Ordre des Experts-Comptables et Comptables Agréés du Bénin
Associate | Established: 2006 | Associate since 2011
OECCA-Benin was established by Law No. 2004-03 of 2006 and it is the only legally recognized professional accountancy organization in Benin which unites Certified Accountants, Chartered Accountants, and firms. OECCA-Bénin is actively involved in the Conseil National de la Comptabilité of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa and the Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable—the regional accounting and auditing standard-setter bodies—as it strives to strengthen and develop the accountancy profession in Benin.
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
With shared responsibility for the adoption of a quality assurance (QA) system, OECCA-Benin reports it is using its best endeavors at both the regional and national level to support the establishment and operation QA systems that are aligned with SMO 1 requirements. As the chair of the Conseil Permanent de la Profession Comptable’s—the regional auditing standard-setter—Quality Control Committee, OECCA-Benin works with other professional accountancy bodies to better understand and promote the adoption and implementation of QA review systems in the region. In 2016, OECCA-Benin participated in a West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) meeting for quality control and was one of two countries that reported on the actions it had taken regarding quality control. As a result, WAEMU has scheduled four regional seminars for quality control reviewers for 2016. At this meeting, OECCA-Benin was also selected to be a member of the WAEMU’s Standards Technical Committee.
Additionally, OECCA-Benin indicates that an Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa meeting was held at the end of June 2016 to discuss quality control implementation initiatives within its member states.
At the national level, the institute has been lobbying since 2012 to receive the Ministry of Finance’s approval of submitted amendments to Law N° 2004-03 that would facilitate the legally binding adoption and implementation of ISQC 1 and a QA review system. The institute indicates that a new President of Benin was elected on April 6, 2016 and therefore, it must renew its efforts to speak with the new elected authorities.
In 2014, OECCA-Benin approved internal regulations to adopt IQSC 1 and a QA system that is line with SMO 1 requirements for its members. It had plans to launch a pilot QA system in 2015 using selected audit firms. However, the implementation of the QA review system has been postponed until 2017 due to shifting resource allocations. Despite this, the institute has committed to carrying out its first voluntary QA reviews by March 2017. It reports that the first reviews will be undertaken by the President of its SMO 1 Committee supported by members that have been trained to assist with the reviews. The first auditors to undergo QA reviews will be those of the OECCA-Benin’s Council and after its first round of feedback and recommendations, all members will be subject to mandatory reviews. The institute reports that it continues to prepare members for the reviews by distributing learning material and implementation guidance on ISQC 1.
OECCA-Benin is encouraged to provide an update on its development and implementation of a QA review system during the next update of its SMO Action Plan. In line with this, it should also provide an update on the status of the proposed amendments that would legally require a QA review system and implementation of ISQC 1. The institute is also encouraged to continue its efforts to promote the adoption and implementation of a regional level QA review system in line with SMO 1 requirements and to provide an update on this initiative in its next SMO Action Plan. Additionally, the inclusion of quality control standards in continuing professional development courses would be beneficial to its members.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
With initial professional development (IPD) requirements established at the regional level by the West African Economic and Monetary Union, the role of the OECCA-Benin is to enforce the IPD requirements and establish continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for members of the profession in Benin. In 2009, OECCA-Benin received a grant from the World Bank to revise its national accountancy education program to be in line with the IES. The program provides individuals with the necessary education in accounting and management to then pursue one of the regional qualifications. OECCA-Benin reports that the project was successfully completed in 2010 and approved by the Ministry of Secondary Technical and Professional Training and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. In 2016, the institute reports that it will be conducting an assessment of the revised program to ensure it remains in line with the revised IES. Given the election of new education authorities in March 2016, the review is expected to be completed by May 2017 at which time it also plans on providing trainings on the new syllabi.
As part of this project, OECCA-Benin established CPD requirements for its members. In 2016, the institute will be supporting the Approved Management Centers (the CGA and CENAFOC) of the Ministry Finance in delivering trainings and capacity building workshops. OECCA-Benin members fulfill their CPD obligations, which are monitored through the institute’s CPD Committee, through the courses at the Centers.
