Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España
Member | Established: 1942 | Member since 1977
The ICJCE, established in 1942, unites auditors and firms on a voluntary basis. The ICJCE establishes ethical standards, investigates and disciplines its members, promotes the adoption and implementation of international standards, represents and promotes the auditing profession, develops trainings activities, and promotes improvements to professional practices.
In addition to being an IFAC Member, the ICJCE is a member of Accountancy Europe (formerly known as the Federation of European 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
In Spain, the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC), an organization within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, is responsible for the adoption and implementation of a quality assurance (QA) review system; accordingly, ICAC has established a QA system for all public interest entities (PIEs), including listed entities, credit institutions, insurance companies, and financial brokerage companies as well as non-PIEs.
The ICJCE plays a key role in the implementation of the QA review system by signing an agreement with ICAC to perform QA inspections of non-PIEs under the supervision of the ICAC. In addition, the ICJCE participates in the ICAC’s Audit Standards Group which is responsible for the adoption of ISQC 1 and ISA 220. The ICJCE reports ongoing activities to ensure that ICAC’s and ICJCE’s QA reviews systems incorporate all SMO 1 requirements and to provide ICJCE’s reviewers with the tools and knowledge needed to perform QA reviews. As of the date of the assessment, the ICJCE expects to sign an agreement with ICAC in 2018 to continue with the collaborated effort regarding the reviews of non-PIEs.
To support its members with QA review process, the ICJCE has established two technical committees: the Technical and Quality Control Committee and the Small- and Medium-Sized Practices (SMP) Committee, which are responsible for developing tools for members and firms. The ICJCE undertakes additional activities in this area such as offering consultations for members’ regarding ISQC 1 and its implementation; including standard-related topics in its training activities; developing implementation guidelines on standard-related topics; and disseminating information on the QA review systems.
Furthermore, the institute also offers specialized support for SMPs to help them meet the ISQC 1 requirements and also works to translate the IFAC Guide for Quality Control for SMPs as an available resource.
Lastly, the ICJCE is considering developing a quality control system for members offering services outside of the scope of the ICAC’s QA review system.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Spain, the Law 22/2015 establishes the initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements for auditors. Candidates who wish to acquire the title of auditor are required to meet specific requirements defined in the Law 22/2015 such as: obtaining a university degree, passing a final exam, completing practical experience, and fulfilling CPD requirements. The Law authorizes the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—to approve IPD and CPD providers in the jurisdiction.
Since 2012, auditors have been required to undertake a minimum 120 hours every three years of CPD training which is aligned with the 2010 IES.
The ICJCE reports that its role in the implementation of the IES requirements, in accordance with the Law, are: (i) participation on the ICAC’s Audit Committee which is responsible for establishing CPD requirements and creating the final exam; (ii) providing CPD training, alongside other professional accountancy organizations and educational centers; and (iii) participation on the ICAC’s Assessment Board to prepare the final exam requirement.
To support the adoption of all IES requirements, the ICJCE monitors new and amended standards issued by the IAESB and subsequently proposes amendments that ICAC could make to the pre-qualification syllabus and education programming in order to incorporate the IES requirements. In addition, the ICJCE conducted an assessment of the national educational requirements and the 2015 revised IES and concluded that ICAC has not incorporated all the revised IES for auditors into the educational requirements. The institute states that the learning outcome approach in Spain is different from the revised IES given that candidates must pass a final, written examination to demonstrate and apply their theoretical knowledge to a practical case. Additionally, the institute notes there is difficultly in assessing certain professional values, skills, and attitudes and these are not included in ICAC’s syllabus.
The ICJCE reports that the ICAC had recently decided to reduce the number of CPD courses such that those courses covering non-audit topics do not count towards CPD. Therefore, the ICJCE has renewed its educational activities to address the needs of members and offer skills-oriented trainings. As part of these efforts, it is also working on an online platform to provide more accessible and a wider range of courses. The ICJCE also notes that it continues to encourage the ICAC to include all aspects of the IES in the professional training of auditors and not limiting the syllabus to only technical standards and theoretical knowledge.
