Institute of Chartered Accountants of Guyana
Member | Established: 1966 | Member since 2000
ICAG is the only nationally recognized professional accountancy organization (PAO) established under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Guyana Act of 1991. ICAG’s mission is to regulate the accounting and auditing profession and promote and contribute to the advancement and professional training of all its members. Its members are Charted Accountants that hold membership of at least one the internationally recognized PAOs identified here. All applicants to ICAG must be citizens of Guyana.
ICAG’s functions include to: (i) set membership requirements and rule on admission decisions; (ii) issue practicing certificates for members; (iii) maintain a register of its members; (iv) regulate the discipline and professional conduct of its members and students; (v) establish ethical requirements; (vi) enforce initial professional development requirements; (vii) establish continuing professional development requirements; (viii) adopt accounting and auditing standards; (ix) establish a quality assurance system; and (x) advise the government on legislation related to the profession.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, ICAG is 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, ICAG collaborates 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. ICAG reports in its Action Plan that at the end of 2020, 58% of members in practice had achieved satisfactory outcomes of monitoring visits. The monitoring program has been renewed by ICAG, ICAC, and ACCA for an additional three years beginning on January 1, 2022.
ICAG has established a Regulatory Committee to receive and process reports submitted by the ACCA on the results of the practice monitoring reviews. Subsequently, ICAG coordinates training sessions for its members based on deficiencies discovered in the review process. ICAG also disseminates a summary of the results in its quarterly newsletter and on its website. In 2015, ICAG developed guidelines that outline actions to be taken in the case of unsatisfactory reviews and the Regulatory Committee is responsible for ensuring that members who receive unsatisfactory reviews are taking appropriate steps to address the deficiencies.
To further support its members, ICAG states that it provides resources for small and medium practices and holds quarterly meetings with members to provide guidance and develop its continuing professional development programming based on member input and needs. ICAG also indicates that is engaging with relevant stakeholders to increase awareness of its QA review system.
The new suite of IAASB Quality Management standards that will become effective in December 2022 will require significant change management for regulators and firms. ICAG is encouraged to refer to the new changes from quality control standards to quality management standards and prepare members and other relevant stakeholders for the change.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
ICAG is directly responsible for establishing initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. ICAG relies on foreign institutes for the IPD of its members, but it has established its own CPD requirements. Additionally, it indicates that it has developed activities to assist its members with understanding the local regulations. Although it does not test on local tax and business laws, an ICAG member must work with a practicing member or at an office of practicing ICAG members for at least two years before receiving their own practicing certificate.
ICAG’s Technical Committee coordinates seminars and lectures for members to obtain CPD credits. ICAG indicates that it implements a monitoring and verification mechanism for CPD declaration.
In 2014, ICAG formed a local tax committee which is tasked with assessing the impact of changes in tax administration policies, coordinate technical training and disseminate relevant tax information to members and students. ICAG also provides representation to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean’s (ICAC) Regional Tax Committee.
ICAG indicates that it has plans in place to consider adopting a process of assessing competencies of members on local tax and business law prior to granting practicing certificates and is in the process of continuing discussions with ICAC to pursue a regional approach.
In its next Action Plan submission, ICAG is encouraged to provide a status update on its progress with its approach to include an assessment on local tax and business regulation. ICAG is also encouraged to utilize the IFAC Accountancy Education E-Tool and the IES Checklist developed by IFAC to assess where gaps continue to exist and from there, continue collaborating with key stakeholders, such as universities, and regulators, to create a plan to bring national educational requirements for all professional accountants in line with the latest IES. Stakeholder support and engagement will be valuable in ensuring proper alignment of requirements on the jurisdictional level.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
In line with its mandate to adopt auditing standards, ICAG has adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB without modifications and including effective date since 2003. ICAG now focuses on providing technical assistance to its members to support implementation.
To this end, ICAG established a Technical Committee responsible for the standard-setting process, continuing professional development education, and guiding ICAG members with the implementation.
ICAG provides trainings for its members on an ongoing basis. ICAG reports that it hosted workshops on ISA in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) that covered exposure drafts and future changes, new standards, amendments and interpretations, auditor reporting and disclosures, and auditor responsibilities.
ICAG also disseminates new IAASB pronouncements to its members and solicits member comments on exposure drafts from the IAASB via its newsletter. Comments on draft pronouncements are then collated and submitted to the IAASB.
