Fiji Institute of Accountants
Member | Established: 1972 | Member since 1977
The FIA was established under the Fiji Institute of Accountants Act of 1971 (FIA Act) and is the only professional accountancy organization in Fiji. The FIA Act establishes the functions of FIA, which include maintaining a registry of all professional accountants, regulating the profession by enforcing professional conduct, setting applicable auditing and accounting standards, setting initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements, and establishing an investigative and disciplinary system. In addition, as established under its bylaws, the FIA is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for its members. The FIA reports, as there is a requirement for audit practitioners to be independently reviewed, the institute has developed a Peer Review program for members who hold a Certificate of Public Practice (CPP). Audits in Fiji can only be conducted by Chartered Accountants (CAs) who hold a CPP. CAs who hold a CPP are required to be members of the FIA and in addition, are required to be registered with the Ministry of Justice.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, the FIA is a member of the Confederation of Asian and Pacific 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
The FIA reports that there is requirement for audit practitioners to be independently reviewed, and the institute has developed a Peer Review program for all auditors. In June 2017, the FIA conducted a review of its program against the requirements of SMO 1 and has identified that its system is aligned with the requirements.
The FIA has engaged an independent external reviewer to undertake triennial reviews of a sample number of audits carried out by its members, including those who work for the Big Four firms. The Peer Review Program commenced its first reviews in 2013 and the initial phase of the program concluded in September 2015. FIA indicates that it has commenced a new round of reviews in January 2017 with an estimated completion date of 2019.
The FIA reports that on an ongoing basis, it conducts a workshop, with the assistance of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, for practitioners who audit public companies to ensure they are kept updated on current requirements and ISQC 1. The institute also reports that it makes ISQC 1 available to members and has issued the Fiji Interpretation and Guidance Standards to assist its members with the implementation of auditing standards.
The FIA is encouraged to consider developing further support and activities surrounding QA for the benefit of its members.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
Under the Fiji Institute of Accountants Act of 1971, the FIA is responsible for establishing initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements for all professional accountants. As reported in its SMO Action Plan, the institute has identified that IES 6 is not currently adopted. The extent of alignment with other IES requirements is not clear.
Since 2003, the FIA’s activities have centered on engagement with academics and local universities such as the University of South Pacific, University of Fiji, and the Fiji National University, to evaluate the quality and content of accountancy education being provided to students, and to also ensure that the respective curriculums offered are consistent with the IES. FIA reports that the engagement process with universities is conducted under a triennial review process.
Although activities in the area of education of professional accountants seem to be undertaken, the FIA is encouraged to conduct a full review of its program against the revised IES, which are effective in their entirety as of July 2016, with a view to establish plans to adopt the standards and eliminate existing gaps. The institute is also encouraged to consider participating in the international standard-setting process by reviewing and responding to exposure drafts issued by the IAESB.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
With legal responsibility to adopt auditing standards in Fiji, the FIA has established an Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee, which has adopted the 2009 ISA for application in the jurisdiction.
The institute reports that updated pronouncements issued by the IAASB are disseminated to members, and are provided in the form of published articles and standards in the institute’s journal. In addition, the FIA reports that in 2006, it had issued the Fiji Interpretation and Guidance Standards to assist its members with the implementation of auditing standards. The institute reports that training on the ISA is undertaken during the Peer Review Program for single partner firms, and under in-house programs for larger firms.
The FIA is encouraged to consider reviewing the new and revised ISA, effective as of December 2016, for adoption. The FIA is also encouraged to consider participating in the international standard-setting process by reviewing and responding to exposure drafts issued by the IAASB.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
As part of its responsibilities, the FIA is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for its members. The institute reports that it has adopted the 2012 IESBA Code.
To support its members with the implementation of the Code, the institute reports that it had developed a seminar on ethics, organized once every two years for members. No further information has been provided.
