Member | Established: 1990 | Member since 1984
BICA was established in 1990 following the adoption of the Accountants Act 1988, which has subsequently been repealed and replaced by the Accountants Act 2010, as the body responsible for regulating the accountancy profession under the oversight of the Botswana Accountant Oversight Authority. The BICA is a mandatory membership organization comprising auditors, accountants, and firms. The institute’s responsibilities are to: (i) establish, develop, and implement the Botswana Professional Accountancy Qualification; (ii) establish and monitor compliance with initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements; (iii) oversee professional examinations; (iv) implement an quality assurance review system for Non-Audit Member Firms who are not Certified Auditors; (v) establish and publish of a Code of Ethics in line with the IESBA’s Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants; (vi) investigate and discipline members for professional misconduct; and (vii) maintain registers of professional accountants, distinguishing between practicing certificate and non-practicing certificate holders, and member firms. In addition to being a member of IFAC, BICA is a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants.
Statements of Membership Obligation (SMO)
The Statements of Membership Obligations form the basis of the IFAC Member Compliance Program. They serve as a framework for credible and high-quality professional accountancy organizations focused on serving the public interest by adopting, or otherwise incorporating, and supporting implementation of international standards and maintaining adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure the professional behavior of their individual members.
SMO 1: Quality Assurance
The Accountants Act 2010 as amended and the Financial Reporting Act 2010 as amended require the establishment of mandatory quality assurance (QA) review systems for non-audits and audits in Botswana respectively.
With the passage of the Financial Reporting Act 2010, the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) was established and authorized to conduct QA reviews the audits of public interest entities (PIEs). Subsequently in April 2022, the Accountants (Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Financial Reporting (Amendment) Act, 2020 became effective and transferred the responsibility of QA reviews of non-PIE auditors from BICA to the BAOA as well. A transitional working group was created to ensure a coordinated transition process whereby all BICA’s files on certified auditors were handed over to the BAOA. BICA indicates that the BAOA’s procedures meet the SMO 1 benchmark and that relevant standards (now ISQM 1, 2, and ISA 220 (revised)) are applicable.
BICA will carry out inspections of non-audit firms using SMO 1 as best practice. QA reviews include a selection of engagement files for inspections and evaluation against reporting framework or engagement performance framework. BICA will review firms on a five-year cyclical basis. As of August 2023, a total of 224 reviews had been conducted. These included 162 first reviews, 53 second reviews and 9 third reviews. One (1) firm that was rated unsatisfactory from the first to third review has been referred for enforcement with the Disciplinary Committee.
BICA continues its ongoing efforts to raise awareness and educate its members about QA and compliance with ISQM standards. BICA assists members in improving audit quality using the results of the reviews and offers training on undergoing practice reviews and on how to address weaknesses identified during reviews for its members.
As of 2018, per amendments to the Financial Intelligence Act (FIA), the BICA is a supervisory authority for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and Arms of War Proliferation (CFTP). Accordingly, BICA has established an independent AML/CFTP Supervisory Committee and introduced an inspection program related to AML/CFTP responsibilities. Owing to efforts by various stakeholders including BICA and the accountancy sector to implement AML/CFTP legislation, Botswana was removed from FATF Grey List.
BICA conducts training on various topics related to AML/CFTP throughout the year. Topics include institutional risk assessment, specified party obligations, beneficial ownership, identification and reporting of suspicious transactions. While some trainings are conducted solely by BICA, collaborations done with various stakeholders like Financial Intelligence Agency.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In accordance with the Accountants Act 2010 as amended, the BICA may set specific initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD respectively) for professional accountants under the oversight of the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA), which was created by the Financial Reporting Act 2010 as amended.
BICA has undertaken several initiatives to ensure that national accountancy education requirements are aligned with the latest IES requirements. BICA has established Botswana’s Chartered Accountancy Qualification (BCAQ) which utilizes the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’s (ICAEW) materials except for a module on Botswana’s tax and business law. The institute indicates that it regularly conducts Train the Trainer programs and engages with tuition providers of accounting degrees that qualify students for entry into the BCAQ to ensure that their programming remains aligned with the BICA’s curriculum and IES. For example, BICA is represented in the Botswana Accountancy College’s Council with two members and there are academia representatives on BICA’s Education and Training Committee. BICA organizes annual examiners’ feedback sessions for trainers to spur a forum and dialogue between lecturers and examiners on any improvements that need to be in teaching the material and helping lecturers understand how their students will ultimately be assessed.
