International Arab Society of Certified Accountants
Member | Established: 1984 | Member since 1985
IASCA was established in 1984 in the United Kingdom as a non-profit professional accounting association and was formally registered in Jordan in 1994 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade as the Arab Society of Certified Accountants. It is a voluntary membership organization with a mission to enhance the professional and technical competence of the accountancy profession. It offers various certification schemes to fulfill its mandate. In addition to being a Member of IFAC, IASCA is a member of the International Committee for Accounting Education and Research, the Gulf Cooperation Council Accounting and Auditing Organization, and has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
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
IASCA is not vested with responsibility for conducting quality assurance (QA) reviews of statutory audits. At present, members of IASCA in Jordan are subject to the Jordanian Association of Certified Public Accountants’ (JACPA) QA review system. While JACPA’s QA review system is in-line with the requirements of SMO 1, in practice, there are still some areas of divergence. At present, the system is operated voluntarily (members can volunteer to participate in the system); however, amendments to the law are necessary to provide JACPA with the authority to undertake a compulsory system for its membership. Presently, draft amendments to the Accountancy Profession Law No. 73 of 2003 have been made to provide this authority to JACPA and these are pending approval by the Jordanian Parliament.
To support JACPA’s system of QA, IASCA reports that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the institute, as planned in 2017, to enhance awareness of the system at the jurisdictional level. As part of the MoU, IASCA is in the process of working with JACPA to create Quality Control and Quality Review Committees. Both entities initiated discussions to jointly conduct QA review training for JACPA practitioners and to establish a mechanism where both associations can work together in monitoring and enforcing compliance with the mandatory QA system.
IASCA’s efforts have primarily focused on supporting JACPA in promoting draft changes to Accountancy Profession Law No. 73 of 2003 to make participation in the QA review system a mandatory membership requirement. It also has been focusing efforts on preparing its members for the implementation of the mandatory QA review system once the amendments to the Law pass. For example, between 2017–2020, IASCA provided members with online tools and resources such as a training guide, to assist them with understanding the quality assurance process. A representative from IASCA participated in a train-the-trainers workshop with the Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants (LACPA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Arab Federation of Accountants and Auditors (AFAA) to enhance audit quality assurance review skills in 2016.
In 2020 and 2021, IASCA will work with JACPA to support expanding the scope of the QA review system and provide voluntary additional QA services to the members who request this service.
As its members reside in a number of different countries, with different statutory requirements, rules, and legislation, maintaining its own system of quality assurance becomes challenging. IASCA focuses, instead, on raising members’ awareness—through development of formal communication and education programs (seven were conducted online in 2019 and 2020)—of the importance of implementing ISQC 1 and ISA 220, Quality Control for an Audit of Financial Statements, and providing training on the standards.
Lastly, to further support IASCA members, the association reports to provide its members with an Arabic translation of ISQC 1.
IASCA’s contribution to the development of a QA review system in the jurisdiction and its willingness to work with JACPA are commendable. In the next SMO Action Plan Update, IASCA is encouraged to provide an update on the execution of its collaboration endeavors with JACPA, particularly as it relates to promoting the establishment of a mandatory QA system that incorporates SMO 1 requirements. As IASCA waits for the amendments to the Law to pass in Parliament allowing JACPA to operate a mandatory QA system, it is encouraged to collaborate with JACPA to promote legislative passage and to request IFAC support and assistance in engaging with legislators and regulators as necessary. As IAASB is revising its standards on quality control, IASCA should also consider following the developments and prepare for the implementation of the revised standards.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
While IASCA is not involved in setting initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements at the jurisdiction level, it offers the following professional designations—the International Arab Certified Public Accountant, the International Arab Certified Management Accountant, and the IFRS Expert—all of which are aligned with IES (2019).
IASCA maintains an ongoing process to update its professional certification programs to align them with IES. It also reports to monitor the activities of the IAESB for changes to requirements and incorporates them into its curriculum and examinations as necessary.
Also, it continues to raise awareness of the importance of incorporating IES into the IPD programs of education institutes and universities—for example, it conducted a seminar for university chairmen in Jordan in April 2018; an awareness-raising session for IASCA trainers and education consultants in May 2018; and an IASCA conference on the future of the profession in November 2018. IASCA reports that it will continue its outreach and engagement with university accounting departments to ensure awareness and understanding of the revised IES on an annual basis. This will be conducted in 2020/2021 virtually through discussions with JACPA and leading professors.
