Institute of Chartered Accountants of Cameroon
Member | Established: 1985 | Member since 1998
ONECCA-Cameroon was established in 1985 under the Law No. 85/11. In accordance with Law No. 2011/009 Relating to the Practice of the Accounting Profession and the Functioning of the ONECCA-Cameroon, ONECCA-Cameroon is authorized to regulate the national accountancy profession abiding by regulation issued at the regional level by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). Membership in ONECCA-Cameroon is mandatory for Public Accountants. In addition to supporting the implementation of CEMAC’s established initial professional developments, the institute’s functions are to: (i) rule on membership applications and maintain a register of professional accountants; (ii) set and monitor compliance with continuous professional development requirements; (iii) ensure compliance with the requirements of global and regional standards; (iv) establish and implement quality control standards and a quality assurance review system; (v) establish an investigation and discipline system for its members; and (vi) set ethical requirements.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, ONECCA-Cameroon is a member of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa, the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), and the International Federation of Francophone Accountants (FIDEF).
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
Cameroon is a member state of two regional communities—the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)—which stipulate requirements for quality assurance (QA) review systems in Regulation n° 11/01-UREC-027- CM-07 of 5 December 2001 and Regulation No. 01/2017/CM/OHADA Pratiques Professionelles de la Comptabilité et de l’Audit dans les pays membres de l’OHADA, respectively. The regulations ultimately delegate responsibility to the PAOs in each member state to adopt and implement QA review procedures.
ONECCA—Cameroon states it commenced QA reviews with the partnership and support of the International Cooperation of the French Accountancy Profession (DDPI) and financing from the World Bank. In June 2017, a DDPI consultant visited 12 firms that serve public interest entities to carry out QA reviews and issue reports. Subsequently, ONECCA-Cameroon has continued to carry out reviews on its own among member firms in 2018 and 2019 and expects to complete the first cycle by December 2021. Over 100 individuals have been subject to reviews to date. ONECCA-Cameroon confirms the QA reviews are conducted in accordance with SMO 1 except that this first phase of reviews is voluntary. The second cycle will be mandatory.
The institute reports it has offered regular training for both its members and quality controllers (Train the Trainers) on relevant standards over the last three years. Additionally, after completing the QA reviews, the institute sends a general report to all members on the findings and observations resulting from the reviews as well as individualized reports to firms for them to make improvements as necessary prior to the next review cycle.
In 2019, it implemented Pack-PE software received from its partnership with the DDPI to support firms’ compliance with quality control standards and digitalize its reviews of small firms.
It is positive progress that ONECCA-Cameroon has almost completed its first round of QA reviews among members in line with the SMO 1 requirements. As other Francophone PAOs in OHADA and CEMAC member states in different phases of planning and initiating QA review systems, the ONECCA-Cameroon may consider how it can collaborate in the exchange of tools, quality controllers, and information in French. Lastly, the ONECCA-Cameroon is encouraged to continue monitoring and preparing members for the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards that have been approved by the IAASB.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) regulations issued in 2001 state that candidates who wish to become CEMAC-accredited Public Accountants must be holders of a public accountancy diploma certification, or an advanced diploma in accountancy that is recognized by competent authorities. In practice, this is the French Diplôme d’expertise comptable (DEC). According to the Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes (CNCC) and Conseil Supérieur de l’Ordre des Experts-Comptables (CSOEC), the DEC qualification is aligned with the 2015 IES requirements.
Candidates must also undergo a three-year internship in a chartered accountancy firm before officially obtaining the DEC. Subsequently, individuals must register with a PAO in their jurisdiction as a Public Accountant and be authorized by CEMAC to offer any accountancy services. The implementation of the education and training process varies by CEMAC member states, however, due to capacity.
In Cameroon, the role of ONECCA-Cameroon is to implement regional IPD requirements, set national IPD requirements, and establish continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for professional accountants.
Law No. 2011/009 Relating to the Practice of the Accounting Profession and the Functioning of the ONECCA-Cameroon reiterates the CEMAC requirements, stating that candidates must hold a professional accounting diploma recognized by the State of Cameroon (i.e. the DEC), complete three years of practical experience, and also pass written and verbal examinations organized by ONECCA-Cameroon to meet IES 6 and ensure candidates have sufficient knowledge of the Cameroonian institutional, legal, and fiscal environment.
