Spain

Member Organizations

Member Organization Associate Other PAOs

  Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

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

    The Code of Commerce establishes the obligation for companies to keep books of accounts and provides the basic legal framework for accounting. As stipulated in the Code of Commerce, all companies must prepare financial statements in accordance with the Spanish General Accounting Plan (Spanish GAAP) and file these with the Mercantile Register. In accordance with the Royal Decree 302/1989, the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC), an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MoEIC), is responsible for proposing a Spanish GAAP adapted to EU Regulations and harmonized with EU-endorsed standards.

    Throughout the 2000s, Spanish accounting legislation was amended in order to adapt to international standards and the EU accounting requirements. Since 2005, publicly traded companies have been required to prepare their consolidated financial statements in accordance with EU-endorsed IFRS following the EU Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002. In 2007, Royal Decree 1514/2007 approved the revised Spanish GAAP for separate statements of all companies and in 2010 the Royal Decree 1159/2010 approved the Spanish GAAP for consolidated annual statements. In addition, Royal Decree 1515/2007 approved the Spanish GAAP for SMEs and a Spanish GAAP for micro-entities for eligible companies. The above mentioned decrees were amended by the Royal Decree 602/2016, to transpose the EU Audit Directive 2013/34. There are some differences between the IFRS and Spanish GAAP.

    The auditing requirements are set in the Law 22/2015 which transposes the EU Audit Directive 2014/56 and EU Regulation 2014/537. The Law stipulates that the Spanish Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (Spanish GAAS) include international auditing standards as adopted by the EU. The Law stipulates that Spanish GAAS are ISA adapted for their application in Spain, and also include Spain-based technical standards, Law 22/ 2015 and its Regulation, Royal Decree 1517/2011).

    The recognized professional accountancy organizations draft the Spanish GAAS which are based on ISA (NIA-ES as adopted in Spain). The ICAC formally approves and publishes the standards and requires all companies to apply them. In practice, as reported by the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España, the ICAC adopted the 2009 ISA translated into Spanish by Resolution in 2013, effective for audits of financial statements starting on or after the 1st of January 2014.The new auditor’s report was adopted by Resolution in December 2016, effective for audits of annual financial statements starting on or after June 17, 2016.

    The Law 22/2015 requires all PIEs, including, among others, listed entities, credit institutions, insurance companies, and financial brokerage companies, to undergo a mandatory audit and appoint of a statutory auditor. In addition, companies that meet at least two of the following characteristics in two consecutive years, are required have their financial statements audited: (i) balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 2.85 million; (ii) net turnover not exceeding EUR 5.7 million; and (iii) average number of employees exceeds 50 for the financial year.

    In addition, PIEs are required to file their financial statements with its respective regulator—the Bank of Spain, the National Securities Market Commission, or the Directorate-General of Insurance and Pension Funds.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    The audit profession is regulated in Spain by the Law 22/2015. The Law establishes initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD, respectively) requirements, a quality assurance (QA) review system, and an investigation and discipline (I&D) mechanism. The Law empowers the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC), an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, to oversee the audit profession. Candidates who wish to acquire the title of auditor are required to meet specific requirements defined in the Law such as: obtaining a university degree, passing a final exam, completing practical experience, and fulfilling CPD requirements. The ICAC maintains an Official Registry of Auditors and auditors are required to be registered in order to practice.

    ICAC’s further responsibilities include: (i) authorizing auditors and audit firms to be registered in the Official Registry of Auditors and maintaining the Official Registry; (ii) adopting ethical standards and internal control standards for the auditing profession which are drafted by the recognized professional accountancy organizations, (iii) proposing technical auditing standards in accordance with the terms of the Law 22/2015 if the recognized professional accountancy organizations fail to propose the standards, and ensuring compliance; (iv) proposing a Spanish General Accounting Plan adapted to EU Regulations; (v) monitoring and overseeing auditors’ fulfillment of CPD requirements; (vi) establishing and operating a quality assurance (QA) review system for audits; and (vii) carrying out I&D procedures for auditors, among others.

    In addition, auditors may voluntary join a professional accountancy organization (PAO) and therefore become subject to the membership requirements of the PAO. The Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE) is a PAO that unites auditors and firms on a voluntary basis. In order to be considered for membership, the ICJCE requires candidates to be registered on the ICAC’s Official Registry of Auditors. The ICJCE establishes ethical standards, investigates and disciplines its members, promotes the adoption and implementation of international standards, represents and promotes the auditing profession, develops training activities, and promotes improvements to professional practices.

