Colegio de Contadores Públicos de Costa Rica
Member | Established: 1947 | Member since 1980
The CCPACR, created by the Law No. 1038 of 1947, is a mandatory professional accountancy organization regulating practitioners in the public accounting and auditing profession, which have the exclusive legal responsibility to deliver statutory audit services. These individuals are referred to as authorized public accountants. In accordance with the law, the CCPACR is empowered to carry out the following regulatory activities: (i) maintaining a registry of authorized public accountants; (ii) setting accounting and auditing standards for non-regulated companies; (iii) establishing ethical standards for authorized public accountants; (iv) implementing an investigation and discipline system for its members; (v) establishing and operating a quality assurance review system for its members; (vi) providing input into the accountancy curricula for authorized public accountants; and (vii) representing and developing the profession of authorized public accountants.
In addition to being an IFAC Member, the CCPACR is a member of the Inter-American Accounting Association and the Group of Latin American Accounting Standard Setters.
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
In Costa Rica, the CCPACR is responsible for establishing and implementing a quality assurance (QA) review system for all statutory audits of financial statements. Accordingly, the CCPACR established in 2016 a mandatory QA review system in line with the requirements of the SMO 1.
To fulfill its mandate, the CCPACR has created a Quality Control Commission and a Quality Control Unit within its Oversight Department, responsible for adopting and implementing the QA review system. As of July 1, 2016, every CCPACR member firm and independent professional was required to have a quality control system in place. In addition, the CCPACR reports that as of 2022, the CCPACR has reviewed 100% of all audit firms and in 2019, undertook reviews of practicing independent professionals.
To support its members with the implementation of relevant standards, the CCPACR has issued and published multiple implementation guidelines, including: Guide for the implementation of Quality Control for Public Accounting firms and independent professionals; Quality Control Reviews Handbook; Quality Control Review Checklist, and Guide for a Quality Control System. Moreover, the CCPACR has stated that it develops workshops and training activities for its members on an ongoing basis.
The CCPACR disseminates information on the results of QA reviews and works with the universities to promote the incorporation of QA topics into their curricula. In addition, the CCPACR has met with the regulators to discuss the importance of the QA program.
As of 2022, the CCPACR is analyzing the adoption of ISQM 1 and 2 and the potential impact on the QA review system. It has stated plans to support the adoption and implementation of the standards.
In Costa Rica, under the coordination of the National Supervisory Council for the Financial System (CONASSIF), the financial sector regulators are also authorized by law to establish a QA review system for audits of financial statements of regulated companies. Given that the CCPACR conducts reviews already, it is encouraged to consider entering into mutual agreements with financial sector regulators to avoid duplication of efforts and to share information and findings on the results of QA reviews.
Importantly, the new suite of IAASB Quality Management standards that will become effective in December 2022 will require significant change management for regulators and firms. The CCPACR is encouraged to refer to the new changes from quality control standards to quality management standards as it implements the QA reviews and prepares members and other relevant stakeholders for the change.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Costa Rica, universities, the CCPACR and the Colegio de Contadores Privados de Costa Rica (CCPRCR) have a role in implementing initial professional development requirements for professional accountants, which are established in the Law No. 1038 of 1947 and the Law No. 1269 of 1951.
To be eligible to practice as authorized public accountants (auditors), individuals must: have a university degree in accounting, have work experience of at least two years, take the CCPACR deontology seminar, and pass an ethics exam. Subsequently, they must become members of the CCPACR.
The CCPACR has developed different strategies to enhance qualification requirements in efforts to incorporate missing IES requirements, such as a final competency exam/assessment (IES 6) as well as a mandatory continuous professional development (CPD) program (IES 7). Although the government ruled out a mandatory CPD system, the CCPACR has still adopted a voluntary CPD system and offers its members topic-specific certificates (IFRS, ISA and IPSAS).
To further promote the IES requirements, the CCPACR has produced the following material in line with the IES: Minimum Content Requirements Plan for the University Bachelor and Licentiate Degree Programs in Public Accounting and the Authorized Public Accountant Profile. The CCPACR has established dissemination mechanisms to distribute information on recent developments on the IES.
Additionally, the CCPACR has held an ongoing dialogue and close contact with the National Higher Education Accreditation System (SINAES), the National Council of Rectors (CONARE) and The National Council for Private Higher University Education (CONESUP) to review and ensure that the contents of university curricula are consistent with the level of professional training required by CCPACR. In 2022, the CCPACR issued a new publication, Circular 20-2022-R, to provide input into the accountancy curricula for authorized public accountants. The circular was developed using the 2019 IES requirements.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The CCPACR is responsible for the adoption of auditing standards for non-regulated companies, and it has adopted the Spanish translations of ISA since 2002, while the National Supervisory Council for the Financial System (CONASSIF) is responsible for setting auditing standards for regulated entities, which include banks, insurance companies, listed companies, and pension funds. The CONASSIF has required the application of the currently effective ISA as approved by the CCPACR.
The CCPACR indicates that it: (i) monitors new and amended standards issued by the IAASB, and (ii) disseminates information on updates to the standards and international developments in the area through printed materials and its website.
To facilitate members’ implementation of the standards, the CCPACR has ongoing processes to include the most recent amendments to the standards in its training programs, hosts an annual International Congress which covers subjects related to ISA, offers specialized certificates in ISA, develops technical guidance, and addresses and resolves questions it receives regarding application of ISA through letters, e-mail, or phone calls.