IASCA establishes CPD requirements for its members and provides CPD learning opportunities. Since 2013, IASCA required members to complete 20 CPD hours annually and updated its program in 2019 to align with the 2019 IES requirements. Non-compliance with CPD requirements, which is monitored by IASCA’s Membership Department, results in expulsion from IASCA membership. IASCA also intends to explore options of expanding its CPD course offerings to its members by reviewing possible third-party providers. As of the date of the assessment, IASCA reports to be cooperating with several entities to support its members—Talal Abu Ghazaleh Firm; Arab Institute for Accountants (UAE); Berkeley SVP Center (UAE); Jordanian Ministry of Finance; Al-Zarqaa University (Jordan); MH&P Consulting Firm (Egypt); Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants; Bait Al Hekma Training Center (Iraq); and Libyan Stock Market (Libya).
IASCA reports to provide its members with the latest version of IES on an ongoing basis for informational purposes. The association also translated the 2019 version of the Handbook of International Education Standards into Arabic, in line with IFAC translation policy.
IASCA is encouraged to continue its efforts to raise awareness of the requirements of the IES amongst the various stakeholders in the IPD and CPD ecosystem in Jordan and to continue to advocate for further adoption and implementation of necessary changes to the IPD and CPD systems. Given the challenges with regards to human and financial resources, if possible, IASCA is encouraged to collaborate with JACPA to complete a comprehensive gap analysis of the overall national requirements and programs for professional accountants in the country against the revised IES in cooperation with other stakeholders involved in the education of accountants in the jurisdiction. The IES Checklist and the Accountancy Education E-Tool developed by IFAC may be used to conduct an assessment and to consider available implementation support materials. If gaps exist, specific actions need to be planned and incorporated in the SMO Action Plan aimed at fully aligning the educational requirements with those of the revised international standards.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
In accordance with Companies Law No. 22 dated 1997 (as amended 2006) and Accountancy Profession Law No. 73 of 2003, JACPA recommends auditing standards for the Higher Council for the Accountancy Profession (HCAP) to adopt. In 1992, HCAP adopted all ISA as issued by the IAASB for current and future audits. As such, although JACPA retains the ability to recommend standards for adoption to the HCAP, in practice revised and new ISA are applicable in Jordan with the effective date as issued by the IAASB.
Since IASCA does not have responsibility for adoption of auditing standards in Jordan, it focuses its efforts on enhancing awareness of new and revised standards and pronouncements through its newsletters and training offerings. It also supports the implementation of ISA by ensuring that the latest version of the standards is translated into Arabic in a timely manner and available to its members and other professionals in the region.
As of the date of the assessment, IASCA established a translation agreement with IFAC and translated the 2018 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements. It also monitors revisions to ISA and other pronouncements promulgated by the IAASB, and provides periodic updates. In addition, the society facilitates the incorporation of new and revised standards into certification, education, examination, and continuing professional development material and programs on an annual basis. It further supports the implementation process by translating guidance material prepared by IFAC such as the Guide to using ISA in the Audits of Small- and Medium-Sized Entities (3rd Edition), and by providing training to enhance professionals’ understanding and ability to apply the standards.
As IAASB is revising its standards on quality control, IASCA should consider following the developments and incorporating the revisions and prepare for the implementation of the revised standards. Lastly, as Jordan has adopted ISA, IASCA is strongly encouraged to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments to the IAASB’s Exposure Drafts and contributing to public consultations.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In accordance with Accountancy Profession Law No. 73 of 2003, JACPA is responsible for recommending ethical standards for the Higher Council for the Accountancy Profession (HCAP) to adopt. In 1992, HCAP adopted the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. All revised and new requirements of the IESBA Code are applicable in Jordan with the effective date issued by the IESBA.
Although IASCA has no responsibility for setting ethical requirements for the profession in Jordan, it requires its members to comply with the IESBA Code of Ethics as issued by IESBA, to retain membership. IASCA reports that it communicates ethical requirements by mentioning the Code of Ethics in training material and holding awareness sessions to enhance the knowledge and implementation of the requirements.
IASCA reports to monitor any revisions to the IESBA Code of Ethics in an ongoing manner and focuses its activities on raising awareness by translating the latest versions of the Code into Arabic (2018 Handbook of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants). It also indicates that it integrates the requirements of the 2018 Code into training programs for its members. IASCA reports to have created a web-based depository with ethics related content for its members (www.ascajordan.org/publications.aspx).
