Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago
Member | Established: 1970 | Member since 1977
In Trinidad & Tobago, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago (ICATT) is the only professional membership organization representing Chartered Accountants along with students pursuing professional accounting qualifications. It is established by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago (ICATT) Act of 1970. Membership of the institute is mandatory to offer accountancy services to the public.
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 ICATT Act of 1970 empowers ICATT to statutorily regulate auditors. With that authority, ICATT signed a contract with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to develop a QA review system which fulfills SMO 1 requirements. The QA review system was established in 2007 and the audit monitoring visits began in 2009. ICATT has since renewed its contract with ACCA, and therefore QA reviews continue to be outsourced to ACCA. ACCA submits reports to ICATT’s Licensing Committee for review and action. The committee will also receive reports on QA reviews from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) in some instances.
Based on the results of QA reviews, the Licensing Committee has the power to refer matters to ICATT’s Investigations Committee as needed. ICATT has been disseminating reports on the reviews available from the ACCA and has been coordinating training sessions based on deficiencies discovered in the review process.
ICATT’s Annual Reports are available to the public via its website, which includes the results of QA reviews. As detailed in the 2020 Annual Report on Audit Monitoring Visits since 2009, 256 audit monitoring visits have been conducted. ICATT reports that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site monitoring visits were not conducted between the end of March 2020 and May 2020. However, on April 9, 2020, ICATT initiated a remote monitoring process with the intention of informing its member firms of this process to commence reviews. Remote reviews generally took much longer than on-site monitoring visits, which resulted in only 11 visits being completed in 2020 as opposed to what was originally planned (17 firms). Despite the country experiencing another wave of COVID-19 from May to August 2021, onsite reviews commenced again, and ICATT completed 22 audit monitoring visits that year.
ICATT provides annual training on ISQC 1 and other relevant standards to support members and small and medium-sized practitioners who have received unsatisfactory practice monitoring reports. It also offers trainings prior to QA reviews to enhance understanding of the processes.
ICATT indicates that it has plans to expand its review program to include non-audit members in public practice and is considering self-reporting models for them.
The new suite of Quality Management standards that will become effective in 2022 will require significant change management for regulators and firms. ICATT is encouraged to prepare members and raise awareness of the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards and update its training programming to ensure that its members are sufficiently prepared for the application of the standards once they become effective.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
ICATT has the legal authority to establish initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members. As of the date of the assessment, it appears that national education requirements incorporate all revised 2019 IES requirements.
ICATT’s current IPD requirements include passing examinations (under a joint ICATT and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) scheme) and acquiring specified practical experience. ICATT members must also adhere to continuing professional development (CPD) of 40 hours per year with at least 21 CPD hours being verifiable. Members that possess Auditing and Practicing Certificates are required to complete an additional 10 hours of CPD annually in the specialized areas of practice. ICATT enhanced its communications with members and receive feedback on CPD courses to ensure that training sessions are geared toward members’ needs. For example, based on feedback received from members, ICATT reportedly conducted roughly 22 courses on audit reporting in 2017.
While ICATT does not have an examination on local tax and business law, it reports to be exploring the possibility of administering its own local tax and company law examinations or working with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean to set a regional taxation and company law examination.
Members of the following professional accountancy organizations may become members of ICATT: CPA Canada; American Institute of Certified Public Accountant; Chartered Institute of Management Accountants; Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales; CPA Ireland; Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland; Association of International Accountants; Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland; and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. All the above bodies require their aspiring members to complete a professional accountancy education program, a practical experience requirement, and to pass final examinations that align with the 2019 IES.
Competence in local business law and tax law is being demonstrated through practical experience in the jurisdiction, and therefore, ICATT is encouraged to raise awareness of this to supervisors/mentors responsible for final practical experience reports. ICATT is also encouraged to continue exploring the possibility of administering its own local tax and company law examinations.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
ICATT, as empowered by the ICATT Act of 1970 sets standards for all audits in the jurisdiction. ICATT has adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB without modification, which as of the date of the assessment, is the 2020 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements.
ICATT reports that it has ongoing processes for disseminating information on new and modified IAASB pronouncements, providing training, including standard-related topics in its continuing professional development courses, and developing technical guidance to support its members with the implementation of the standards. ICATT indicates that it solicits feedback from members on draft pronouncements issued by the IAASB.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The ICATT has adopted by reference the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. Effective January 1, 2022, the 2021 Code of Ethics is being applied.
