Instituto Nacional de Contadores Públicos de Colombia
Member | Established: 1951 | Member since 1977
The INCP, established in 1951, is the oldest and most representative professional accountancy organization in Colombia that unites professional accountants and firms on a voluntary basis. The INCP promotes the adoption and implementation of international standards, represents and promotes the accounting profession, develops trainings activities, and promotes improvements to professional practices.
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 Colombia, the Central Board of Accountancy (JCC) under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism is responsible for establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system for all mandatory audits. Although the INCP has no legal authority or responsibility in the area, since 2010, the INCP has been playing a key role in facilitating the adoption of ISQC 1 and ISA 220 in the jurisdiction by supporting the regulators in issuing related regulation. The INCP reports that the peer review system partially in line with the SMO 1 requirements, having only one difference which is that policies and procedures related to inspection cycles may vary among firms.
For example, in 2014 the INCP signed an agreement with IFAC allowing for the use, publication, and dissemination of IAASB standards, and in turn, the INCP signed an agreement with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism so that these standards could become legally binding in Colombia. The regulators have adopted ISQC 1 and ISA 220 for application in all audits.
To support implementation of the standards, the INCP includes QA standard-related topics in its training activities and develops ISA specialization courses, which include modules on ISQC1 and ISA 220. Furthermore, in 2017 the INCP supported the regulators developing trainings on implementation of quality control standards and carried out a workshop with the JCC staff on oversight skills.
Additionally, the INCP undertakes other activities in this area such as including articles on QA in its institutional publications; and encouraging public accountants and accounting firms to implement ISQC1 and ISA 220. Also, the INCP collaborated with regulators to publish a guide for statutory audits in accordance with ISA for Small- and Medium-sized Practices, which includes a section on quality control standards.
During the next round of its Action Plan update, the INCP is encouraged, in collaboration with the JCC, to develop plans to support the adoption and implementation of any missing requirements and update its SMO Action Plan accordingly.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Colombia, the Ministry of Education, universities and the Central Board of Accountancy (JCC) have a role in implementing initial professional development requirements for professional accountants, which are established in Law No. 43 of 1990. Given INCP’s lack of authority to adopt IES requirements, its activities primarily include actions to promote the adoption and implementation of IES requirements to the regulators.
Accordingly, in 2014, the INCP reports it met with the Ministry of Education and participated in its accounting regulation roundtable to promote amendments to the legislation. In addition, the INCP maintains a permanent dialogue with the universities to incorporate the requirements of IES. Currently, the INCP is working on a proposal with the JCC to require a three-year practical experience requirement before individuals are granted the public accounting professional registration, instead of the one year currently required.
As part of its engagement strategies, since 2013, the INCP has supported the Colombian Forum of Firms with international speakers for the event at which there is always an opportunity for dialogue amongst audit firms and the Academy on enhancing the education of professional accountants. Lastly, the institute also includes IES-related topics in its training activities and online courses to highlight and share the importance of IES.
The INCP is encouraged to continue promoting the adoption and implementation of IES to stakeholders involved in the education of professional accountants in the jurisdiction. Along these lines, the institute could consider reviewing and identifying the gaps, and developing a roadmap for bringing national educational requirements for all professional accountants in line with IES—especially in light of the revised IES.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The INCP is not legally responsible for the adoption of auditing standards in Colombia but it does play an important role by supporting the standard-setting process with the respective regulators in Colombia. The INCP has an agreement with IFAC allowing for the use, publication, and dissemination of IAASB issued standards, and in turn, the INCP signed an agreement with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism—one of the jurisdiction’s auditing standard-setters—in order to make the standards legally binding. The regulators have adopted the 2013 ISA for application in all audits. As of 2017, the regulators have published a draft Decree for comments, in order to update to the most recent version of ISA, including standards on auditor’s report.
