Serbian Association of Accountants and Auditors
Member | Established: 1955 | Member since 1997
The Serbian Association of Accountants and Auditors (SAAA) was established in 1955 and had legal powers with respect to regulation of the profession in accordance with the Accounting Law of 1993. The association is comprised mainly of accountants and some auditors. It has played a key role in the provision of Serbian translations of international standards such as IFRS, IFRS for SMEs, ISA, IPSAS, and the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. The main objectives of the association are to develop and strengthen the role of the accounting profession in Serbia; promote ethical behavior and adherence by its members to the IESBA Code of Ethics; develop and deliver professional training, examination, certification as well as continuous professional development programs for its members in accordance with IES; monitor its members performance, conduct and adherence to professional standards; represent members of the Serbian accounting profession globally, and promote cooperation between national PAOs. In 2016, the SAAA signed a mutual recognition agreement with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), which includes full recognition and CIPFA membership for SAAA members as well as development of specialized stream for Public Sector Accountants designation.
SAAA is a member of IFAC and the Fédération des Experts-Comptables Europeéns.
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 SAAA, with no direct responsibility for the quality assurance (QA) review system for audits in Serbia, uses its best endeavors to comply with SMO 1. The Association adopted ISQC 1 and with the assistance of the French Associations Ordre des Experts-Comptables and Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux Comptes established a voluntary QA review program for its members, who are mostly accountants. Having completed the first phase of the implementation of the system, which involved administering a survey questionnaire for its member firms to identify common areas of weaknesses, SAAA has embarked on the second phase conducting field reviews. Seven field reviews have been conducted as of 2016 and the association continues to raise awareness of its QA review program and the benefits to members who participate.
It assists members to strengthen their internal control systems through its translation and publication of the IFAC Guide to Quality Control for Small-and Medium-Sized Practices, 3rd Edition. The association offers training, including joint activities with other professional accountancy organizations in EU countries, to enhance members’ understanding and application of the relevant quality control standards. SAAA states that it reviews the system on a regular basis, and has started a joint initiative with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to improve its existing system and to initiate a QA review program for the provision of non-audit services and during 2015 and 2016 held three joint workshops focused on improvement of QA methodology and procedures. SAAA also reports that it continues dialogue with Ministry of Finance and other relevant government entities to promote the need for adoption of supporting legislation to introduce a legal requirement for QA reviews of all professional accountants in the jurisdiction. Lack of such a requirement, according to SAAA, impedes full compliance with the requirements of SMO 1.
SAAA is encouraged to review its QA system against the requirements of SMO 1 and develop concrete actions to address the existing gaps, if any.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
In the absence of prescribed educational requirements for accountants (except for statutory auditors), the SAAA, which unites accountants and auditors on a voluntary basis, has established the requirements for final assessment, practical experience, and continuous professional development for its members, which it reports are fully in line with the revised IES. The association developed and operates professional accountancy education and certification program that is based on the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants program. In 2016, SAAA also signed a mutual recognition agreement with Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), which includes full recognition and CIPFA membership for SAAA members (CA and CPA) as well as development of a specialized stream for Public Sector Accountants designation.
It also promotes the incorporation of IES requirements to the government and members of the profession through articles, seminars, workshops and meetings. It establishes and maintains a process to monitor new and revised pronouncements issued by the IAESB and updates the association’s education requirements, where necessary. The SAAA reports that it collaborates with academic institutions in Serbia to ensure that members of the profession have sufficient access to quality accountancy education programs and, as needed, participates in international standard setting by providing comments on Exposure Drafts issued by the IAESB. The SAAA has translated IES for internal use only.
The SAAA is encouraged to consider ways to facilitate access to the translated IES to those involved in the process of education of professional accountants in Serbia.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The association, with no direct responsibility for the adoption of ISA in Serbia, supports the implementation of the standards through the provision of translations of ISA. The SAAA has established an ongoing process for the translation of the IAASB pronouncements and has translated over the years the 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013 editions of the IAASB Handbook in accordance with the IFAC Translation Policy. However, the standards are available to auditors for a fee and only the 2010 version of ISA, which was promulgated by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in 2012, is being applied. As of 2016, the SAAA reports that it is working with the Government to establish an ongoing process to provide timely updates of ISA translation.