During the next submission of its Action Plan, the ICJCE is encouraged to provide a status update on the incorporation of the missing revised IES requirements for auditors into the educational requirements. In addition, if deemed feasible, it would be beneficial for the ICJCE, in collaboration with ICAC, to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IAESB pronouncements.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The ICJCE is not legally responsible for the adoption of auditing standards in Spain but it does play an important role by supporting the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC) and its standard-setting process. The Law stipulates that Spanish GAAS are ISA adapted for their application in Spain, and also include Spain-based technical standards, Law 22/ 2015 and its Regulation, Royal Decree 1517/2011).
The recognized professional accountancy organizations draft the Spanish Generally Accepted Auditing Standards which are based on ISA (NIA-ES as adopted in Spain). The ICAC formally approves and publishes the standards and requires all companies to apply them. In practice, as reported by the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE), the ICAC adopted the 2009 ISA translated into Spanish by Resolution in 2013, effective for audits of financial statements starting on or after the 1st of January 2014.The new auditor’s report was adopted by Resolution in December 2016, effective for audits of annual financial statements starting on or after June 17, 2016.
In accordance with the Law 22/2015, the ICJCE participates in the Audit Standards Group of ICAC where the adoption of new ISA are analyzed and add-ons and carve-outs are determined. Furthermore, the ICJCE reports that it has established an ongoing process to monitor and translate new and amended standards into national requirements, although there may be some differences regarding the effective date due to the translation and adaptation process. To achieve this, the ICJCE has been a leader in the Ibero-American Cooperation Framework (IberAM)—a regional project, which aims to produce a single, unified, high-quality Spanish translation.
To assist its members with implementation of the standards, the ICJCE has undertaken a range of support activities. It includes standard-related topics in its training, national and regional congresses and seminars, and continuing professional development programs; disseminates information on updates and revisions to ISA; and prepares guidance material.
If deemed feasible, it would be beneficial for the ICJCE, in collaboration with ICAC, to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IAASB pronouncements.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In Spain, only auditors are mandated by the law to adhere to ethical requirements which are set by the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC). The general ethical requirements and independence requirements are set in the Law 22/2015, which are more restrictive than what is contained in the 2009 IESBA Code as related to independence requirements—and that the Law also authorizes the ICAC to establish further ethical requirements in the form of ethics standards. However, the ICAC has not yet adopted a set of ethics standards for auditors. In addition, the ICJCE adopted a Code of Ethics for its own members which includes the general principles of the 2014 IESBA Code of Ethics.
To promote the adoption of the IESBA Code of Ethics, the ICJCE reports that it participated in a working group formed by the ICAC in 2012 with the objective of developing a set of ethics standards except for independence requirements, which are included in the Law. However, ICAC stopped this work in 2013, and as reported by ICJCE, has not expressed interest in its continuity as its focus has turned to the implementation of the new legal framework as part of transposing the EU Audit Directive and Regulation. As part of furthering its engagements, the ICJCE has met with ICAC on several occasions to discuss the transposition of the EU Audit reform and using the IESBA Code of Ethics as a benchmark for ethical requirements.
The ICJCE reports that it has established an ongoing process to translate new and amended standards. The ICJCE has been a leader in the Ibero-American Cooperation Framework (IberAM)—a regional project, which aims to produce a single, unified, high-quality Spanish translation. As part of this initiative, the ICJCE indicates that it is in the process of translating and publishing the 2018 IESBA Code of Ethics.
To support implementation of its Code of Ethics, the ICJCE has established an Independence Commission that is responsible for preparing guidance material, proposing ethics-related content to the education department, and analyzing international developments in this area. In addition, the ICJCE has established educational programs related to ethical requirements and includes discussions on ethical standards as part of the conferences and seminars it organizes on an annual basis. The ICJCE has taken steps to further support its members with the implementation of its Code by disseminating information about updates of its Code through printed materials and its website.
