Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados
Member | Established: 1974 | Member since 1981
In Barbados, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) is the only professional membership organization representing Chartered Accountants along with students pursuing professional accounting qualifications. It is established by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (Incorporation) Act 1974. Membership of the institute is mandatory to offer accountancy services to the public.
According to the legislation, ICAB has the responsibility to: (i) promote, foster and maintain the highest standards of accounting in public practice, the public service and commercial and industrial spheres; (ii) safeguard and enhance the professional standing, interest and reputation of accountants who are members thereof and are employed in the spheres specified above; (iii) maintain the highest standards of professional etiquette and ethics amongst its members and encourage the observance of such standards among non-members; and (iv) express its views to the Government, public authorities, commissions of enquiry and similar bodies regarding matters affecting its members and the profession.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, ICAB is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
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
To fulfill its regulatory responsibility to establish a quality assurance (QA) review system, ICAB has signed a tripartite agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to formalize a practice monitoring review system that is compliant with SMO 1 requirements. Since 2009, under this arrangement, QA reviews have been conducted by the ACCA on behalf of ICAB. The institute has signed an agreement which is effective from January 2016 until December 2021.
ICAB has established a Practice Monitoring Committee to receive and review reports submitted by the ACCA on the results of the practice monitoring reviews. In the case of unsatisfactory reports, the Committee recommends appropriate actions to address the deficiencies in accordance with the ICAB Disciplinary Regulations. ICAB also provides technical support and guidance to support members and increase the number of satisfactory outcomes. This includes workshops, particularly for Small-and Medium Practitioners, along with developing an action plan that will help members correct the deficiencies during their next review.
Additionally, ICAB indicates that it carries out a public education program through the news media to emphasize the role of practice monitoring in promoting the public interest. ICAB publishes the results of the QA reviews in its Annual Report and disseminates resources for its members about the practice monitoring reviews on its website.
ICAB continues to consider the development of a QA review system for reviews of other assurance and related engagements of financial statements. Moreover, ICAB states that it intends to incorporate its guidelines, administrative directives, and best practice information into a single set of practice monitoring regulations under Section 5 of the ICAB Act by May 2022.
The new suite of Quality Management standards that will become effective in 2021-22 will require significant change management for regulators and firms. ICAB is encouraged to prepare members and raise awareness of the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards and update its training programming to ensure that its members are sufficiently prepared for the application of the standards once they become effective.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
The accountancy profession in Barbados has grown through the inclusion of professional accountants qualified overseas. ICAB has determined a list of overseas institutes that are recognized for ICAB membership purposes—and consequently the initial professional development requirements for professional accountants in the jurisdiction. All the recognized foreign institutes require their aspiring members to complete a professional accountancy education program, a practical experience requirement, and to pass final examinations, which are reported to be in line with the latest IES.
ICAB also sets continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members. In 2014, ICAB adopted new CPD Regulations to align with the revised IES 7. These regulations were subsequently updated in 2018 to allow for the sharing of information on member compliance upon request by an approved professional body. The requirements of IES 8 are also reflected in ICAB’s Public Practice Regulations.
ICAB has a CPD Committee which is responsible for developing an annual training plan of courses and events to ensure its members remain competent and aware of the current standards and developments in the field. Members can view upcoming CPD events on CPD Calendar which the institute maintains on its website. ICAB members are required to file annual CPD returns, and the institute maintains a database of its members’ CPD hours, which the institute annually audits using a sample of members’ information to ensure compliance with the requirements. Non-compliance can result in disciplinary actions.
Currently, ICAB does not offer an examination on local tax and legislation as part of the final assessment process and there are no plans to develop such an assessment. ICAB indicates that it has included an annual tax update as part of its CPD programming and offers periodic legislative updates.
