Associate | Established: 1998 | Associate since 2019
The LCPAA was established in 1998 with an objective to unite accountancy professionals in Laos. The organization’s recognition is established under the Law on Independent Audit of 2014. The organization offers Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licenses for its members and is responsible for: (i) arranging and delivering the continuing professional development program for all practitioners; (ii) managing and conducting professional examinations for CPA certifications; and (iii) conducting an investigations and disciplinary system with the Ministry of Finance. CPAs may practice as auditors in audit firms that are members of LCPAA. LCPAA is a primary member of ASEAN Federation of 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
Under the Law on Independent Audit of 2014, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is responsible for establishing a mandatory quality assurance (QA) review system.
In April 2017, the MoF operationalized its first QA system in the jurisdiction—the Laos Audit Quality Assurance System (LAQAS). The scope of the LAQAS includes reviewing the performance of audit firms, as well as implementing a multi-year monitoring program that evaluates the quality of audit work being performed. LCPAA will assist the MoF with conducting the reviews, and also provides technical and administrative support. In 2019, the MoF issued a specific decree (0974/MoF on Audit Quality Assurance) providing the legal framework for the QA review system to comply with relevant standards issued by the IAASB and IFAC’s SMO 1. The LCPAA reports that as the system is still relatively new, it is being assessed for improvements to be implemented in the future but that it largely meets the SMO 1 best practices.
The first pilot inspection was to take place in 2019. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic's emergence, the project had to be paused. As conditions gradually return to normal, both the MoF and LCPAA have strategized to resume the QA review. The review is expected to be carried out by beginning of 2024.
LCPAA is supporting its members by offering training and seminars with support from technical consultants and international and regional experts on the QA review process to increase awareness and understanding. LCPAA plans to further assist its members by developing an application guide – it has a Technical Advisor that is assisting with the outline of the guide. LCPAA is also collaborating with the MoF to administer a “Coaching Program.” The program is intended to educate practitioners on the QA review process and sanctions that could be imposed, particularly if they are found to be non-compliant with applicable laws and regulations.
LCPAA is taking the necessary steps to support the MoF and its members undertaking QA reviews in the jurisdiction. This is important for ensuring high quality services and information. As operating conditions permit the first inspection to take place, LCPAA is encouraged to continue its efforts to prepare members for reviews. ISQM is now the relevant standard and firms will need to institute systems of quality management. There are resources available on the IFAC and IAASB websites. Accordingly, the MoF will have to inspect these new systems of quality management, which may take additional time to understand each firm’s context. The LCPAA should continue referring to the SMO 1 self-assessment and best practices and sharing implementation progress with IFAC.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
The Law on Independent Audit of 2014 stipulates initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements in Laos and provides authority to the LCPAA, under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), as the body responsible for implementing these requirements.
The LCPAA offers the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation and license and is responsible for: (i) arranging and delivering the CPD program for all practitioners—120 hours over 3 years with a minimum of 20 hours in any year; and (ii) managing and conducting professional examinations for CPA certifications. To support members, LCPAA signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with universities and professional accountancy organizations, such as the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA), Sipathum University from Thailand, CPA Australia, PwC, and Deloitte for support in the development and provision of its CPD program. Annually, LCPAA has conducted CPD training and courses for its members.
LCPAA reports that it is undertaking several initiatives to move towards full alignment with the latest IES requirements. For example, in December 2016, LCPAA published regulations to align with IES 7. Other initiatives include support from the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) to update its syllabus and exams in line with the latest version of the ACCA syllabus (and thereby fulfill IES 2, 3, 4, and 6); and updating LCPAA training materials. As of June 2023, LCPAA reports that 603 trainees are currently undertaking the CPA certification program.
In 2020, LCPAA introduced Practical Training Regulations as No. 059/LCPAA to align with IES 5. The regulations stipulate that the trainee’s supervisor must monitor and record reports regarding practical experience and progress in demonstrating competencies. The organization has developed materials intended to facilitate the practical experience component, such as documentation forms. The regulation mirrors the ACCA’s practical experience requirements.
LCPAA’s partnerships with regional and other PAOs are important to support its capacity building and capabilities to implement IES requirements at a national level. Robust accountancy education is the foundation for a competent accountancy profession. LCPAA is encouraged to continue these partnerships as part progressing the implementation of IES requirements. IFAC’s IES Self-assessment and IES e-Tool may be helpful resources for the LCPAA to refer to as it strengthens education regulations.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Under the Law on Independent Audit, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is responsible for setting auditing standards in Laos. The MoF adopts the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) as issued by the IAASB in English and are effective for all mandatory audits.
As the LCPAA has no legal responsibility for adoption, it focuses on supporting its members with implementation. LCPAA incorporates ISA in continuing professional development course offerings and disseminates training materials to its members. Between February 2016 and June 2018, LCPAA conducted 30 courses and seminars on the ISA with an emphasis on the new auditor’s report and professional skepticism. More recently it has partnered with Big 4 audit firms to offer training on ISA 315 (revised). LCPAA members that are partners and employees of Big 4 audit firms are required to report on ISA training on an annual basis.
In addition, LCPAA reports that it plans to translate essential sections of the ISA and other IAASB Pronouncements by the end of 2024, as well as the Guide to “Using ISAs in the Audits of SMEs” published by the SMP Committee by December 2020. The decision to translate certain sections is related to the significant financial and human resources necessary to undertake Lao translations.
