Chamber of Auditors of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Member | Established: 1993 | Member since 2000
CoA RK, which was established in 1993, is an accredited professional auditing organization in Kazakhstan. It received accreditation as a professional organization of auditors in 2008. The Chamber is a not-for-profit organization comprised of audit firms (associate members) and auditors (full members). Membership is mandatory to practice auditing. The CoA RK’s mandate includes protecting the interest of the auditing profession, managing the education and training of auditors, strengthening audit quality through the operation of a quality assurance review system for members, instituting a Code of Ethics for its members, and establishing an investigative and disciplinary system for members. It is a Member of IFAC and a member of the Eurasian Council of Certified Accountants and Auditors (ECCAA).
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 Law on Audit Activity of 1998 (as amended in 2020) stipulates that audit firms are subject to mandatory quality assurance (QA) reviews. The Law specifies that the Professional Council on Auditing (PCA) is responsible for conducting external quality control on audits of public interest entities (PIEs), while professional auditing organizations accredited and overseen by the Ministry of Finance are responsible for conducting audits of non-PIEs. The Chamber of Auditors of the Republic of Kazakhstan (CoA RK) reports that it is working with the Ministry of Finance on regulatory statements for the PCA to adopt the new suite of Quality Management standards that will become effective in 2021-2022.
CoA RK, as one of the accredited organizations of auditors, reports that it established a QA review system in 2007. Given the recent change in legislation, it will now conduct inspections of audit firms of non-PIEs at least once every three years. According to the updated self-assessment conducted by CoA RK in 2021, the system complies with all the requirements of SMO 1 (revised 2012).
The CoA RK’s QA review system was established with the assistance of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), taking into consideration the ICAS regulations, International Standard on Quality Control 1 (ISQC 1), and SMO 1. The system operates under the External Quality Control Rules and the Regulations for Supervisors, which are publicly available on CoA RK’s website. As of the date of this assessment, out of 72 audit firms that are members of CoA RK, 69 have been subject to QA reviews.
The chamber prepares guidance material for firm reviews and reports it organizes annual trainings for inspectors. It also supports its members by providing updates and instructions on creating and maintaining an effective quality control system and prepares recommendations on how firms can improve their performance based on weaknesses identified during reviews. The CoA RK also indicates that it raises awareness and educates members on quality control standards through online and in-person learning events.
CoA RK may consider how it can collaborate in the exchange of tools, quality controllers, and information with the PCA given its experience in this area. This would help ensure that QA reviews of PIE audits will continue to be done in accordance with SMO 1 requirements. It is commendable that the CoA RK is working with the Ministry of Finance on regulatory statements for the PCA to adopt the new suite of Quality Management standards that will become effective in 2021-2022. To prepare auditors in the jurisdiction for the implementation of the standards, CoA RK is encouraged to closely follow the developments and publication of implementation support materials, raise awareness of its members about the forthcoming change, and update its educational programming to ensure that its members are sufficiently prepared for the application of the standards once they become effective.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
The CoA RK is tasked with the implementation of the initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements established in law and overseen by the Ministry of Finance.
To practice as an auditor, an individual must become a member of one of the organizations accredited by the Ministry of Finance, be included in the register of auditors, and fulfill continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. CPD training for auditors and CPD monitoring are performed by accredited professional audit organizations for their members. According to the Law on Audit Activity, in line with IES 7 (2019), auditors are required to complete 40 hours annually of CPD. Of the 40 hours, at least 21 hours must be verified by a certificate issued by the accredited professional audit organization.
CoA RK has a CPD Committee which is responsible for developing an annual training plan of courses and events to ensure its members remain competent and aware of the current standards and developments in the field. Members can view upcoming CPD events on CPD Calendar which the institute maintains on its website. CoA RK members are required to file annual CPD returns, and the institute maintains a database of its members’ CPD hours.