In partnership with INTEC-Paris (Institut national des techniques économiques et comptables (National Institute of Economic and Accounting Techniques)), ONECCA-Cameroon has established INTEC-ONECCA within Cameroon as a center of higher education that provides IPD education and delivers the DEC qualification. ONECCA-Cameroon organizes the courses that are led by its members and university lecturers. Candidates that have a bachelor’s degree can follow a three-stage path earning the French Diploma in Management and Accounting (DGC), a Higher Degree of Management and Accounting (DSGC), and finally the DEC. The institute affirms that the training program provided at INTEC-ONECCA is aligned with international standards. ONECCA-Cameroon also notes that it is assisting other universities and tuition providers in the development of their curricula and training related to obtaining the DEC.
Law No.2011/009 also permits ONECCA-Cameroon to establish continuing professional development requirements. The institute has determined members must fulfill 120 hours of CPD over three years and it will monitor compliance with this obligation in line with IES 7. ONECCA’s Scientific Committee is charged with approving training offered by external organizations for CPD credit. ONECCA-Cameroon provides notices of CPD activities for its members on its website.
Since 2017, ONECCA-Cameroon has been engaged with the International Cooperation of the French Accountancy Profession (DDPI) to carry out a study on the accountancy education in Cameroon and present suggested reforms to CEMAC to enhance the training system in the sub-region. In 2021, the institute will implement new registration requirements for individuals who earn a foreign qualification. Individuals will need to pass examinations regarding national law as well as OHADA legislation.
Additionally, among the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA), of which Cameroon is also a member state, CEMAC, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), there is a Chartered Accountant Diploma and curriculum reform under consideration to better align with the IES requirements and the French licence-master-doctorat (Bachelor's-Master's-Doctorate) system. ONECCA-Cameroon reports that policy reform is under discussion and a roundtable was held in September 2020.
ONECCA-Cameroon has taken steps to meet previous IES requirements, such as instituting an exam on local rules and legislation and setting and monitoring CPD requirements. However, it is not clear if other IPD requirements set by CEMAC (e.g. INTEC-ONECCA courses, practical experience, final exam, and dissertation) are aligned with the latest 2019 IES requirements, which emphasize the need to demonstrate competencies.
Further, in 2019, newly revised IES address learning and development for information and communications technologies (ICT) and professional skepticism. As market expectation increases for ICT skills and professional skepticism, these standards were developed to address the competencies, skills, and behaviors for both aspiring and professional accountants in these critical areas. These revised standards become effective January 2021. The requirements may require both regional and national changes to accountancy education programming. The institute could take a lead role in advocating, assessing, and planning for the incorporation of these international requirements, especially as part of the studies already ongoing in collaboration with CEMAC, OHADA, WAEMU, and DDPI. The IES Checklist and the Accountancy Education E-Tool developed by IFAC may be used to support the regional review and to consider available implementation support materials.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Cameroon is a member state of two regional communities—the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)—which have authority to issue and approve applicable auditing standards. In June 2017, the OHADA issued Regulation No. 01/2017/CM/OHADA Pratiques Professionelles de la Comptabilité et de l’Audit dans les pays membres de l’OHADA to harmonize regional auditing standards with international best practice. The regulation states that effective from January 1, 2018, all audits in member states, which includes Cameroon, must be conducted in accordance with ISA as issued by the IAASB.
Although Section 5 of the Law No. 2011/009 Relating to the Practice of the Accounting Profession and the Functioning of the ONECCA-Cameroon stipulates that members of ONECCA must adhere to regional and international standards, the institute indicates that they are subject to final approval by CEMAC. ONECCA-Cameroon confirms that the OHADA regulations are in force in the jurisdiction and that ISA are effective as issued by the IAASB.
The institute has been committed to the adoption of ISA at the national level prior to 2017. The institute required its members to apply ISA since 2009 when it adopted the Clarified ISA. With adoption now effective at the regional level, ONECCA-Cameroon reports its role is to advocate for adoption by CEMAC and providing implementation support to its members. ONECCA-Cameroon notes that it has advocated to the CEMAC and the Ministry of Finance the importance of adopting the OHADA regulations on ISA.