The institute indicates it is strengthening its IPD requirements by permitting Certified Accountants to become Chartered Accountants once they satisfy additional practical experience requirements and training and then successfully pass an examination on local business law. The initiative is scheduled to be completed by September 2017 as OECCA-Benin is still awaiting the Ministry of Finance’s approval on submitted amendments which revise OECCA-Benin’s internal regulations.
Overall, OECCA-Benin is engaged in various activities regarding the IES such as: (i) sensitizing the government to the importance of compliance with IES; (ii) collaborating with international educators about accountancy education programs for students in Benin; (iii) orientation sessions for aspiring students of the accountancy profession; and (iv) providing training and relevant materials to its members. In January and February of 2016, the institute organized trainings on the Finance Law for its members in the private sector.
After it conducts an assessment of the national accountancy education program against the revised IES that are effective as of July 2016, OECCA-Benin is encouraged to include actions that will address any gaps in its SMO Action Plan. It could also consider facilitating access to French translations of the IES for relevant stakeholders involved with professional accountancy education in Benin.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
OECCA-Benin is committed to the adoption of ISA at the national level, despite delays in auditing standard-setting at the regional level. As such, it has established a self-regulatory requirement whereby its members must use Clarified ISA as issued by the IAASB without modifications when conducting audits. Meanwhile it continues to lobby and raise the awareness of the government and relevant private sector authorities of the importance of legally requiring the application of ISA in Benin. Benin elected a new President on April 6, 2016; accordingly, OECCA-Benin will renew its efforts to promote ISA to the new authorities in 2017.
In the meantime, OECCA-Benin supports its members with the implementation of ISA by providing trainings, continuing professional development (CPD) courses on audit-related topics, and facilitates its members’ access to guides and educational material through its website and CDs. In 2016, the institute indicates that it provided its members with the latest translated version of ISA published by CPA Canada and conducted a training session on these standards.
Furthermore, in 2017, the institute has planned trainings for its members and other interested stakeholders on the new auditor reporting standards. Additionally in 2017, the institute reports that it is planning to conduct several awareness-raising sessions for funders and municipalities on the importance of hiring local, authorized auditors and carrying out audits as well as initiating campaigns to have its members participate in the Supreme Court’s Chamber of Audits–a public institution, housed within the Supreme Court, to audit public expenses and political campaigns expenses–given their knowledge in auditing matters. OECCA-Benin is also working with the national tax agency to carry out a campaign against the illegal practice of accounting.
There are also ongoing efforts to obtain all translated IAASB Standards and exposure drafts and disseminate them to members through the International Cooperation of the French Accountancy Profession (DDPI), the French PAO, Conseil Supérieur de l'Ordre des Experts Comptables’ website, and International Federation of Francophone Accountants notifications. In this regard, in addition to the standards from CPA Canada, OECCA-Benin indicates that in 2016 it has shared with members the latest notices from IFAC on ISA translation and bilingual lexicon on auditing standards from the DDPI.
The institute reports that it intends to disseminate West African Economic and Monetary Union ISA application guides to its members when they are available.
It is recommended that OECCA-Benin review the new auditor reporting standards and establish plans to adopt the standards as part of its self-regulatory requirement for its members. The institute is encouraged to plan activities in this area such as meetings, workshops, and CPD programming and provide examples of these activities in its SMO Action Plan. Additionally, the institute should promote the standards to relevant stakeholders as they are effective as of December 2016. If deemed feasible, OECCA-Benin is encouraged to participate in the international standard-setting process.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Since no regional Code of Ethics is in place, in 2012, the OECCA-Benin revised its adopted Code of Ethics for its members in order to align with the French translation of the 2009 IESBA Code of Ethics after studying the Ordre National des Experts-Comptables de Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire’s Codes of Ethics. Subsequently, the institute indicates that it revised its Code in 2015 to align with the 2015 IESBA Code and has an established processes to review and revise the Code during Annual General Assemblies. Nonetheless, this Code has no legal backing and the OECCA-Benin reports it expects government approval by December 2017 after lobbying the government since 2012.
