Tunisia

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  Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie

Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Overview of Statuatory Framework for Accounting and Auditing

    Several pieces of legislation define the corporate financial reporting framework in Tunisia.

    Accounting Framework

    Law 96-112 on the Enterprise Accounting System outlines the conceptual framework for accounting. It establishes the Conseil National de la Comptabilité (CNC) as an advisory body to the Ministry of Finance, with responsibility for setting accounting standards.

    The CNC issued Tunisian Accounting Standards (TAS), which are not aligned with IFRS, for application in Tunisia. TAS are enacted by the Ministry of Finance via Ministerial Orders. All entities are required to apply TAS in the preparation of financial statements. Regulators, such as the Central Bank of Tunisia, supplement the accounting requirements in the TAS with limited additional accounting regulations for entities that fall within their purview. The Conseil du Marché Financier and the Central Bank of Tunisia review and enforce appropriate application of accounting standards in listed entities and credit institutions in accordance with Law 94-117 and Law 2016-48, respectively, while the Ministry of Finance enforces the standards for insurance companies.

    Auditing Framework

    After new legislation – Decree No. 1546-2006 – was passed in 2006 that overhauled the auditing practice profession, the Law on Commercial Companies was revised to stipulate that statutory audits are required for joint stock companies and limited liability corporations that meet two of the following three criteria: (i) total assets equal to or above 100,000 Tunisian Dinars (TND); (ii) total revenues excluding taxes equal to or above TND 300,000; and (iii) average number of employees equal to or above 10. Additionally, non-government organizations that have a budget equal to or above 100,000 TND and all state-owned enterprises are also required to appoint a statutory auditor.

    Applicable auditing standards for all statutory audits are ISA as adopted by the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) and approved by the Ministry of Finance in accordance with a decree issued by the Ministry of Finance in 2003. In November 2016, OECT reports that it adopted the 2016 ISA as issued by the IAASB and translated into French by CPA Canada. The version becomes effective beginning December 15, 2017 although early application is recommended. In January 206, OECT also adopted ISRE 2410, ISAE3400, & ISRS4400 as translated by the Instituut van de Bedrijfsrevisoren–Institut des Réviseurs d'Entreprises of Belgium.

  • Regulation of Accountancy Profession

    The laws related to the accounting profession in Tunisia authorize the professional accounting organizations in the jurisdiction to self-regulate the profession. The Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) was established in 1982 and is currently governed under Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession while the Compagnie des Comptables (CCT) was created in 2002 in accordance with Law 2002-16 on the Accounting Profession. The OECT is responsible for regulating Chartered Accountants, while the CCT is authorized to regulate its members who are Accounting Technicians. The requirements set by each institute are subject to final approval and oversight by the Ministry of Finance and membership in one of the institutes is mandatory in order to offer accounting and auditing services in Tunisia.

    There are two qualifications in Tunisia: Accounting Technician and Chartered Accountant. In order for individuals to qualify as an Accounting Technician, candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree, and complete a yearlong internship. Individuals are then eligible for CCT membership and CCT will issue a license to practice. Following the passage of Decree 1546-2006, CCT members may conduct audits for non-public interest entities (PIEs) and limited companies that are under the following thresholds: (i) (i) total assets equal to or above 1,500,000 Tunisian Dinars (TND); (ii) total revenues excluding taxes equal to or above TND 2,000,000; and (iii) average number of employees equal to or above 30.

    For the designation of Chartered Accountant, individuals fulfill the initial professional development (IPD) requirements stipulated in Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession, which are to complete a five year accounting program and pass the national exam organized by the Ministry of Education. Decree 95–2604, as amended in 2015, authorizes the Ministry of Higher Education to organize the examination and certification processes. Universities deliver the required professional accountancy programs, and collaborate with the OECT to update and improve the curriculum. Individuals are then required to complete three years of practical experience with at least two years under the supervision of an OECT member. Furthermore, during the practical experience period, candidates are required to complete 40 training hours annually with 20 of those hours at the OECT internal training institute, the Institut de Formation de la Profession Comptable (IFPC). After the internship period, a dissertation must be prepared and defended in a university. Individuals are then eligible to become a OECT member and have the legal authority to conduct statutory audits for PIEs that are defined as: (i) credit institutions; (ii) investment funds; (iii) listed on the Tunisian Stock Exchange; and (iv) an association authorized to grant microcredit, among others; as well as companies that exceed the abovementioned size criteria.

