Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie
Member | Established: 1982 | Member since 1985
The OECT was established in 1982 and is governed by Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession. OECT is subject to oversight by the Ministry of Finance and its mandate includes: (i) setting auditing standards for the jurisdiction; (ii) setting ethical standards for its members; (iii) overseeing the practical experience component of the initial professional development (IPD) requirements; (iv) setting CPD requirements for members; (v) supporting the quality assurance reviews of all statutory audits carried out by the Control Committee; (vi) investigating and disciplining its members through the Control Committee; and (vii) ensuring appropriate functioning of the accountancy industry. Its membership consists of Chartered Accountants who are the only individuals are permitted to conduct statutory audits for PIEs and companies over a certain size threshold in Tunisia.
OECT is a Member of IFAC and the following regional organizations: the Arab Federation of Accountants and Auditors (AFAA), the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), the Federation of Mediterranean Accountants (FCM), and the International Federation of Francophone Accountants (FIDEF).
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
According to Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession, the Control Committee is responsible for the establishment of a quality assurance (QA) review system. While formally independent from the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT), it is supported administratively by the OECT Secretariat, and review team members are drawn from the profession. OECT reports that it adopted the 2009 official French version of ISQC 1 and a QA review system, which is in line with the SMO 1 requirements, has been established and is operational.
The institute notes it is supporting its members with the implementation of appropriate standards to enhance audit quality. It has adopted ISQC 1 and offers continuing professional development (CPD) trainings on and disseminates ISQC 1 in French and English. OECT also obtained the French version of IFAC’s Guide to Quality Control for Small-and Medium-sized Practices (SMPs) to provide implementation guidance for its members. The institute reports it has also developed a training program and case study to guide firms as they design and implement their quality control procedures.
Furthermore, since the new suite of Quality Management standards, effective in 2022, require significant change management for regulators and firms, OECT reports to be developing training programs on ISQM 1 & 2 between March 2022 – March 2023. Between December 2021—July 2022, OECT reports to be updating the applicable quality standards to be compliant with ISQM 1, ISQM 2, and ISA 200 (revised). The OECT states that it disseminates updates on the activities of the IAASB as well as revised pronouncements to its members and strives to submit comments on exposure drafts related to quality management.
In addition, over the last several years, OECT has made efforts to create a multi-tiered, independent QA review system for all audits and engagements in the jurisdiction. The OECT approved new bylaws in 2013 outlining an envisioned system that would consist of a quality control commission linked to the OECT that only reviews statutory audits; an independent oversight body known as the Institute of Assurance Services Control (IASC), which would have a wider remit and be responsible for reviewing all audit engagements and audits of public interest entities; and, a quality committee within the OECT that would be responsible for supporting OECT members to ensure they are providing high quality services.
Subsequently, the OECT formed a partnership with the World Bank to support the implementation of the IASC. Through the partnership, OECT participated in a knowledge exchange with the OEC Morocco and International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) in January 2015. In June 2015, a second workshop was held in Tunis to establish a Steering Committee and action plan with relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, and the Conseil du Marché Financier. Successive discussions were then initiated with the Minister of Finance and in October 2015, a draft report containing several recommendations for the plan of the proposed oversight system and QA review system was submitted to the Ministry of Finance. In June 2017, the OECT has issued responses to the recommendations and the draft plan is still under consideration by the new Ministry of Finance as part of the larger project to enhance the Tunisian accountancy profession.
OECT is encouraged to provide an update on the draft plan that is under consideration by the new Ministry of Finance. Furthermore, OECT is encouraged to continue to monitor and support the implementation of ISQM1 among members when it becomes effective as of December 15, 2022. Resources on the quality management standards are available on the IAASB website.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
The Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) is responsible for implementing some initial professional development (IPD) requirements such as practical experience for Chartered Accountants, as well as setting continuous professional development (CPD) requirements for its members, which are subject to approval by the Ministry of Finance.
OECT indicates that the educational IPD requirements were modified as part of the Tunisian university system reform between 2017-2019. OECT contributed to the reform process through a task force with the Ministry of Higher Education, academics, and universities. The task force was charged with creating a complete accounting curriculum taking into consideration the 2019 IES, the model accounting curriculum of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the common content of professional accountancy qualifications, and other best practices worldwide. To this effect, OECT reports that it conducted a gap analysis of IPD requirements against those of IES in May 2019.
