Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Member | Established: 1933 | Member since 1987
The Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) was established in June 2011 as a successor of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Liberia to represent, promote, and regulate the accountancy profession in Liberia in the public interest. LICPA is responsible for setting professional standards, licensing all practitioners, and supervising the conduct of all accountancy professionals. The institute is committed to building the capacity of its members in order to build a strong and vibrant accounting profession and contribute to the reconstruction efforts in the country.
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
The LICPA has direct responsibility for establishing and implementing a quality assurance (QA) review system. The institute has adopted quality control standards and plans to formalize a QA review system that is compliant with SMO 1 requirements by April 2017.
As part of the LICPA’s twinning arrangement with the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG), ICAG began its first round of QA reviews for LICPA members in September 2013 and will complete the exercise in June–July 2016. After the reviews, LICPA will conduct workshops for its members to inform them of areas that require improvements and steps they can take to address the inconsistencies. LICPA will initiate another round of practice QA reviews in December 2016 prior to commencing formal reviews in April 2017. In addition, LICPA intends to hold interactive workshops for its members that focus on the practical implementation of audit documentation and the use of available audit software.
As part of formalizing and strengthening the QA review system, LICPA is establishing an Audit Quality Assurance Board (AQAB) to oversee the QA review process and a Quality Control Committee to examine QA review results. LICPA intends to launch the AQAB in October 2016 and will host educational seminars for members to familiarize them with the Board’s functions.
To deal with non-resident firms operating in Liberia, LICPA issued a draft pronouncement in July 2015 stipulating that operational non-resident firms must comply with the requirements of the LICPA Act. In October 2016, LICPA intends to issue the final pronouncement, which will make the stipulation binding.
LICPA is encouraged to indicate in its Action Plan if it disseminates information and tools on quality control standards, such implementations guides, to its members.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
As the entity responsible for the education and training of professional accountants, LICPA has worked extensively to strengthen its initial professional development requirements (IPD) to be in line with IES and, in July 2015, also established continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members. Although it is organizing CPD courses for its members, it is unclear if its CPD requirements are compliant with IES.
As part of its IPD, LICPA began administering the Accounting Technician Scheme of West Africa (ATSWA) examination in 2008 and, in 2016, LICPA will participate in reviewing the revised ATSWA examination syllabus. The institute launched its own professional examinations in May 2011 through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Charted Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG), and LICPA is also working with ICAG to produce Liberian Tax, Public Sector Accounting, and Business Law manuals. In 2016, LICPA will be reviewing the manuals and its taxation syllabus with the aim of administering its own professional exams, which it reports would be in accordance with the revised IES.
The institute is also actively involved in several initiatives to ensure that IES requirements are incorporated into education programs. These include: (i) the Syllabi Integration Program (SIP), which is designed to integrate the syllabi of LICPA’s two qualification programs (ATSWA and CPA) into university curricula; (ii) the Liberia Accounting Training (LAT) program to provide training to public sector accounting staff; and (iii) the institute has envisioned a third project to maintain high-quality teachers in tertiary institutions to prevent capacity-related obstacles. An SIP pilot is underway at one university, and three other universities have expressed interest in participating in the program. LICPA states it has prepared funding proposals to present to relevant stakeholders and authorities to further pursue its teacher initiative.
Finally, LICPA also participates in the standard-setting process by monitoring IAESB Exposure Drafts and providing comments.
LICPA is encouraged to clarify in its Action Plan if its CPD requirements are in line with IES 7. In addition, LICPA is encouraged review the revised IES effective as of July 2016 to ensure that its IPD and CPD requirements remain in line with the revised standards.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
LICPA has direct responsibility for the adoption and implementation of ISA and formally adopted Clarified ISA in July 2015. It reports that it will update the standards on an ongoing basis.
With assistance from the World Bank and the Institute of Charted Accountants (Ghana), LICPA has conducted workshops and seminars on ISA, IFRS and IFRS for SMEs, taxation, IPSAS and ethics. The trainers conducting those workshops will also hold ISA-focused workshops for LICPA members. LICPA is also committed to providing guidance to its members and plans on sharing lecture materials with members and encouraging them to access the IFAC Knowledge Gateway.
LICPA intends to keep its members informed about IAASB pronouncements and revisions to the standards by: (i) communicating changes to members as they are issued; (ii) updating its training programs to incorporate revisions; and (iii) organizing workshops to receive feedback from members on IAASB Exposure Drafts and to better understand the challenges members have with applying the standards.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
With direct responsibility for the adoption and implementation of a professional code of ethics, LICPA has adopted the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics and reports that it will update the Code on an ongoing basis.