Under the latest amendments to the Law on Audit Activity of 1998 (as amended in 2020), effective July 2021, the Chamber’s responsibility of conducting the professional examination of candidates for certification of auditors has been transferred to the Professional Council on Auditing (PCA) effective July 2021. Nevertheless, CoA RK reports that it continues to work closely with the PCA to ensure that the exams for obtaining the qualification of an auditor of the Republic of Kazakhstan are conducted in accordance with the best international practices both in terms of the exam organization and in the use of examination modules that fully test knowledge of international standards. CoA RK reports that it plans to work with the PCA to ensure that the Continuing Education Committee and Unified Qualification Commission are aware of 2019 IES and incorporate the requirements during 2022.
According to the CFRR / World Bank’s Report prepared as part of the Joint Economic Research Program between the Government of Kazakhstan and the World Bank Group (December 2020), a clear link between learning and achievement demonstrated in the examinations is needed to ensure that the process of qualifying as an auditor in Kazakhstan is as transparent as possible.
In addition to focusing on education and training of candidates and continuing professional development, CoA RK coordinates practical training for students and reports to stay abreast of changes to the IES requirements to promote, incorporate, and implement the changes. The amendments to the law stipulate that all aspiring auditors should have minimum three (3) years practical experience, but they do not require enforcement or monitoring by the PCA before a qualification certificate is issued as required by IES 5 (2019).
CoA RK also states it is raising universities’ awareness of the importance of adhering to IES and promotes incorporation of IFRS, IFRS for SMEs, and ISA into university curriculum. The Chamber is carrying out preparatory measures for the translation the 2019 IES into the Kazakh language as part of its efforts in raising awareness and understanding of the standards, however a completion date for this project has not been provided.
CoA RK is encouraged to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing educational requirements for professional accountants in the jurisdiction against those of revised 2019 IES. Revised requirements of the IES 2, 3, 4 and 8 are effective as of 2021. The revisions to these standards reflect the increasing demand for accountants skilled in information and communications technologies and place further emphasis on the professional skepticism skills and behaviors.
The IES Checklist and the Accountancy Education E-Tool developed by IFAC may be used to conduct the assessment and to consider available implementation support materials. For areas that need improvements, specific actions to close the gaps with a defined timeframe need to be developed and included in its SMO Action Plan.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Law on Audit Activity of 1998 (as amended in 2020) requires application of ISA as issued by the IAASB and translated into Russian and Kazak languages. Under the Law, the Ministry is responsible for translation of ISA into Kazak language, while the CoA RK ensures availability of the Russian translation.
Under the Law, the Ministry is responsible for translation of ISA into Kazak language, while the Chamber of Auditors of the Republic of Kazakhstan (CoA RK) ensures availability of the Russian translation.
As of the date of the assessment, the Russian translation of the 2016-2017 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements, as well as the Kazakh translation of the 2018 Handbook are being applied. CoA RK reports that it plans to work with the PCA on translating the 2018 Handbook into Russian during 2022.
The Chamber indicates that it focuses its activities on supporting implementation of ISA. It reports that it prepares implementation guidance materials and seminars for its members to increase understanding of new and revised ISA. The chamber also notes that it operates an online forum, which facilitates discussions on the application of ISA.
Lastly, the CoA RK indicates that it provides comments on the exposure drafts issued by the IAASB.
CoA RK is encouraged to establish processes to ensure timely translations of the latest IAASB pronouncements into Russian—not only is this key implementation support but it will also help the jurisdiction progress to an Adopted status.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
As an accredited organization for auditors, the CoA RK is required by law to adopt a Code of Ethics for its members and has adopted the 2010 IESBA Code for application by its members. In its 2021 SMO Action Plan the chamber reports that it is in the process of translating the 2018 version of the IESBA Code for its members between 2021-2022, and is also disseminating the English version of the 2020 IESBA Code.
To support its members with the application of the Code, the Chamber reports that it conducts knowledge-sharing seminars and incorporates ethical requirements in its continuing professional development (CPD) program.
CoA RK reports to monitor member compliance with the Code and relays cases to its investigations and disciplinary committees as needed. No other activities have been reported.
