Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España
Member | Established: 1942 | Member since 1977
The ICJCE, established in 1942, unites auditors and firms voluntarily. 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 auditors of 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 implementing the QA review system through its agreement with ICAC to undertake ‘instrumental tasks’ in QA inspections of auditors 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 adopting relevant quality control/management standards. The ICJCE reports ongoing activities to ensure that ICAC’s and ICJCE’s QA review systems incorporate all SMO 1 requirements and to provide ICJCE’s reviewers with the tools and knowledge needed to perform QA reviews.
To support its members with the 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 quality standards and their implementation, including standard-related topics in its training activities; developing implementation guidelines on standard-related topics; and disseminating information on the QA review systems. The institute offers specialized support for SMPs to help them meet the quality standards requirements through the SMP Committee.
ISQM 1 and 2 and ISA 220 (Revised) were adopted in April 2022, effective for audits of financial statements starting on or after January 1, 2022. To prepare its members, the ICJCE has developed a CPD program and several workshops on specific issues addressed in the new Quality Management standards. The ICJCE has also designed guidance and implementation tools. Specifically, the ICJCE has translated into Spanish the IAASB ISQM 1 and ISQM 2 Guides, videos, and the translation of the ISA 220 Guide is in progress.
Lastly, the ICJCE is considering developing a quality control system for members offering services outside the scope of the ICAC’s QA review system.
The ICJCE has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its fulfillment of the SMO 1 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Spain, Law 22/2015 establishes auditors' initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements. Candidates who wish to acquire the title of auditor must meet specific requirements defined in Law 22/2015 such as: obtaining a university degree, passing a final state exam, completing the 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 of 120 hours every three years of CPD training aligned with IES 7.
The ICJCE reports that its role regarding 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 proposes amendments that ICAC could make to the pre-qualification syllabus and education programming to better incorporate the IES requirements. In addition, the ICJCE assessed the national educational requirements and the 2019 IES and concluded that ICAC had 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 that assessing certain professional values, skills, and attitudes is difficult, and these are not included in ICAC’s syllabus.
The ICJCE reported in its 2022 SMO Action Plan that it has started creating a degree in auditing with the University of Avila and collaborates with other universities around curricula and professional competencies. The institute plans to consider the IES in drafting the syllabus. In addition, in 2022, to respond to the concerns of individuals and firms about attracting and retaining talent to the profession, the ICJCE set up a group that also deals with education issues around technology, sustainability, and digitalization.
The ICJCE reports that the ICAC had recently decided to reduce the number of CPD courses that count towards CPD (i.e., non-audit courses do not count). Therefore, the ICJCE has renewed its educational activities to address members’ needs and offer skills-oriented training. As part of these efforts, it is also working on an online platform to provide a more accessible and comprehensive 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 limit the syllabus to only technical standards and theoretical knowledge.
The ICJCE has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its fulfillment of the SMO 2 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The ICJCE is not legally responsible for adopting auditing standards in Spain. Still, 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.
The recognized professional accountancy organizations draft the Spanish Generally Accepted Auditing Standards based on ISA (NIA-ES as adopted in Spain). The ICAC formally approves and publishes the standards and requires all companies to apply them. As reported by the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE), the ICAC first adopted the 2009 ISA translated into Spanish by Resolution in 2013, effective for audits of financial statements starting on or after January 1, 2014. As of 2022, the 2021 ISA are being applied.
In accordance with 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 assist its members with implementing the standards, the ICJCE has undertaken various 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.
As an Accountancy Europe (AE) member, a representative of the ICJCE participates in the Auditing and Assurance Policy Group and will submit comments as needed. For instance, the ICJCE commented on the Proposed standard for LCEs.
The ICJCE has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its fulfillment with the SMO 3 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
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 specified in Law 22/2015, which are reported to be more restrictive than what is contained in the IESBA Code as related to independence requirements. 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 voluntary membership, 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 to develop a set of ethics standards aside from independence requirements. 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 legal framework as part of transposing the EU Audit Directive and Regulation and more recently, the adoption of the quality management standards. 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 to use the International Code of Ethics issued by the IESBA as a benchmark for ethical requirements.
The ICJCE reports that it has established an ongoing process to translate new and amended ethics standards as part of its advocacy efforts. The ICJCE has translated the 2018 version of the International Code of Ethics and some of the final pronouncements published after that date related to Revisions to the Code to Promote the Role and Mindset Expected of Professional Accountants and Objectivity of the EQR.
To support the implementation of its Code of Ethics, the ICJCE has established an Independence Commission responsible for preparing guidance material, proposing independence-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 implementing its Code by disseminating information about updates to its Code through printed materials and its website.
It is in the public interest that professional accountants adhere to the latest ethical requirements issued by the IESBA. The ICJCE is encouraged to continue pursuing a convergence process to eliminate differences between its Code and the International Code of Ethics. The 2021 Handbook is currently effective, with changes in the terms and concepts used in the IAASB’s International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised), and revisions to promote the role and mindset expected of all professional accountants. In addition, the objectivity of an engagement quality reviewer and other appropriate reviewers, revisions to the non-assurance services, and revisions to the fee-related provisions will be effective in December 2022 and are available in the 2022 Handbook.
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 the 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 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, the press, and public administrations to make the audit of local public sector institutions mandatory.
The ICJCE has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its fulfillment with the SMO 5 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
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 Law 22/2015, which is stated to 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 regard to disciplinary cases of ICJCE members. These provisions are supplemented by internal rules, which the ICJCE state will be almost fully compliant 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. The Spanish Government has yet not approved the ICJCE changes to its Constitution.
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.
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 for proposing and adopting Spanish General Accounting Plan (Spanish GAAP) adapted to EU Regulations and harmonized with EU-endorsed standards. EU-endorsed IFRS are adopted for publicly traded companies.
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 the implementation of the national standards (Spanish GAAP) and IFRS, the ICJCE disseminates information to members and stakeholders on new and revised IASB pronouncements; maintains a 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 in the CNMV’s Advisory Council.
Finally, the ICJCE also states that it participates in the standard-setting process by providing comments at the regional level through Accountancy Europe and directly to the IASB on its exposure drafts.
The ICJCE has demonstrated an ongoing process to maintain its fulfillment with the SMO 7 obligations and is committed to continuous improvement.
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