As noted above, the institute ISA as issued is a CEMAC zone requirement. As such, it has offered training to its members on recent revisions, such as the new auditor’s report, and secured the use of Pack-PE audit software that is adapted to OHADA requirements in collaboration with the French PAOs—CNCC and CSOEC. The institute states that it regularly offers CPD on the standards and provides other tools (e.g. questionnaires to evaluate ISA implementation and OHADA guides).
ONECCA has demonstrated that it is carrying out relevant activities although there remain opportunities for the institute to further meet the SMO 3 obligations.
ONECCA-Cameroon is encouraged to ensure it is offering implementation support that addresses the revisions in the 2018 Handbook and include examples in its SMO Action Plan. The ONECCA-Cameroon is also encouraged to continue monitoring and preparing members for the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards that have been approved by the IAASB.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Cameroon is a member state of two regional communities—the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA)—which have authority to issue and approve applicable ethical standards. In 2017, OHADA issued Regulation No. 01/2017/CM/OHADA Pratiques Professionelles de la Comptabilité et de l’Audit dans les pays membres de l’OHADA to harmonize regional ethical requirements with international best practice. The regulation states that effective from January 1, 2018, professional accountants in OHADA member states must adhere to the OHADA Code of Ethics, which is note and guidance on ethical requirements. The institute states it has prepared questionnaires to support monitoring and evaluation of members’ compliance and understanding of the OHADA Code of Ethics.
The new OHADA regulations only incorporate up to the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics. The ONECCA-Cameroon is encouraged to leverage its advisory and advocacy role and share the 2018 International Code of Ethics, which is significantly revised, contains the NOCLAR standard issued in 2016, and now available in French, with the OHADA and CEMAC so that they might coordinate and update regulations accordingly to align with international benchmarks. The institute is encouraged to note any implementation support it is providing related to the 2018 International Code of Ethics and include examples in its SMO Action Plan.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
At the regional level, the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) has set general rules on public accounting (Directive n° 02/08-UEAC-190-CM-17) and a government accounting plan (Directive n° 05/08-UEAC-190-CM-17). In 2011, CEMAC issued Directive No. 02/11-UEAC-190-CM-22 which aimed to align public sector accounting standards with international best practices and standards. At a regional level, the ONECCA-Cameroon states it participated in the 2019 PFM Forum in Addis Ababa which created the African Association of Accountants General and emphasized the objective of all African governments to adopt IPSAS.
Nationally, the Cameroonian government is responsible for implementing the CEMAC regulations which ONECCA states differ from IPSAS. There is no official plans or timeline for the adoption of accrual IPSAS.
Despite having no authority for adoption public sector accounting standards, the institute reports several engagements and activities within this area in the scope of its authority and means since 2015. In June 2015, ONECCA-Cameroon organized a three-day congress on the quality of financial information in Cameroon and the standardization of public accounting. Subsequently, in 2017, PAFA visited Cameroon and met with the Supreme State Audit of Office (Contrôle supérieur de l’État—CONSUPE) and ONECCA-Cameroon to discuss adoption of IPSAS. The institute and CONSUPE signed an MoU to cooperate on addressing public sector competencies. This is implemented through an annual action plan and includes training and advocacy efforts.
For example, ONECCA states it advocated for the adoption of IPSAS as part of new laws introduced in 2017 and 2018 on public accounting, transparency, and good governance in public financial management although the standards were ultimately not referred to in the final legislation. Further, it has engaged with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Nigeria (ICAN) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants to provide IPSAS training in 2021. The institute has been working steadily to expand its membership to permit public sector accountants to join.
