Institute of Chartered Accountants of Namibia
Member | Established: 1990 | Member since 1997
ICAN was formally constituted on October 20, 1990, by members of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants who were residing in Namibia and were members of the South West African Chapter of the Cape Society of Chartered Accountants, originally formed in 1955. Membership of the institute is comprised of Chartered Accountants (CA(Nam). Membership in the institute is mandatory in order to use the Chartered Accountant (CA(Nam)) designation and pursue registration with the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board to offer public attest functions.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, ICAN is a founding member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants.
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
The Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB) is legally responsible for establishing and implementing a quality assurance review system in the jurisdiction. According to ICAN, the PAAB’s QA review system, originally established by ICAN, is line with the SMO 1 requirements. ICAN reports that the PAAB contracts external consultants to provide review services to the Board. The QA review methodology was developed to follow SMO 1 requirements and was updated with effect from January 2020 to require more detailed information about the audit client base of the firm to allow better assessment of inherent risk in the portfolio of audit clients.
ICAN participates on the Board’s Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) and communicated the significant of the new quality assurance standards (ISQM 1, 2, and ISA 220 revised) to the PAAB and audit firms. It is also supporting members to prepare for the effective adoption date and implementation of the standards by updating its implementation guidance and providing CPD courses.
ICAN has demonstrated that it has ongoing process in place to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 1 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
ICAN is responsible for implementing initial professional development (IPD) and establishing continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for professional accountants and partners with the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB) and the National Council for Higher Education to ensure requirements are in line with the 2015 revised IES.
The PAAB has agreed to assume responsibility for determining practical experience requirements for professional accountants while ICAN has delegated authority to manage the professional education and the qualifying examinations. The education process to receive ICAN’s qualification is as follows: a formal competency-based academic education (university program); a standard-setting examination – Initial Test of Competence (ITC); a formal competency-based professional education (professional program); a professional examination – Assessment of Professional Competence (APC); and practical experience (training program). ICAN has a memorandum of agreement with South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to use the SAICA professional examinations and is bound by agreement to apply the SAICA training and regulations. One difference is that as from 2019, the APC examination run by ICAN is a local Namibian exam which applies and is based on Namibian legislation.
In 2018, ICAN compiled a joint accreditation manual with the National Council for Higher Education, which is responsible for accrediting Namibian tertiary institutions that provide accountancy programs leading to ICAN’s qualifying examinations. This manual provides the accreditation methodology and assessment criteria for Namibian tertiary education institutions and reduces the risk conflicting communications from the NCHE and ICAN regarding tertiary programming rigor. ICAN and the NCHE completed the first joint accreditation review for the University of Namibia in 2018/2019.
Meanwhile, the PAAB has adopted the SAICA Training model and Regulations as Namibian Regulations its practical experience requirements, stipulating that that trainee accountants must obtain and present evidence of their competency in four core subjects, Namibian Income Tax, and VAT from a PAAB-accredited training office. ICAN, through its Training and Education Committee (TRECO), monitors changes to the IES and communicates them to the PAAB to ensure that accredited training offices are reviewed for compliance with the requisite IES requirements.
Additionally, the TRECO sets CPD requirements. ICAN members must annually submit a CPD declaration to confirm compliance with the CPD requirements. In 2019, ICAN states that its CPD policy was revised to reflect revised IES 7. ICAN states that it advertises the CPD events in local media and via email and provides its members with a copy of the CPD policy and declaration statement to reinforce members’ knowledge of their obligations. In 2018–2019, it offered CPD on a variety of topics, including: IPSAS, IFRS, NOCLAR and ethics, tax, and prevention of organized crime.
ICAN has demonstrated that it has implemented new initiatives to further meet the SMO 2 obligations and is committed to continued improvement.
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. ICAN is encouraged to review the standards to adapt the national education programming as necessary.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
In 2014, the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB) officially delegated the responsibility of issuing guidance and standards on audit and assurance to ICAN. In turn, ICAN has adopted all ISA and pronouncements as issued by the IAASB. ICAN reports this is a standing adoption and all new pronouncements are adopted as and when they are effective, with no time lag in effective date or modifications.
ICAN has established an Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee which is responsible for monitoring changes to the standards and pronouncements issued by the IAASB. As part of its collaboration with other stakeholders, ICAN has invited a member of the PAAB, the Bank of Namibia, and the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority to sit on its Technical Committee.
ICAN’s Technical Committee supports its members by receiving queries regarding technical matters on ISA. When the Technical Committee, after consultation with relevant stakeholders, determines that certain queries require guidance for its members it will subsequently issue a Circular to inform its entire membership. Circulars are binding on members of the institute. ICAN then uploads the Circulars to its website to inform its members and uses an instant messaging software to alert its members of pronouncements, legislative changes, and other pertinent issues.
In 2019, ICAN strengthened its operational capacity by hiring a Technical Standards Executive to support the Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee and responds to individual queries received from members. The Executive ensures that members receive updates to the standards—for example, the new ISQM 1, 2, and ISA 220 were sent out as an alert to all audit firms in Namibia—and organizes CPD training on audit and assurance throughout the year.
Finally, ICAN also participates in the international standard-setting process by submitting comments to exposure drafts published by the IAASB through its Technical Committee. ICAN has demonstrated that it has ongoing process in place to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 3 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
ICAN is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for its members— Chartered Accountants. ICAN has adopted the 2018 International Code of Ethics and confirmed that its Council’s policy decision is that all pronouncements issued by the IESBA are adopted as and when issued. In addition, ICAN has successfully encouraged the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB) to also adopt the 2018 International Code of Ethics for Registered Accountants and Auditors through its representatives on the Board.
