Ordre des Experts-Comptables de Côte d’Ivoire
Member | Established: 1995 | Member since 1997
The OEC-CI was originally established in accordance with Decree No. 95-904 of November 3, 1995, as the Ordre des Experts-Comptables et des Comptables Agréés (OECCA-CI). Under Order No. 2009-387 of December 1, 2009, the institute was renamed the Ordre des Experts-Comptables de Côte d’Ivoire (OEC-CI). Its membership comprises Certified Accountants and Chartered Accountants. Membership in the institute is mandatory and only Chartered Accountants registered with OEC-CI are permitted to offer audit services.
The OEC-CI’s functions include: (i) maintaining a register of Chartered Accountants and Certified Accountants; (ii) licensing qualified members to practice auditing; (iii) monitoring compliance with technical standards; (iv) ensuring that members adhere to ethical standards; (v) establishing an investigative and disciplinary system; (vi) implementing initial professional development requirements; (vii) setting continuing professional development requirements; and (viii) monitoring conduct and performance of members, including quality assurance reviews of all audits and services carried out by members. Law No. 92-568 authorizes the Ministry of Finance to oversee the activities of the institute.
In addition to being a member of IFAC, the OEC-CI is a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants, the International Federation of Francophone Accountants, and the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa.
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
OEC-CI is committed to the development of a QA review system that is in line with the SMO 1 requirements. In 2014, the institute had received approval from the Ministry of Finance to create a quality assurance (QA) review system pending any regional-level requirements. Since then, OEC-CI has been planning to operationalize its system and has begun to execute activities to fulfill the SMO 1 obligations.
With the passage of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa’s (OHADA) Regulation No. 01/2017/CM/OHADA in 2017 that mandates professional accountancy organization’s (PAO) in OHADA member states to develop and implement a QA review system, the OEC-CI indicates that it formed a Quality Assurance Committee and the committee has produced quality control guides for members and member firms in addition to the OHADA-issued QA manual and the Pack-PE tool to support implementation of audit standards. The committee also carried out training on quality control and in December 2019, conducted its quality controller training for 20 professionals. Subsequently, the institute expects to begin inspections in 2020. The OEC-CI has reviewed the SMO 1 requirements and identified areas for further enhancements as the QA system is formalized and begins operations.
As the OEC-CI prepares to conduct QA reviews, it is encouraged to continue reviewing the SMO 1 requirements with the objective of taking steps to align its system as closely as possible with SMO 1 components. Any new developments in the timeline of its QA review operationalization should be inputted into its Action Plan. As other Francophone PAOs in OHADA member states are also preparing to launch QA review systems, the OEC-CI may consider how it can collaborate in the exchange of tools, quality controllers, training, and information in French. Lastly, the OEC-CI is encouraged to continue monitoring and preparing members for the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards that being proposed and reviewed by the IAASB.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
With initial professional development (IPD) requirements established at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the role of the OEC-CI is to implement the IPD requirements and establish continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for its members.
Presently, the regional IPD requirements include obtaining the Higher Education Degree in Accounting and Financial Management (DESCOGEF—for Certified Accountants) and the Degree in Accounting and Finance Expertise (DECOFI—for Chartered Accountants) in order to pass the qualifications’ exam and practice within any of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) member states. Within the OHADA and WAEMU, there are apparently curriculum reforms under consideration that would enable accountancy education to better align with the revised IES requirements. Currently, it is still in the consultation phase.
At the national level, per Decree No. 95-904 of November 3, 1995, approved by the Ministry of Finance and which established OEC-CI’s internal regulations, OEC-CI is permitted to offer qualified individuals the title of Chartered Accountant if they satisfy the regional educational requirements or hold the Conseil Supérieur de l’Ordre des Experts-Comptables (CSOEC-French institute) Diplôme d’expertise comptable (DEC) qualification. According to the Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes (CNCC) and Conseil Supérieur de l’Ordre des Experts-Comptables (CSOEC), the DEC qualification is aligned with the 2015 IES requirements. OEC-CI also indicates it is reviewing its bylaws in order to permit holders of other foreign qualifications and reciprocity agreements to obtain membership, and in addition, mandate a training on local legislation before becoming a member.
Through Decree No. 95-904 of November 3, 1995, the OEC-CI has also set a CPD requirement whereby all members must complete 40 hours of CPD per year. The institute provides trainings free of charge to its individual members and at lower cost to employees at accounting firms. As a result, it has trained over 900 professionals to date. In 2018, the institute created an Evaluation Committee to monitor the number of hours of CPD completed by each member to ensure that Chartered Accountants are meeting the CPD obligation.