BICA runs its own examinations for tax and law modules and provides a multitude of resources for students on its website. These include past exams and sample papers. After passing the examinations, students must complete 450 days of practical experience with an Authorized Training Employer (ATEs) and demonstrate that they have learned necessary competencies. BICA has accredited ATEs that students need to complete their training experience with. Students and the ATE sign a training agreement that outlines the commitments from both parties regarding the student’s learning and development. Additionally, all students must complete a minimum of a year and half of Technical Work Experience (TWE) during the training agreement which means undertaking “real work” of a financial, business, or commercial nature. All students must have a review meeting with their qualified person responsible for training (QPRT) at least once every six months to review progress and identify any additional support needed. BICA itself will also conduct reviews of the ATE as part of retaining its accreditation status.
Once a member of BICA, individuals must complete CPD obligations of 40 hours per year. Members must submit CPD returns and the Education and Training Committee will review a sample basis and request evidence of CPD fulfillment. Any issues of non-compliance are referred to its Disciplinary Committee. Beginning in 2017, Accounting Technician members are also required to submit CPD returns as part of preparing them for the CPD obligations of a Certified Professional Accountant. The institute offers a variety of CPD throughout the calendar year in addition to CPD awareness workshops.
Beginning in 2018, all professional qualifications were to be accredited based on the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF) implemented by the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA). BICA has been accredited as an Education Training Provider for short term courses by the BQA under the Consultancy classification. At the moment the Institute has twenty (20) approved short term learning programmes under the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC).
The institute plans to intensify its monitoring of other accredited tuition providers from quarterly reviews to monthly reviews to ensure that providers are utilizing the accredited lecturers and material. The status as an Education and Training Provider for CPD courses enables entities financing their employees to attend these courses to be able to claim from the national training levy fund.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
With the passage of the Financial Reporting Act 2010 as amended, the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) to adopt, issue, and keep up-to-date auditing standards that are consistent with international best practice. The BAOA has adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB including effective date. BICA, as a member of the BAOA Standard Setting Committee, chairs the Ethics and Auditing working group. Through the working group technical articles related to ISAs and IAASB projects are issued to certified auditors.
BICA focuses on supporting implementation and compliance amongst its members. The institute offers training and hosts an annual update workshop on ISA in addition to disseminating resources via email, its website, and its technical bulletin with any emphasis on any new developments. Additionally, BICA has strengthened its institutional and technical capacity by hiring a Technical Director and Director of Training and Professional Development. Its Technical Director serves as a member of the BAOA Standard Setters Committee to ensure open communication and collaboration. The institute’s own Technical Committee shares and responds to exposure drafts issued by the IAASB.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The Accountants Act 2010 as amended requires the Botswana Institute of Charted Accountants (BICA) to establish a Code of Ethics for professional accountants that is aligned with the IESBA Code of Ethics. The institute reports that the latest IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and other pronouncements as issued by the IESBA have been fully adopted.
BICA is committed to ensuring that students and members understand and adhere to the ethical requirements set out in the Code. Students must complete a Structured Training on Ethics (STE) as part of pursuing the qualification offered by BICA. There are three levels of ethics training within the STE program, which is based on interactive case studies, scenarios and self-test questions that are designed to develop professional ethics.
Once individuals are members of BICA, they are required to remain up to date on professional ethics topics. On an annual basis members are trained on the requirements of the Code of Ethics. Technical articles on the requirements of the Code are also issued in the monthly BICA Technical Bulletin. This is reinforced in members’ continuing professional development (CPD) returns in which they must confirm they have read through the Code of Ethics. BICA offers CPD training and workshops on the Code Ethics.
In February 2019, BICA launched an Ethics Hotline for use by members and the public to report individuals and firms offering any accountancy services without being properly registered with BICA. The Ethics Hotline can also be used by members and the public to report any cases of misconduct by professional accountants. Following the launch of the Ethics hotlines, cases are reported anonymously to the platform and there has been a steady increase in uptake of this initiative due to the awareness generated by the institute. A thorough investigative process is followed when a complaint comes through the hotline.