OECT indicates that it monitors practical experience placements and sets up training courses for trainees at the Institut de Formation de la Profession Comptable (IFPC), a training institute that is affiliated with OECT and licensed by the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training.
The institute drafted CPD requirement regulations for its members, which are in line with 2019 IES requirements. The CPD system follows an input-based approach whereby members are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours over a three-year period. Of the 120 required hours, a minimum of 60 hours must be verifiable. Members are expected to retain appropriate documentation to support the hours claimed for the most recent three-year reporting period, which may be subject to audit. OECT reports that it is in the process of establishing its monitoring mechanism to track members’ CPD compliance which is expected to be completed by June 2022. Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic and government shutdowns, OECT established an online platform for CPD courses in March 2020 to support its members with fulfilling the CPD requirements.
The progress achieved in bringing accountancy education requirements for Chartered Accountants in Tunisia closer to the requirements of the 2019 IES is commendable. OECT is encouraged to clarify the extent of alignment with IES 5 and IES 6. If gaps exist, a unified strategy should be developed to make efficient use of resources and help enhance and calibrate the educational requirements and their effective implementation.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
In Tunisia, applicable auditing standards for all financial statements audits are ISA as adopted by the Ordre des Experts Comptables de Tunisie (OECT) and approved by the Ministry of Finance in accordance with a decree issued by the Ministry of Finance in 2003.
In general, OECT adopts ISA as issued by the IAASB and translated into French; however, it will set up a task force whenever a significant change is introduced—for example, the new auditor’s report. As of the date of the assessment, the French translation of the 2018 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements is applicable in the jurisdiction as well as the French translation of ISA 315 (Revised 2019) and ISRS 4400 (Revised).
OECT indicates that its Standards Committee and technical team would benefit from additional resources and financing to fully implement its planned actions. It reports it has prepared a financing request and submitted this to the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
In addition to its work on adopting and updating the applicable auditing standards, OECT also supports the implementation of the standards by delivering trainings, seminars, and other workshops for its members, and raising awareness about existing and new IAASB pronouncements. OECT notes that from May 2016–January 2017, it held three workshops on the new auditor reporting standards. Additionally, its Standards Committee prepared a guidance piece on the new audit report in French and circulated it to all OECT members. After the adoption of the 2018 Handbook, OECT reviewed its continuing professional development (CPD) program to incorporate the updated standards.
Lastly, the OECT states that it reviews and disseminates exposure drafts issued by the IAASB to request comments from its members. For example, OECT plans to comment on the Proposed International Standard on Auditing for Audits of Financial Statements of Less Complex Entities (ISA for LCE) Exposure Draft.
OECT is encouraged to comment on the Proposed International Standard on Auditing for Audits of Financial Statements of Less Complex Entities (ISA for LCE) Exposure Draft (due January 31, 2022).
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Under the oversight of the Ministry of Finance, the OECT is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for its members, who are Chartered Accountants. In general, OECT adopts IESBA Code of Ethics as issued by the IESBA and translated into French. As of the date of the assessment, the French translation of the 2018 Handbook of the International Code of ethics for Professional Accountants is applicable in the jurisdiction.
OECT indicates that it continues to monitor the issuance of French translations and amendments of the IESBA Code to disseminate them to members. OECT reports that it will adopt, by way of resolution taken by OECT General Assembly, the 2021 International Code of Ethics without modifications by February 2023.
The institute reports that it encourages universities to update the accounting syllabus with the revised ethics requirements to introduce the standards to aspiring professional accountants. As part of these efforts, the institute states it is working to raise awareness amongst professors about the IESBA Code of Ethics.
To support the implementation of its ethical requirements amongst its members, OECT notes that it reviewed its continuing professional development courses and introduced content on the revised ethical pronouncements. Additionally, OECT had organized and delivered several training courses on the Code of Ethics and related topics, such as independence and conflicts of interest, and provided its members with case study examples. Furthermore, OECT reports that in 2017 it set up an “Ethics Observatory” to monitor legal issues related to acceptance of audit engagements, independence, rotation, etc. to ensure members’ adherence to ethical requirements.
Lastly, the OECT also states that is in the process of developing a strategy to monitor the ongoing work of the IESBA. A component of this strategy entails trying to comment on exposure drafts issued by IESBA.
As feasible, OECT is encouraged to continue developing a due process that allows for timely adoption of new and revised international ethical standards and the necessary implementation support to prepare its members to properly adhere to the requirements upon effective date.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards in Tunisia and has not yet adopted IPSAS. Current standards are national standards on a cash-basis (IFAC, CIPFA 2021) with plans to move to national standards with reference to IPSAS on an accrual-basis by 2025.
