Brunei Darussalam Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Associate | Established: 1987 | Associate since 2009
The BICPA, established in 1987, is a non-profit organization, managed and run through the voluntary service of accountants working in Brunei Darussalam. Membership of the institute is mandatory in order to practice as Public Accountant. BICPA’s objective includes, among others, to provide an organization for accountants to support and advance the status and interests of the accountancy profession; means for considering questions affecting the interests of the accountancy profession; to initiate, watch over, petition and take whatever action may seem desirable in relation to promoting recognition of the accountancy profession; to encourage the training and education of persons studying accountancy; and to provide a forum for accountants in Brunei Darussalam to join together and discuss mutual problems. In the mid-1990s, BICPA started to provide classes for aspiring Accounting Technicians and in 2002 started a joint venture academy with an education provider from Singapore to run the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) technician and professional courses. The Academy is the leading education provider for ACCA and other professional courses in Brunei Darussalam. Public Accountants in Brunei are required to be members of BICPA.
In addition to being an Associate of IFAC, BICPA is a member of the ASEAN Federation of Accountants, the regional accountancy body for ASEAN countries.
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
Although BICPA is not responsible for establishing a quality assurance (QA) system in Brunei, it has declared its intent to support the work of the Public Accountants Oversight Committee (PAOC)—the entity responsible for establishing and implementing a QA system. BICPA states it will provide the PAOC with all the necessary and relevant feedback to ensure the successful establishment and implementation of the system. At this time, no QA system has been established in the jurisdiction.
Most of the actions planned by BICPA have been postponed to the end of 2018 pending the commencement of a QA review system by the PAOC. The original plan included drafting the procedures to ensure all public accountants are subject to peer review (at a minimum, all public accountants who perform audits of public interest entities and/or Government linked companies), and establishing an agreement with independently appointed body to conduct Practice Monitoring Reviews on behalf of PAOC, among other activities.
Although ISQC 1 and ISA 220 have not been adopted, all small and medium practices (SMPs) have been informed of ISQC 1 and encouraged to apply the standard, if applicable. BICPA has been conducting awareness raising sessions with the SMPs on ISQC 1. BICPA reports that there are no plans to formally adopt ISQC 1 or ISA 220.
Once the PAOC begins fulfilling its mandate related to QA reviews, BICPA is encouraged to establish plans to assist the PAOC with the development of the QA review system and, in this respect, work to ensure that the resulting system will incorporate the requirements of SMO 1. BICPA is also encouraged to indicate if there will be a timeline established to launch the Quality Assurance Review System.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
There is no national qualification framework and the BICPA relies on foreign institutes to provide prequalification training to individuals offering services in the jurisdiction. The development of its own certification program is currently not a priority for BICPA due to Brunei Darussalam’s current economic environment.
BICPA does not have responsibility for the development of initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for professional accountants in Brunei Darussalam nor does it have a certification or a CPD program.
In 2013, the BICPA Council approved a requirement that its members—individuals who received their qualifications from one of the eight recognized foreign professional accountancy organizations—to comply with the IPD and CPD requirements of their respective mother institutes. The institute had also indicated plans to introduce a requirement for the applicants for Public Accountant licenses to comply with IES 5; however, no indication of progress in this initiative has been reported.
In 2015, BICPA reached out to the foreign institutes and formally communicated to them its reliance on their qualification and CPD processes in order to clarify the respective requirements and to confirm that their members comply with those requirements.
To support its members’ training, BICPA has an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for CPD. BICPA has also been operating an Accountancy Academy called BICPA- FTMS Accountancy Academy Sendiraian Berhad to offer CPD for individuals who are members of the institute.
As there are no plans to adopt the full suite of IES requirements, BICPA is encouraged to consider continuing its progress to promote the introduction of a requirement for public accountants to comply with IES 5, and to also consider how other IES requirements can be formally adopted in the jurisdiction.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Currently, there is a lack of legal and regulatory requirement for auditing standards to be applied and recognized in the jurisdiction.
In December 2009, BICPA issued recommendations to all practicing members to adopt ISA in carrying out audit engagements and continues to recommend that its practicing members use ISA. To assist its members with the implementation of ISA, BICPA conducts regular training workshops that cover new IAASB pronouncements and the ISA Guide for Small and Medium Entities. It also disseminates information on ISA updates and participates in the international standard-setting by providing comments on the IAASB exposure drafts.