As part of its efforts to support ongoing ISA adoption, the INCP indicates that it regularly nominates representatives to be part of the Technical Council of the Public Accountancy—the entity responsible for the proposing new standards on accounting and auditing to the regulators. To date, the INCP has appointed two out of four members of the Technical Council.
The INCP reports that it has participated in an Assurance Committee that was delegated responsibility for evaluating the impacts of the application of IAASB standards on the profession and on the Colombian legislation and had encouraged the adoption of ISA. The INCP is also supporting the regulators in identifying all necessary amendments to local laws in order to make them compatible with the provisions of international standards. In addition, the committee assisted in the preparation of a guide for statutory audits for Small- and Medium-sized Practices.
To assist its members, the INCP has undertaken a range of support activities. It provides trainings on ISA on an ongoing basis through conferences, seminars, specialization courses; developed a project to foster discussions between the universities and the profession on accounting and auditing issues; co-organizes conferences with regulators to facilitate ISA implementation; and disseminates information on the standards and international developments in this area through printed materials and its website. Additionally, the INCP has signed an agreement with Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in order to offer its course and exam on International Audit.
Finally, the INCP contributes to the Ibero-American Cooperation Framework (IberAM)—a regional project, which aims to produce a single, unified, high-quality Spanish translation. Furthermore, the INCP translates IAASB articles and pronouncements into Spanish language to be used by IFAC members in Spanish-speaking countries.
If deemed feasible, it may be beneficial for the INCP 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 Colombia, professional accountants are subject to ethical requirements set in Law No. 43 of 1990 and Decree No. 2132 of 2016, which mandate adherence to the 2014 IESBA Code of Ethics. Although the INCP cannot legally adopt ethical requirements for its members, the INCP does play an important role in the standard-setting process by enabling the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MCIT) to publish the IESBA Code of Ethics in the Official Gazette through an agreement the institute has with IFAC permitting the use, publication, and dissemination of the IESBA Code of Ethics.
As part of its efforts to support ongoing IESBA Code of Ethics adoption, the INCP indicates that it regularly nominates representatives to be part of the Technical Council of the Public Accountancy—the entity responsible for the proposing new standards on accounting and auditing to the regulators. To date, the INCP has appointed two out of four members of the Technical Council.
The INCP reports that that it has participated in an Assurance Committee which was delegated responsibility to evaluate the impacts of the application of the IESBA Code of Ethics on the profession and on the Colombian legislation. Based on this committee’s recommendation, the MCIT adopted the 2014 IESBA Code for all professional accountants. The INCP states in its SMO Action Plan that once the 2016 version is translated, will work with the regulators to promote its incorporation into the Official Gazette.
The INCP indicates that it has a Technical and Professional Development Committee, which is responsible for monitoring amendments to the IESBA Code of Ethics on an ongoing basis and ensuring dissemination of the standards and international developments in this area through printed materials and the institute’s website.
To further support implementation, the INCP has included the IESBA Code of Ethics in its training programs, requested adhering to ethical requirements as one of its membership requirements, developed specialization courses for professional accountants on the IESBA Code of Ethics, and signed a cooperation agreement with the MCIT to disseminate the IESBA Code of Ethics within universities.
Finally, the INCP collaborates with the Central Board of Accountancy—the entity responsible for investigating and disciplining professional accountants—to ensure professional accountants comply with the adopted Code of Ethics by participating on the Board through an INCP representative.
The INCP is encouraged to review the 2016 IESBA Code and the new NOCLAR standard—a significant, international ethics standard for auditors and other professional accountants that became effective in July 2017—in order to promote the incorporation of the new standard into ethical requirements and establish implementation support activities around NOCLAR. In addition, if deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the INCP 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 INCP is not responsible for setting public sector accounting standards and it reports that its primary role in this area is to support the current consultation process. The General Accounting Office—the governmental organization responsible for adopting the standards—is considering plans to pursue the adoption of 2015 IPSAS as the applicable standards for the public sector entities, effective January 1, 2018.