    The OECT’s mandate includes: (i) setting auditing standards for the jurisdiction; (ii) setting ethical standards for its members; (iii) overseeing the practical experience component of the IPD requirements; (iv) setting continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for members; (v) supporting the quality assurance reviews of all statutory audits carried out by the Control Committee; and (vi) investigating and disciplining its members through the Control Committee. The requirements established by OECT are subject to final approval from the Ministry of Finance.

    The Control Committee was established by Law 88-108 as an independent body and it was intended to serve as a public oversight body, subject to supervision by the Ministry of Finance. However, the Committee is fully funded by the OECT, 50% of the Committee is comprised of OECT members, it is supported administratively by the OECT Secretariat, and review team members are drawn from the profession.

    The CCT is responsible for the following activities in regards to its members: (i) setting CPD requirements for its members; (ii) issuing a Code of Professional Duties for its members (iii) investigating and disciplining its members; (iv) licensing its members to practice; (v) ensuring that members of the profession comply with all professional rules and obligations; and (vi) representing and encouraging the development of the accountancy profession in Tunisia. The requirements established by the CCT are subject to final approval from the Ministry of Finance.

    Finally, regulators require that auditors of regulated entities report directly to them on any matter that they become aware of that could threaten the viability of the entity. Law 2016-48 (that replaced Law 2001-65) on Credit Institutions outlines the relationship between bank auditors and the Central Bank and Law 94-117 does the same for auditors of listed entities and the Conseil du Marché Financier. In addition, the Central Bank of Tunisia has authority to temporarily or permanently prohibit a statutory auditor form conducting audits of credit institutions. Lastly, the Insurance Law requires auditors to report matters that come to their attention during the course of the audit that could threaten the viability of the insurance company to the Ministry of Finance.

  • Audit Oversight Arrangements

    There is no independent oversight authority in Tunisia and auditors are regulated at the professional level by the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) and the Compagnie des Comptables (CCT). The OECT was established under Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession while the CCT was created in 2002 in accordance with Law 2002-16 on the Accounting Profession. The OECT is responsible for regulating Chartered Accountants, while the CCT is authorized to regulate its members who are Accounting Technicians. Membership in one of the institutes is mandatory in order to offer auditing services in Tunisia.

    OECT’s Chartered Accountants are the only individuals permitted to conduct statutory audits of public interest entities (PIEs) that are defined as: (i) credit institutions; (ii) investment funds; (iii) listed on the Tunisian Stock Exchange; and (iv) an association authorized to grant microcredit, among others, as well as companies that exceed the following size thresholds: (i) total assets equal to or above 1.500.000 Tunisian Dinars (TND); (ii) total revenues excluding taxes equal to or above TND 2.000.000; and (iii) average number of employees equal to or above 30.

    Following the passage of Decree 1546-2006, Accountant Technicians, members of CCT, may conduct audits for non-PIEs and companies that are under the abovementioned thresholds.

    The OECT’s mandate includes: (i) setting auditing standards for the jurisdiction; (ii) setting ethical standards for its members; (iii) overseeing the practical experience component of the initial professional development (IPD) requirements; (iv) setting continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for members; (v) supporting the quality assurance reviews of all statutory audits carried out by the Control Committee; and (vi) investigating and disciplining its members through the Control Committee. The requirements established by OECT are subject to final approval from the Ministry of Finance.

    The Control Committee was established by Law 88-108 as an independent body and it was intended to serve as a public oversight body, subject to supervision by the Ministry of Finance. However, the Committee is fully funded by the OECT, 50% of the Committee is comprised of OECT members, it is supported administratively by the OECT Secretariat, and review team members are drawn from the profession. For these and other reasons, such as challenges implementing a QA review system that is compliant with SMO 1, the OECT and Control Committee are currently working to revise the QA review system and develop a fully independent public oversight body named the Institute of Assurance Services Control. In this regard, the OECT has indicated in the 2016 SMO Action Plan update that adoption of an action plan by key stakeholders is under discussion as part of the reform of the accounting profession as a whole.