It is not clear from the available information if the IPD requirements (e.g. DECOFI curriculum, practical experience, final assessment) are aligned with the 2019 IES requirements, which emphasize the need to demonstrate competencies. There is also no local Cote d’Ivoire specific examination, which is outlined in IES 6.
Further, in 2019, newly revised IES address learning and development for information and communications technologies (ICT) and professional skepticism. These revised standards become effective January 2021. The requirements likely require both regional and national changes to accountancy education programming, which presently seems focused on theoretical training. The institute should take a lead role in raising awareness of, advocating for, and planning for the incorporation of IES requirements to OHADA and WAEMU as it considers reforming its accountancy curriculum. An assessment of current education requirements against the IES requirements, in collaboration with OHADA, WAEMU, and PAOs in member states, would be a good starting point.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) has been revising regional regulation to harmonize auditing standards with international best practice. In June 2017, OHADA issued regulation stating that all member states, which includes Côte d’Ivoire, must adopt the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) as issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) beginning in January 2018. In accordance with the regional requirements, OEC-CI indicates that at the jurisdiction level, the ISA are effective as issued by the IAASB.
OEC-CI has been committed to the adoption of ISA at the national level prior to 2017. In 2014, the OEC-CI had proactively submitted and received approval from the Ministry of Finance to establish the French translations of Clarified ISA and IAASB pronouncements as nationally applicable auditing and assurance standards.
With adoption now effective at the regional level, OEC-CI indicates that its role is to provide implementation support by disseminating information, tool such as the OHADA guides, and providing regular training on the applicable standards.
With the new OHADA regulations now effective, the OEC-CI is encouraged to ensure that it specifies current implementation support (such as trainings and guides) activities for its members within its SMO Action Plan. The 2018 Handbook is now effective and available in French, which includes revised standards ISA 250 and 540. If it is not already doing, OEC-CI should disseminate French translations of the standards to support proper application. The OEC-CI is also encouraged to continue monitoring and preparing members for the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards that being proposed and reviewed by the IAASB.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In June 2017, Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) issued revised regulations stating that its member states, which includes Côte d’Ivoire, must adhere to the OHADA Code of Ethics—which is note and guidance on ethical requirements.
The new OHADA regulations only incorporate up to the 2015 IESBA Code of Ethics. The OEC-CI is encouraged to leverage its advisory and advocacy role and share the 2018 International Code of Ethics, which is significantly revised, contains the NOCLAR standard issued in 2016, and now available in French, with the OHADA so that it might update its regulations accordingly to align with international benchmarks. OEC-CI is also encouraged to raise members’ awareness of the 2018 International Code of Ethics as part of supporting best practice.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Public sector accounting standards are determined at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regulation No.09/2009/CM/UEMOA. As a WAEMU member country, Côte d’Ivoire is subject to these regulations. Article 6 of that directive indicates that the national governments’ general accounting should be based on IPSAS. At the national level, the Conseil National de la Comptabilitié (CNC)-Côte d’Ivoire, established by Law No. 2003-120 of May 2003, and led by the Chairman of the Treasury, has official responsibility for transposing any regional requirements and adopting public sector accounting standards. In 2017, the CNC transposed the WAEMU directive and designed standards “strongly based on IPSAS,” but adapted to the local reality. The CNC has been engaged in elaborating manuals and a chart of accounts that enables implementation of the set standards.
Given that adoption lies at the regional level, the OEC-CI indicates it is actively involved in discussions on standard-setting and promoting IPSAS as the applicable public sector accounting standards. An OEC-CI representative has supported the WAEMU’s mission to adopt standards based on IPSAS by participating in meetings and workshops. The representative participated in two technical workshops of the West African Accounting Council held in Burkina Faso in November 2018, where revisions to the standards in the WAEMU directive that integrate a significant number of IPSAS were finalized and will be subject to the review of the WAEMU in 2020.
At the national level, the OEC-CI is supporting the production of charts of accounts and balance sheets, update of the information technology system, and accounting nomenclature. It established a working group with CNC-CI representatives to study the impact of the adopted standards in Côte d’Ivoire and on the organization of the Treasury.
Additionally, the OEC-CI states it will offer training on the new regulations to support implementation. It intends to organize training modules for Treasury officers and its members on the WAEMU guidelines. OEC-CI has demonstrated that it is implementing initiatives within the scope of its authority for SMO 5 and is committed to continued improvements in this area.
