Instituto Nacional de Contadores Públicos de Colombia
Member | Established: 1951 | Member since 1977
The INCP, established in 1951, unites professional accountants and firms on a voluntary basis. The INCP promotes the adoption and implementation of international standards, represents and promotes the accountancy 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 (MCIT) 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 mostly aligns with the SMO 1 requirements, having only one difference which is that policies and procedures related to inspection cycles may vary among firms (i.e. they may not take place at least every six years (and every three years for audits of public interest entities)).
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 MCIT 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 the implementation of the standards, the INCP developed ISA specialization courses, which include modules on ISQC1 and ISA 220. The INCP has also supported regulators to develop trainings on implementation of quality control standards and carried out a workshop with the JCC staff on oversight skills. Furthermore, the INCP has organized ISQC 1 roundtables to provide training to its members.
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.
Lastly, the INCP reports plan to include the new IAASB Quality Management standards into its training programming.
As the JCC is responsible for operating the QA review system in the jursidiction, the INCP should continue using its best efforts to collaborate with JCC and relevant stakeholders to promote the best practices of SMO 1, especially as related to cyclical approaches to reviews.
Importantly, the new suite of IAASB Quality Management standards that will become effective in 2021–2022 will require significant change management for regulators and firms. The INCP is encouraged to continue preparing members and raise awareness of the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards.
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.
The INCP reports it has 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 encourage the incorporation of IES requirements.
As part of its engagement strategy, 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 Academia on enhancing the education of professional accountants. Lastly, the institute also disseminates information on the standards and international developments in this area through printed materials and its website to highlight and share the importance of IES.
The INCP’s efforts to promote the IES are commendable. As the regulators' plans to adopt the latest IES requirements are unclear, the INCP is encouraged to adopt the 2019 IES requirements for its members where feasible. A voluntary certification aligned with the IES could be one option, as well as a university accreditation scheme, and INCP can refer to examples in the region for best practices and learnings. The INCP is also encouraged to adopt continuing professional development requirements for its members that align with IES 7 and 8.
Revised requirements of the IES 2, 3, 4 and 8 are effective as of 2021. The revisions to these standards reflect the need for competency-based approaches as well as the increasing demand for accountants skilled in information and communications technologies and place further emphasis on professional skepticism skills and behaviors. These apply to both aspiring and professional accountants. The Accountancy Education E-Tool and the IES Checklist developed by IFAC may be useful to identify implementation support materials and the INCP should review these available tools as part of its work plan.
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 ISA for application in all audits and the 2018 ISAs are currently effective.
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.
The INCP reports that it 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, and 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; offers ISA certifications; 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 the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in order to offer its course and exam on International Audit.
Finally, the INCP contributes to the translation of IAASB articles and pronouncements into Spanish to be used by IFAC members in Spanish-speaking countries.
IAASB has issued an exposure draft of the proposed separate standard for audits of Less Complex Entities. INCP is encouraged to participate in the public consultation process for this landmark new draft standard.
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 the ongoing adoption of the IESBA Code of Ethics, the INCP indicates that it regularly nominates representatives to be part of the Technical Council of the Public Accountancy—the entity responsible for proposing new standards on accounting and auditing to the regulators.
The INCP reports that it has participated in an Assurance Committee, which was delegated responsibility to evaluate the impacts of applying the IESBA Code of Ethics on the profession and the Colombian legislation. Based on this committee's recommendation, the MCIT adopted the 2014 IESBA Code for all professional accountants. The INCP reports that in July 2020, the regulators issued the 2018 International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants for public consultation. As of the date of the assessment, the consultation process has not concluded.
The INCP indicates that it has a Technical and Professional Development Committee 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, established adherence 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.
As the national legislation establishes ethical requirements, the INCP should continue using its best efforts to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to promote the adoption of the latest version of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants for application by all professional accountants in Colombia.
The INCP should continue raising awareness on the need to update the 2014 IESBA Code of Ethics and address the lag in adopting the latest Code, which contains significant differences from 2014. The INCP should also take note of future revisions to the Code in the 2020 Handbook, including revisions to Part 4B of the Code to reflect terms and concepts used in the IAASB's International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised), effect since June 2021 and revisions to promote the role and mindset expected of all professional accountants which are effective in December 2021.
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 consultative process. The General Accounting Office—the governmental organization responsible for adopting the standards— has adopted accrual IPSAS since 2015 and currently requires the application of 2017 IPSAS.
As part of these efforts, in 2014 and 2015, the INCP participated in the Public Accountancy Congress organized by the General Accountant Office, and, in 2017, together with the CGN conducted an IPSAS training attended by 373 public-sector officials. Additionally, since 2013, the INCP has attended the Accounting and Accountability for Regional Economic Growth (CReCER) conference during which IPSAS-related topics are regularly discussed.
To assist its members, the INCP has undertaken a range of support activities. It provides trainings on IPSAS on an ongoing basis through conferences, seminars, and specialization courses; and offers IPSAS certifications. 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.
The INCP should continue raising awareness on the need to update the 2017 IPSAS and address the lag in the adoption of the latest IPSAS. The IFAC's Train the Trainers: Introduction to IPSAS resource might be helpful to INCP to continue providing support to public sector accountants in the jurisdiction.
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 with an INCP representative.
The INCP conducted an assessment of the JCC's I&D policies and processes against the requirements of SMO 6 and the procedures mostly align with the SMO 6 requirements except that a connection 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 INCP must expel a member if the Disciplinary Court has imposed a sanction on an INCP member.
The INCP included news and articles on the JCC and Board's Disciplinary Court in its institutional publications.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. The INCP should continue using its best efforts to collaborate with JCC and relevant stakeholders to promote the best practices of SMO 6, particularly around the ability of any deficient QA results to lead to an investigation and disciplinary proceeding as may be necessary.
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 jurisdiction. 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 proposing new standards on accounting and auditing to the MCIT and the MoF.
To support its members with the implementation of the standards, the INCP reports that it has undertaken several activities such as: providing specialization courses on IFRS and IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs), carrying out workshops focusing on specific standards and revisions, hosting congresses and workshops with regulators, and developing international congresses covering the standards. Additionally, the INCP has signed an agreement with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to offer its course and exam on International Financial Reporting.
Furthermore, the INCP promotes the application and understanding of the standards by disseminating IFRS and IFRS for SME-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.
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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