Chartered Accountants Ireland
Member | Established: 1888 | Member since 1977
The ICAI, a voluntary membership organization established by Royal Charter in 1888, is a member of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB)-UK and the CCAB-Ireland. The institute is a Prescribed Accountancy Body and an Recognized Accountancy Body in Ireland, and an Recognized Supervisory Body and Recognized Qualifying Body in the UK. The ICAI is a member of IFAC and Accountancy Europe.
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 Companies Act of 2014 (as amended 2018) stipulates that the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) is to conduct quality assurance (QA) reviews for public interest entities (PIEs), and the six recognized accountancy bodies (RABs) in Ireland—Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), ICAI, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), and Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA Ireland) —are to carry out QA reviews for non-PIEs under the supervision of IAASA. Accordingly, the scope of the QA review program covers all audits and other assurance engagements.
Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 220 2010 (as amended) outlines key features that must be present in each QA system and specifies that QA inspections are to be performed by RABs under the supervision of IAASA.
ICAI maintains a QA review system for its members in line with SMO 1. The Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (CARB), which is the independent board responsible for ICAI’s QA review system, reviews its regulations and activities on an ongoing basis and incorporates revised requirements to ensure continued compliance with SMO 1. According to CARB’s latest Annual Report, the Professional Standards Department (PSD), which is responsible for the day to day delivery of the institute’s regulatory and disciplinary functions, carries out monitoring visits to firms and members using a risk-based approach at least once every six years. In 2017, CARB reported that a total of 84 audit inspections were carried out, with 79 finalized during the year. In cases where the inspection results are not satisfactory, the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) may impose restrictions and/or conditions or can remove registration/authorization of an individual or firm. Some firms that receive poor visit ratings cease to be registered as statutory auditors; other firms put in place action plans for improvement with progress monitored by the QAC.
CARB provides training and other support to inspectors who conduct QA reviews and updates them on technical and practical developments. In addition, the ICAI offers a variety of training courses, materials, and support to members and member firms on quality control and other areas of compliance with regulations and standards.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
According to the Companies Act of 2014 (as amended 2018), the nine Prescribed Accountancy Bodies (PABs) in Ireland share responsibility for initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements (IPD and CPD, respectively) for accountants and auditors. The adoption and implementation of educational requirements is overseen by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA). As a PAB, ICAI adopts and implements IPD and CPD requirements for its members, which are reported to be in line with the revised (2015) requirements of the IES.
The institute has well-established regulations and educational requirements for members, and continuously improves its qualification and CPD system to maintain compliance with revised 2015 IES requirements.
The ICAI offers a wide range of CPD courses for its members and collaborates with other educational and training providers to support its members. In addition, it collaborates with other PABs via the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies, and the UK’s Financial Reporting Council to develop and encourage best practice in CPD.
Lastly, ICAI monitors the work of the IAESB and comments on its work program and exposure drafts.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Companies Act of 2014 (as amended 2018) specifies the applicable auditing standards—International Standards on Auditing (Ireland) as issued by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) adopts auditing standards for use in Ireland under license from the FRC in the United Kingdom. The standards incorporate the requirements of 2016 ISA issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) with specific additions.
With no direct responsibility for adoption of ISA in Ireland, ICAI focuses its efforts on supporting the standard-setters and contributing to standard-setting activities. The ICAI participates in regular meetings with the auditing standard setter, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of the UK. In addition to providing comments on relevant FRC and IAASB proposals, the ICAI participates in a number of working groups established by Accountancy Europe, focused on audit and assurance. The institute also promotes the adoption of other standards issued by the IAASB that have not yet been adopted.
The ICAI supports the implementation of ISAs (Ireland and the UK) through various education and awareness-building activities. It disseminates standard-related updates on a regular basis electronically and via the institute’s website and journal. ICAI’s Audit and Assurance Committee develops guidance for members on audit and assurance topics (such as the Guidance on Audit Regulations), and the ICAI collaborates with other Recognized Accountancy Bodies to develop tools to assist its members with the implementation of ISAs (Ireland and UK), which are available on the ICAI knowledge center.
ICAI is encouraged to provide an update on efforts to adopt the 2018 International Code of Ethics which has been revised and restructured extensively.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In accordance with the Companies Act of 2014 (as amended 2018), the nine prescribed accountancy bodies (PABs) in Ireland share responsibility for establishing ethical requirements for their members, including applicable standards. The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) in accordance with the Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 220 2010 (as amended), supervises the PABs’ adoption of ethical standards in Ireland. Furthermore, it issued the IAASA Ethical Standard for Auditors (Ireland) 2017 which is based on the 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics.
As a PAB, ICAI adopts ethical standards for its members. ICAI reports that its Code of Ethics is based on the 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics with some minor structural differences.
The ICAI Code of Ethics is kept under constant review, with the last revision conducted in 2016. A further revision is planned for 2019 due to the 2018 International Code of Ethics which came into effect on June 15, 2019.
The ICAI and the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Body (CARB)—which is the independent board responsible for ICAI’s regulations and activities—support the implementation of the ICAI Code of Ethics through the provision of information and updates in a variety of media to raise awareness and enhance the knowledge of its members. The ICAI and CARB host learning events on ethics and periodically review continuing professional development and student training material to include relevant standard-related topics. ICAI and CARB monitor amendments to the IESBA Code of Ethics and inform members about any changes.
