Ordem dos Contabilistas Certificados
Member | Established: 1995 | Associate since 2012; Member since 2016
The OCC, which was established in 1995, is the mandatory professional accountancy organization for accountants in accordance with Decree Law 459/99, amended by Law No. 139/2015 of September 7. OCC members prepare tax and financial statements and are the only members of the profession allowed to sign financial statements along with company representatives. The OCC is responsible for granting the professional designation of Contabilista Certificado. The OCC issues practicing certificates, and organizes and maintains the register of accountants and accounting firms. The institute is also tasked with setting quality control standards, monitoring the performance of accountants, organizing professional examinations, and setting and implementing the mandatory continuous professional development program. It is responsible for enforcing ethical standards through maintaining an investigative and disciplinary system, and implementing the initial professional development program.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, the OCC is a member of the Committee for Integration Europe—Latin America, a member of the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, and member of the Fédération des Experts-Comptables Mediterranéens.
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 Portugal the Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários (CMVM) is responsible for quality assurance (QA) reviews for public interest entities (PIEs) and the Ordem dos Revisores Oficials de Contas conducts QA reviews for non-PIEs, under the supervision of the CMVM. The OCC members do not provide audit services, nevertheless, the institute has established a mandatory peer review system to ensure the quality of the services delivered by its members since 2004. The OCC reports that it has incorporated SMO 1 requirements into its QA review system. In addition, the institute has mechanism to periodically compare its QA review system against the SMO 1 requirements.
The OCC peer review system applies a mixed approach in selecting firms to be reviewed. The cycle-based approach ensures firms are reviewed every five years and the risk-based approach takes into consideration the number of entities considered PIEs, investigative and disciplinary procedures, and the results of previous reviews.
The practice reviews focus on accounting, preparation of financial statements, and tax declarations of all entities. The scope of the practice review also covers compliance with OCC quality control standards and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. Reviewers are selected in accordance with specific experience criteria and they submit their findings to the QA Commission. The OCC peer review system covered 334 cases in 2015, 826 cases in 2014, and 539 cases in 2013.
The OCC has established a Quality Control Committee which is responsible for the reviews and assists its members with the implementation of the quality control standards. Also, the OCC provides CPD courses on quality assurance requirements.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
Initial professional development (IPD) and continuous professional development (CPD) requirements are established in law and implemented by the OCC under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance. The OCC maintains an ongoing process to monitor new and revised standards and other pronouncements issued by the IAESB and reports to have established IPD and CPD requirements that are mostly in-line with the IES. The OCC notes in its SMO Action Plan that it cannot comply with IES 5 requiring a minimum of three years’ practical experience due to Portugal’s legal framework. CPD requirements for OCC members include a CPD program of 47 hours or equivalent units of CPD courses per year, within a two year cycle. Compliance with CPD requirements is monitored and sanctions are imposed in case of non-compliance.
The OCC participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on IAESB Exposure Drafts and other consultative papers, both independently and in collaboration with the Committee for Integration Europe—Latin America, the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, and/or the Fédération des Experts-Comptables Mediterranéens. In addition, the institute disseminates new, proposed, and revised requirements and other pronouncements issued by the IAESB through its website, newsletter, and magazine.
The OCC is encouraged to review the revised IES, effective as of July 2016, and indicate if its requirements are in line with the revised requirements. If gaps in alignment exist following the review, OCC should then develop a strategic plan and actions with defined timelines to demonstrate how it is working to incorporate and promote the new standards, particularly in regards to the concept of assessing competence.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
As OCC members do not provide audit services, the institute is not involved in auditing standard-setting process and does not assist its members with the implementation of the auditing standards. Nevertheless, the institute reports that it provides its support to the standard-setting bodies in Portugal; however, no specific activities have been indicated in its SMO Action Plan.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is responsible for setting the Code of Ethics to be followed by OCC members in the course of their activities. The OCC has performed a detailed comparison of the requirements of the Código Deontologico dos Contabilistas Certificados (CDCC) and those of the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics and concluded that the CDCC requirements are no less stringent.
The OCC has developed activities, including courses, to assist its members with the implementation of its Code of Ethics. A hotline has also been established to respond to any ethics-related questions from its members. The institute disseminates relevant information on the IESBA Code of Ethics through its website and magazine.
The institute reports that it envisions commencing an open discussion in the next few years with the MoF to propose a law change in order to legally adopt the IESBA Code of Ethics.
The OCC participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on IESBA Exposure Drafts and other consultative papers, independently and in collaboration with the Committee for Integration Europe—Latin America, the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, and/or the Fédération des Experts-Comptables Mediterranéens.
The OCC is encouraged to maintain an ongoing process to monitor new developments at the international level and to continue to promote to the Ministry of Finance the need to adopt the IESBA Code of Ethics.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The OCC is a member of the Comité de Normalização Contabilística Público (CNCP), the public sector accounting standard-setter, and promotes public awareness of IPSAS. The OCC maintains a permanent Working Group (WG) on public sector accounting issues that releases regular study papers on the accounting and financial reporting of public sector entities such as municipalities and state-owned companies.
The OCC organizes conferences, and develops workshops to assist its members with the application of the existing public sector accounting standards. It also provides guidance and consultation support to OCC’s representative within the CNCP. The WG makes recommendations regarding the content of the training programs that OCC provides to its members. In addition, the institute participates in the international standard-setting process by submitting comments on IPSASB Exposure Drafts and other consultative papers, independently and in collaboration with the Committee for Integration Europe—Latin America, the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, and/or the Fédération des Experts-Comptables Mediterranéens.
The OCC reports that it intends to participate in the implementation process of the new public sector Portuguese Generally Accepted Accounting Principles that are based upon IPSAS and will become effective in 2018.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The OCC is responsible for establishing and operating an I&D system for its members and has taken significant steps to ensure that its system is compliant with the SMO 6 requirements. In 2015, OCC conducted a self-assessment of its I&D system and the revised SMO 6 requirements and brought it in line with SMO 6.
OCC’s Disciplinary Panel heard a large number of cases during 2014–2015 with 2,067 cases in 2015 and 1,320 cases in 2014, demonstrating the effectiveness of the I&D system. The discipline processes incorporates both a complaints-based and information-based approach using the results of the QA system. The institute advises its members about its I&D procedures via emails, its magazine, and guidance available on the OCC website. In addition, the OCC provides information and training sessions regarding its I&D system.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
In Portugal, the Comissão de Normalização Contabilística (CNC), which operates under the Ministry of Finance, is the organization responsible for the adoption of accounting standards and has required IFRS for the preparation of consolidated financial statements of all public interest entities. The OCC, with no responsibility for setting private sector accounting standards, reports that it plays an active role in the activities of the accounting standard-setter, the CNC, and is using, whenever possible and appropriate, its best endeavors to assist CNC with the implementation of the IFRS in Portugal and promote ongoing convergence with IFRS. In addition, the OCC sends representatives to the European accounting expert groups meetings, roundtables, seminars, and forums in order to support its activities in the CNC.
The OCC states that it raises awareness of the requirements of the adopted EU-endorsed IFRS by notifying members of new developments related to the standards and offering courses on IFRS in its annual initial and continuing professional development educational programs.
The OCC participates in the international standard-setting process by commenting on IASB Exposure Drafts through its representation on the expert technical committees of Committee for Integration Europe—Latin America, the European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs, and/or the Fédération des Experts-Comptables Mediterranéens.
IFAC bears no responsibility for the information provided in the SMO Action Plans prepared by IFAC member organizations. Please see our full Disclaimer for additional information.