Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone
Member | Established: 1988 | Member since 1995
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone (ICASL) was established by law in 1988 to oversee the accountancy profession in Sierra Leone. The institute works to ensure and maintain the quality of accounting and audit practices in the country by building the knowledge and skills of its members.
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
Although not directly required by law, in line with its mandate to secure the maintenance of professional standards by its members as specified in the ICASL Act of 1988, the ICASL—in cooperation with the Audit Service of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Accountability Foundation—took the lead in the establishment of a quality assurance (QA) review system in Sierra Leone. Prior to 2011, important steps had been taken to this effect, including the proposed revision to the ICASL Act, a review of SMO 1 requirements, adoption of ISQC 1, and developing and approving the creation of related training programs for firms, the Audit Service of Sierra Leone, and the general membership.
Although the initial design of the QA review system was almost completed, the system was not implemented because some elements still need to be developed, such as application forms for practicing certificates for practitioners and for firm licenses, self-assessment reports, a QA manual, and setting up related training and help-desks.
Given the lack of progress in implementing the QA system since 2011, the ICASL is encouraged to update its SMO Action Plan to reflect its current challenges and consider plans to address the existing barriers to implementation, or seek assistance in this regard.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
In 2014, the ICASL made significant progress in aligning its training and educational system with the requirements of IES, having designed, with the assistance of consultants from University of Cape Town, a new education and training system that incorporates the requirements of IES 4 to IES 8. Since then, a pilot implementation has been slow to start and significant resistance to change is yet to be overcome.
Moreover, the ICASL had prepared an amendment of the ICASL Act to provide for the ICASL’s exclusive control over the use of the term “accountant” in 2012. This would have permitted the development of a professional accountancy education system in accordance with IES and empower the director of the institute’s Secretariat to apply IES. Although the expected adoption date of the Act was December 2015, at this time, there has been no indication of progress in this matter.
In addition, the ICASL developed examinations on local specificities for new and existing members of ICASL based on IES 6, designed an assessment mechanism for Certified Practitioner Status, and is in the process of establishing a system for monitoring new and amended IAESB pronouncements, which was expected to be finalized by December 2015. Again, at this time, there is no information available on the progress in this matter.
The ICASL is encouraged to proceed with the implementation of the developed procedures and work with stakeholders to promote the benefits of the new system. During the next round of its SMO Action Plan update, the ICASL is encouraged to report on the status of the implementation of the processes described above.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Having delegated its responsibility for setting auditing standards to the Council for Standards of Accounting, Auditing, Corporate & Institutional Governance, the ICASL nevertheless contributes to developing a system that would support their effective implementation. Since 2012, the ICASL has reported that it is in the process of establishing training programs on ISA as well as a system for monitoring new and amended IAASB pronouncements. Again, no progress has been made in implementing these actions, partly due to the Ebola epidemic of 2014/2015.
The ICASL also participated in the development of an advocacy campaign to promote the adoption of regulations that are in compliance with IAASB pronouncements.
The ICASL is encouraged to clarify in its SMO Action Plan some aspects of the legal and regulatory framework for auditing, explain the due process for the adoption of ISA, and describe the efforts to extend the scope of mandatory application of ISA to include all audits.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
To deliver on its mandate to set ethical requirements for its members, the ICASL reports that it is in the process of adopting the IESBA Code of Ethics, and had expected to complete the process by August 2015. However, the ICASL has had the same plans in place since 2011 and does not seem to have made any progress in its adoption of the Code. Once it does adopt the IESBA Code, the institute does have plans to establish a related monitoring and enforcement framework, develop training programs, and design an advocacy and publicity campaign to communicate to relevant stakeholders the value of adopting best practices in ethics.
Due to the delay in adopting the IESBA Code of Ethics, the ICASL is encouraged to reconsider its approach to its adoption process. It should consider clearly indicating its challenges within the SMO Action Plan and developing plans to address the existing barriers to implementation, or seek assistance in this regard.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The ICASL has no direct responsibility for the adoption of public sector accounting standards. Through the Sierra Leone Accountability Foundation, an umbrella body promoted by the ICASL that includes members representing the public sector, the institute actively promotes the application of IPSASB pronouncements to the both internal and external stakeholders and reports to be in the process of developing a timetable and framework for adopting IPSAS, which envisions the transition to accruals-based accounting. The ICASL had planned to finalize the framework by August 2015. Meanwhile, efforts are being taken to develop training modules in IPSAS and relevant IFRS, organize online workshops on IPSAS, and include those in the continuing professional development programs. The ICASL also contributes to international standard setting by participating in IPSASB activities, providing comments to the IPSASB consultations, and attending relevant conferences.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The ICASL has been planning to revise its investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system since 2011 to achieve full compliance with the requirements of SMO 6. To this effect, the ICASL has identified areas where improvements are needed, such as independent review of complaints, independence of investigative and discipline functions and committees, right of representation and appeal, among other areas. The ICASL plans to develop a framework for compliance with the structural and procedural requirements of SMO 6 and to establish independent I&D functions within the institute. It also plans to conduct an advocacy campaign to communicate the value of the compliance processes to internal and external stakeholders.
Due to the delays in implementation, the ICASL is encouraged to reconsider its approach to revising its I&D system and conduct a further review of the SMO 6 requirements as this may be helpful when reconsidering a new approach and beginning to strategically identify areas where gaps can be addressed.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The ICASL demonstrates strong compliance with the requirements of SMO 7, having adopted IFRS as early as 2004. Although the institute has subsequently delegated the responsibility for the adoption of accounting standards to the Council for Standards of Accounting, Auditing, Corporate & Institutional Governance (CSAAG), it is actively involved in both international and national standard-setting processes and supports its members with the implementation of IFRS. It also promotes the role and authority of the CSAAG as a recognized standard setter to all stakeholders and is working to establish a system for monitoring implementation of IFRS, including, in collaboration with consultants, setting up training for CS 1.
The ICASL is encouraged to work with stakeholders to ensure their buy-in for the implementation and enforcement of CS 1.
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.