Since the first revision of the Code of Ethics in 2012, OECCA-Benin states that it has been assisting its members’ adherence with the Code by organizing training workshops to raise awareness of the requirements. New OECCA-Benin members are provided with a hardcopy of the revised Code and all members may access the Code of Ethics on via institute’s website. The institute has also provided all members with educational material on the Conseil Supérieur de l'Ordre des Experts Comptables (CSOEC)’s Code of Ethics on CDs. In 2016, OECCA-Benin indicates that it organized a continuing professional development (CPD) session to discuss the IESBA and CSOEC’s Codes of Ethics and new amendments and inform members how they could receive information on translations when released by IFAC.
Additionally, in 2015 and 2016, OECCA-Benin reports that it has been an active member of several task forces to combat money laundering and corruption, particular in the accountancy profession. The institute is participating in workshops and seminars on assessing risks of money laundering in Benin and finalizing the national strategy for combating corruption.
OECCA-Benin is encouraged to incorporate updated ethics-related topics in the CPD curriculum so that courses cover relevant areas. Additionally, OECCA-Benin is encouraged to review the new NOCLAR standard which was recently released and becomes effective July 2017. The standard may require changes in legislation and the institute is encouraged to begin making plans as to how it will promote and adopt the new standard and raise member awareness to further its implementation.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
In Benin, the public sector accounting standards are established by West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and transposed into national legislation by the Beninese government. The WAEMU has required its member states to adopt IPSAS by 2017; however, the currently applicable public sector accounting standards differ from IPSAS. OECCA-Benin intends to focus on (i) raising the awareness of relevant members of government entities on the importance of adopting IPSAS and (ii) increasing members’ knowledge of the applicable standards and IPSAS.
OECCA-Benin continues to lobby for the adoption of IPSAS in Benin with the assistance of donors and key stakeholders such as the Conseil National de la Comptabilité, the General State Inspector, and the World Bank. Benin elected a new President on April 6, 2016 and therefore, OECCA-Benin must renew its efforts to promote IPSAS to the new authorities. It indicates that it held a sensitization and informational interview with the new Minister of Finance, who was a member of OECCA-Benin. The institute intends to provide French translations of IPSAS and subsequent updates to the relevant authorities subject to availability. Furthermore, OECCA-Benin notes that it will collaborate with the Training Center for the Approved Management Centers–a public training center for public and private sector accountants–to raise awareness of IPSAS.
To support its members’ understanding of IPSAS, in 2014, OECCA-Benin provided members with a CD on IPSAS, made the same material available on its website, and shared this material with the Ministry of Economy and Finance. In addition, in 2015, it participated in training on IPSAS at the regional level and, in turn, provided training sessions on IPSAS for members and other stakeholders. In 2017, the institute has stated plans to conduct a training session for members and stakeholders on IPSASB pronouncements and intends to provide appropriate tools and resources from Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa at that time. It also indicates that in 2017 it intends to hold a seminar in order to establish an internal working group to study the adoption and implementation of IPSAS.
The institute is encouraged to facilitate access to translated versions of IPSAS available for relevant stakeholders and its members and implement mechanisms to update stakeholders and members on new and revised IPSASB pronouncements.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
OECCA-Benin has direct responsibility for establishing and implementing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for its members and has established and implemented an Investigation and Discipline Commission. OECCA-Benin reviewed its system’s compliance with SMO 6 requirements and the results indicate that the system incorporates a majority of the SMO 6 requirements, although gaps exist in the area of initiation of proceedings as a quality assurance review system has yet to be established and only a “complaints-based” method is utilized. The Commission has issued sanctions, including suspension of members. OECCA-Benin indicates that it has made this information available to the public via the local gazette and informs the regional organization, West African Economic and Monetary Union, of disciplinary cases.
