered by IAASB pronouncements. In order for the new and revised PSA to become effective, the standards must be approved by AASC, the BOA, Professional Regulation Commission, and be published in the official gazette. At the time of the assessment, the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants reports that the 2016 ISA have been adopted as PSAs and are applicable in the jurisdiction.

    Finally, the AASC has also adopted Philippine Standards on Review Engagements, Philippine Standards on Assurance Engagements, Philippine Standards on Related Services, and Philippine Standards on Quality Control which are all based on the IAASB standards.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    While the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), in accordance with the Republic Act 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act 2004, is tasked with setting ethical requirements for the profession, this responsibility has been delegated to the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) as the national professional accountancy organization accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

    Ethical requirements for professional accountants are approved by PICPA’s Board of Directors and then submitted to the BOA for adoption and the PRC for approval prior to application.

    In December 2015, the PRC issued Resolution No. 263, which adopted the 2013 IESBA Code of Ethics without modifications as approved by PICPA.

    Subsequently, PICPA indicates that its Board of Directors submitted BOD Resolution No. 2017-07-08 to the BOA recommending the adoption of the 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics. The BOA has approved the recommendation with the stipulation that the PRC shall put in place the appropriate mechanism to implement the NOCLAR standard. However, it is not clear if the PRC has formally issued a resolution approving the 2016 IESBA Code for application in the jurisdiction as of the date of the assessment.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    Presidential Decree No. 898 1976 has given the Commission on Audit (COA) the authority and power on all matters relating to auditing and accounting procedures, systems, and controls for the Philippine government.

    In 2014, the COA issued Resolution No. 2014-003 adopting the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards (PPSAS) that are aligned with the IPSAS.

    The PPSAS were first based on the 2012 accrual-basis IPSAS developed by the IPSASB accompanied by a Philippine Application Guidance for cases in which IPSAS deviate from the Philippine regulatory or legislative environment. As of 2015, 28 out of 32 IPSAS were adopted as PPSAS.

    In April 2017, the COA issued Resolution No. 2017-006 which prescribed the adoption of additional six PPSAS and updated the PPSAS prescribed through COA Resolution No. 2014-003 in accordance with the 2016 IPSAS.

    The PPSAS apply to all National Government Agencies, Local Government Units and Government-Owned and/or Controlled Corporations not considered as Government Business Enterprises (GBEs). COA issued Circular 2015-003, which states that accounting standards for GBEs are the Philippine Financial Reporting Standards and relevant standards issued by the Financial Reporting Standards Council, the Professional Board of Accountancy, and Professional Regulation Commission.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    The Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA), under the Republic Act 9298, Philippine Accountancy Act 2004, is responsible for the investigation and discipline (I&D) of any violations of the accountancy law by any professional accountant. The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) is ultimately responsible for approving any sanction recommended by the BOA.

    The BOA and the PRC may delegate the fact-finding component of investigations to the nationally accredited professional accountancy organization which is the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). The BOA and PRC may then proceed with adopting PICPA’s findings and issuing sanctions as it sees fit.

    PICPA’s by-laws provide for the establishment of an Ethics Board which may hear and decide cases on: (i) violations of the PICPA Constitution and By-laws; (ii) a breach of the Code of Ethics; (iii) infringements of any provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the BOA; and (iv) a violation of any of the rules provided by the Rules and Regulations of the BOA. The Ethics Board will forward its decision onto the PICPA Board and the BOA, unless the decision of the Ethics Board has been appealed to the PICPA Board in which case it is the duty of the PICPA Board to forward its final decision to the BOA. The BOA may then recommend a sanction which is approved by the PRC before becoming final.

    Lastly, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is authorized to carry out investigations and issue penalties for auditors of listed companies as per the Securities Regulation Code Rule 68. Through a Memorandum of Understanding between the SEC and the BOA, the SEC’s findings are also forwarded to the BOA as appropriate given that the BOA issues and grants licenses to practice auditing.

    In 2018, the PICPA carried out an extensive assessment of all three I&D systems against the SMO 6 components. The information can be found in its 2018 SMO Action Plan and indicates that a gap remains between linking results of quality assurance (QA) reviews with the BOA’s and PICPA’s I&D system as only the SEC has an operational QA review system.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    In 2006, the Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC) was created by the Board of Accountancy (BOA), a government agency operating under the Philippines Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), to adopt and promulgate applicable corporate accounting standards in the Philippines. The FRSC has adopted the IFRS as the Philippine Financial Reporting Standards (PFRS) with several limited modifications and the PFRS for Small-and Medium-sized Entities (PFRS for SMEs) which are the IFRS for SMEs without modifications.

    The PFRS are subject to the approval and pronouncement process of the BOA, PRC, and the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which includes issuing invitations for comments on exposure drafts, adoption of the standard, BOA and PRC approval, publication in an official gazette, and SEC adoption of the new pronouncement. As of December 2017, the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants reports that the FRSC has adopted all standards as issued by the IASB such that the PFRS are fully converged with the IFRS.

    The SEC has established a three-tier financial reporting framework. Public interest entities must apply the full PFRS if they meet certain thresholds. SMEs are permitted to use PFRS for SMEs provided that they do not fall into one of the categories of entities required to use full PFRS. Finally, micro-sized entities have option to use either income tax basis accounting standards effective 31 December 2004 (standards before entities transitioned to PFRS), or the PFRS for SMEs.

    In addition, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP; the Philippines Central Bank) has required all banks to follow PFRS since 2005.

    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: 04/2018
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