As part of an ongoing adoption process of the IESBA Code of Ethics, the ICJCE is encouraged to confirm its completion and publication of the translated 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics and its applicability for its respective members. The institute should also share this version with stakeholders to support implementation amongst all auditors. Furthermore, the ICJCE might consider how it can reengage with the ICAC and further develop plans to promote and support adoption of the IESBA Code of Ethics for application by all professional accountants in Spain.
In addition, if deemed feasible, it may be beneficial for the ICJCE, in collaboration with ICAC, to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IESBA pronouncements.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is the entity that is legally responsible for setting public sector accounting standards and ICJCE indicates that it uses its best endeavors to promote the adoption of IPSAS to the MoF and raise awareness among stakeholders. For example, the ICJCE participates in the Spanish translation process of IPSAS and collaborates with Accountancy Europe to promote IPSAS at the regional level.
The institute also reports that it monitors changes to the standards and pronouncements issued by the IPSASB, offers training activities on IPSAS and public sector audit standards, and participates in the international standard-setting process.
However, as a membership organization comprised of auditors, the ICJCE explains that its focus as related to the public sector is concentrated on public sector audit standards. The ICJCE has established a Public Sector Commission (CSP) to promote the adoption of ISA as public sector audit standards and the institute has a defined communication strategy to raise awareness and encourage public institutions, universities, press, and public administrations to make the audit of local public sector institutions mandatory.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC) has the authority to carry out investigative and disciplinary (I&D) processes for auditors in accordance with the Law 22/2015, which fulfill SMO 6 components. Additionally, as a professional accountancy organization with voluntary membership for auditors, the ICJCE has established an I&D system for its members. The ICJCE notes that its system is complementary to the ICAC’s system and its framework relates to the investigations initiated and sanctions issued internally by the ICJCE for its members.
In 2016, a new Constitution was approved by the ICJCE’s General Assembly which clarifies the role of the institute’s Ethics Committee and the Council in regards to disciplinary cases of ICJCE members. These provisions are supplemented by internal rules which the ICJCE state are aligned with the main requirements of SMO 6. Furthermore, the ICJCE has established procedures for cooperating and communicating with ICAC regarding any sanctions of the members of the ICJCE.
During the next submission of its Action Plan, the ICJCE is encouraged to provide a status update on the Spanish government’s approval of the new Constitution and the impacts, if any, on its I&D procedures. In addition, the ICJCE is encouraged to develop and include a plan to address the existing gaps of its I&D policies against the requirements of SMO 6. The institute could also include specific activities being carried out to share information to members regarding recent developments and revisions of ICJCE and ICAC I&D’s systems.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
In Spain, the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas (ICAC)—an organization within the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness—is responsible proposing a Spanish General Accounting Plan (Spanish GAAP) adapted to EU Regulations and harmonized with EU-endorsed standards.
However, the ICJCE actively promotes the full adoption of IFRS. For example, in 2007 when revisions to the Spanish GAAP were being made, ICJCE asked for a subsidiary regime for IFRS but it was ultimately not accepted by the regulator. In addition, as part of these significant changes to the accounting legislation in 2007, the ICJCE also promoted that the supplementary statements be prepared in accordance with IFRS but again, this ultimately was not codified by the regulator. However, to ensure that the national accounting standards do not depart from principles included in the IFRS, the ICJCE reports that it maintains an ongoing dialogue with ICAC.
To support implementation of the national standards (Spanish GAAP) and IFRS, the ICJCE disseminates information to members and stakeholders on new and revised IASB pronouncements; maintains technical staff that can offer practical advice to its practicing members; and provides educational courses on IFRS. Furthermore, the ICJCE notes that it collaborates with the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) to prepare implementation guidelines and, since 2012, it has participated as a member of the CNMV’s Advisory Council.
Finally, the ICJCE also states that it participates at in the standard-setting process by providing comments both at the regional level through Accountancy Europe and directly to the IASB on its exposure drafts.
The ICJCE has consistently demonstrated that it uses its best endeavors to promote the adoption of full IFRS and IFRS for Small-and-Medium Entities (SMEs) as issued by the IASB as the applicable accounting standards in the jurisdiction and is encouraged to continue its engagements with the ICAC in this regard.
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