Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants
Associate | Established: 2004 | Associate since 2022
Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) is the only professional accountancy organization in Qatar and was established in 2007 as a voluntary membership organization for professional accountants by the Decision of the Minister of Civil Service Affairs and Housing No. 6 of 2007, in accordance with Law No. 12 of 2004 Regarding the Associations and Private Institutions (as amended by the Law No. 12 in 2006) and Law No. 30 of 2004 Regulating the Audit Profession. QCPA members provide the following services (i) accounting and bookkeeping; (ii) auditing (as regulated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Financial Markets Authority); (iii) financial management; (iv) consultancy; (v) banking services (overseen by the Central Bank); (vi) internal audit; (vii) management accounting; (viii) digital transformation; and (ix) tax services (regulated by the Ministry of Finance).
Subject to oversight by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, QCPA’s responsibilities include: (i) delivering continuing professional development programs; and (ii) monitoring its members’ compliance with ethical requirements and communicating developments relevant to the profession.
While QCPA is not a member of IFAC, it is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council Accounting & Auditing Organization and the Arab Federation of Accountants and Auditors.
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 Qatar Financial Markets Authority Law No 8 of 2012 requires mandatory quality assurance (QA) reviews for listed entities by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA). In 2021, the Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) conducted a self-assessment of the QFMA QA review system and identified several gaps in terms of alignment with SMO 1 requirements pertaining to (i) scope of the system, (ii) quality control standards and other quality control guidance; (iii) review cycle; (iv) QA review team; (iv) corrective and disciplinary actions; (v) consideration of public oversight, and (vi) regular review of implementation and effectiveness.
QCPA, with no direct responsibility for QA in Qatar, focuses on supporting the QFMA and is reportedly collaborating with them to issue a decree that would improve the overall quality of audits in the country. QCPA’s Board decided in 2022 to prepare a quality assurance guide for non-listed entities and has engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) on its potential role in conducting QA reviews of non-listed entities.
As of the date of the assessment, these discussions are ongoing and it remains unclear if a timeline has been established for QA reviews of non-listed entities. Nevertheless, QCPA reports that it plans to ensure that the resulting system for non-listed entities is in line with SMO 1 requirements.
In the 2021 SMO Action Plan, QCPA reports that between January 2022 – June 2023, it plans to publish a quality assurance manual for small firms and sole practitioners to design and document appropriate quality management policies and procedures that comply with the new Quality Management standards (ISQM 1 & ISQM 2). Furthermore, it plans to organize specialized workshop trainings in 2022 (which will be continued annually after 2022) highlighting the forthcoming changes to ensure that its members are well prepared for the application of both ISQM 1 & ISQM 2 once they become effective.
As a matter of priority, QCPA should collaborate with QFMA to formulate actions steps to eliminate gaps in the existing QA review system for non-listed entities. Considering that the design and implementation of a QA review system for non-listed entities continues to be in the development stage, QCPA is encouraged to also work with stakeholders in the jurisdiction to launch the QA review system as soon as possible and to ensure that the resulting system is in line with the international best practices formulated in SMO 1. Experiences of other PAOs in this respect may be beneficial.
Lastly, the new suite of Quality Management standards will require significant change management for regulators and firms. QCPA is encouraged to continue its activities to prepare members and raise awareness of stakeholders in the jurisdiction of the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards and update its training programming to ensure that its members are sufficiently prepared to apply the standards once they become effective.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
Audit Law No. 8 of 2020 and Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts establish some initial professional development (IPD) and general continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for Auditors and Accounting Experts, which are further defined by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ), respectively.
QCPA, subject to oversight by the MOCI, is responsible for delivering the CPD program for auditors—60 training hours per year. QCPA reports to be in the process of conducting a comprehensive review of the existing educational requirements for professional accountants (especially IES 2, 3, 4, and 8) in Qatar against those of 2019 IES to identify gaps and establish plans to work with the various stakeholders in addressing them. QCPA participated in a 1-hour interview with IFAC staff in 2022 after completing a comprehensive questionnaire to help determine existing gaps and identify ways where the International Panel on Accountancy Education (IPAE) can provide implementation support. This project is ongoing and may to lead to bespoke capacity building activities. QCPA also reports to be in the process of launching its own Chartered Accountant qualification by December 2022 under oversight of the MOCI. The Chairman of QCPA is reportedly conducting frequent meetings with the MOCI to launch this qualification based on the ACCA scheme.
In the meantime, QCPA extends and facilitates continuing professional development and training activities in collaboration with ACCA and regional bodies, to upskill both members and non-members. QCPA is also commencing discussion with the regulators (MOCI & Ministry of Education) to endorse and promote the value and recognition of professional qualifications.