The society also engages with government representatives on areas between national legal requirements and the IESBA Code of Ethics where conflicts may arise. IASCA executed an exercise to compare national ethical requirements contained in various laws and regulations with the IESBA Code to identify differences and bring them to the attention of the responsible parties.
IASCA also assists members with application and compliance by offering various ethics-related courses and training.
Lastly, IASCA included in its SMO Action Plan its plan to disseminate Exposure Drafts and other IESBA pronouncements to its members.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards in Jordan which are modified cash-basis and, in 2015, officially endorsed the adoption and implementation of IPSAS. A five-year IPSAS implementation road map is in place, with implementation assistance being provided by the United States Agency for International Development under Jordan’s Fiscal Reform Project. Significant progress has been made in supporting the Government of Jordan’s application of the cash-basis IPSAS. The project envisions a gradual transformation from cash basis to accrual basis of IPSAS accounting with completion of this project slated for 2021.
Over the past few years, the Jordanian Association of Certified Public Accountants (JACPA), as well as IASCA, have been involved in the project to provide the following support: (a) producing seminars/training courses on the subject; (b) giving consultancy and advice in implementing each standard; (c) recommending the adoption of best accounting policies, if any, that will serve the Jordanian economy and governmental budget; and (d) providing any assistance to the project as needed. Prior to the adoption decision by the Ministry of Finance, JACPA was active in raising awareness of IPSAS and promoting their adoption through meetings with the government officials.
In 2020 / 2021, while JACPA will be taking the lead from the Government with regards to needs and support in IPSAS implementation, IASCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JACPA to support these efforts. Due to COVID-19 and shifting priorities, IASCA will be engaging with JACPA and the government to identify areas where both institutes can best provide awareness raising as well as education and technical assistance.
IASCA promotes and raises awareness by making available Arabic translations of the standards in a timely manner, and provides updates via its website on IPSASB pronouncements. It has established dialogue with professional accountancy organizations in the countries of the region to enhance knowledge sharing on IPSAS adoption and implementation. In addition, IASCA offers courses and hosts conferences and lectures on IPSAS throughout the Arab world. In 2018, IASCA launched its IPSAS certification program, IPSAS Expert.
Lastly, IASCA completed the Arabic translation of the 2019 Handbook of International Public Sector Accounting Pronouncements for its members and professionals in the Middle East region.
IASCA is encouraged to continue to be proactive and responsive to the needs of the Jordanian Government as it progresses with its adoption and implementation of IPSAS. As appropriate, IASCA is encouraged to participate in the international standard-setting process by providing comments to the IPSASB’s Exposure Drafts and contributing to public consultations.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The Jordanian Association of Certified Public Accountants (JACPA) and the Higher Council for the Accountancy Profession (HCAP) have the authority to operate an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for CPAs in accordance with Accountancy Profession Law No. 73 of 2003.
While IASCA does not have the authority to carry out investigation and discipline for professional accountants in Jordan, it reports to have established an I&D system for its members. IASCA completed a self-assessment of its I&D system and confirmed in 2020 that its system continues to incorporate the main requirements of SMO 6.
An I&D Committee has been established and operationalized to undertake investigation, disciplinary, and appeals processes. To support members’ understanding of the system, IASCA has circulated guidance on the investigative and disciplinary procedures via its newsletter (annually) and website.
Effective and efficient I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 best practices are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. IASCA is encouraged to collaborate with JACPA and HCAP to raise awareness of the SMO 6 requirements and their importance to the Parliament which may help promote passage of the necessary amendments to the law.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
In line with the Jordanian Companies Law No. 22 of 1997 (as amended 2006), IFRS have been adopted and are currently effective for all public interest entities. With no direct authority for adoption, JACPA’s focus is primarily on implementation support, particularly because it reports that implementation of IFRS remains a challenge in Jordan. It does this by making available Arabic translations of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs, and by offering relevant training.
IASCA monitors changes to the standards and provides updates through courses and workshops. In addition, it offers an IFRS certification program (IFRS Expert) and examinations in IFRS and collaborates with the IFRS Foundation to raise awareness and understanding of IFRS for SMEs in Arab countries. Furthermore, IASCA cooperates with university professors to incorporate IFRS, including any new or revised standards, in university curricula.
Lastly, IASCA reports that it participates in standard-setting events such as the annual conference of World Standard-Setters held by the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation. It also encourages its members to provide comments on Exposure Drafts and other pronouncements.
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