Overall, BICA indicates it has noticed a general increase in awareness of the ethics standards, especially as the volume of ethical queries to BICA from the members have increased. More members are now referring their ethical dilemmas for advice and guidance to the institute.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Botswana Government through Public Financial Management Act determines the accounting basis to be adopted by the public sector. The Financial Reporting Act 2010 as amended empowers the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) to enforce compliance with the standards. The Botswana Institute of Charted Accountants (BICA) states that the government has initiated a project to transition from cash accounting to accrual-basis of accounting.
BICA is active in supporting the government’s objective of adopting accrual-basis IPSAS, the professionalization of public sector accountants, and eventual implementation of the standards. BICA established a Public Sector Committee, which comprises key stakeholders from the government, to help lead the transition to accrual-basis IPSAS and it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Accountant General’s Office. In addition, BICA CEO, Technical Director and Manager are members of the government’s own Project Advisory Committee, Project Steering Committee and the Project Implementation Committee respectively.
BICA is currently discussing the establishment of the African Professionalization Initiative in its jurisdiction in lieu of pursuing the development of its own public sector qualification. An MoU has been signed between BICA and the API Secretariat for the program to be administered in Botswana. The program has been registered with BQA and the institute is currently facilitating the accreditation of the qualification with BQA. Accreditation must be completed before individuals can enroll.
These activities, in addition to circulating information when issued by the IPSASB, are a part of BICA’s best endeavors to fulfill SMO 5 and support the government’s objectives related to public financial management.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
BICA indicates that since the passage of the Accountants Act 2010 it has repeatedly taken steps to strengthen its I&D mechanisms to meet SMO 6 requirements. These include changing the composition of the Disciplinary Committee (i.e., removing the dominance of Council and introducing an independent chairperson with a legal background) and establishing an Appeals Committee. On an ongoing basis, Rules are reviewed for alignment with SMO 6 best practices, the Accountants Act 2010, and clarify implementation procedures.
Furthermore, the Accountants (Amendment) Act in 2020 revised the Appeals’ Committee to be an Independent Accounting Appeals Committee which is entirely appointed by the Minister of Finance with an independent secretary. In 2023, the BICA also revised its rules related to the disciplinary enquiry process. Previously, members were required to physically appear before the Committee. This proved to have administrative challenges where a significant number of members were presented before the Committee for matters like CPD non-compliance. With the new changes, the Committee can permit, where it sees fit, for members to respond in writing with all relevant evidence and for the Committee to consider the response and evidence and make a ruling without the member appearing before the Committee. This revised process is expected to improve efficiency of the Committee.
Between July 2019 — August 2023, BICA’s Council referred 20 members to the Disciplinary Committee for enquiries on various ethics enquiries. Sanctions applied among those found guilty included revocation of audit practice certificates and registration certificates, reprimands and monetary fines. BICA publishes a list of suspended members on its website.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Companies Act 2007 stipulates that a public company and non-exempt private companies are to use IFRS for the preparation of their financial reporting. Entities with no public accountability are permitted to use IFRS for SMEs.
Subsequently, the Financial Reporting Act 2010 established the Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) with the authority to adopt, issue, and keep up-to-date financial reporting standards for public interest entities (PIEs), and ensure that they are consistent with the IFRS and interpretations issued by the International Accounting Standards Board. The BAOA has adopted all IFRS as issued by the IASB.
Prior to the Financial Reporting Act 2010, BICA was responsible for setting accounting standards and had adopted IFRS on an ongoing basis since 2007. Now BICA concentrates on providing quality implementation support to ensure members’ understanding and compliance with the applicable standards.
The institute’s qualification examination includes sections on financial accounting and reporting. It also offers members regular training and CPD on IFRS and IFRS for SMEs and has prepared implementation guidance in the form of pro forma financial statements. Additionally, BICA strengthened its institutional and technical capacity by hiring a Technical Director and Director of Training and Professional Development. BICA issues monthly technical bulletins that includes updates and changes to international accounting standards to ensure that members remain up to date. The Technical Director also serves as a member of the BAOA Standard Setters Committee to ensure open communication and collaboration. Meanwhile, the institute’s own Technical Committee shares and responds to exposure drafts issued by the IASB.
Finally, BICA serves on the African Integrated Reporting Committee and chairs the Botswana Integrated Reporting Committee which was launched in August 2018 to promote the adoption of
amongst companies in Botswana.
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.
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