ONECCA-Cameroon’s advisory and advocacy efforts around IPSAS adoption are commendable. The ONECCA-Cameroon is encouraged to indicate if there is any update on plans for the adoption of the IPSAS by CEMAC. A 2015 version of IPSAS is available in French that the institute may consider sharing with relevant stakeholders.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
HYPERLINK "http://www.onecca.cm/images/textes/textes-onecca/Loi_num_2011_009_ENG.pdf" Law No. 2011/009 Relating to the Practice of the Accounting Profession and the Functioning of the ONECCA-Cameroon, authorizes ONECCA-Cameroon to establish an I&D system for professional accountants for breaches of conduct and non-compliance. As such, the institute has established two bodies responsible for the I&D of its members: an Investigation and Disciplinary Committee and a Trial and Appeals Chamber. The Trial and Appeals Chamber is charged by a magistrate of the Supreme Court and is appointed by the President of the Supreme Court.
ONECCA-Cameroon conducted a self-assessment—located within its SMO Action Plan—of its existing I&D mechanisms against the revised SMO 6 requirements. It noted gaps in the areas of: composition of the disciplinary committee to include non-accountants, the full separation of the investigation and disciplinary committees, and regular reviews of its procedures. In 2018, the institute reports that it considered identifying non-professionals to sit on the investigation and disciplinary committee, but legislation does not permit this. Occasionally members appointed by the ONECCA Board to serve on the investigations and disciplinary committees are also lawyers and university professors.
ONECCA-Cameroon states it provides trainings to its members on the procedures and volunteers who serve on the committees. The institute also informs the public of disciplinary proceedings and the results as part of promoting the importance of proper accountancy services in the jurisdiction. In 2018, the institute expelled two member firms due to non-compliance. The decision was confirmed by the government and CEMAC. In 2019, the disciplinary committee received 48 cases and their review continues through 2020.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. It is positive that ONECCA-Cameroon receives and processes complaints to safeguard the public interest. When possible, ONECCA-Cameroon should continue exploring and pursuing ways to include non-accountants in its I&D procedures as part of strengthening its process. ONECCA-Cameroon should indicate where it needs support from other stakeholders, such as the government, or knowledge sharing from other regional PAOs.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The corporate financial framework of Cameroon is determined by legislation issued by the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). In January 2017, the Commission de Normalisation Comptable de l’OHADA (CNC)-OHADA, established in 2009 through an OHADA Uniform Act, adopted the OHADA Uniform Act on Accounting and Financial Information (AUDCIF) to update the previous OHADA Uniform Act on Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems 2/2000. The previous Act had outlined the OHADA Accounting System and applicable standards—known as SYSCOHADA.
The OHADA AUDCIF revised the SYSCOHADA, namely the OHADA general accounting plan, as well as the consolidated and combined accounting rules in order to serve as a single accounting reference in all OHADA member states. The OHADA AUDCIF became effective on January 1, 2018 for individual accounts and on January 1, 2019 for consolidated and combined accounts. The SYSCOHADA continue to differ from the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and are generally applied by small and medium-sized entities (SMEs); however, the AUDCIF now requires that listed companies and companies seeking financing in a public capital market to apply IFRS in consolidated statements. All other companies are permitted but not required to use IFRS.
The ONECCA-Cameroon advocated for the convergence of SYSCOHADA with IFRS and supported the CNC-OHADA’s work in issuing the 2017 regulations. It was involved in regional discussions to benchmark local accounting standards against IFRS and prepared a draft term of reference to support the OHADA’s action plan to adopt IFRS. After the OHADA formally issued the revised SYSCOHADA, ONECCA-Cameroon promptly disseminated the information to members and stakeholders, such as the Chamber of Commerce, via circulars and the local newspaper / gazette to raise awareness. It subsequently organized several training sessions for members and employers to ensure implementation by the effective dates.
The institute continues to offer regular training to members and national regulators with OHADA guidelines available for additional support. In 2019, IFRS trainings were organized by MAZARS Cameroun with the support of the United States embassy. Furthermore, after the passage of the new OHADA Regulation, the institute has collaborated with universities and the Ministry of Education to provide targeted training to students on IFRS.
ONECCA-Cameroon has demonstrated that it is implementing initiatives within the scope of its authority for SMO 7 and is committed to continued improvements in this area.
The IFRS Foundation has French translations of the IFRS readily available that the institute may consider sharing amongst its members and other stakeholders to support understanding and implementation. The institute could also consider advocating for the regional adoption of IFRS for SMEs as a permissible framework to bring SME reporting in line with international best practices.
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