In 2018, ICAN had four separate trainings on the 2018 Code to prepare members and the annual declaration for CPD needed to indicate that members had gained significant exposure to NOCLAR in order to continue meeting their ethical obligations. ICAN revised all historical circulars, which contained illustrative audit reports, that were impacted by the amendments per the 2018 Code. The 2018 code has been uploaded on the ICAN website for ease of references for members and this was communicated to members in one of ICAN’s newsletters.
The institute also hosted an ethics refresh training for regulators to understand the revised and restructured Code. Additionally, ICAN has liaised with the Financial Intelligence Center to support members in understanding their reporting obligations regarding anti-money laundering and prevention of organized crime.
Nationally, ICAN participated in a review of the King III Code on Corporate Governance in collaboration with the Namibian Stock Exchange and the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa to adapt the Code to Namibian legislation. The results of the review were published i as the NAMCODE and are being promoted to the government and private sector as a guidance to best practices in governance. ICAN has demonstrated that it has ongoing process in place to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 4 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Central government financial reporting is determined by the State Finance Act of 1991 which stipulates cash-basis reporting while regional and local government financial reporting is governed by the Local Authorities Act of 1992. The latter legislation does not prescribe applicable accounting standards. ICAN reports that one Municipality has adopted IPSAS for financial reporting purposes. In 2018, ICAN adopted IPSAS as a reporting framework. The adoption of IPSAS by ICAN allows Namibian entities to apply IPSAS if they choose to do so but ICAN is not authorized to mandate the reporting frameworks for public sector entities. There is no official timeline for an adoption of accrual based IPSAS.
ICAN reports that there has been a gradual shift in decisions to adopt IPSAS with some commercial banks now requiring financial statements be in line with IPSAS in order to access capital. ICAN engages regularly with the Auditor General’s Office and the Ministry of Finance on the topic and in 2016, formalized a Terms of Reference for a Public Sector Committee comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Auditor General and the Accountant General. The Committee is intended to create a platform that will allow for the discussion of IPSAS and how the institute can support the adoption of IPSAS, starting with cash-basis. ICAN expects the Committee to be constituted in 2020.
Following ICAN’s endorsement of IPSAS as a public sector reporting framework, it held two CPD events for members and stakeholders. It notes it has increased its engagement with regional and local authorities by sitting on interim steering committees working on capacity building within Regional Councils and Local Authorities for Internal Auditors and appropriately qualified CEOs who wish to use IPSAS as their financial reporting framework.
ICAN has demonstrated that it has ongoing process in place to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 5 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
ICAN has established I&D procedures for its members—Chartered Accountants—and reports its I&D system is operational and functioning. In 2019, ICAN reviewed its I&D procedures against the SMO 6 best practices as well as other PAOs’ I&D systems in comparable jurisdictions and reports that its procedures mostly meet SMO 6 best practices. ICAN has one committee tasked with investigation of complaints and one that administers disciplinary actions. It notes that although members are appointed to the committees with careful consideration of independence, only members of ICAN serve on the committees and composition does not include any non-professionals. Additional areas for improvement include setting a timeframe for disposal of cases and establishing an independent review of complaints for which there was no follow-up.
Two complaints against members were received in 2019 and two were received in 2018. Of these, three were referred to the PAAB and one is in the investigation stage. ICAN will only deal with a complaint related to a Registered Accountant and Auditor once the PAAB has completed its findings. This is to avoid contradictory findings being reached between the Institute and the regulator on the same complaint.
All new members are provided with a copy of the institute’s Constitution, By-laws and the Code of Ethics at the annual new members welcoming event and are informed of consequences of non-compliance with standards and any misconduct. ICAN notes that it is reviewing how it can be more proactive in dealing with minor complaints and media reports of any members. It has partnered with the Law Society to determine what its legal options are as part of restoring trust in the profession. The institute has also started an ongoing peer review process that identifies substandard or deficient work among professional accountants. ICAN has demonstrated that it is carrying out I&D procedures but there is opportunity to review its procedures to identify and make changes that would enable to it completely fulfill the SMO 6 obligations.
As is possible, ICAN is encouraged to consider how it might review the composition of its disciplinary committees to include non-professionals as part of strengthening the perceived independence of the committee and building trust in the profession. It is also encouraged to consider how it may adopt targeted timeframes for handling cases (for instance, within a six-month period unless due to extenuating circumstances), create a review process for any complaints with no action taken, and how it may share results of any I&D proceedings with the wider public, not just institutions, as part of fulfilling a public interest mandate.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
As authorized by the Companies Act 2004, ICAN is the entity responsible for adopting private sector accounting standards in Namibia and having adopted all IFRS as issued by the IASB since 2005 and all IFRS for SMEs since 2010, it focuses on ensuring the proper implementation of the standards.
ICAN has established an Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee which is responsible for monitoring changes to the standards and pronouncements issued by the IASB. The Committee is also responsible for commenting on drafts issued by the IASB. The Committee supports ICAN members by receiving queries and requests from members regarding technical matters on IFRS. After consultation with relevant stakeholders, it will issue a Circular to inform and guide its entire membership. ICAN then uploads the Circulars to its website and alerts its members of pronouncements, legislative changes, and other pertinent issues. In 2019, ICAN strengthened its operational capacity by hiring a Technical Standards Executive to support the Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee and responds to individual queries received from members
ICAN states that it offers seminars three times a year for a total of four days of training. These are taught by external experts contracted by ICAN especially for the seminar. In addition, financial statement disclosure is also reviewed during the course on ICAN’s peer reviews to ensure that financial statements comply with IFRS. ICAN has demonstrated that it has ongoing process in place to maintain its level of fulfillment with the SMO 7 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
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