As part of these efforts, in 2014 and 2015, the INCP participated in the Public Accountancy Congress organized by the General Accountant Office, and since 2013, attended the Accounting and Accountability for Regional Economic Growth (CReCER) conference during which IPSAS-related topics are regularly discussed.
The INCP indicates that it has established dissemination mechanisms to distribute information, through printed materials and its website, regarding recent developments and updates issued by the IPSASB. In addition, INCP’s Technical and Professional Development Committee monitors new, proposed, and revised IPSAS on an ongoing basis and ensures their distribution to relevant stakeholders.
During the next submission of its Action Plan, the INCP is encouraged to outline the specific activities it is carrying out to support the ongoing adoption and implementation of IPSAS in Colombia. For example, the INCP is encouraged to indicate if it provides trainings on IPSAS for its members that work in the public sector and if it has engaged with universities to incorporate the standards into accounting education curriculum.
The INCP is also encouraged to ensure the General Accounting Office has the proper policy agreements in place with IFAC to reproduce the IPSAS. Please see the policies here.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
Although legally the INCP cannot judge or impose any disciplinary sanction on its members for professional misconduct, the INCP’s bylaws establish a requirement to follow a Code of Ethics and in cases of non-compliance, the institute may suspend membership rights. However, this is the only form of action the institute could take and therefore, its primary role in this area is to collaborate with the Central Board of Accountancy (JCC)—the entity responsible for investigating and disciplining professional accountants—by participating on the Board’s Disciplinary Court through an INCP representative.
In 2017, the INCP conducted an assessment of the JCC’s I&D policies and processes against the requirements of SMO 6 and concluded that the I&D system partially adopted the SMO 6 requirements, having only one difference which is that the link with the results of QA reviews has not been established. In addition, the INCP reports that it monitors the Disciplinary Court’s decisions, given that its internal policies state that it is mandatory for INCP to expel a member if the Disciplinary Court has imposed a sanction on an INCP member. As of 2017, however, no sanction has been imposed on an INCP member.
During the next round of its Action Plan update, the INCP is encouraged to work with the JCC, to develop plans to ensure the I&D system incorporate all the requirements of the SMO 6. In addition, the INCP is encouraged to update its the SMO 6 section of its Action Plan with specific activities being carried out to distribute information to members regarding recent developments and revisions of the Disciplinary Court’s I&D system.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Although the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MCIT) and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (MoF) are jointly responsible for setting corporate accounting standards, the INCP actively participates and contributes to the standard-setting process. For example, in 2012, it pushed for the adoption of IFRS, which are now the applicable standards in the jursidiction. To facilitate the adoption, it signed and has maintained an agreement with the IFRS Foundation allowing for the use, publication, and dissemination of IASB standards. In turn, the INCP signed an agreement with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism so that the government could publish the standards in the Official Gazette making them legally binding.
As part of its efforts to support ongoing IFRS adoption, the INCP indicates that it regularly nominates representatives to be part of the Technical Council of the Public Accountancy—the entity responsible for the proposing new standards on accounting and auditing to the MCIT and the MoF. To date, the INCP has appointed two out of four members of the Technical Council.
To support its members with the implementation of the standards, the INCP reports that it has undertaken several activities such as: providing over 20 educational specialization courses on IFRS and IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs), carrying out workshops focusing on specific standards, hosting congresses and workshops with regulators, and developing international congresses covering the standards. Additionally, in 2015, it hosted the IFRS Conference in the Americas alongside the IFRS Foundation and executed two Train the Trainer workshops.
Furthermore, the INCP promotes the application and understanding of the standards by disseminating IFRS and IFRS for SMEs-related materials to universities to encourage its incorporation in the accounting curricula, and disseminating information to members and stakeholders on new and revised IASB pronouncements.
Lastly, the INCP has signed an agreement with Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in order to offer its course and exam on International Financial Reporting.
If deemed feasible and relevant, it would be beneficial for the INCP to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on exposure drafts and other IASB pronouncements.
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