The ICAI was represented in IESBA as a board member from 1997 until 2009—including serving as its chair for two years. Since 1997, ICAI has consistently responded to IESBA consultations and reports that it will continue contributing to international standard-setting.
ICAI is encouraged to provide an update on efforts to adopt the 2018 IESBA Code which has been revised and restructured extensively.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Irish Government is responsible for the adoption and implementation of public sector accounting standards. IPSAS have not been adopted in Ireland, and there are no known plans to adopt or converge to IPSAS at this time.
Although ICAI has no direct responsibility for the adoption of public sector accounting standards in Ireland, it exerts its best endeavors to promote the adoption of IPSASs to relevant public sector authorities. It established a Public Sector Network Group to provide more opportunities to promote IPSAS adoption. This forum allows members to discuss issues that arise in their day to day working environment and to asses future challenges and requirements. Groups occasionally run public seminars on topics of interest.
The institute raises awareness of the importance of IPSAS adoption to a wide range of stakeholders, including its members, through the publication of standard-related articles in the institute’s journal, Accountancy Ireland. It also includes a list of IPSAS, Discussion Papers, and Exposure Drafts issued by IPSASB via its online Chartered Accountants Reference and Information Tool for members.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In accordance with the Companies Act of 2014 (as amended 2018), the nine prescribed accountancy bodies (PABs) and the Irish Auditing and Supervisory Authority (IAASA) share responsibility for the system of investigation and discipline (I&D) in Ireland. Whereas each PAB is responsible for the design and implementation of an I&D system for its members, the IAASA is responsible for I&D for public interest entities (PIEs).
The Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (CARB) is the independent board responsible for ICAI’s I&D system, reviews its regulations and activities on an ongoing basis and incorporates revised requirements to ensure continued compliance with SMO 6. ICAI reports that it constantly reviews its I&D procedures, with latest Disciplinary Rules which came into effect in September 2016.
According to the CARB 2017 Annual Report, the Professional Standards Department (PSD), is responsible for the day to day delivery of the institute’s regulatory and disciplinary functions, ensures the proper investigation of complaints against members and taking disciplinary action when there is evidence that their professional performance has fallen short of the reasonable expectations of the public and other stakeholders. CARB provides training for staff involved in the I&D process and tries to ensure that staff members have the necessary resources to carry out their duties.
When a complaint is received, it is assessed by the executive to determine whether it concerns a disciplinary matter. A complainant may seek a review of this assessment. Disciplinary matters (which are not conciliated or resolved between the member and the complainant) are investigated by a case manager who produces a repot containing an opinion as to whether there “may be a case to answer”. The Head of Professional Conduct (HoPC) considers each report and either makes the decision or refers the matter to the Conduct Committee (CC). A Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) determines whether the formal allegation has been proven on the balance of probabilities. Where allegations are found proven, the DT imposes sanctions in accordance with the Disciplinary Bye-Laws. Members may appeal a decision of the DT on specified grounds. The Appeal Tribunal (AT) may uphold, vary or rescind the DT’s order, and it may substitute its own order that the matter be heard de novo by a different DT. At the beginning of 2017, there were 22 complaints under assessment arid 188 disciplinary matters at various stages of case handling. Throughout 2017 a total of 91 new complaints were received; 59 of which were deemed to concern disciplinary matters. At the end of 2017 there were 11 complaints under assessment and 140 disciplinary matters at various stages of handling.
ICAI regularly prepares and provides information and guidance material on the Complaints Gateway page to members to raise their awareness and enhance their knowledge of disciplinary requirements.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Companies Act of 2014 (as amended 2018), stipulates the requirements for preparation of financial statements, including applicable accounting standards and financial reporting thresholds. In accordance with the law, companies with debt or equity listed on a regulated capital market must prepare consolidated financial statements in accordance with EU-endorsed IFRS. All other companies may choose to prepare their financial statements in accordance with financial reporting standards issued by: (i) the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in the United Kingdom (UK); (ii) EU-endorsed IFRS; or (iii) in some limited cases, in accordance with another approved accounting framework, for example US GAAP. Since 2015, Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) 102 as issued by the FRC—which is based on IFRS for small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) but with significant modifications—can be applied by other companies.
Although the ICAI does not have any responsibility for the adoption of accounting standards in Ireland, it does support the general adoption and implementation of IFRS. It provides technical support to the government on EU accounting regulations, and actively participates in the standard-setting process and transposition of EU legislation into national law. The ICAI supported the government in drafting legislation that permitted optional application of IFRS by entities not required by EU regulation to do so. It participates in ongoing discussions to support convergence of local standards (FRS issued by the FRC). It disseminates pronouncements issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts.
The ICAI assists members with implementation of IFRS by offering educational and training opportunities, such as the institute’s Diploma in IFRS. It disseminates updates on new and revised IFRS to its members and provides information on technical aspects of the standards via its knowledge center and publications. The institute also participates regularly with large firms in an IFRS Implementation Group to address standards-related implementation issues.
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.