    The CCT is responsible for the following activities in regards to its members: (i) setting CPD requirements for its members; (ii) issuing a Code of Professional Duties for its members (iii) investigating and disciplining its members; (iv) licensing its members to practice; (v) ensuring that members of the profession comply with all professional rules and obligations; and (ii) representing and encouraging the development of the accountancy profession in Tunisia. The requirements established by the CCT are subject to final approval from the Ministry of Finance.

  • Professional Accountancy Organizations

    Compagnie des Comptables (CCT)

    The CCT was established in 2002 in accordance with Law 2002-16 on the Accounting Profession and is subject to the oversight of the Ministry of Finance. Membership of the society is primarily comprised of Accounting Technicians who, following the passage of Decree 1546-2006, may conduct audits for non-public interest entities (PIEs) and companies that are under certain size thresholds. The CCT is responsible for: (i) setting continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members; (ii) issuing a Code of Professional Duties for its members (iii) investigating and disciplining its members; (iv) licensing its members to practice; (v) ensuring that members of the profession comply with all professional rules and obligations; and (vi) representing and encouraging the development of the accountancy profession in Tunisia. CCT is not a Member of IFAC.

    Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT)

    The OECT was established in 1982 and is currently governed by Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession. OECT is subject to oversight by the Ministry of Finance and its mandate includes: (i) setting auditing standards for the jurisdiction; (ii) setting ethical standards for its members; (iii) overseeing the practical experience component of the initial professional development requirements; (iv) setting CPD requirements for members; (v) supporting the quality assurance reviews of all statutory audits carried out by the Control Committee; (vi) investigating and disciplining its members through the Control Committee; and (vii) ensuring appropriate functioning of the accountancy industry. Its membership consists of Chartered Accountants who are the only individuals are permitted to conduct statutory audits for PIEs and companies over a certain size threshold in Tunisia.

    OECT is a Member of IFAC and the following regional organizations: the Arab Federation of Accountants and Auditors, the Pan African Federation of Accountants, the Federation of Mediterranean Accountants, and the International Federation of Francophone Accountants.

  • Projects or Other Information

    The Ministry of Finance, with an assistance of the World Bank, has commenced a study related to the reform of the audit and accounting profession. The study covers a wide range of topics and may lead to major changes in the quality assurance review system, standard-setting process, continuing professional development, and more. A draft action plan was submitted to the Ministry in October 2015 and as of February 2017, the draft is still under discussion.

Adoption of International Standards

  • Quality Assurance

    According to Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession, the Control Committee is responsible for the establishment of a quality assurance (QA) review system. The Control Committee, while formally independent from the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT), is fully funded by the OECT, 50% of the Control Committee is comprised with OECT members, it is supported administratively by the OECT Secretariat, and review team members are drawn from the profession.

    OECT reports that it adopted the 2009 official French version of ISQC 1 and a QA review system, which is in line with the SMO 1 requirements, has been established and is operational. Reviews are done every three years, however, the scope of mandatory QA reviews includes legal audit services and no other assurance services.

    The OECT and the Control Committee are in the process of revising the QA review system in order to establish a fully independent public oversight body. In this regard, the OECT has indicated that, with the assistance of the World Bank, an action plan was prepared in June 2015 and as of June 2017, the draft plan is still under discussion as part of the overall accounting profession reform project with the new Tunisian Ministry of Finance.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • International Education Standards

    In Tunisia, initial professional development (IPD) requirements are set in law with universities delivering the required professional accountancy programs and the professional accountancy organizations in the jurisdiction implement the IPD requirements.

    Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession stipulates the IPD requirements and Decree 95–2604, as amended in 2015, authorizes the Ministry of Higher Education to organize the examination and certification process. As of June 2017, the current IPD system is being revised in accordance with the IES and is expected to be in force during the next academic year.

    The Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) is responsible for overseeing the work experience component of the IPD program, and setting continuous professional development (CPD) requirements for its members, which are subject to approval by the Ministry of Finance. Accordingly, the institute adopted CPD requirements, which it reports are compliant with IES 7 and 8.

    The Compagnie des Comptables is responsible for setting the CPD requirements for its members–Accounting Technicians that may conduct audits of non-public interest. However, it is not clear if the requirements are in line with those of the IES.