Lastly, LCPAA ensures that its members are kept up-to-date on any announcements published by the MoF.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Under the Law on Independent Audit of 2014, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for all professional accountants in Laos. The LCPAA reports that, in October 2016, the MoF adopted and published the Lao Code of Ethics, which is aligned with the principles of the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics. The LCPAA and the MoF have plans to review the 2022 International Code of Ethics issued by IESBA for adoption by 2025.
LCPAA focuses on supporting the MoF with adoption as well as its members with implementation. From 2019 to 2022, the LCPAA collaborated with the MoF to offer 5 ethical trainings to its members.
Presently, LCPAA has established processes to disseminate relevant information through lectures, seminars, its website, and has also included the latest developments on the IESBA Code in its CPA training program / ethics module exam in partnership with the Banking Institute (BI). The LCPAA has also developed guidance and training materials on applying the Code.
The LCPAA is encouraged to continue its technical and advocacy efforts with the MoF regarding adoption of the latest International Code of Ethics. The Code has been significantly updated since the 2015 version and adoption of the new requirements is an important cornerstone for the accountancy profession. If feasible, adoption of the latest Code should occur before 2025. LCPAA should continue to update IFAC on the progress with adoption and continue to raise awareness amongst its membership that newer and revised ethical requirements will be applicable.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Under the Law on Accounting of 2013, the MoF is responsible for setting public sector accounting standards in Laos. Government entities are applying cash-basis IPSAS. While accrual-basis IPSAS is stated in the Law on Accounting, implementation of accrual accounting will take significantly more time and resources.
To support IPSAS implementation efforts, the LCPAA reports that it is working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and MoF (through the Accounting Regulatory Department (ARD)) to revise the Chart of Accounts and develop technical guidance that will support LCPAA members and those working in the public sector with the implementation of cash-basis IPSAS. Subsequently, LCCPA will collaborate with the MoF to incorporate material from the guidance and the principles of cash-basis IPSAS into a CPD training program. LCPAA members serve as representatives within committees of the ARD that are working on revisions to the Chart of Accounts.
From 2019 to 2021, LCPAA led two training sessions focused on cash-basis IPSAS. In addition, a specialized training session on cash-basis IPSAS was also conducted for the state inspection department within the Prime Minister's office. From 2022 to 2023, LCPAA actively participated in a series of consultative, advocacy-oriented meetings, and workshops with the MoF.
The LCPAA is encouraged to continue its proactive efforts to collaborate with the MoF to support the implementation of cash-basis IPSAS and the continued progression and capacity building to transition to accrual-basis IPSAS in the future.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The Law on Independent Audit of 2014 designates the LCPAA and the MoF with the responsibility to establish and conduct an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system in the jurisdiction. To avoid any overlaps, both the MoF and LCPAA agreed that primary responsibility for management of the system would be undertaken by LCPAA. The MoF would retain its responsibility to impose sanctions. The list of firms with any sanctions is published on MoF’s Facebook page.
LCPAA reports that I&D procedures are currently undergoing a review by the Accounting Regulatory Department (ARD) within the MoF. The expected completion date coincides with the revision of both the accounting law and the independent audit law, which are slated to be proposed to the national assembly in 2023 and early 2024.
LCPAA reports that the system will be comprised of a Disciplinary Committee, an Investigations Committee, and an independent Appeals Board. LCPAA conducted a self-assessment of the proposed I&D system against the requirements of SMO 6 and concluded that it would be in line with the requirements once operational.
LCPAA has already identified and appointed members of the Disciplinary Committee and was formally announced to members at the 2022 Annual General Assembly. LCPAA has previously noted that it has raised awareness and educated members on the upcoming enforcement mechanism and consequences of non-compliance.
Enforcement mechanisms that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are an important component to the public trust and confidence in the accountancy profession; therefore, progress in making such a system operational is an important activity for the LCPAA in collaboration with the MoF. As LCPAA and the MoF continue to appoint committee members and advance to implementing procedures, the enforcement procedures should be regularly reviewed against the SMO 6 benchmark. LCPAA should inform IFAC of progress with the operations of the I&D system.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Under the Law on Accounting of 2013, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is responsible for setting corporate accounting standards. The MoF has adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the Lao Financial Reporting Standards for Non-Public Interest Enterprises (LFRS for Non-PIEs), which are based on the 2009 version of the IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities.
As it does not have legal responsibility for adoption of standards, the LCPAA participates in the national standard-setting process as a member of an accounting advisory board that provides input and feedback when standards are being adopted. LCPAA also supports the standards’ implementation, which it notes is a current challenge in the jurisdiction. The PAO has collaborated with the Federation of Accounting Professions (TFAC) from Thailand to design a train the trainers’ program on IFRS.
To further support its members with understanding IFRS requirements, LCPAA has established processes to disseminate information through lectures, seminars, and has also included IFRS in its continuing professional development program. Beginning December 2018, LCPAA initiated training on LFRS for non-PIEs.
LCPAA has recently arranged training sessions on the Fundamentals of IFRS, Lease Management under IFRS 16, IFRS 13, and IFRS 9. Sessions also include panel discussions that delve into the key challenges associated with IFRS, as well as the implementation of IFRS for SMEs within the ASEAN and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) regions. LCPAA has also co-hosted an International Reporting training initiative in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and has established partnerships with the Lao Securities Commission, the Bank of Laos, the Department of State-owned Enterprise Reform and Insurance (DSRI), PwC Laos, PwC Vietnam, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), EY Lao, KPMG Laos, as well as various local companies. In 2023, training sessions are set to cover IFRS 2, IFRS 10, IFRS 11, and IFRS 12.
LCPAA is also looking to create and develop an IFRS certificate program, tailored for its members.
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