BICPA is encouraged to consider continuing its efforts to promote the adoption of national auditing standards to the government and other regulators. In addition, as BICPA recommends that members apply ISA, the institute is encouraged to clarify if the new ISA, issued December 2016 is being disseminated to members.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Under the Accountants Order of 2010, the Public Accountants Oversight Committee (PAOC) is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for accountants in Brunei. As of September 2017, the PAOC has adopted the 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics for all accountants in the jurisdiction.
Prior to 2017, BICPA had adopted the IESBA Code of Ethics to be applied by its members, and also required its members to comply with their mother institutes’ Code of Ethics. As all eight of these institutes are IFAC member bodies, they require their members to adhere to the IESBA Code of Ethics. In its SMO Action Plan Update, BICPA had stated plans, to establish a monitoring system for members’ compliance and devise a system of declaration whereby practicing members would annually state their compliance with the IESBA Code of Ethics. The implementation of this initiative is still ongoing as reported by the institute and no timeline has been established.
BICPA is encouraged to consider developing additional activities to support its members with its implementation of ethical requirements as adopted by the PAOC. The institute is also encouraged to clarify on when it plans to complete the initiative to establish a monitoring system for members’ compliance with ethical requirements.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
In Brunei Darussalam, the Accountant General is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards. As BICPA does not have any responsibility for setting public sector financial reporting requirements, the institute focuses on promoting the adoption of IPSAS to the Accountant General’s Office through its members who are representatives in the Accountant General and Auditor General’s offices. BICPA also states that it endeavors to support the public sector by reviewing accounts for compliance with IPSAS as well as providing training courses to facilitate training of public sector employees on an ongoing basis.
BICPA is encouraged to provide details on the activities it undertakes to promote the adoption of IPSAS to the Accountant General’s Office and to disseminate information on international developments in this area to its members and relevant stakeholders. BICPA is also encouraged to clarify the applicable public-sector standards in the jurisdiction, and if the institute assists with the implementation of those standards.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
While practicing members of BICPA are subject to the investigative and disciplinary (I&D) procedures that are to be established by the Public Accountants Oversight Committee (PAOC), BICPA has the responsibility under its Constitution to establish an I&D system for non-practicing members and, accordingly, has established investigative, disciplinary, and appeals processes for non-practicing members. Complaints are referred to the Investigation Committee of BICPA by the secretary, which in turn decides whether to refer the case to the Disciplinary Committee.
In 2014, BICPA had reported that a task force was to review the requirements of SMO 6, produce a comparison with BICPA’s existing system and develop recommendations on how BICPA could more fully align its investigatory and disciplinary system with SMO 6. In addition, the plan included disseminating information about the complaints process on the BICPA’s website and establishing the rules and procedures for investigating and disciplining non-practicing members. However, due to resource constraints, the implementation of the plan has been postponed to June 2018.
As of 2016, BICPA was discussing with the other members of the ASEAN Federation of Accountants ways to devise training for members of the Investigation and Disciplinary Committees of the Institute. It is however unclear if progress has been made on this initiative.
BICPA is encouraged to report if there are plans made by the PAOC to operationalize an I&D mechanism. BICPA is also encouraged to clarify if all members are subject to the institute’s I&D system.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Brunei Darussalam Accounting Standards Committee (BDASC) is responsible for establishing accounting standards to be implemented in the jurisdiction. Public interest entities in the jurisdiction, such as banks, financial institutions, insurance and takaful operators are required to adopt IFRS effective for financial reporting starting January 1, 2014. Non-Public Interest Entities (non-PIEs) are required to apply BDAS for non-PIEs.
Supporting the implementation of the standards is a key focus of the BICPA, and the institute states that it is working with the BDASC on the development of a financial reporting framework in Brunei Darussalam through working closely with the Accounting Standards Committee in its deliberation on the implementation of IFRS, carrying out research on the standards that are available, and evaluating their relevance for the Brunei Darussalam environment.
BICPA states that it provides support to its members with the implementation of IFRS by holding regular trainings in collaboration with the BDASC and through its Accountancy Academy.
Lastly, BICPA reports that it is contributing to the international standard-setting process through its participation in the BDASC consultations.
BICPA is encouraged to demonstrate how it disseminates information to members and relevant stakeholders by including specific examples. In addition, BICPA is encouraged to consider developing training on BDAS for non-PIEs to members.
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