Institute for Tax Advisors and Accountants
Member | Established: 1999 | Member since 1977
ITAA is a mandatory membership organization for accountants and tax consultants established in accordance with the Law Concerning the Accountancy and Tax Professions (Law of 1999). ITAA is responsible for: (i) implementing initial and continuing professional development requirements specified in the law for its members; (ii) providing training and licensing examinations; (iii) maintaining a registry for accountants and tax consultants; (iv) conducting an investigation and disciplinary system for its members to ensure compliance with educational and ethical requirements; and (v) keeping members informed of any revised or new accounting and ethical standards.
ITAA is a member of IFAC, Accountancy Europe, Fédération Internationale des Experts-Comptables Francophones, and the Confédération Fiscale Européenne.
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
IEC-IAB has no legal authority to establish a mandatory quality assurance review system for all statutory audits since the Act Regarding the Organization and Supervision of Statutory Auditors of 2016 (hereinafter “Audit Act of 2016”) delegates the authority to the Belgian Audit Oversight College.
However, the IEC-IAB has worked diligently to establish a practice review system to further ensure the quality of the services delivered by its members services related to mergers, acquisitions, or liquidations. The Quality Review Commission (QRC) has been operational since June 2012 and IEC-IAB reports it aligns with SMO 1 requirements.
The QRC has released tools and manuals for reviewers to support the review process and organized training courses. Between February and November 2018, IEC-IAB reports to be conducting twenty five (25) training sessions and workshops on quality assurance for its members as part of the continuing professional development program.
IEC-IAB also collaborates with Kluwers Publishing to provide members with publications on audit law which includes QA requirements.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Belgium, the Law Concerning the Accountancy and Tax Professions (hereinafter “Law of 1999”) sets initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD respectively) for accountants (preparers); tax consultants; bookkeepers; and tax accountants; under the auspices of IEC-IAB and the Professional Institute of Accountants and Tax Accountants (IPCF).
IEC-IAB administers the final examination for accountants and tax consultants and has indicated that both IPD and CPD requirements are in line with earlier IES requirements. IEC-IAB monitors new and revised standards and incorporates necessary changes to education and examination requirements in order to ensure its CPD system and examination continue to be aligned with the requirements of the IES. It also established an ongoing process to promote and disseminate information about IES and other IAESB pronouncements to its members
IEC-IAB’s CPD Commission meets periodically to update its program and ensure that its members are fulfilling the requirements. In line with the Law of 1999, members must complete 120 hours of CPD over a three-year period. The Commission will consult with the Board concerning non-compliant members and refers cases to the Disciplinary Commission as needed.
IEC-IAB collaborates with Kluwers Publishing to provide members with publications on accountancy law which includes educational and examination requirements. It also collaborates with the Belgian Institute of Registered Auditor (IBR-IRE) and the IPCF to publish a joint journal called Tax Audit & Accountancy for their members to increase awareness and understanding of accountancy requirements in the jurisdiction.
Lastly, IEC-IAB participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments jointly with IBR-IRE to exposure drafts and other pronouncements issued by the IAESB.
In light of the 2015 revised IES requirements, which emphasize learning outcomes and demonstrating competencies, the OEC is encouraged to indicate how it is strategizing to advocate and raise awareness of the importance of incorporating these new requirements into IPD programming of professional accountants; for example, its examinations’ processes. Those that are exempted from examinations may still need a manner to demonstrate that they have learned the necessary competencies from their professional experience.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
According to the Act Regarding the Organization and Supervision of Statutory Auditors of 2016 (hereinafter “Audit Act of 2016”), audits must be conducted in accordance with the standards set by the Belgian Institute of Registered Auditors and approved by the Belgian Audit Oversight College and Minister of Economy.
Since IEC-IAB has no responsibility for adopting auditing standards, it focuses on supporting implementation by monitoring the implementation of auditing standards of members through its quality control guides and questionnaires.