The 2020 IAASB Handbook is available, which includes ISA 540 revised (effective December 2019) and conforming amendments arising from the IESBA Code of Ethics. If not doing so already, ICAG should be providing proactive implementation support on ISA 315, ISQM 1, ISQM 2, ISA 220 (revised), and ISRS 4000 (revised) that will become effective throughout 2021 – 2022 to prepare auditors to properly apply the standards upon effective date.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
With direct responsibility for setting ethical requirements, ICAG has adopted the IESBA Code of Ethics and is now focused on promoting greater awareness of the Code amongst its members and ensuring its members adhere to the Code.
ICAG holds training workshops for its members and students on the IESBA Code on an ongoing basis and states that it will also include presentations on ethics-related topics during its Annual Accountants Week Conference held in September. ICAG has delivered a course on Ethics and Professional Responsibility for its members.
It regularly disseminates relevant pronouncements and updates from the IESBA in its quarterly newsletter and encourages members to submit comments to exposure drafts and IESBA discussion papers.
ICAG should clarify if amendments and revisions to the Code are incorporated on an ongoing basis. The 2021 version of the International Code of Ethics is now available, which namely differs from the 2020 Handbook by including approved revisions that will become effective in December 2022, such as: revisions to non-assurance services, fees, and objectivity of an engagement quality reviewer. If not already doing so, ICAG should be raising awareness and educating members on the revisions that will become effective throughout 2021 – 2022 to prepare auditors to properly apply the standards upon effective date.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Although the Ministry of Finance is the entity responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, which are currently cash-basis, ICAG reports that as part of its mandate to advise the government on accounting matters, it continues to promote and advocate for the adoption of IPAS as the reporting framework for government entities.
At a regional level, in 2013, ICAG presented at the Organization of American States’ Anti-Corruption Mechanism and highlighted the importance of adopting IPSAS as well as repeating its recommendation for adoption. In June 2016, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) formally established a Public Sector Financial Management Committee, which includes a representative from ICAG. As part of this regional Committee, ICAG indicates that it will support ICAC in conducting a series of roundtable events within each territory to promote and advance the adoption of IPSAS.
To support its members that work in the public sector, ICAG offers resources and includes IPSAS as part of the presentations during its Annual Accountants Week Conference.
ICAG is encouraged to provide an update on more recent initiatives to promote and advance adoption of IPSAS. If deemed relevant, the institute should also consider developing a more focused plan to promote the full adoption of IPSAS to the government and indicate the specific activities it undertakes to this effect in its Action Plan.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
ICAG is responsible for the investigation and discipline (I&D) of all professional accountants in Guyana and has established I&D procedures in accordance with its legal mandate. Since 2012, ICAG has been carrying out a review of its I&D system, such as the handling of complaints, and considering comprehensive amendments and revisions to its by-laws. ICAG reports that its Council has consulted with external legal counsel as well as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to harmonize I&D procedures given that ICAG’s membership is comprised of professional accountants with foreign qualifications and are therefore subject to the I&D mechanisms of their qualifying institutes.
In December 2015, ICAG reports that it formed a committee, comprised of ICAG members, and supported by a member of the legal profession, to draft revised governance documents which take into consideration the previous reviews of the I&D system and SMO 6 requirements. As of the date of the assessment, the draft documents are currently being reviewed by Council and are expected to be approved by January 31, 2022.
The most recent self-assessment of its I&D procedures that ICAG carried out was in March 2017 and ICAG indicated that the following areas require improvements to align with the SMO 6 requirements: (i) establishing a link between the results of the quality assurance reviews; (ii) including non-accountants on the Disciplinary Committee; and (iii) enhancing administrative process and public interest considerations.
Enforcement mechanisms that meet the SMO 6 benchmark for all professional accountants are essential to public trust and confidence in the accountancy profession. ICAG has identified areas in its system that need improvements to meet the SMO 6 best practices. As it continues to advance the implementation its I&D procedures and passage of new governance documents, it should prioritize making improvements to its system as noted in the comments from IFAC. These plans with reasonable timeframes should be outlined in its Action Plan.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
As the entity responsible for adopting accounting standards in Guyana, ICAG has adopted IFRS and IFRS for SMEs by reference and now focuses on supporting its members with the implementation of the standards.
To this end, ICAG supports its members through the design, development and delivery of seminars and courses on IFRS and related topics. ICAG reports that, in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), it delivered workshops on IFRS that covered topics such as proposed changes to the Conceptual Framework, amendments to IFRS for SMEs, amendments to IAS 1, an overview of recent and new interpretations, an update on forthcoming standards/major projects in particular leases and a review of the existing standards.
In addition, ICAG communicates IASB pronouncements in its quarterly newsletter and provides a link to the standards on its website. It also encourages members to submit comments to exposure drafts issued by the IAASB.
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