CCPACR has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 3 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
If deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the CCPACR to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IAASB pronouncements to share its experiences and perspective.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The CCPACR is responsible for setting ethical requirements for its members and has developed its own Code of Ethics based on the 2012 IESBA Code of Ethics.
The CCPACR reports that it has processes to monitor changes to the IESBA Code of Ethics to review, approve, and subsequently issue new sections of its Code of Ethics or amend existing parts when necessary. In 2022, the CCPACR states that it is preparing a new version of its Code to incorporate the 2021 International Code of Ethics requirements.
While a final competency exam/assessment is not legally permitted, the CCPACR has established a seminar for candidates seeking the authorized public accountant designation, including an ethics component. Additionally, it has created an ethics exam that candidates must also successfully pass before being able to offer services. Through these efforts, the CCPACR strives to ensure that professionals demonstrate the necessary ethical competencies for public practice. The CCPACR works on an ongoing basis to disseminate information on updates to the IESBA Code of Ethics to its members and includes ethical topics in its training programs.
It is in the public interest that professional accountants adhere to the latest ethical requirements issued by the IESBA. The CCPACR should advance its convergence process to eliminate differences between its Code and the current version of the International Code of Ethics in a timelier manner. The 2021 Handbook, currently effective, has changes in the terms and concepts used in the IAASB's International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised), and revisions to promote the role and mindset expected of all professional accountants. In addition, revisions on the objectivity of an engagement quality reviewer and other appropriate reviewers, non-assurance services, and fee-related provisions will be effective in December 2022.
In addition, the CCPACR is encouraged to include details in its SMO Action Plan about plans it may have in place to promote the importance of adopting the IESBA Code of Ethics for all professional accountants (i.e., private accountants) in the jurisdiction to relevant authorities and stakeholders.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The CCPACR is not responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards in Costa Rica, which are adopted by the National Accounting Office, under the authority of the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The MoF has adopted the 2018 accrual-basis IPSAS, with mandatory implementation expected to commence in 2023.
The CCPACR states it is proactive in this area and that it has collaborated with the MoF by offering courses, seminars and continuous professional development trainings on IPSAS, and disseminated information regarding recent developments and standards issued by the IPSASB. In addition, the CCPACR has organized and engaged in meetings with the government to provide follow-up support for the implementation of IPSAS.
To further support the adoption and implementation of IPSAS, the CCPACR issued, Circular 27-2022, to encourage members working in the public sector to use IPSAS and provide guidance and recommendations for CPAs providing auditing services to entities reporting under IPSAS.
The CCPACR has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its fulfillment with the SMO 5 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The CCPACR has the authority to carry out investigative and disciplinary (I&D) processes for its members (authorized public accountants/auditors) in accordance with the Law No. 1038 of 1947. The CCPACR reports that it has reviewed its I&D system and has concluded that it fulfills the requirements of SMO 6.
To fulfill its responsibility, the CCPACR maintains an Oversight Commission, an Oversight Department, and a Tribunal of Honor with powers to investigate and sanction auditors for legal and professional breaches. The CCPACR reports that it annually reviews its I&D system against the SMO 6 requirements to ensure its continued alignment with global best practices and with national legal procedures. Throughout 2019–2021, the CCPACR settled almost 103 cases initiated by reports, complaints, and information.
In 2020, the CCPACR issued guidelines to support the I&D process to ensure the effective process and documentation required to file a complaint.
Through its webpage, social media, and e-mail news service, the CCPACR ensures its members, and the general public are informed of the I&D procedures and how to initiate a complaint. Additionally, the CCPACR has provided training sessions to other regulators of accountancy professionals on the I&D system to ensure that they are aware of its purpose, function, and outcomes. It has also shared its experiences with establishing and operating an effective enforcement mechanism regionally.
The CCPACR has demonstrated an ongoing process to promote the incorporation of all SMO 6 requirements. It uses its best endeavors to fulfill the SMO 6 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
In Costa Rica, the financial sector regulators under the coordination of the National Supervisory Council for the Financial System (CONASSIF), are also authorized by law to investigate and discipline auditors providing services to companies under its purview. The CCPACR is encouraged to clarify the overlaps in responsibilities between the financial sector regulators and the CCPACR I&D processes, and its activities to eliminate any redundancies between the systems.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
In Costa Rica, the CCPACR is responsible for setting accounting standards for non-regulated companies, in accordance with Law No. 1038 of 1947. The CCPACR has adopted IFRS since 2005 and IFRS for SMEs since 2009 by reference and without modification. The National Supervisory Council for the Financial System (CONASSIF), which may set accounting standards for regulated companies, has adopted IFRS as approved by the CCPACR through its Regulation No. 34-2002.
The CCPACR indicates that it: (i) monitors new and amended standards issued by the IASB, and (ii) disseminates information on updates to the standards and international developments in the area through printed materials and its website.
To facilitate members’ implementation of the standards, the CCPACR has ongoing processes to include the most recent amendments to the standards in its training programs, hosts an annual International Congress which covers subjects related to IFRS, offers specialized certificates in IFRS, develops technical guidance, and addresses and resolves questions it receives regarding the application of IFRS through letters, e-mail, or phone calls. Furthermore, the CCPACR provides access to the Spanish Language version of the IFRS via its webpage.
Lastly, the CCPACR is a member of the Group of Latin-American Standard Setters and participates in the international standard-setting process by making comments on exposure drafts at a regional level.
The CCPACR has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 7 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
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