IEC-IAB also provides implementation support to its members by offering continuing professional development courses on ISA and any updates to the standards.
IEC-IAB is encouraged to demonstrate how it supports the application of relevant standards as related to members’ engagements. IEC-IAB may also wish to consider how it may participate in the submission of comments on IAASB exposure drafts in order to contribute its experiences and perspective.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The Act Regarding the Organization and Supervision of Statutory Auditors of 2016 (hereinafter “Audit Act of 2016”), and the Law Concerning the Accountancy and Tax Professions (hereinafter “Law of 1999”) delegate authority for setting ethical requirements to professional accountancy organizations.
IEC-IAB requires its members to adhere to a Code that reportedly incorporates the requirements of the 2009 IESBA Code of Ethics. It supports its members with implementation by providing training courses as part of the continuing professional development program. It also disseminates guidance materials such as the Ethics Education Toolkit issued by the IAESB, and an Ethics Manuel which was issued in December 2017.
Effective June 2019, IESBA has issued a Revised & Restructured Code which will require due consideration and review by PAOs to either adopt, promote adoption, and/or support implementation. With a Code that presently incorporates requirements of the 2009 IESBA Code, the IEC-IAB is encouraged to review the revised IESBA Code—which includes the important NOCLAR standard effective 2017—in order to establish plans to adopt the latest ethical requirements and at the same time, to support proper application amongst its members.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Belgian government accounting system is on an accrual basis at the central government level and for the Walloon and Brussels local government, for each component of the financial statements (except for cash flow statement). It is also true at the Flemish local government level, except for changes in net asset that are recorded on a modified accrual basis. Regulation was passed in June 2010 which adopts an accounting system based on IPSAS although it is not fully compliant.
Since it is not within the scope of responsibilities of the IEC-IAB to adopt public sector standards, the institute focuses its efforts on promoting the standards to government officials. IEC-IAB reports that it meets with the government on a regular basis to promote awareness of the standards.
In 2014, it jointly established the Public Accounting Commission with the Belgian Institute of Registered Auditors to: (i) follow up with government authorities on IPSAS adoption; (ii) contribute to the developments of European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) to encourage alignment with IPSAS; and (iii) provide training activities to assist members with the implementation of standards for a smooth transition process from “cash accounting” to “accrual basis accounting.”
As the Belgian government continues to consider adoption of IPSAS and EPSAS, the IEC-IAB is encouraged to further consider how it may be able to proactively provide technical, advocacy, and other forms of support to the government to enhance public financial management in the jurisdiction.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The Law of 1999 Concerning the Accountancy and Tax Professions (hereinafter “Law of 1999”) requires the establishment of a mechanism for investigating and disciplining (I&D) accounting professionals. Accordingly, IEC-IAB established procedures for investigating and disciplining accountants and tax consultants for misconduct and non-compliance. In 2014, the institute focused its efforts on aligning its procedures with SMO 6 requirements and drafted amendments to the Law to allow for a wider range of disciplinary sanctions.
IEC-IAB is encouraged to conduct a self-assessment of the I&D system against SMO 6 requirements—available in Appendix III and within the SMO Action Plan—in order to affirm alignment with the best practices in this area.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
As a member of the European Union (EU), Belgium is subject to the accounting, auditing and financial reporting requirements established in EU Regulations and Directives as transposed into national laws and regulations. EU-endorsed IFRS have been adopted for companies trading in a regulated market along with credit institutions, insurance companies, and investment firms, while other entities are permitted to use the EU-endorsed IFRS. The Belgian Accounting Standards Board is responsible for enacting financial reporting standards in Belgium for all other entities and has issued the Belgian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Since IEC-IAB has no responsibility for IFRS adoption, it focuses on supporting its members with implementation and application by offering workshops and continuing professional development courses on the standards and developments in the area. It also supports members with information, tools, and professional literature via its website.
Additionally, the institute reports that it contributes to the development of standards by providing technical assistance and support to the accounting standard-setter.
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.