Member | Established: 1923 (merger with SRS 2006) | Member since 1977
FAR was founded in 1923 and at the time, only included authorized public accountants as members. However, in 2006, the organization merged with Svenska Revisorsamfundet to include approved public accountants in the membership base. Since then, FAR has extended its membership scope to also include other professional accountants in public practice, such as authorized accounting consultants, authorized tax consultants and authorized public consultants. Membership in FAR continues to be voluntary.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, FAR is a member of Accountancy Europe and the Nordic Federation of Public Accountants.
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 accordance with the Auditing Act of 1995 (as amended 2016), the Revisorsnämndens Föreskrifter (RI) carries out inspections on audit firms by which public interest entities (PIEs) are audited. RI and FAR signed an agreement that delegates FAR with the responsibility to conduct QA reviews on auditors and audit firms that are members of FAR and do not audit PIEs.
FAR has been conducting inspections since 2009 and requires implementation of quality control standards. In 2018, FAR reported that it is in the process of establishing a QA review system for its members that are authorized tax consultants and payroll consultants.
The institute provides its members with guidance on establishing and maintaining quality control systems. Seminars are also provided to help members overcome challenges with quality control systems and QA reviews.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
Responsibility for initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD respectively) is shared in Sweden. FAR, as a voluntary professional accountancy organization, sets and implements educational requirements for members who join the institute which include authorized public accountants, approved public accountants, and other professional accountants in public practice, such as authorized accounting consultants, authorized tax consultants and authorized public consultants.
In 2011, FAR indicated that it undertook several activities to render various certification processes more rigorous. For example, in 2011 FAR introduced a written examination for Authorized Accounting Consultants; and in 2012, it introduced more stringent requirements for members to become licensed to audit financial companies.
To ensure that its education and examinations systems are of high quality, FAR conducted a review of the 2015 Handbook of International Education Pronouncements.
FAR has set CPD obligations that align with the IES requirements whereby members are required to complete at least 120 hours of relevant CPD within a three-year period (minimum of 20 hours per year). FAR monitors CPD through quality control and reports that it is continuously seeking to develop additional monitoring systems for follow up.
FAR support its members’ fulfillment of CPD requirements by providing them with a planner on its website, and with ample training opportunities throughout the year.
In light of the 2015 revised IES, FAR is encouraged to highlight how it is working to incorporate these new requirements which emphasize learning outcomes and demonstrating competencies. In addition to addressing its own educational requirements and if it has not done so already, FAR is encouraged to share the revised standards with universities, education and employment providers, and other key stakeholders such as the RI, to further promote incorporating the 2015 IES into national requirements.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
In line with the Auditors Act of 2001 (as amended 2018), FAR is responsible for issuing and translating ISA and states that it publishes them as they enter into force for application in the jurisdiction. Revsiorsinspektionen, in turn, has the explicit mandate to interpret and evaluate the recommendations and pronouncements issued by FAR and thus determine “good auditing practice.” Ultimate responsibility for determining “god revisionssed” lies with the courts of law.
FAR has translated the 2016–17 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements in line with the IFAC translation policy for application in the jurisdiction.
Moreover, the institute indicates that it supports and monitors members’ implementation of ISA through quality control reviews, and by offering a variety of training courses on the standards, the auditor’s report, and quality control matters.
Lastly, FAR provides comments to exposure drafts issued by the IAASB as part of sharing its perspective at the international standard-setting level.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In line with the Auditors Act of 2001 (as amended 2018), FAR is responsible for issuing and translating ethical standards for its members which include authorized public accountants, approved public accountants, and other professional accountants in public practice, such as authorized accounting consultants, authorized tax consultants and authorized public consultants. The Swedish Inspectorate of Auditors interprets the standards for application by authorized public accountants (i.e. auditors authorized to perform statutory audits).
FAR adopted and translated the 2016 Handbook for the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants in line with the IFAC translation policy for application in the jurisdiction. The institute is now proactively in the process of translating the 2018 IESBA Code.
FAR monitors its members’ compliance with the Code through quality control measures. It also maintains an ongoing process to monitor amendments to the IESBA Code of Ethics to update its members on any changes.
To support its members’ understanding of and adherence to the Code, FAR offers continuing professional development courses, journal articles, and newsletters alongside an Ethics toolbox that includes guidance materials on its website.
Lastly, FAR states it provides comments to exposure drafts issued by IESBA as part of sharing its perspective at the international standard-setting level.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
FAR has no responsibility for the adoption of public sector accounting standards in Sweden which are determined by two entities: the accounting standards board for local government known as Rådet för Kommunal redovisning (RKR), and the Swedish national financial management authority for central government, Ekonomistyrningsverket. FAR indicates it has two delegates on the RKR that focus on promoting IPSAS adoption.
As of the date of the assessment, IPSAS have not been translated into Swedish.
While the institute reports that is not directly involved in the adoption of IPSAS, FAR is encouraged to consider its role as it relates to SMO 5 and if it concludes it has a relevant role in promoting adoption and supporting implementation, it is encouraged to consider developing more specific and corresponding plans.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In line with the Auditors Act of 2001 (as amended 2018), FAR shares responsibility with Revisorsinspektionen (RI) for carrying out investigative and disciplinary (I&D) procedures for auditors.
The board of disciplinary procedure at the RI, which has two members from FAR, initiates investigations based on findings from quality assurance reviews conducted by FAR as per a signed agreement. FAR has its own disciplinary committee to deal with cases that do not fall under the RI’s jurisdiction and publishes its decisions on its website.
To support its members’ awareness and understanding of the system, FAR developed a set of guiding principles which are available on the website.
Lastly, FAR conducted a self-assessment of the I&D processes in the jurisdiction in 2018 and identified minor gaps. Nevertheless, FAR works with RI on an ongoing basis and plans to identify ways to address the remaining gaps.
FAR is encouraged to prioritize collaborating with the RI to develop concrete plans with timelines to support the implementation of missing components that were identified in the self-assessment.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Annual Reports Act of 1995 (as amended 2016) in Sweden stipulates the requirements for the preparation of financial statements, including applicable accounting standards and financial reporting thresholds. In accordance with the law, the Bokföringsnämnden (BFN; The Swedish Accounting Standards Board) the Rådet för finansiell rapportering (RFR; Swedish Financial Reporting Board), and the Finansinspektionen (SFSA; Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority) are the relevant authorities in the jurisdiction and therefore the FAR does not have any responsibility in this area.
While FAR does not have direct responsibility for setting accounting standards in Sweden, it provides its members with education, training, and guidance publications to support with implementation of adopted standards which are the EU-endorsed IFRS.
In addition to supporting its members, FAR indicates it is closely collaborating with the accounting standards board, BFN. For example, it supports the establishment of an ongoing process to incorporate new and amended IFRS at the jurisdiction level. It also provides assistance with translations of the standards, and exposure drafts. FAR published the EU Commission’s official translation of the EU-endorsed IFRS that it offers to its members titled IFRS Volume 2018.
FAR also states it is engaging with the BFN to develop an accounting framework that aligns as closely as possible with the IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities.
Lastly, FAR indicates that it collaborates with the BFN to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IASB pronouncements.
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.