ICATT focuses on providing training, including ethics topics in continuing professional development activities, and disseminating information on the updates of the IESBA Code of Ethics to its members via a quarterly newsletter. The institute utilizes the support and resources of its Council members—one of whom is an Ethics Officer at a firm—to offer ethics trainings based on IESBA material.
ICATT encourages and supports its Audit & Accounting Standards Committee in providing comments on IESBA exposure drafts.
IESBA released revisions to the Non-Assurance Services (NAS) and fee-related provisions of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code). ICATT is encouraged to provide proactive implementation support to prepare its members to properly apply the revisions upon effective date—December 15, 2022 (early adoption is permitted and encouraged). ICATT is also encouraged to refer to the Exploring the IESBA Code Toolkit to support members. Lastly, if deemed feasible, ICATT is encouraged to provide comments on IESBA Exposure Drafts.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
ICATT has no legal mandate for the adoption of public sector accounting standards which are determined by the government of Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, the national public sector accounting standards are cash-based. ICATT reports that it continues to promote the adoption of IPSAS to the Ministry of Finance, the Comptroller of Accounts, and the Auditor General. According to the 2020 International Public Sector Financial Accountability Index developed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) and IFAC, the government of Trinidad and Tobago plans to adopt IPSAS as issued by IPSASB without any modifications by 2025.
ICATT reports that it is participating in the Ministry of Finance’s Working Group on Accounting and Financial Reporting Framework Policies and procedures for Central Government, Ministries and Departments and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in its drive to adopt IPSAS.
ICATT reports to be providing training of public sector staff, organizing events, and/or advocating for public sector competencies. It plans to resume discussions in 2022 with State enterprises on IPSAS adoption, implementation, and training.
Adoption of accrual IPSAS as issued by the IPSASB would ensure the application of global best practices as part of strong public financial management. ICATT is encouraged to continue supporting the government’s drive to adopt IPSAS. It may find IFAC’s Train the Trainers: Introduction to IPSAS and the Pathways to Accrual resources helpful in this regard.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In accordance with the ICATT Act of 1970, ICATT is responsible for investigative and disciplinary (I&D) procedures over its members. After adopting revised Rules and Regulations on February 15, 2017, ICATT’s I&D system became mostly, but not fully, in line with the requirements of SMO 6.
Effective January 1, 2018, members of the ICATT Council are no longer eligible to serve on any I&D tribunal or committee as members, Chairman or Vice-Chairman. Since the new rules and regulations for I&D passed in 2018, ICATT has been focusing on conducting training for members of the I&D tribunals and committees on the new processes to ensure that they observe due process.
As part of ICATT’s plan to conduct annual reviews of its system, ICATT completed a self-assessment in 2022 against the revised SMO 6 requirements and identified areas that require improvements pertaining to public interest considerations, liaison with outside bodies, and regular review of implementation and effectiveness.
ICATT publishes Guidelines on Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure on its website to promote awareness of overall I&D mechanisms in place. It also developed Guideline on Disciplinary Sanctions to guide members with understanding the disciplinary and appeal process.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. ICATT has taken a notable step in identifying areas in its I&D procedures that require enhancements to align with the SMO 6 requirements—namely addressing public interest considerations, liaison with outside bodies, and regular review of implementation and effectiveness. The institute is now encouraged to outline steps it will take to consider, execute, and implement changes to enhance its I&D system within its SMO Action Plan. The actions should include concrete timelines for their execution—for example, a timeline for when the review will be completed—to enable the institute to track its progress against its plans and make strategic adjustments as needed.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago (ICATT) Act of 1970, the Companies Act of 1995, the Companies Regulations of 1997; Insurance Act of 2018 and the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2020; the Financial Institutions Act of 2008; and the Securities Industry Act of 1995, establish basic financial reporting and auditing requirements in Trinidad & Tobago. The Acts generally do not contain detailed accounting, auditing, and financial reporting requirements but rather refer to standards adopted by ICATT.
ICATT adopted IFRS Standards as issued by IFRS Foundation. ICATT also adopted IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs) by reference, without modification.
ICATT focuses on supporting its members with implementation of standards through training and education activities. It has also established a mechanism to disseminate new and modified IASB pronouncements and make them available to its members.
While ICATT has not responded to any exposure drafts issued by the IASB to date, ICATT’s Audit & Accounting Standards Committee has been assigned the responsibility to fulfill this function going forward.
ICATT is encouraged to submit comments on IASB exposure drafts so that the jurisdiction experience is shared at the global level.
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