To achieve this, in 2016, the Ministry of Finance established an IPSAS Council with the objective of exploring the adoption and implementation of IPSAS. The OECT supports the adoption of IPSAS through its ongoing participation in the Ministry’s IPSAS Council and has created its own internal IPSAS Committee to further facilitate its participation in the IPSAS Council. Furthermore, the OECT reports that its IPSAS Committee President is also taking part in a government-led project to draft a law requiring application of IPSAS and pilot IPSAS-based accounting rules at the local government level.
In addition, OECT indicates that it has arranged a variety of conferences over the past several years with sessions intended to raise awareness about the importance of adopting IPSAS amongst government representatives. OECT also reports that it offers continuing professional development courses on IPSAS for its members.
Lastly, OECT states that it intends to participate in the international standard-setting process through its IPSAS Committee and is striving to be more informed of IPSASB initiatives.
OECT is encouraged to continue its advocacy and support toward accrual-basis IPSAS. Adoption and implementation of accrual IPSAS as issued by the IPSASB would ensure application of global best practice. The institute may consider providing relevant stakeholders with the French translation of the 2018 Handbook of International Public Sector Accounting Pronouncements. Lastly, the IFAC’s Train the Trainers: Introduction to IPSAS resource might be helpful to continue providing support to public sector accountants in the jurisdiction.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In accordance with Law 88-108 on the Chartered Accountancy Profession, the Control Committee is responsible for monitoring OECT members’ compliance with professional rules and standards and in the case of any infringements, it forwards the matter to OECT’s Disciplinary Chamber, which is responsible for implementing supplementary investigative procedures and issuing the disciplinary decisions
In 2014, OECT conducted a review of the I&D system against the requirements of SMO 6 and noted that improvements could be made to incorporate all the SMO 6 requirements; for example, the separation of its discipline and investigative procedures, and suspension of decision against a member pending the hearing of their appeal. Subsequently, in 2015, the institute prepared a draft law to incorporate these necessary changes. The changes were passed by its Annual General Assembly and as of the date of the assessment, the draft law is awaiting approval by the Ministry of Finance and Parliament. Due to transitions and new Ministry of Finance, the OECT reports that this process has been delayed further.
The OECT reports that it organized a workshop in December 2015 to raise members’ awareness of the importance of complying with ethical and professional conduct requirements, as well as of the existing I&D mechanisms and states it will work to do the same once the new procedures are approved. Additionally, it notes that it annually prepares and distributes a disc containing all disciplinary judgements to raise awareness of the activities of the Disciplinary Committee amongst members.
In is next Acton Plan submission, OECT is encouraged to provide an update on more recent activities it undertakes to support members as it awaits the draft law to be approved by the Ministry of Finance and Parliament.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Law 96-112 on the Enterprise Accounting System establishes the Conseil National de la Comptabilité (CNC) with responsibility to review and issue accounting standards subject to approval by the Ministry of Finance. In 2018 the CNC decided to adopt IFRS for public interest entities—listed companies, banks, insurance and reinsurance firms and public offering financial institutions—by January 1, 2021, which was extended to 2023. CNC plans to also adopt IFRS for all other companies by 2025.
All other entities are currently required to apply national accounting standards–Tunisian Accounting Standards (TAS)–in the preparation of their financial statements, which are not aligned with IFRS.
OECT indicates that it continues to promote the adoption of IFRS and IFRS for SMEs through its support of and its members’ participation in the CNC. The institute also participates in regional and international workshops and seminars that promote the adoption of IFRS.
In order to raise awareness and enhance its members’ knowledge of IFRS, the OECT reports that it reviewed its continuing professional development (CPD) program to include standard-related topics in courses and learning events. Moreover, OECT offered, by means of its “International Academy of Control and Finance Profession – AIMCF” a training program of more than 150 hours on IFRS. About 30 OECT members and bankers attended this training session. A new session is scheduled for the beginning of 2022.
OECT provides a link to French translations of the 2014 IFRS on its website. Additionally, the OECT also circulates guidance notes on the TAS issued by the CNC.
Lastly, the OECT notes that it is developing a process to monitor IASB activities to provide comments on exposure drafts and review new and revised standards.
OECT should update the link on its website to include the French translation of the 2021 IFRS Standards which can be accessed here.
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