In addition, QCPA collaborates with training institutions and local universities around the importance and need to incorporate international accountancy standards and best practices in their curricula. This includes all the universities operating in the country, to upskill and develop students and graduates in accountancy and finance.
QCPA has established collaborations with international institutions based in Qatar to extend joint lectures, workshops, webinars and conferences which includes Qatar Academic Bridge Program, University of Texas, A&M, Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas, Calgary, Paris Graduate School of Business, College of the North Atlantic, and University College London Qatar. QCPA also collaborates, and has signed agreements and MOUs, with the following organizations and national partners to deliver training, seminars, events and CPD: Ministry of Culture and Sport, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Institute of Administrative Development, Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar Olympic Committee, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundry Specialist, Aspire Zone, Qatar Red Crescent Society, Qatar Stars League, Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities, and Qatar Finance and Business Academy.
QCPA is encouraged to provide an update on the comprehensive review of the existing educational requirements for professional accountants in Qatar against those of 2019 IES. For areas of less than full compliance, specific actions to close the gaps, if any, with a defined timeframe need to be outlined in the SMO Action Plan in collaboration with other stakeholders. QCPA can utilize the IFAC Accountancy Education E-Tool to review the current version of IESs and share these requirements with relevant stakeholders such as universities in Qatar. It is recommended that QCPA complete the IES Checklist developed by IFAC which may be useful in progressing with the adoption of the revised requirements of the IES, especially IES 2, 3, 4 and 8 that are effective as of January 2021.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Under the Audit Law No. 8 of 2020, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) is responsible for the adoption of auditing standards to be applied in Qatar.
With ISA adopted by law in Qatar, the Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) focuses on supporting implementation of ISA as issued by IAASB which as of the date of the assessment is the 2020 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements. QCPA indicates that it is in the process of launching its own Chartered Accountant qualification by December 2022 under oversight of MOCI which will incorporate new and revised ISA (e.g. ISA 250 & 540) in the program syllabus and exam.
To support implementation, QCPA provides its members with the latest available Arabic translations of the Handbooks, which as of the date of the assessment is the 2018 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance and Related Service Pronouncements. In 2020, QCPA provided its members with copies of the Arabic translations of the International Standard on Related Services (ISRS) 4400 (Revised) and ISA 315 (Revised 2019) as translated by the Saudi Organization for Chartered and Professional Accountants (SOCPA).
QCPA monitors new and amended standards, as well as other pronouncements issued by the IAASB, and aims to provide comments on Exposure Drafts. It updates members on an ongoing basis on new and revised audit regulations. Furthermore, it updates continuing professional development training courses to include revised standard-related topics.
QCPA hosts conferences on technical audit-related topics throughout the year to raise awareness and enhance members’ knowledge and disseminates implementation guidance to members on a regular basis. In addition, it offers continuing professional development courses that cover technical audit issues and is collaborating with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and/or ACCA Global on various training sessions for members. For example, trainings on ACCA Cert IA and other Pronouncements issued by the IAASB were held for auditors, accountants and QCPA members in November 2020 and July 2021.
QCPA may consider how it can support and/or advocate for the timely translation of the 2020 Handbook and raise awareness of the changes that will become effective throughout 2022 (e.g., ISA 315, ISQM 1, ISQM 2, ISA 220, and ISRS 4000 (revised)) to prepare auditors to properly apply the standards upon effective date.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) adopt the IESBA Code of Ethics as issued by IESBA via Audit Law No. 8 of 2020 and Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts, for Auditors and Accounting Experts, respectively. As of the date of the assessment, the 2021 Handbook of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants is in effect.
Graduates from universities in Qatar or equivalent foreign universities recognized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) who are not registered as Auditors or Accounting Experts are subject to ethical requirements only if they choose to join a professional accountancy organization (PAO).
QCPA indicates in its 2021 SMO Action Plan that its Code of Conduct is based on the 2018 edition of the Handbook, which as of the date of the assessment, is not the latest version available. However, QCPA provides its members with copies of the 2021 edition of the Handbook in English. QCPA indicates that it is in the process of updating the requirements based on the 2021 edition of the Handbook to be completed by December 2022. QCPA also plans to submit a permission request to IFAC to translate the 2021 Handbook into Arabic.
To support implementation, QCPA reportedly provides training workshops to ensure that its members are prepared for the application of the changes available in the latest version of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.
