Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana)
Member | Established: 1963 | Member since 1982
The Institute of Chartered Accountants—Ghana (ICAG) is the professional accounting body charged with the regulation of accountancy profession in Ghana. Its members work in various sectors of the Ghanaian economy, including public services, accountancy firms, industry, and education as well as other public and private sector organizations where funds need to be effectively and efficiently managed. Many of ICAG’s members work in other jurisdictions with national and international organizations. Given that its members are the only people recognized under the Companies Code 1963 for the purpose of publicly practicing accounting in Ghana, ICAG’s professional qualification is the foundation for a career in accounting in Ghana.
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 direct responsibility for the quality assurance (QA) in Ghana, ICAG developed a Quality Assurance Monitoring (QAM) system that is managed by an Audit Quality Monitoring (AQM) Unit. Subsequently, ICAG signed a twinning agreement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales to receive support in training its QA reviewers. As of March 2016, ICAG has conducted full monitoring visits at 104 firms.
To support its members, ICAG organizes seminars on the QA review system, produced a QA Review Manual with the assistance of PriceWaterHouseCoopers, and includes courses on ISQC 1 in its continuing professional development programs. ICAG is also preparing by-laws to guide audit practices in Ghana. The final draft was to be submitted for review by the Professional Standards and Ethics Committee by December 2015.
According to the 2014 World Bank ROSC, the AQM Unit is working on targeting small and medium practices (SMPs), which face greater challenges in complying with ISQC 1 and ISA. The institute has provided SMPs with a workshop on ISQC 1, illustrative templates, and quality control guides. At this time, the unit is acting in more of advisory role rather than a sanctioning body.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
ICAG is the only entity responsible for the education and training of professional accountants in Ghana. ICAG works to ensure that programs are line with the IES requirements by continuously reviewing its curricula against new and revised IES. With the support of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales under the DFID-funded IFAC Capacity Building Program, ICAG has revised the structure and content of its qualifying examinations to be line with IES 2 and also enhanced its final examination to be in line with IES 6. The institute has also revised its practical experience requirements to comply with IES 5 and its continuing professional development (CPD) requirements to be aligned with IES 7. ICAG monitors member compliance with CPD requirements.
ICAG reports that it actively promotes compliance with IES to the National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Board for Technical Education. It has also signed MoUs with some universities to ensure that their accountancy courses comply with IES.
ICAG is encouraged to describe any activities aimed at sharing the revised IES requirements with universities and other tertiary institutions that are involved in the education of the accountancy profession in its Action Plan. The institute is also encouraged to indicate in its SMO Action Plan if it participates, or plans to participate, in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts and other pronouncements issued by the IAESB.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
ICAG has direct responsibility for adopting ISA and, having adopted ISA and established a process to incorporate revised standards on an ongoing basis, focuses its efforts on assisting its members with the implementation of the standards.
Accordingly, ICAG organizes seminars for members on the application of ISA, ISQC 1, ISREs, ISAEs, and ISRSs, includes courses on ISA and other pronouncements in their auditing syllabus and continuing professional development (CPD) programs, and monitors compliance with ISA through the QAM review system. ICAG also collaborates with the National Council for Tertiary Education and the National Board for Technical Education to promote the inclusion of ISA in their auditing syllabi. The institute provides information about any amendments to ISA or IAASB pronouncements on its website and by providing copies to members.
In the upcoming months, ICAG is focused on organizing CPD programs on the Guide to Using ISA in the Audit of SMEs.
ICAG also participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on IAASB Exposure Drafts.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
ICAG, which has direct responsibility for adopting ethical requirements for its members, states that is has adopted the IESBA’s Code of Ethics and incorporates any revisions on an ongoing basis. The institute focuses on organizing training activities and continuing professional development programs to assist members with implementing the Code and any revisions to the Code.
ICAG disseminates copies of the Code of Ethics to members and also has the Code available on its website. Moreover, all new members are given a copy of the IESBA Code of Ethics, and they go through a course on ethics as part of their induction program. ICAG has demonstrated its commitment to the Code of Ethics by disciplining members and students who fall below ethical standards, including revoking the membership of members and students.
Additionally, ICAG participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts published by the IESBA.
The institute is encouraged to indicate in its Action Plan specific examples of implementation activities that it has planned, or is planning, such as outreach to trainers and academics. The institute is also encouraged to indicate in its SMO Action Plan whether Ethics curricula have been included in its education program and at the university level as per the 2014 World Bank ROSC recommendation.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
ICAG, which is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, has adopted all IPSAS for public sector entities. It now plays a leading role in supporting the implementation of IPSAS in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP).
As part of this collaboration, ICAG has supported the MoFEP in the creation of a Working Group to establish a strategic roadmap for the implementation of IPSAS.
ICAG includes IPSAS and all IPSASB pronouncements in its syllabus for qualifying examinations and promotes IPSAS inclusion in the universities’ accountancy syllabi. ICAG also supports its members by organizing seminars explaining the requirements and use of IPSAS, communicating any revisions to IPSAS, and providing copies of the IPSAS Handbook to members.
ICAG is active in participating in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts published by IPSASB.
ICAG is encouraged to indicate in its Action Plan the timeline in place for the implementation of full accrual-basis IPSAS and to include any actions it is undertaking to achieve the objectives of its strategic roadmap for implementation.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
ICAG is directly responsible for establishing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for its members. Having established an Investigation Panel and Disciplinary Committee, the institute continuously evaluates the independence of panel members, and maintains records of cases and publishes cases when necessary. The institute reports that, as of April 2016, the Investigation Panel has heard 14 cases and eight have been referred to the Disciplinary Committee.
The institute holds seminars to increase its members’ and the public’s awareness of the I&D mechanisms. ICAG also disseminates information in its quarterly journal, The Professional Accountant, and other publications, and provides guidance notes to members about I&D processes.
During the 2016 SMO Action Plan update process, ICAG conducted a self-assessment of its I&D system against the revised SMO 6 requirements and has noted areas that require improvement, such as committee composition, the availability of an appeals mechanisms, and certain administrative processes
Based on the results of the self-assessment ICAG conducted against the SMO 6 requirements, the institute is encouraged to indicate what plans it will develop to address the gaps in compliance in its Action Plan.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
As the de facto accounting standard setter, ICAG has fully adopted IFRS in cooperation with regulatory bodies, such as the Bank of Ghana, National Insurance Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and State Enterprises Commission, and is now focusing on implementation activities and further clarifying its role in setting accounting standards. ICAG has proposed new Regulations that would establish it as the legal accounting standard setter in Ghana and new amendments to the Companies Code that would also provide legal backing to ICAG standards.
To support implementation, ICAG has organized seminars and continuing professional development courses to educate members on the application of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs and distributes copies of IFRS for SMEs to its members. The institute monitors IFRS compliance to ensure successful implementation of the standards.
The institute also participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts published by the IASB.
ICAG is encouraged to provide an update on the proposed Regulations that would provide clarity to ICAG’s responsibility in accounting standard setting as well as the amendments to the Companies Code that would provide legal backing to ICAG’s adopted accounting standards. Additionally, ICAG is encouraged to demonstrate in its SMO Action Plan specific activities in place or planned to support its members with IFRS implementation and also to indicate if there is an established process for incorporating and disseminating any new or revised standards on an ongoing basis.
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.