OEC-CI’s advocacy efforts around IPSAS adoption are commendable. Pending approval of the revised standards by WAEMU, the OEC-CI is encouraged to indicate a timeline for the adoption of the standards in Côte d’Ivoire and how it might support the CNC-CI and the Treasury in its implementation plan. For example, a 2015 version of IPSAS is available in French that the institute may consider sharing with relevant stakeholders. Other activities for consideration include organizing roundtables to meet key stakeholders and users of financial information; and offering to provide trainings and technical expertise for government staff.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In accordance with Order No. 2009-387 of December 2009, the OEC-CI has established I&D procedures for its members. The procedures outline initiation of proceedings, sanctions, and administrative procedures. The institute’s Disciplinary Council may receive and investigate complaints and recommend sanctions to the institute’s National Chamber of Discipline, which is chaired by a judge of the Commerce Tribunal. For appeals resulting from decisions made by the National Chamber, individuals refer to the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court.
The OEC-CI is active in preventing individuals from illegally holding themselves out as professional accountants and has created a submission form on its website to submit complaints against both members and other individuals. Regarding its I&D system, OEC-CI conducted a self-assessment of its I&D system against the SMO 6 requirements and has identified some gaps in alignment—for example, a link with QA reviews is to be established once QA reviews begin in 2020, administrative procedures such as targets for disposing cases and monitoring progress, and public interest considerations could be strengthened such as a regular review process to ensure effectiveness of the procedures. The institute reports that its I&D procedures are determined by the Order No. 2009-387. It has proposed reforms to the legislation that would enable it to take steps to better align with the SMO 6 requirements. In the interim, it states it has requested approval from the Ministry of Finance to include more non-members on its Disciplinary Council and the National Chamber of Discipline to have an appropriate balance in the public interest.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. It is positive that OEC-CI is working to implement QA reviews that will eventually be linked to the investigations process. There remain other gaps and the institute is encouraged to continue exploring approaches to strengthening its procedures alongside the legal reform. It should also continue demonstrating how it is raising awareness of the public, business, private, and public sector stakeholders on the I&D processes while also ensuring its members are aware of the consequences of non-compliance and misconduct.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Côte d’Ivoire is a member state of both the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA), which are regional economic unions responsible for the development of member countries’ corporate accounting standards. In January 2017, the Commission de Normalisation Comptable de l’OHADA (CNC)-OHADA adopted the OHADA Uniform Act on Accounting and Financial Information (AUDCIF) to update the previous OHADA Uniform Act on Organizing and Harmonizing Company Accounting Systems 2/2000. The previous Act had outlined the OHADA Accounting System and applicable standards—known as SYSCOHADA.
The OHADA AUDCIF revised the SYSCOHADA, namely the OHADA general accounting plan, as well as the consolidated and combined accounting rules to serve as a single accounting reference in all OHADA member states. The OHADA AUDCIF became effective on January 1, 2018 for individual accounts and on January 1, 2019 for consolidated accounts. The SYSCOHADA continue to differ from the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and are generally applied by small and medium-sized entities (SMEs); however, the AUDCIF now requires that listed companies and companies seeking financing in a public capital market to apply IFRS in consolidated statements. All other companies are permitted but not required to use IFRS.
The OEC-CI played a key role in advocating for the convergence of SYSCOHADA with IFRS and supporting the CNC-OHADA’s work in issuing the 2017 regulations. It was involved in regional discussions to benchmark local accounting standards against IFRS and to revise them to incorporate IFRS requirements. In collaboration with regional standard-setters, the OEC-CI prepared draft versions of the new WAEMU SYSCOA standards and created implementation guidance, such as transition schedules. The technical tools developed by this committee were published as a reference book entitled SYSCOA Revised: 23 fact sheets for easy application. This book is a point of reference for the AUDCIF.
At the national level, the OEC-CI offers training to members and students on IFRS with OHADA guidelines available for additional support. OEC-CI has demonstrated that it is implementing initiatives within the scope of its authority for SMO 7 and is committed to continued improvements in this area.
With the recent adoption of IFRS listed companies in OHADA member states, OEC-CI is encouraged to demonstrate examples of implementation support, such as training and sharing resources, which it might provide for its members in cases where they need to apply the standards. The IFRS Foundation has French translations of the IFRS readily available that the institute may consider sharing amongst its members and other stakeholders to support understanding and implementation. The institute could also consider advocating for the regional adoption of IFRS for SMEs as a permissible framework to bring SME reporting in line with international best practices.
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