    Other accounting activities, such as tax-advisory, bookkeeping, consulting or accounting, do not require qualifications, and are therefore not regulated.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    The Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—as established by the Royal Decree No. 302 of 1989 and empowered by the Law 22/2015 is the public audit oversight entity in Spain.

    ICAC’s scope of responsibilities include the following: (i) authorizing auditors and audit firms to be registered in the Official Registry of Auditors and maintaining the Official Registry; (ii) adopting ethical standards and internal control standards for the auditing profession which are drafted by the recognized professional accountancy organizations, (iii) proposing technical auditing standards in accordance with the terms of the Law 22/2015 if the recognized professional accountancy organizations fail to propose the standards, and ensuring compliance with the standards; (iv) proposing a Spanish General Accounting Plan adapted to European Regulations; (v) monitoring and overseeing auditors’ fulfillment of CPD requirements; (vi) establishing and operating a quality assurance (QA) review system for audits; and (vii) carrying out I&D procedures for auditors, among others.

    The ICAC is a member of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators and the Committee of European Auditing Oversight Bodies.

    In addition, individuals that offer auditing services may voluntarily join a professional accountancy organization (PAO) and therefore be subject to the membership requirements of the PAO. The Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de Españais a PAO that unites auditors and firms on a voluntary basis. The ICJCE establishes ethical standards and investigates and disciplines its members.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    The Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE)

    The ICJCE, established in 1942, unites auditors and firms on a voluntary basis. The ICJCE establishes ethical standards, investigates and disciplines its members, promotes the adoption and implementation of international standards, represents and promotes the auditing profession, develops trainings activities, and promotes improvements to professional practices.

    In addition to being an IFAC Member, the ICJCE is a member of Accountancy Europe (formerly known as the Federation of European Accountants ).

    The Consejo General De Economistas de España (CGCEE)

    The CGCEE unites professionals with a university degree in Economics, Business Administration or Commerce on a voluntary basis. Some of CGCEE’s members provide accountancy services, such as tax-advisory, bookkeeping, consulting or accounting. No other information is available.

  • Projects or Other Information

    In 2015 the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España and the Consejo General De Economistas de España established a voluntary Registry for Accounting Experts . Given that only auditors are regulated by law, the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) to represent other accountancy professionals. Through the MoU, the institutes have established minimum initial professional development requirements, such as professional education and practical experience. Although the registry is not legally recognized, the organizations have established a board that evaluates candidates applying to the register.

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    In Spain, a mandatory quality assurance (QA) review system has existed since 1993. In accordance with the Law 22/2015, the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—is responsible for adopting and implementing a QA review system in the jurisdiction. The ICAC has adopted the ISQC 1 and ISA 220.

    Under the Law 22/2015, the scope of ICAC’s QA system includes reviews of all audit firms and individual auditors of public interest entities (PIEs) as well as non-PIEs. However, as reported by the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE), if the ICAC does not have enough resources to fulfil its annual plan, it may delegate the “instrumental tasks” of non-PIE audit inspections to the recognized professional accountancy organizations. The ICJCE expects to renew its agreement with ICAC in 2018 to collaborate in the non-PIE reviews under the responsibility and supervision of the ICAC. The ICJCE reports that the QA review systems in the jurisdiction fulfill all the requirements of SMO 1.

    The ICJCE additionally notes that the Law 22/2015 does not include a definition of “instrumental tasks” and therefore, future responsibilities in this area are still to be formally determined.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    The Law 22/2015 establishes the initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements for auditors. Candidates who wish to acquire the title of auditor are required to meet specific requirements defined in the Law such as: obtaining a university degree, passing a final exam, completing practical experience, and fulfilling CPD requirements.

    The Law authorizes the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—to approve IPD and CPD providers.

    The Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España—a professional accountancy organization that unites auditors and firms on a voluntary basis in the country—reports that ICAC has not yet incorporated the requirements of revised 2015 IES—which emphasize learning outcomes—into its national educational requirements.

    Other accounting activities, such as tax-advisory, bookkeeping, consulting or accounting do not require qualifications, and are therefore not regulated.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    The Law 22/2015 stipulates that the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC), an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, is the entity responsible for adopting Spanish Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (Spanish GAAS) for all companies. The Law stipulates that Spanish GAAS are ISA adapted for their application in Spain, and also include Spain-based technical standards, Law 22/ 2015 and its Regulation, Royal Decree 1517/2011).

