Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Member | Established: 1973 | Member since 1977
The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) was established in 1973 under the Professional Accountants Ordinance (PA Ordinance) and is responsible for regulating the accountancy profession. Section 7 of the PA Ordinance established the functions of the HKICPA including, maintaining a registry of all professional accountants and firms, regulating the practice of accountancy professionals by establishing quality assurance reviews and an investigation and discipline systems for members and member firms, setting ethical requirements for members, setting auditing and accounting standards to be applied in Hong Kong, and setting initial professional development and continuing professional development requirements. Under the PA Ordinance, HKICPA is responsible for certifying professional accountants in Hong Kong including issuing the designation of Certified Public Accountants and Certified Public Accountants Practicing. Having a practicing certificate issued by the HKICPA is mandatory for auditors.
In addition to being an IFAC member, HKICPA is a member of the Global Accounting Alliance.
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
With responsibility to implement quality assurance (QA) reviews in Hong Kong, HKICPA has developed a QA review system that is in line with SMO 1 requirements. HKICPA’s Practice Review Program is in place to assess compliance of its members with all applicable professional standards and legal requirements during the performance of their audit work. Practice reviews are carried out by full-time staff members employed by HKICPA who have experience as auditors.
HKICPA coordinates with the FRC and HKEx to ensure there is no duplication of efforts during the reviews of listed entities financial statements that are carried out by all three parties. An annual report is published on the activities of the QA review team. HKICPA reports that steps are being taken in cooperation with other parties to revise the system of audit regulation in Hong Kong to introduce independent inspection of listed company audits.
HKICPA reports that its practice review program procedures manual was updated in 2014 to incorporate the revised requirements of SMO 1 and is regularly reviewed and updated to incorporate enhancements to procedures.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
With direct responsibility for setting initial professional development and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members, HKICPA has adopted the IES requirements. HKICPA reports that IES 8 will become effective on July 1, 2016. Guidance materials and CPD events are being developed to support the members and member firms with the implementation of the standard.
To ensure its Qualification Program maintains relevancy, HKICPA reports that it routinely conducts a peer review of its Program’s compliance with the IES with other professional accountancy organizations. The next review will be conducted in 2017. HKICPA also participates in the international standard setting process by reviewing and responding to exposure drafts issued by the IAESB, and to ensure its program is updated to reflect updated revisions of the IES. In addition, HKICPA notifies members on all new and updated pronouncements by the IAESB.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Having direct responsibility to issue auditing standards in Hong Kong, HKICPA reviews and monitors new and revised pronouncements issued by the IAASB to ensure auditing standards in Hong Kong are kept up to date. The Hong Kong Standards on Auditing (HKSA) are fully converged with ISA.
To support its members with the implementation of HKSA, HKICPA has published technical bulletins and guidance for members through the HKICPA website and other forms of publication. Other efforts by HKICPA include organizing technical seminars, forums, and holding an Annual Auditing Conference to raise awareness of auditing standards. HKICPA participates in the international standard-setting process by reviewing IAASB agenda materials, responding to IAASB exposure drafts, ITCs, and participating in NSS meetings and other roundtables/forum.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The HKICPA is responsible for setting ethical requirements in Hong Kong and has issued a Code of Ethics that is converged with the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics, with additional materials included to address specific local requirements.
HKICPA monitors and provides regular updates to members on pronouncements by the IESBA through institute issued technical updates and ensuring the topic of ethics is included into its initial professional development and continuing professional development programs. The institute also provides further guidance and assistance to members and stakeholders via its technical enquiry system, the HKICPA magazine, and its website.
HKICPA is active in the international standard-setting process as it reviews and responds to exposure drafts issued by the IESBA.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Although Hong Kong has not adopted IPSAS as the standards to be applied for public sector entities, HKICPA reports that it facilitates the dialogue to introduce IPSAS as a suitable framework for robust and transparent public sector accounting.
HKICPA reports that it monitors the positions of the Hong Kong government regarding public sector accounting standards and that it takes steps to ensure relevant government officials are aware of significant activities by the IPSASB. While the institute does not directly respond to exposure drafts issued by the IPSASB, it reports that it does disseminate pronouncements by the IPSASB to its members.
If deemed necessary and appropriate, the HKICPA is encouraged to consider developing specific plans for the future to promote adoption of the IPSAS to the Government of Hong Kong.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
With direct responsibility for I&D in Hong Kong, HKICPA continuously monitors and evaluates the I&D procedures set by the institute to ensure they operate effectively and are in line with the requirements of SMO 6.
HKICPA’s Regulatory Accountability Board conducts an annual review of its compliance department to assess if it adheres to HKICPA’s established procedures when handling complaints, investigation and disciplinary cases. HKICPA publishes all investigations and disciplinary results on the HKICPA website.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Having direct responsibility to adopt accounting standards in the jurisdiction and having converged local standards with IFRS, HKICPA monitors new and updated pronouncements by the IASB to ensure that standards in Hong Kong are continuously updated. Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards are fully converged with IFRS.
Activities to support members include updating relevant standards in its Members’ Handbook and disseminating pronouncements issued by the IASB to members via technical publications. HKICPA also organizes regular roundtables and forums on IFRS and includes the standards in initial professional development and continuing professional development training material.
HKICPA participates in the international standard-setting process by responding to exposure drafts issued by the IASB and gathers views on proposed standards via events such as the Technical Update Evening, Financial Reporting Forum and an Annual Accounting Update. HKICPA also participates in the international standard-setting process by joining regional and international standard setting forums and undertaking research on IASB projects that are pertinent to Hong Kong.
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.