Revised requirements of the IES 2, 3, 4 and 8 are effective as of 2021. The revisions to these standards reflect the increasing demand for accountants skilled in information and communications technologies and place further emphasis on the professional skepticism skills and behaviors. These apply to both aspiring and professional accountants. ICAB is encouraged to continue its information-sharing and communication with recognized institutes to ensure that professionals in Barbados have the necessary competencies and update its Public Practice Regulations regarding IES 8, as necessary.
The Accountancy Education E-Tool developed by IFAC may be useful to identify implementation support materials.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
In line with its mandate to adopt auditing standards, ICAB has adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB without modifications and including effective dates following the advice of its Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee and now focuses on providing technical assistance to its members to support implementation.
To this end, ICAB holds an annual one-day training seminar to update its members on developments to ISA, such as new standards issued and changes to existing standards. Additionally, the institute indicates it continues to emphasize trainings for Small-and Medium Practitioners on the application of IAASB pronouncements and has made IFAC’s Guide to Practice Management for SMPs available. For example, in September 2019 a Practice Monitoring workshop was held for SMPs. It focused on ISQC1, common breaches of the IESBA Code of Ethics, and other practice management and quality control issues.
Furthermore, the institute maintains an online continuing professional development (CPD) calendar of events which indicates additional courses and workshop for members on ISA. The institute has also published resources, templates, and informational briefs for its members about ISA on its website.
Moreover, the institute states that it utilizes its resources for standard-setting participation to engage in reviewing and responding to exposure drafts issued by IAASB and informs members of exposure draft publications. When deemed necessary, the institute indicates that its Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee will prepare an impact analysis of the proposed changes within Barbados.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In line with its responsibility to set ethical standards for its members, ICAB completed a comprehensive revision of its By-Laws in 2014 which included direct reference the IESBA Code of Ethics as the applicable ethical requirements for its members. As such, ICAB’s members are required to adhere to the currently effective version of the IESBA Code. The 2018 International Code of Ethics is available on ICAB’s website.
ICAB’s Ethics, Governance & Risk (EG&R) Committee notifies members of changes to the IESBA Code, responds to IESBA exposure drafts and pronouncements, and issues guidance documents with advice on implementing the requirements. The EG&R Committee has issued recent guidance documents on responding to NOCLAR and the changes in the 2018 International Code of Ethics. Information about the revised and updated International Code of Ethics was also provided to members and non-members at ICAB’s Annual Ethics Workshop in November 2018.
ICAB includes an annual seminar within its continuing professional development (CPD) programming on ethics-related topics to support the implementation of the Code and, according to its online CPD calendar, offers additional CPD courses and trainings on ethics topics offered throughout the year. In 2019, the Ethics Workshop was titled “Ethics – Back to Basics” and focused on the impacts of social change and broad marketplace influences on ethics including significant changes in the IESBA Code of Ethics. In 2020, ICAB’s program was titled “The Importance of Maintaining Ethical Behaviour During Disruption and Uncertainty” highlighting ethics and corporate governance as necessary tools for business continuity considering COVID-19.
The 2020 Handbook of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants is now available and includes the following changes: Revisions to Part 4B of the Code to reflect terms and concepts used in the IAASB's International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised). Revised Part 4B and the related conforming amendments to the Glossary will come into effect in June 2021. Revisions to promote the role and mindset expected of professional accountants. These revisions are to Sections 100, 110, 120, 220 and the Glossary to the Code and will come into effect in December 2021. These changes can be accessed using the IESBA eCode and ICAB is encouraged to raise awareness of the changes among its membership and update training workshops to ensure that its members are sufficiently prepared for the application of the standards once they become effective.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Barbados government, specifically, the Comptroller General, is responsible for setting public sector accounting standards. In 2019, the Public Finance Management Act was passed and identifies IPSAS as issued by the IPSASB as the accounting standards to be applied by the government.
ICAB states that it has been active in supporting the government since 2007 regarding the adoption and implementation of IPSAS. Government entities are still transitioning from cash-basis IPSAS to accrual-basis IPSAS, and some government entities are still using IFRS (IFAC, CIPFA).