In collaboration with the Institute of Charted Accountants (Ghana), LICPA has conducted seminars on the Code and is organizing a series of classroom courses on Ethics for practicing members. The institute held a mandatory course on the Code of Ethics for all of its members, and training materials were shared during the course. Moreover, LICPA reports that the session was videotaped to make the course readily available for its members as a resource.
Having adopted the IESBA Code of Ethics, LICPA states that it will work to incorporate any changes into its Code. LICPA intends to keep its members informed about changes in the Code by: (i) communicating changes to members as they are issued; (ii) updating its training programs to incorporate revisions; and (iii) organizing workshops to receive feedback from members on IESBA Exposure Drafts.
The institute should consider including in its Action Plan specific examples of materials and/or guides that are made available to support its members as well as more information on the training programs once they have started.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
LICPA is responsible for advising the government, the entity responsible for adopting public sector accounting standards, on public sector financial management matters. Although the government had set an objective to transition from the use of cash-basis IPSAS to accrual-basis IPSAS in 2014, the transition was delayed due to the Ebola virus outbreak. LICPA reports that it is urging the government to set a new timeline for transition to accrual-basis IPSAS. As part of these efforts, LICPA assisted the government in revising the Public Financial Management Act that enacted the use of cash-basis IPSAS.
In the meantime, LICPA states that it liaises with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to continue promoting the use of cash-basis IPSAS and has supported the MFDP’s training in cash-basis IPSAS in 2009 and 2010. LICPA is also collaborated with the Liberian Institute of Public Administration to initiate the Liberia Accounting Training program, which is intended to provide public financial management training.
To support members in understanding IPSAS, the institute has incorporated training on the standards into its professional qualification and accounting technician programs and incorporates material from the IPSAS manuals, developed by an MFDP consultant, into its study guides for the Accounting Technician Scheme of West Africa exam. Additionally, the Institute of Charted Accountants (Ghana) conducted a seminar on IPSAS for LICPA members as part of its twinning arrangement LICPA encouraged the government to send relevant staff to that seminar and states that more than 60 participants from the government attended.
LICPA is encouraged to clarify in its Action Plan the new timeline for the adoption of accrual-basis IPSAS. LICPA could also consider sharing Exposure Drafts issued by IPSASB with the government and its members.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
LICPA, which has direct responsibility for the investigation and discipline (I&D) of its members, has an established Ethics, Investigation, and Discipline Committee (EIDC).
The institute reports that the EIDC is fully functional and that it has forwarded two cases to the EIDC for investigation. As part of its 2016 SMO Action Plan update, LICPA conducted a self-assessment of its I&D system against the revised SMO 6 requirements and indicates that certain components, such as a separate entity to make disciplinary decisions, composition of the EIDC, an appeals body, and certain administrative processes, require further implementation efforts. The institute states that it will continue to review its I&D system and prescribe additional I&D procedures and sanctions using the SMO 6 requirements as a benchmark.
Additionally, as part of its strategic planning, LICPA indicates that it has increased its engagements with the public about its I&D procedures. The institute reports that it responds to inquiries and formal complaints from the public prior to forwarding cases to the EIDC.
Based on the results of its self-assessment against SMO 6 requirements, LICPA is encouraged to include plans to address the compliance gaps in its Action Plan. The institute could include specific information in its Action Plan on activities it is undertaking to disseminate information on its I&D system to its members and the public.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
LICPA has direct responsibility for the adoption of private sector accounting standards. The institute has adopted IFRS with an effective date of December 2018, and early adoption has been encouraged. Now the institute is focused on raising member awareness of the standards.
LICPA states that it is designing a strategic plan for the implementation of IFRS, and a key component of this plan includes conducting a series of training programs on the full IFRS and IFRS for SMEs. Moreover, because of LICPA’s involvement with tertiary institutions, there is a plan for IFRS courses to be taught at several universities.
Having adopted IFRS, LICPA states that it will work to incorporate revisions to the standards on an ongoing basis. LICPA intends to keep its members informed of changes to the standards by: (i) updating its training programs to incorporate revisions; (ii) communicating updates LICPA receives from IFAC, the Pan African Federation of Accountants, and the Association of Accountancy Bodies of West Africa; and (iii) organizing workshops to receive feedback from members on IASB Exposure Drafts and to better understand the challenges members are having in applying the standards.
Once the strategic plan for the implementation of IFRS is completed, LICPA is encouraged to provide details in its Action Plan of training and workshops it will provide for its members, as well as specific examples of tools and/or resources, such as application guides, that might be available for members.
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