Colegio de Contadores Públicos de Nicaragua
Member | Established: 1959 | Member since 1998
The CCPN, established by the Law on the Practice of Public Accounting, Law No. 6 of April 14, 1959, is the only institution legally recognized as the representative body of the accountancy profession in Nicaragua. Its membership is comprised of public accountants and authorized public accountants (CPAs). It is authorized to carry out regulatory responsibilities such as: (i) establishing initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for CPAs; (ii) setting accounting, auditing, ethical, and other professional standards for its members; (iii) monitoring its members’ compliance with the ethical requirements; (iv) carrying out investigative and disciplinary procedures; (v) maintaining a registry of accountancy professionals; (vi) providing training programs for its members; and (vii) overall efforts to advance the profession.
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 the absence of a legally required and operational quality assurance (QA) review system, the CCPN indicates it is pursuing plans to support establishing and implementing a mandatory QA review system for its members– the only individuals permitted to carry out audits in the jurisdiction. To achieve this, the CCPN has first and foremost adopted ISQC 1 and ISA 220 for application by its members.
To support the implementation of the standards, the CCPN developed training activities and guidelines for its members. It has subsequently signed an agreement of cooperation with the Conseil Supérieur de l'Ordre des Experts Comptables (CNCC-CSOEC) to support the design and implementation of a QA review system in line with the SMO 1 requirements for all audit firms registered with and authorized by the CCPN. However, in 2018 the CCPN reported that it had to suspend the agreement due to its own internal restructuring. The CCPN also indicates it has met with other professional accountancy organizations in the region that have successfully established QA review systems to learn lessons and experiences that can support the future Nicaraguan assurance mechanism.
As of 2022, the CCPN reports that it has created a Quality Management Assurance Commission to develop regulations and materials to establish a QA system. The CCPN reports that it is engaging with the Superintendence of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (SIBOIF) and other national regulators to participate in the Quality Management Assurance Commission and support establishing a unified mandatory QA system at the jurisdiction level.
All actions reported by the CCPN have been in place since 2018 with a timeframe through 2023 as the date for operationalizing its QA system.
The CCPN has undertaken commendable actions to drive the adoption and implementation of a QA system for all auditors that aligns with the SMO 1 requirements. As the QM Assurance Commission progresses, the CCPN is encouraged to provide an update on the establishment and implementation of the QA review system for its members and ensure the incorporation of SMO 1 best practices.
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 CCPN is encouraged to refer to the new changes from quality control standards to quality management standards as it progresses with implementing the QA reviews and preparing members and other relevant stakeholders for the change.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Nicaragua, the Ministry of Education (MoE), universities, and the CCPN have a role in setting initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for professional accountants; however, CCPN indicates that it has limited authority to incorporate the IES into national requirements and is only legally capable and responsible for its members.
In order to practice as an auditor, the MoE has recognized the CCPN membership classification and designation of authorized public accountant (CPA) for which the CCPN has established IPD requirements. To qualify as a CPA and be eligible to join CCPN, individuals need to have a university degree in accountancy, two years’ practical experience, to pass an entry competence exam, and subsequently receive a registration approval from the MoE. The CCPN also issues another certification of Public Accountant (PA). The PA designation only requires a university accounting degree. The CCPN has established mandatory CPD requirements for all members.
Given that the CCPN is only legally capable and responsible for regulations related to its membership requirements, its activities outside its membership primarily include raising the government’s awareness about IES requirements and collaborating with universities to incorporate the IES into the accountancy curriculum.
The CCPN indicates that it has proposed a new Law on the Accounting Profession and submitted the draft to the National Assembly of Nicaragua. The Law seeks to further align national educational requirements with the IES requirements for all professional accountants; however, legislation remains pending approval.
Since 2018, the CCPN reports it is working with the Curriculum Commission of the Technical Secretary of the National Board of Universities and the Associations of Private Universities, as well as with other relevant stakeholders, in order to promote the incorporation of revised IES requirements into the professional curricula. For example, the CCPN states that it has established an annual National Teachers' Congress to promote the IES and is undertaking an assessment of current accounting curricula against the IES requirements with the objective of developing a common accounting curriculum for the jurisdiction that aligns with the IES requirements. The final report was issued in 2019 and included a proposal for enhancing the curriculum.
Additionally, the CCPN engages with other professional accountancy organizations in the region (i.e. Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Chile) regarding educational requirements to learn about their experiences developing and implementing professional examinations and certifications.
As the timeline for the approval of the new Law on the Accounting Profession is uncertain, the CCPN is encouraged to adopt the 2019 IES requirements for its members where feasible. A university accreditation scheme and the CCPN can refer to examples in the region for best practices and learnings. In addition, the CCPN is encouraged to expand its membership requirements to Public Accountant (PA) to ensure all its members are meeting the IES requirements.
The latest IES standards reflect the need for competency-based approaches as well as the increasing demand for accountants skilled in information and communications technologies and place further emphasis on professional skepticism skills and behaviors. These apply to both aspiring and professional accountants. The Accountancy Education E-Tool and the IES Checklist developed by IFAC & available in Spanish may be useful and the CCPN should review these available tools as part of its work plan to advocate for IES adoption.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The CCPN is responsible for adopting auditing standards for its members—which includes all auditors in the jurisdiction—and it has adopted ISA since 2004. The Superintendence of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (SIBOIF) can also set auditing standards for regulated entities, including listed companies, banks, and insurance companies. It has required the application of currently effective ISA as issued by the IAASB.
The CCPN has established a Standards Committee responsible for monitoring new and amended standards issued by the IAASB, and disseminating new information on the standards and international developments in the area.