There have been several significant changes to the IESBA Code since 2010, notably since 2016 and 2018. While it is commendable that CoA RK has been disseminating the English version of the 2020 Handbook to members, it should prioritize completing the translation for its members.
Lastly, as other professional accounting and auditing organizations also use the 2010 IEBSA Code, the CoA RK might cooperate with them to achieve the adoption of the latest IESBA Code of Ethics at the national level.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Ministry adopted accrual-basis IPSAS as national standards for application by all public entities effective January 1, 2013, and has translated the 2018 Handbook of International Public Sector Accounting Pronouncements into Kazakh in accordance with IFAC Translation Policy. CoA RK, with no direct responsibility for the adoption of these standards, reports that it supported the adoption of IPSAS by participating in the consultative process.
Although CoA RK members mostly work in audit firms, it still focuses some efforts on supporting its members that work in the public sector with implementation of the international standards. It mainly offers its members seminars on any new and revised IPSAS and contributes to the dialogue on implementation of accrual-basis IPSAS with the Ministry of Finance.
CoA RK is encouraged to continue its technical and advocacy support to the Ministry of Finance and its implementation support of members. It may find IFAC’s Train the Trainers: Introduction to IPSAS resource helpful in this regard. If deemed feasible, CoA RK could consider participating in the international standard-setting process by submitting comments to IPSASB-issued exposure drafts.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The Law on Audit Activity of 1998 establishes the CoA RK, one of the accredited organizations of auditors, with the authority to investigate and discipline (I&D) its members for non-compliance with applicable standards, ethical requirements, and for breach of professional conduct. The law was recently amended such that a Professional Council on Auditing (PCA) is now to be responsible for conducting I&D for cases related to public interest entities (PIEs), while professional auditing organizations accredited and overseen by the Ministry of Finance will continue to be responsible for conducting I&D for their members that are not related to PIEs.
According to CoA RK, the PCA’s I&D system for PIEs is not expected to be operational until 2022. In the meantime, all I&D processes for auditors and audit firms, continue to be conducted by accredited professional auditing organizations under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance. CoA RK reports that it established an I&D system that complies with all the requirements of SMO 6 (revised 2012).
In its 2021 SMO Action Pan, the CoA RK indicates that its Disputes Committee, which reviews requests and complaints by third parties regarding the actions of its members, processed more than 38 cases over the past 5 years. CoA RK aims to complete the update of its I&D procedures for its members to accommodate the changes that will come once the PCA’s I&D system is operational in 2022.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. CoA RK is encouraged to collaborate with PCA as it is establishing its I&D mechanism to review the SMO 6 requirements and ensure alignment before the new procedures become operational in 2022. The Chamber should also elaborate on actions it undertakes around supporting members with understanding I&D processes.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Under the Law on Accounting and Financial Reporting, all large entities and listed companies, banks, insurance companies and other non-bank financial institutions are required to apply IFRS as issued by the IASB and translated into the Kazakh and the Russian languages and published by the authorized body in the Republic of Kazakhstan under the copyright agreement with the IFRS Foundation. As of 2021, the 2015 IFRS Blue Book in Russian, the 2016 IFRS Red Book in Kazakh, and the 2015 IFRS for SMEs have been translated for application in Kazakhstan.
CoA RK, with no responsibility for corporate sector accounting standard-setting, reports that it supports the overall adoption and implementation of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs in Kazakhstan. It states that it participated in the public consultation process on adoption of accounting standards and continues to promote and raise awareness of the standards.
The Chamber reports that it assists its members—which are primarily auditors—to better understand IFRS and IFRS for SMEs by organizing seminars and working with universities to include the standards in the curriculum.
Recognizing that translation and adoption of IFRS is not within the direct responsibilities of CoA RK, the Chamber is nevertheless encouraged to offer its support to the regulators to develop ongoing processes that will ensure timely adoption of new and revised IFRSs as they become effective.
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