As mentioned above, in 2016, the institute benchmarked its I&D system against the requirements of SMO 6 and identified gaps in compliance. After postponing its plans to review and analyze the gaps and formulate a strategy and recommendations to address the gaps due to a lack of human resources, the institute indicates it intends to achieve this by July 2017. During 2017 OECCA-Benin also plans to prepare a strategy to raise awareness of key stakeholders in the judiciary, the public, and its members of the requirements of SMO 6. As part of this strategy, it plans to share case studies of I&D systems from other professional accountancy organizations in France. Subsequently, it will also assess members’ knowledge of the system and address knowledge gaps.
To begin assisting members to understand the I&D system, OECCA-Benin reports that in 2015 it organized a discussion with two lawyers on I&D procedures.
Having identified areas for improvement in its I&D system, in its next SMO Action Plan update, OECCA-Benin is encouraged to demonstrate the strategic actions it has carried out to achieve progress in aligning its I&D system with SMO 6 requirements and raising its members’ and the public’s awareness of the I&D procedures. Additionally, OECCA-Benin is encouraged to provide more information and an update, if possible, on the status of the World Bank project with OHADA regarding regional I&D requirements in its next SMO Action Plan update.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
OECCA-Benin has no responsibility for the adoption of accounting standards as they are set at the regional level by the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). Accordingly, its members must apply the OHADA accounting standards.
At the regional level, OECCA-Benin has been actively involved in advocating for the single use of OHADA accounting standards, reviewing the accounting standards used in OHADA member states, and drafting the conceptual framework of the envisioned accounting standards as the chair of the Conseil National de la Comptabilité (CNC) of OHADA. During the 2016 CNC-OHADA meeting, having fulfilled its term as chair of the CNC-OHADA, OECCA-Benin stepped down from this position and is now chairing the Committee responsible for non-financial accounting. Additionally, in October 2016, the institute’s Secretary General attended a regional meeting to discuss the status of the OHADA Accounting Standards convergence with IFRS. OECCA-Benin reports that in 2013 the OHADA developed a Terms of Reference to explore and assess the operations of CNCs and implementation of OHADA accounting standards in its member states as part of the World Bank’s project to reform the OHADA accounting standards. The report and recommendations are expected in December 2017. In 2017, OECCA-Benin expects to jointly participate in the review of the report with the Government Controller and provide its recommendations to the government.
At the national level, OECCA-Benin is collaborating with key government stakeholders to raise awareness on the importance of establishing a fully functional CNC-Benin, which would assist with accounting standard-setting at the regional level and implementation at the national level. OECCA-Benin indicates that the CNC is not fully operational as its lacks resource capacities but it does already hold meetings, and speaks on behalf of Benin in regards to legal and regulatory issues related to accounting standards. In addition, the institute has been aiming to establish an internal working group to study the adoption of IFRS and well as a joint committee between OECCA-Benin, the Ministry of Finance, and the Treasury in order to promote adoption of IFRS for public interest entities to the CNC-Benin; however, given the upcoming exploration and assessment of member states’ CNCs, the institute has postponed these activities until 2017 when the OHADA issues its report and recommendations.
To support its members, OECCA-Benin reports that it provides training and capacity building seminars on the revised OHADA standards and it indicates that it will work on developing an implementation guide on these standards. In 2016, the institute organized a training that covered proper application of OHADA accounting standards and procedures and comparing the OHADA standards with IFRS.
Additionally, OECCA-Benin also states it raises its members’ awareness and understanding of IFRS. It has participated in Train-the-Trainers sessions at the regional level and facilitated training sessions on IFRS at the national level for its members each year. OECCA-Benin has also reported additional plans to support the anticipated implementation of IFRS which include the creation of a special magazine to promote IFRS; formation of internal working groups with members from the business community to monitor IFRS implementation; and collaborate with relevant authorities to revise the university accounting curriculum to cover IFRS. However, these initiatives are all pending the issuance of the new, envisioned OHADA accounting standards.
In its next SMO Action Plan update, OECCA-Benin should indicate whether it has made progress in executing the actions and initiatives regarding the promotion and adoption of IFRS such as the full operation of a CNC-Benin. Additionally, the institute is encouraged to facilitate member and stakeholder access to updated translations of IFRS and implement mechanisms to update members and relevant stakeholders periodically on new and revised pronouncements issued by the IASB.
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