    The recognized professional accountancy organizations draft the Spanish GAAS which are based on ISA (NIA-ES as adopted in Spain). The ICAC formally approves and publishes the standards and requires all companies to apply them. In practice, as reported by the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España, the ICAC adopted the 2009 ISA translated into Spanish by Resolution in 2013, effective for audits of financial statements starting on or after the 1st of January 2014. The new auditor’s report was adopted by Resolution in December 2016, effective for audits of annual financial statements starting on or after June 17, 2016.

    The Law 22/2015 requires all public interest entities (PIEs), which includes listed entities, credit institutions, insurance companies, and financial brokerage companies, to undergo a mandatory audit and appoint of statutory auditor. In addition, companies that meet at least two of the following characteristics in two consecutive years, are required to have their financial statements audited: (i) balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 2.85 million; (ii) net turnover not exceeding EUR 5.7 million; and/or (iii) average number of employees exceeds 50 for the financial year.

    The ICJCE reports that ISA requirements have been adopted on an ongoing basis, although there may be some differences regarding the effective date due to the translation and adaptation process.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    In Spain, only auditors are mandated by law to adhere to ethical requirements. The Law 22/2015 grants authority to the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—to adopt ethical requirements for auditors which are drafted by the recognized professional accountancy organizations, except for the independence requirements which are stated by Law. In Spain, the general ethical requirements and independence requirements are set in the Law 22/2015, which the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE)—a professional accountancy organization that voluntarily unites auditors in the country—reports are more restrictive than what is contained in the 2009 IESBA Code as related to independence requirements, and that the Law also authorizes the ICAC to establish further ethical requirements in the form of ethics standards. However, the ICAC has not yet adopted a set of ethics standards for auditors.

    The ICJCE adopted a Code of Ethics for its own members which includes the general principles of the 2014 IESBA Code of Ethics. In addition, the ICJCE indicates that it is translating the 2018 version of the IESBA Code of Ethics. The requirements are in place for those professionals who voluntarily become members.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is responsible for establishing public sector accounting standards in Spain. In 2010, the MoF adopted National Public Sector Accounting Standards for all public sector entities, which are based on accrual IPSAS. Further clarification is needed regarding the version of IPSAS used as a basis to prepare national standards and if the MoF has established ongoing processes to incorporate amendments and updates to the standards.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    In accordance with the Law 22/2015, the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—is responsible for investigating and disciplining (I&D) auditors in Spain. The ICAC has established an I&D system. The ICJCE reports that ICAC’s I&D procedures fulfill the requirements of the SMO 6.

    In addition, the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE)—a professional accountancy organization that unites auditors on a voluntary basis— carries out I&D procedures for its respective members. The ICJCE reports that its system is aligned with the main requirements of SMO 6.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    The Code of Commerce establishes the obligation for companies to keep books of accounts and provides the basic legal framework for accounting. As stipulated in the Code of Commerce, all companies must prepare financial statements in accordance with the Spanish General Accounting Plan (Spanish GAAP) and file these with the Mercantile Register. In accordance with the Royal Decree 302/1989, the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC), an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, is responsible for proposing a Spanish GAAP adapted to EU Regulations and harmonized with EU-endorsed standards.

    Throughout the 2000s, Spanish accounting legislation was amended in order to adapt to international standards and the EU accounting requirements. Since 2005, publicly traded companies have been required to prepare their consolidated financial statements in accordance with EU-endorsed IFRS following the EU Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002. In 2007, Royal Decree 1514/2007 approved the revised Spanish GAAP for separate statements of all companies and since 2010 the Royal Decree 1159/2010 approved the Spanish GAAP for consolidated annual statements. In addition, Royal Decree 1515/2007 approved the Spanish GAAP for SMEs and a Spanish GAAP for micro-entities for eligible companies. All these decrees were amended by the Royal Decree 602/2016, to transpose the EU Audit Directive 2013/34. There are some differences between the IFRS and Spanish GAAP. For example, Spanish GAAP are set out in a series of 'accounting plans' and there are specific publications for particular sectors such as non-for-profit organizations, energy and construction.

    Current Status: Partially 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: 10/2018
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