After the passage of the new Public Finance Management Act in 2019, ICAB re-approached the Ministry of Finance to discuss cooperation and collaboration with ICAB. ICAB submitted a proposal on ways that it might assist in the areas of corporate governance, financial accountability, reform of SOEs, training and certification for public finance officers, and institutional strengthening of finance departments. ICAB continues to be in discussion with the Barbados government regarding the various areas outlined in the proposal.
For its part, ICAB has established its own Public Sector Committee to improve its strategic focus on public sector accounting issues thereby ensuring that its members who work in the public sector receive technical assistance and guidance. The Public Sector Committee organizes several workshops and seminars for public sector accountants, which cover the IPSAS. It also collaborates with the Accountant General and Ministry of Finance and the Caribbean Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC)–a regional entity which is currently involved in providing technical assistance to strengthen the public financial management framework–to create the content for the programs. ICAB has focused more on ‘soft skills’ as the Ministry of Finance leads on the technical components. ICAB also reports that it is engaging with CARTAC to possibly draft an IPSAS Manual.
The ICAB is encouraged to continue its strong technical and advocacy support to the Ministry of Finance as part of enhancing public financial management in the jurisdiction. It may find IFAC’s Train the Trainers: Introduction to IPSAS resource helpful in this regard. ICAB should provide updates as the government advances with an implementation schedule. If deemed feasible, ICAB should consider participating in the international standard-setting process by submitting comments to IPSASB-issued exposure drafts.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
ICAB is responsible for establishing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) process for its members in accordance with its founding legislation and in May 2016, its members approved Disciplinary Regulations as part of the comprehensive review of its By-Laws.
ICAB reports that the Disciplinary Regulations bring ICAB’s I&D system in line with the SMO 6 requirements by establishing distinct Investigation and Disciplinary Committees, an Appeals mechanism, and clearly outlining the procedures for filing a complaint against members, the process for investigating those complaints, the range of offences, and the applicable sanctions where the complaint has been proven. Furthermore, ICAB has taken specific steps to ensure that the committees are comprised of accountants and non-accountants while not including any members of the Council on the committees to enhance public confidence in the I&D process. As of the assessment, two complaints have been put before the Investigations Committee.
In 2020, ICAB began holding an orientation session for the members of its Investigations, Disciplinary and Appeals Committees. The session comprised a review of ICAB’s Disciplinary Regulations and By-Laws related to Investigations and Discipline as well as SMO 6.
Lastly, the institute is focused on making the public aware of the I&D processes and steps for filing a complaint by issuing press releases. ICAB’s Annual Report also includes information on complaints and actions taken.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
As the entity responsible for the adoption of accounting standards in Barbados under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (Incorporation) Act 1974, ICAB has adopted IFRS and IFRS for SMEs as issued by the IASB following the advice of its Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee and now focuses its effort on implementation support.
ICAB indicates that it supports its members’ understanding of the standards by holding annual one-daylong seminars that cover the developments to IFRS over the past year such as new standards, exposure drafts, interpretations, and other IASB pronouncements. This seminar is done in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and ICAC. In September 2020, the training was done virtually and focused on recognition and measurement of certain items on the financial statements, as well as presentation and disclosure issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, ICAB holds similar annual seminars to provide an update on IFRS for SMEs. In August 2020, the institute offered a two-day webinar focused on reporting the effect of COVID-19 on events after the reporting period, the going concern, and other miscellaneous topics, accounting for cryptocurrency, and the IASB Request for Information regarding possible amendments to the IFRS for SMEs. The institute also provides resources on IFRS for SMEs on its website as well.
ICAB reports that it participates in the international standard-setting process by responding to exposure drafts issued by the IASB, informing members of exposure drafts and new standards that may have significant impacts on the local profession and entities, and circulating guidance documents on the implementation of revised standards.
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