Colegio de Contadores Públicos de Costa Rica
Member | Established: 1947 | Member since 1980
The CCPA, created by the Law No. 1038 of 1947, is a professional accountancy organization regulating practitioners in the public accounting and auditing profession, which have the exclusive legal responsibility to deliver statutory audit services, referred to as authorized public accountants. In accordance with the law, the CCPA 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 and IPD requirements for authorized public accountants; and (vii) representing and developing the profession of authorized public accountants.
In addition to being an IFAC Member, the CCPA 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 CCPA is responsible for the establishment and implementation of a quality assurance (QA) review system for all statutory audits of financial statements. Accordingly, the CCPA has established in 2016 a mandatory QA review system in line with the requirements of the SMO 1 and has adopted ISQC 1 and ISA 220.
To fulfill its mandate, the CCPA has created a Quality Control Commission and a Quality Control Unit within its Oversight Department, responsible for the adoption and implementation of the QA review system. As of July 1, 2016 every CCPA member firm and independent professional was required to have a quality control system in place. In addition, the CCPA reports that as of the date of the assessment, the CCPA has reviewed 92% of all audit firms and in 2018 undertook reviews of practicing independent professionals.
To support its members with the implementation of relevant standards, the CCPA 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 CCPA has states that it develops workshops and training activities for its members on an ongoing basis.
The CCPA 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 CCPA has met with the regulators to discuss the importance of the QA program.
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 establish a QA review system for audits of financial statements of regulated companies. The CCPA is encouraged to consider entering into mutual agreements with financial sectors regulators to share information and findings on the results of QA reviews.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Costa Rica, universities, the CCPA and the Colegio de Contadores Privados de Costa Rica (CCPR) 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, individuals must: have a university degree in accounting, have work experience of at least two years, and take the CCPA deontology seminar and pass an ethics exam. Subsequently, candidates must become members of the CCPA.
The CCPA has developed different strategies to enhance qualification requirements in efforts to incorporate missing IES requirements, such as a competency exam, as well as a mandatory continuous professional development (CPD) program. Although a mandatory CPD system was ruled out by the government, the CCPA has nevertheless adopted a voluntary CPD system and topic specific certificates (IFRS, ISA and IPSAS) for its members.
To further promote the IES requirements, the CCPA 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. In addition, the CCPA has established dissemination mechanisms to distribute information on recent developments and revisions issued by the IAESB.
Additionally, the CCPA 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 curricula are consistent with the level of professional training required by CCPA.
The CCPA is encouraged to continue its strong efforts and dialogue with relevant authorities in promoting the IES in Costa Rica, particularly with the revised IES requirements, which emphasize a learning-outcomes approach.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The CCPA is responsible for the adoption of auditing standards for non-regulated companies and it has adopted the Spanish translations of ISA since 2005, 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 currently effective ISA as approved by the CCPA.
The CCPA 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 CCPA 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.
If deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the CCPA, 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 CCPA 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 CCPA reports that it has ongoing processes in place to monitor changes to the IESBA Code of Ethics in order to review, approve, and subsequently issue new sections of its Code of Ethics or amending existing parts when necessary. During 2018-2019, the CCPA states that it will work to review changes to the 2018 IESBA Code of Ethics and ensure the incorporation of these changes by June 2019, pending publication of the Spanish version.
While a competency exam is not legally permitted, the CCPA has established a seminar for candidates seeking the authorized public accountant qualification which includes a component on ethics. Additionally, it has created an ethics exams that candidates must also successfully pass prior to earning the title. Through these efforts, the CCPA is striving to ensure that professionals demonstrate the necessary ethical competencies for public practice. The CCPA works on an ongoing basis to disseminate information on updates to the IESBA Code of Ethics to its members, and include ethical topics in its training programs.
During the next update, the CCPA is encouraged to report its progress in aligning its ethical requirements with the latest version of the IESBA Code of Ethics, especially given the significant changes within the 2016 and 2018 IESBA Code of Ethics. In addition, the CCPA 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 in the jurisdiction to relevant authorities and stakeholders.
If deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the CCPA, to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IESBA pronouncements.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The CCPA 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 adopted the 2014 accrual-basis IPSAS. The CCPA reports that although the MoF has found some deficiencies at the local and municipal levels implementation, the government plans for implementation to commence in 2020.
The CCPA 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 CCPA has set-up and engaged in meetings with the government to provide follow up support to the implementation of IPSAS in the public sector.
If deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the CCPA, to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IPSASB pronouncements.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The CCPA has the authority to carry out investigative and disciplinary (I&D) processes for its members (authorized public accountants) in accordance with the Law No. 1038 of 1947. The CCPA reports that it has reviewed its I&D system and has concluded that it fulfills the requirements of revised SMO 6.
To fulfill its responsibility, the CCPA maintains an Oversight Commission, on Oversight Department and a Tribunal of Honor with powers to investigate and sanction auditors for legal and professional breaches. The CCPA reports that it annually reviews its I&D system against the SMO 6 requirements to ensure its continued alignment. Furthermore, the CCPA has carried out a detailed comparison of its policies and procedures with national legal requirements and has determined that the current system complies with the national legal procedures. Throughout 2016–2017, the CCPA settled almost 200 cases initiated by reports, complaints, and information.
Through its webpage, social media, and e-mail news service, the CCPA ensures its members and general public are informed of the I&D procedures and how to initiate a complaint. Additionally, the CCPA 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.
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 establish a quality assurance review system for all audits of financial statements of regulated companies, are authorized by law to investigate and discipline auditors providing services to companies under its purview. The CCPA is encouraged to clarify the overlaps in responsibilities between the financial sector regulators and the CCPA I&D processes, and its activities to eliminate any redundancies between the systems.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
In Costa Rica, the CCPA is responsible for setting accounting standards for non-regulated companies, in accordance with Law No. 1038 of 1947. The CCPA 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 CCPA through its Regulation No. 34-2002.
The CCPA 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 CCPA 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 application of IFRS through letters, e-mail, or phone calls, to support its members with the implementation of the standards. Furthermore, the CCPA provides access to the Spanish Language version of the IFRS via its webpage
Lastly, the CCPA 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.
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.