The institute is encouraged to provide updates or actions being undertaken to assist members with the implementation of the Code (e.g. CPD courses, trainings and development of implementation guidance). Finally, the institute is encouraged to consider participating in the international standard-setting process by reviewing and responding to exposure drafts as issued by the IESBA.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
With no responsibility to adopt public sector accounting standards, the FIA reports that its past activities have centered on engaging with government officials, such as the Auditor-General, to promote the move towards the adoption of full IPSAS as recommended in a report developed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC). The institute reports that as of June 2017, this initiative is no longer being considered.
The FIA has previously engaged with public sector institutions and the Fiji government to promote the adoption of IPSAS; however, as the government has indicated no progress in moving forward with the standards, the FIA has not been able to move forward with any of its activities.
The FIA is encouraged to indicate in its SMO Action Plan the legal and regulatory framework underlying public sector accounting standards in the jurisdiction. Although not in its remit, the FIA is encouraged to consider, if deemed pertinent and relevant, specific actions that can be undertaken to promote adoption of IPSAS to relevant national regulators. In addition, although the institute reports that it is not including IPSAS in its IPD or CPD program, the institute is encouraged to promote the standards by sharing IPSAS-related resources and pronouncements with its members.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The FIA Act outlines the rules and provisions that pertain to how the FIA handles complaints against members. The FIA has established both an Investigation and Disciplinary Committee to undertake the various functions of the I&D process as outlined in the FIA Act. The Investigation Committee is responsible for investigating complaints against FIA members, while the Disciplinary Committee has the powers to censure members, suspend members, impose financial penalties, and remove members from the registry of members.
To this effect, although the FIA has established an I&D system for its members, it has identified, through a recent review, that its system is not aligned with elements of SMO 6. Areas that do not align with the requirements include: (i) I&D is not linked with results of QA reviews; (ii) members of the disciplinary committee do not include a mix of professional accountants and non-accountants; (iii) timeframe targets for disposal of all cases are not set; (iv) no process exists for independent review of complaints where there is no follow-up; (v) results of investigative and disciplinary proceedings are not made available to the public; and (vi) there is not process for liaising with outside bodies on serious crimes and offences. While the FIA has indicated that the composition of its disciplinary committee will be addressed in the redraft, it is not clear if there are plans to address the other gaps identified.
In 2006, the FIA submitted proposed amendments to the FIA Act and FIA Rules to the Fiji government in order to address areas in its disciplinary process that required improvements, such as the composition of its Investigation and Disciplinary Committees. The FIA reports that due to a military coup in December 2006, and the fact that Fiji has only had an elected parliament since October 2014, these changes have not been approved. As of June 2017, the FIA reports that the State Law Office is undergoing a redraft of the FIA Act to incorporate the proposed amendments by the FIA. While the FIA has indicated that the composition of its disciplinary committee will be addressed in the redraft, it is not clear if there are plans to address the other gaps identified.
The FIA is encouraged to provide updates to IFAC when the revised FIA Act has been approved and if the proposed amendments have been included. As the institute has already identified gaps in its I&D system, it is encouraged to develop an action plan to address the gaps. The FIA is also encouraged to establish a dissemination mechanism to share information the current I&D procedures to its members as well as the public.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Under the Fiji Institute of Accountants Act of 1971 (FIA Act), the FIA is responsible for setting accounting standards. In line with this mandate, the FIA reports that it has adopted IFRS and IFRS for SMEs as issued by the IASB for application by all companies.
To support its members with the implementation of accounting standards, the FIA’s Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee communicates pronouncements and updates by the IASB to FIA members via the FIA Journal and the main website. In addition, the FIA supports the activities of its Surveillance Panel, who is responsible for monitoring the preparation of financial statements in the jurisdiction. The institute also hosts regular seminars annually on IFRS and IFRS for SMEs for its members.
The FIA is encouraged to consider participating in the international standard-setting process by reviewing and responding to IASB exposure drafts.
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.