EXPERTsuisse - Swiss Expert Association for Audit, Tax and Fiduciary
Member | Established: 1925 | Member since 1977
EXPERTsuisse is a voluntary membership PAO recognized by law and was founded in 1925. EXPERTsuisse carries out the following activities: (i) maintaining a registry of its members; (ii) administering the certification examination of auditors; (iii) establishing and enforcing CPD requirements for its members; (iv) issuing audit standards for auditors providing services to non-PIEs; (v) setting ethical requirements for its members; and (vi) implementing an investigation and discipline system for its members. EXPERTsuisse’s membership includes auditors, accountants, tax consultants, technicians, bookkeepers, and students.
In addition to being an IFAC Member, EXPERTsuisse is also a member of 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
In Switzerland, the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA) is responsible for the establishment and implementation of a quality assurance (QA) review system for all statutory audits of financial statements. The FAOA has established a QA review system for all public interest entities (PIEs) and a peer review system for registered sole auditors. As reported by EXPERTsuisse the FAOA’s QA review system is in line with the best practices of SMO 1.
While EXPERTsuisse does not have direct responsibility for a QA review system, QA is a top priority for EXPERTsuisse. As the recognized audit standard-setter, EXPERTsuisse has issued a national quality control standard (QS1), converged with ISQC 1.
EXPERTsuisse collaborated with the FAOA on the development, and subsequent improvements, of the QA review system. EXPERTsuisse maintains a continuous dialogue with the FAOA to discuss and monitor legal and regulatory developments for their impact on the profession.
To assist in the implementation of the quality control standards, EXPERTsuisse carries out numerous trainings and issued an electronic Guide to Quality Control in SMPs, in 2013 and updated it in 2016. In addition, EXPERTsuisse disseminates information on quality control standards through printed materials and its website.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
The Federal Act on the Licensing and Oversight of Auditors (AOA) of 2005 sets initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements for two auditor designations in Switzerland: Licensed Audit Expert and Licensed Auditor. EXPERTsuisse offers certifications that are pathways to becoming a licensed auditor. EXPERTsuisse reports having an ongoing process to adopt the requirements of the IES and that the revised IES requirements have been incorporated.
To be eligible to practice as an auditor, individuals must: have a university degree, have work experience of at least three years, and pass a final assessment. Subsequently, candidates must be registered with the FAOA to practice. EXPERTsuisse has thoroughly reviewed its curriculum and instruction to lecturers to align with revised IES.
EXPERTsuisse provides numerous opportunities for CPD for its members—all of whom must complete 120 hours over a two-year rolling period. EXPERTsuisse has established an online CPD monitoring for its members and provides a wide variety of CPD courses. Furthermore, online courses are now counting for CPD, in case these courses are output-based.
In addition to auditors, there are other several qualifications—certified accountants, tax expert, fiduciary experts, certified experts in accounting and controlling, among others—for professional accountants in Switzerland but none are regulated at the state level. The Federal Act and Ordinance on Vocational and Professional Education and Training are the legal basis for IPD for the other qualifications. EXPERTsuisse, is in regular contact with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to make sure constant compliance of its IPD with the IES requirements and with Swiss regulation. EXPERTsuisse has received the highest ranking within the NQF VPQ (level 8) by SERI for its certification for auditors.
EXPERTsuisse monitors new and amended standards issued by the International Accounting Education Standards Boards (IAESB). EXPERTsuisse has established mechanisms, to distribute information to members and stakeholders regarding recent developments, as well as updates from international standard setters.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
EXPERTsuisse, as the recognized audit standard-setter, is responsible for the adoption of auditing standards for to non-PIEs and has developed national auditing standards that are converged with ISA, with modifications (add-ons) for Swiss-specific issues. EXPERTsuisse reports that it has an ongoing system in place to incorporate new and revised ISA. As of 2019, the 2016–2017 ISA has been translated into German and French and is being incorporated into national requirements.
To facilitate members’ ongoing implementation of the standards, EXPERTsuisse disseminates information on updates to the standards and international developments in the area through printed materials and its website, offers professional development activities, and develops implementation guidelines. EXPERTsuisse participates in the translation of ISA into German along with the Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer of Germany and with the Austrian Institut Österreichischer Wirtschaftsprüfer.
EXPERTsuisse is encouraged to provide an update on its efforts to ensure that timely translation of new and revised standards into German and French, particularly given the latest 2018 IAASB Handbook, which included the revised ISA 250 and 540. In addition, EXPERTsuisse is encouraged to participate in the international standard-setting process in this area by providing comments on IAASB Exposure Drafts and Discussion Papers.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Ethical requirements for auditors in Switzerland are established in the Swiss Code of Obligations (Swiss CO), as amended in 2017, and the Federal Act on the Licensing and Oversight of Auditors of 2005. The legislation refers only to independence requirements for auditors. Meanwhile, EXPERTsuisse has developed its own code of ethics based on the 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics.
EXPERTsuisse reports it is updating its ethical requirements to incorporate new amendments from the 2018 IESBA Code of Ethics and expects to complete this by 2020.
To support the implementation of the requirements, EXPERTsuisse disseminates information, maintains a hotline for its members, and offers seminars and presentations for both its members as well as the Federal Audit Oversight Authority.
EXPERTsuisse is encouraged to provide information on planned actions or initiatives related to promoting the adoption of the IESBA Code of Ethics for all auditors in the jurisdiction.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Swiss Federal Finance Administration (FFA), the entity responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, has adopted IPSAS by reference in Switzerland. EXPERTsuisse states it is proactive in this area by: (i) ongoing communication with FFA and supporting FFA activities; (ii) providing guidance to practitioners engaged in auditing public sector financial statements; and (iii) promoting harmonization of public sector auditing rules through its Public Sector Committee.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In Switzerland, the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA) is responsible for establishing investigative and disciplinary (I&D) systems for auditors—the only regulated segment of the profession. In addition, EXPERTsuisse has established its own I&D system for its members, which do include other professional accountants. As reported by EXPERTsuisse, both I&D systems fulfill the requirements of SMO 6.
EXPERTsuisse has established its own Professional Ethics Committee which operates independently of EXPERTsuisse's structure and carries out investigations of its members using both information and complaints-based approaches. EXPERTsuisse disseminates information on its I&D system and on national regulation that might have disciplinary implications for its members.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Accounting standards in Switzerland are established by the Swiss Code of Obligations (Swiss CO), as amended in 2017. The Swiss CO requires all companies—other than public interest entities (PIEs), which are defined as listed companies and financial institutions—to prepare financial statements in accordance with IFRS Standards, IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs), US GAAP, and Swiss GAAP FER. PIEs are required to prepare their group financial statements in accordance with IFRS or US GAAP if they are registered on a major stock exchange, and in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER if they are registered on the domestic market.
As part of supporting the ongoing adoption of corporate accounting standards, EXPERTsuisse indicates it: (i) monitors IASB updates and changes to IFRS; (ii) disseminates information on the standards through various mechanisms; (iii) meets on a regular basis with the SIX Swiss Exchange, which requires the application of IFRS/US-GAAP; (iv) supports the FER Foundation—the standard-setter for domestic companies—in their effort to improve Swiss GAAP FER and increase their usage; (v) provides training on IFRS; and (vi) prepares implementation guidelines.
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