    While some of the IES requirements appear to be adopted in the jurisdiction, the alignment of the national IPD and CPD requirements for all professional accountants in Tunisia with those of IES needs to be clarified. To this effect, OECT reports that it plans to undertake a gap analysis of current IPD and CPD requirements against those of IES.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Standards on Auditing

    In Tunisia, applicable auditing standards for all financial statements audits are ISA as adopted by the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) and approved by the Ministry of Finance in accordance with a decree issued by the Ministry of Finance in 2003.

    In November 2016, OECT adopted the 2016 ISA as issued by the IAASB and translated into French by CPA Canada. The version becomes effective beginning December 15, 2017 although early application is recommended. In January 2016, OECT also adopted ISRE 2410, ISAE3400, & ISRS4400 as translated by the Instituut van de Bedrijfsrevisoren–Institut des Réviseurs d'Entreprises of Belgium.

    Current Status: Adopted

  • Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

    The professional accounting organizations in Tunisia each establish ethical requirements for their members, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Finance.

    In accordance with Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession, the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for its members who are Chartered Accountants. In January 2016, the OECT adopted the 2009 IESBA Code of Ethics that was translated into French by the Conseil Supérieur de l’Ordre des Experts-Comptables and the Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes without any modifications. OECT reports that it will establish plans to review the 2016 IESBA Code, which includes the new NOCLAR standard. However, OECT notes that the Tunisian Companies Law already contains some ethical provisions, which are more restrictive than those of the new NOCLAR standard. For example, an auditor may face criminal charges if they do not disclose to the procurer any non-compliance with legislations.

    The Compagnie des Comptables (CCT), under Law 2002-16, is responsible for setting ethical requirements for its members–Accounting Technicians who may act as auditors of non-public interest entities. CCT members are subject to the CCT-issued Code of Professional Duties; however it is not clear if it is aligned with the IESBA Code of Ethics.

    Additional ethical requirements for professional accountants are set in other Tunisian laws, such as the Financial Securities Law and the abovementioned Companies Law.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Public Sector Accounting Standards

    The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards under the Public Accounting Code Law No. 73-81.

    IPSAS have not been adopted in Tunisia; however, in 2016 the Ministry of Finance established an IPSAS Council for the exploration of adoption and implementation of IPSAS. The Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie reports that it is working on a draft law that would require application of IPSAS and a pilot project to implement IPSAS at the local government level.

    Current Status: Not Adopted

  • Investigation and Discipline

    Investigation and discipline (I&D) procedures for professional accountants in Tunisia are carried out by their respective professional accountancy organizations.

    In accordance with Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession, the Control Committee is responsible for ensuring that members of the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) comply with the rules, regulations, and standards of the profession. While formally independent from the OECT, the Control Committee is fully funded by the OECT, 50% of the Control Committee is comprised of OECT members, and it is supported administratively by the OECT Secretariat.

    The Control Committee forwards cases of non-compliance to the Disciplinary Chamber of OECT, which is comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Justice, and three professionals who are not OECT board members. OECT notes that while the current I&D system complies with many aspects of the requirements in SMO 6, the full incorporation of all SMO 6 requirements is still pending. However, these enhancements would require legislative changes. Therefore, OECT drafted a new law that would enable it to implement the necessary changes, and as of June 2017, due to the successive transitions of government authorities, OECT is awaiting the draft law’s approval.

    The Compagnie des Comptables, under Law 2002-16, is responsible for ensuring that its members–Accounting Technicians who may act as auditors of non-public interest entities–are complying with all professional standards and obligations; however, it is not clear if it has established and operates its own I&D system that is line with SMO 6 requirements.

    Current Status: Partially Adopted

  • International Financial Reporting Standards

    The Law 96-112 on the Enterprise Accounting System establishes the Conseil National de la Comptabilité with responsibility to review and issue accounting standards subject to approval by the Ministry of Finance.

    All entities are required to apply national accounting standards–Tunisian Accounting Standards–in the preparation of their financial statements, which are not aligned with IFRS.

    IFRS and IFRS for SMEs have not been adopted in Tunisia and there are no stated plans to adopt IFRS in the near future.

    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: 07/2017
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