The association organizes training for its members who conduct financial statement audits and regularly updates initial professional development and continuous professional development programs and material to include amendments to ISA issued by IAASB. To further support understanding and application of ISA, the SAAA is translating IFAC’s 2011 Guide to using International Standards on Auditing in the Audits of Small- and Medium-Sized Entities.
In addition, the association established a system to solicit feedback on Exposure Drafts issued by IAASB to raise awareness of changes to ISA and to encourage participation in the international standard-setting process.
SAAA is encouraged to work with the MoF to ensure that the most recent version of ISA is adopted for application in the jurisdiction.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The association plays an important role in supporting the implementation of the IESBA Code of Ethics, which has been adopted by law for auditors and through the SAAA’s requirements for SAAA’s members. It has established processes to translate the Code on an ongoing basis in line with the IFAC Translation Policy for application in the jurisdiction and as of 2016 has translated the 2015 IESBA Handbook.
It also provides support to its members with the implementation of the Code by offering an ethics module in its qualification program, hosting at least three ethics courses and seminars throughout the year, and updating its programs in accordance with amendments to the Code issued by IESBA. The SAAA prepared and disseminated an Ethics Toolkit that features common ethical dilemma faced by members and appropriate actions to address them. The association reports that it participates in the international standard-setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts issued by IESBA.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The SAAA reports that it supports the adoption and implementation of accrual-basis IPSAS, although it has no responsibilities for setting public sector accounting standards in Serbia. It participates in a government Working Group focused on the transition from cash- to accrual-basis IPSAS, and has developed a Public Sector IPSAS Implementation Working group to address key issues, facilitate dialogue, and act as a resource on the standards. It plays the leading role in the process of translation of IPSAS into Serbian and has translated the 2013 edition of the IPSAS Handbook. In addition, it publishes IPSAS related information online and in other publications. SAAA hosts two three-day seminars on public sector accounting and on the challenges related to adoption and implementation of IPSAS a year. It also offers other training on the most up-to-date version of IPSAS, and in 2016 signed a MoU with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in the UK to establish specialized qualification in public sector accounting.
SAAA could also consider participating in the international standards setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts issued by IPSASB.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
The SAAA has established and operates an investigative and disciplinary system to monitor and enforce its members’ compliance with applicable rules and regulations. It reports that the system complies with the requirements of SMO 6. However, no detailed information on specific requirements has been provided and full compliance is impeded by the limitations of the Serbian legal environment, which does not allow SAAA to impose sanctions. The Association states that it maintains a dialogue with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and other relevant authorities in order to strengthen its I&D mechanism. In addition, it raises its members’ awareness of the I&D system in order to support compliance.
The SAAA is encouraged to conduct a detailed self-assessment against the requirements of the revised SMO 6 and include the conclusions of the review within its SMO Action Plan. If gaps exist, actions need to be considered to bring the system in line with SMO 6. In addition, the SAAA is encouraged to continue dialogue with the MoF to provide the legal backing to its I&D system.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The SAAA has been instrumental in promoting to the regulators the need to adopt the international standards and subsequently supporting the Ministry of Finance (MoF) with their implementation by conducting translations of IFRS on an ongoing basis. Since 2013, the MoF has been solely responsible for the translation of IFRS. Given the time lag between the issuance of new IFRS and their translation into Serbian (2011 version of IFRS effective as of 2016), the SAAA reports that it is working with the MoF to develop a process for translating IASB pronouncements with a view to minimize the time lag. The SAAA also reports that it raises its members’ and the public’s awareness of the standards using its publications and provides extensive trainings on the accounting standards.
SAAA is encouraged to provide support to the MoF in the process of adoption and promulgation of IFRS and to consider participating in the international standard-setting process by providing comments to the IASB Exposure Drafts etc.
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.