To facilitate its members’ implementation of the standards, the CCPN provides training workshops on ISA across the country. In addition, CCPN states that it maintains a dialogue and will host forums with relevant stakeholder representatives, such as the business community, the Superintendence of Banks and Other Financial Institutions (SIBOIF), universities, and the Tax Authority.
If deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the CCPN to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IAASB pronouncements.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The CCPN is responsible for setting ethical requirements for its members and has adopted a Code of Ethics based on the 2009 IESBA Code of Ethics. The CCPN has established a Standards Committee responsible for monitoring new and amended standards issued by the IESBA, and disseminating new information on the standards and related international developments in the area.
The CCPN indicates it monitors new and amended standards issued by the IESBA and plans to incorporate the new standard into ethical requirements as part of its convergence procedures.
To support members’ implementation of the Code, the CCPN indicates it carries out various activities such as training forums and seminars.
It is essential to the public interest that professional accountants adhere to the latest ethical requirements. The CCPN should provide more concrete, detailed information and a timeline about its plan to eliminate differences between its Code and the International Code of Ethics and/or consider the full adoption of the International Code of Ethics for all professional accountants. Subsequently, the CCPN is encouraged to develop activities to provide training and guidance on the ethics requirements to support proper implementation and application.
The 2021 Handbook is currently effective, with 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, the CCPN should also take note of changes in the 2021 handbook, which will be effective in December 2022, including the objectivity of an engagement quality reviewer and other appropriate reviewers, revisions to the non-assurance services, and revisions to the fee-related provisions.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
In Nicaragua, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (MoF)—the governmental agency responsible for adopting public sector accounting standards—has adopted cash-basis IPSAS. The CCPN reports that, while it has no direct responsibility in this standard-setting area, it uses its best endeavors to promote the adoption of IPSAS to the government.
Since 2016, the CCPN indicates that it has been disseminating information regarding recent developments and standards issued by the IPSASB. Furthermore, the institute reports it has developed a training plan on IPSAS and provided seminars on IPSAS for its members and MoF officials. The CCPN also indicates it has participated in meetings with World Bank representatives to contribute to a project that aims to foster public financial management reform in Nicaragua.
In addition, the CCPN has stated plans to research IPSAS adoption in the region to report these experiences back to the MoF to raise awareness on the subject further.
The CCPN is using its best efforts to fulfill the SMO 5 requirements. The CCPN is encouraged to promote the adoption and implementation of the 2021 IPSAS Handbook, which is available in Spanish and is the latest version of the accrual-basis IPSAS. Adoption of accrual IPSAS as issued by the IPSASB would ensure the application of global best practices. The IFAC’s Train the Trainers: Introduction to IPSAS and IFAC’s Pathways to Accrual resources might be helpful to CCPN to continue providing support to public sector accountants in the jurisdiction.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In accordance with its founding legislation, the CCPN is responsible for establishing and operating an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for its members. The institute has established an Honor Tribunal that is responsible for carrying out the I&D procedures of the CCPN.
In 2018, the CCPN self-assessed its I&D system and concluded there were some areas for improvement in its procedures. In 2019, CCPN issued a new set of Investigation and Discipline Regulations.
The new regulation establishes that the investigation and discipline originate from: (a) complaints from users, (b) complaints from another member of the CCPN, (c) cases in the media, (d) referrals by the Superintendency of Banks or the Comptroller General of the Republic, among other sources. The CCPN’s Honor Tribunal examines a case through (a) interviews, (b) an examination of the relevant documentation, and (c) meetings with the persons in question and any other procedure it deems appropriate. After the Honor Tribunal reaches a conclusion, the decision is sent to an attorney for legal review of the situation if necessary. The Honor Tribunal then issues a decision. The Board of Directors monitors the resolution to apply appropriate sanctions. In cases of expulsion or termination of membership, the resolution is proposed to the general assembly to ratify the resolution. If the general assembly does not endorse the proposal, the Honor Court applies a different sanction.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. While the CCPN has updated its regulations, it is not evident that it has strengthened alignment with SMO 6 best practices. The CCPN is therefore encouraged to update the comparison exercise of its I&D policies against the requirements of SMO 6. For any differences to be identified, the CCPN is encouraged to include a plan to address the existing gaps.
The CCPN may also consider promoting the need to establish and implement an I&D system for all professional accountants in the jurisdiction to relevant authorities and stakeholders. Any actions it is undertaking around this initiative should be added to its SMO Action Plan.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Nicaragua does not have legally binding corporate financial reporting standards. However, in practice, the CCPN, is empowered by the Law on the Practice of Public Accounting, Law No. 6 of April 14, 1959 to set corporate accounting standards for its members. The CCPN has adopted the Spanish translations of IFRS and IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs) as issued by the IASB since 2011. Furthermore, the Superintendence of Banks and Other Financial Institutions requires the application of IFRS for all regulated companies, effective as of January 1, 2019.
As part of its activities to advance the legal, uniform adoption of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs for all companies, the CCPN reports that it maintains a dialogue with key stakeholders such as those from the business community, the SIBOFI, universities, and the tax authority. In this regard, a World Bank-funded project is being implemented by the Government of Nicaragua to develop a new Commercial Code. In October 2014, the CCPN proposed the application of the IFRS as national standards and that the role of CCPN as a technical body responsible for regulating all the accountancy profession be formalized in the Law. In 2015, the proposed Commercial Code was submitted by the Government of Nicaragua to the National Assembly for approval; however, as of 2022, the new Commercial Code is still pending approval.
As part of overseeing the implementation of the standards by its members, the CCPN has established an Accounting Standards Committee that is responsible for monitoring new and amended standards issued by the IASB, and disseminating information on updates to the standards and international developments in the area. In addition, the CCPN has offered seminars and trainings to support its members.
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