QCPA reports that it has ongoing processes in place to monitor changes to the IESA Code of Ethics to update its ethical requirements in line with more recent editions of the IESBA Handbook. To further support effective implementation of the Code, QCPA: (i) raises awareness of the Code among regulators, universities, legislative powers, and government; (ii) disseminates information to relevant stakeholders about any new, proposed, and revised provisions to the IESBA Code of Ethics; and (iii) includes ethical requirements in its training programs in collaboration with MOCI
QCPA arranges webinars, workshops and seminars in collaboration with global bodies such as ACCA. For example, QCPA provided training on the latest ethical requirements issued by IESBA in October 2021.
QCPA plans to appoint a technical consultant to assist in commenting on the latest amendments, exposure drafts and publications of the IESBA by June 2022.
The 2021 Handbook namely differs from the 2020 Handbook by including approved revisions that will become effective in December 2022, such as: revisions to non-assurance services, fees, and objectivity of an engagement quality reviewer. QCPA is encouraged to provide an update on the status of aligning its ethical requirements with the 2021 IESBA Code of Ethics as well as translation progress to ensure that professionals can implement the upcoming revisions to the Code of Ethics once effective.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, has not adopted IPSAS in Qatar, and there is no timeline for doing so. In its 2021 SMO Action Plan, QCPA reports that some public entities such as the Qatar University, for example, one of the largest government universities, included IPSAS-based accounting in its educational programming.
With no direct responsibility, QCPA focuses on promoting adoption by participating in relevant campaigns to raise awareness. QCPA arranges webinars, workshops and seminars in collaboration with global bodies such as ACCA. For example, QCPA provided training on ACCA Cert IPSAS in Arabic for its members and public sector accountants in September 2021.
QCPA 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 practices.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
There are multiple stakeholders involved in the investigation and disciplinary (I&D) processes of Auditors and Accounting Experts in Qatar in accordance with various laws. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) is responsible for conducting an I&D system for auditors of non-public interest entities (PIEs), whereas the Qatari Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) is responsible for I&D of auditors of PIEs, and the Ministry of Justice is responsible for I&D of Accounting Experts in accordance with the Audit Law No. 8 of 2020, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority Law No 8 of 2012, and the Law No. 16 of 2017 on Regulating the Work of Experts, respectively.
QCPA conducted a gap analysis of the I&D systems in the jurisdiction for Auditors and Accounting Experts and reported gaps pertaining to administrative processes (timeframe targets for disposal of all cases), public interest considerations (lack of process for the independent review of complaints on which there was no follow-up established), and liaison with outside bodies on possible involvement in serious crimes and offences.
QCPA also operates its own I&D system for members. The QCPA General Assembly will meet in December 2022 to incorporate amendments to the Association’s law and seek approval from the Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs to align its I&D system with SMO 6 requirements.
Membership at QCPA is forfeited by decision of the Board of Directors when (i) a member fails or delays membership fees for one year from the scheduled date of payment; (ii) harms or offends the reputation of the Association; and/or (iii) deviates from the principles or objectives declared by the Association. The Board of Directors notify the member in writing of the reasons for his/her dismissal with a request to submit a defense in front of the Board of Directors. Appeals can be submitted within 60 days from the date a decision is made to the General Assembly for a vote by secret ballot.
QCPA informs its members of all provisions of the current I&D processes that are operational in Qatar via its website and trainings. QCPA reports to provide all members with access to continuing professional development (both online and in person) on current regulations and the I&D systems and processes.
As a matter of priority, QCPA should provide an update on activities it is undertaking to align its I&D system fully with SMO 6 requirements, as well activities to promote a unified national system that can investigate and discipline all professional accountants.
QCPA is also encouraged to 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. In establishing enhanced processes,
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Law No. 8 of 2012 regarding Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) as amended by Decree Law No. 22 of 2018 gives the QFMA authority to supervise and regulate the financial market in Qatar. This includes authority to establish financial reporting requirements.
In accordance with Commercial Companies Law No. 11 of 2015 (as amended by Law No. 8 of 2021), all listed companies are required to prepare consolidated and separate company financial statements in accordance with the accounting principles approved internationally. Regulations of the QFMA have defined this to mean IFRS Standards as issued by the IFRS Foundation.
With no direct responsibility, QCPA focuses on supporting implementation of IFRS Standards and IFRS for SMEs.
QCPA monitors new and amended standards, as well as other pronouncements issued by the IFRS Foundation, and aims to provide comments on Exposure Drafts. It updates members on an ongoing basis on new and revised standards. Furthermore, it updates continuing professional development training courses to include revised standard-related topics.
QCPA indicates that it meets with Qatari universities to ensure incorporation of IFRS Standards and IFRS for SMEs in their academic curricula / syllabi. To support its members, QCPA builds awareness of any new or revised standards by disseminating implementation guidance that promotes proper understanding and use of the standards and disseminating Arabic translations of the standards to its members.
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