Suriname Chartered Accountants Institute
Associate | Established: 2007 (by law in 2018) | Associate since 2019
The institute was first operational in 2007 under the name Suriname Institute of Chartered Accountants (SUVA) and was renamed the Suriname Chartered Accountants Institute (SCAI) under the Law on Accountancy of 2018.
The institute operates as a mandatory membership organization for all professional accountants seeking to work in public practice—auditors and chartered accountants. The Law on Accountancy of 2018 empowers SCAI with the mandate to: (i) maintain a registry of its members; (ii) issue audit and chartered accountant licenses; (iii) establish continuing professional development requirements; (iv) adopt accounting and auditing standards; (v) establish ethical requirements; (vi) conduct an investigative and disciplinary system with the Ministry of Justice; and (vii) develop and conduct a mandatory quality assurance review system.
SCAI is an IFAC Associate and a full member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
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 Law on Accountancy of 2018 delegates authority to the SCAI to develop and conduct a mandatory quality assurance (QA) review system in the jurisdiction. SCAI executed several plans prior to the passage of the 2018 legislation to prepare for the creation of a QA review system that would meet SMO 1 requirements. Notably, SCAI drafted its Charter and the Law on Accountancy of 2018 to ensure that the regulations clearly permit and outline QA procedures. It also established a QA Committee that is working to develop a strategic plan to operate the QA system in line with SMO 1 requirements.
As part of building its capacity in this area, SCAI has signed an agreement with NBA Netherlands to support with implementation of a QA review system by 2020. Through the agreement that runs from 2017–2020, the NBA Netherlands continues to provide the required program assistance, training, support and execution for the practice monitoring function. SCAI’s QA committee is also being further developed as part of this program. The overarching objective of the partnership is for SCAI to develop its own well-functioning QA review system in line with SMO 1 requirements.
As of the date of the assessment, procedures for a QA review system based on SMO 1 have been established, and the system is expected to be operationalized by October 2019.
In the interim, since all members of SCAI are required to be members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), NBA Netherlands, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), all SCAI members are subject to QA review systems that are in line with SMO 1 requirements and provide evidence on an annual basis that they are still a member of one of the three IFAC recognized PAOs and that no concerns have been raised. SCAI provides annual training opportunities to support its members with understanding the QA requirements.
SCAI is encouraged to provide an update regarding the development and progress on the implementation timeline for the QA review program. It would also be beneficial to provide an update on how SCAI’s capacity is being strengthened through its partnership to conduct QA reviews on its own in the future.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
The Law on Accountancy of 2018 stipulates initial professional development (IPD) requirements and delegates authority to SCAI to establish continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.
All members of SCAI are required to be members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), NBA Netherlands, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and be subject to their educational requirements. These named PAOs report that their IPD and CPD requirements are in line with the revised 2015 IES requirements.
As needed, the SCAI Board imposes additional requirements with regard to examining a candidate’s knowledge of the Surinamese laws and regulations which includes an examination on tax and business law. In addition to the above, SCAI reports to have a system in place for recognizing other foreign qualifications.
Individuals who are 18 years of age and who have passed SCAI’s theoretical and practical exams, may join SCAI by providing an application package complete with: (i) a description of professional training received; (ii) university diploma; (iii) professional diploma and statement of professional experience; (iv) a "declaration of good conduct" issued by a Surinamese district commissioner; and (v) a certificate of registration from the Central Bureau for Civil Affairs. To remain members in good standing, individuals are required to: (i) pay annual membership fees; (ii) complete CPD requirements; (iii) pay CPD course fees; and (iv) provide proof that they do not have any disciplinary sanctions or criminal convictions.
SCAI requires all members to complete 40 hours of verifiable CPD annually which is not in line with IES 7 requirements.
While SCAI does not currently administer its own accountancy education and certification program, it is currently executing plans to implement a local Chartered Accountant (CA) certification program by October 2019. This program came about as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2018 between SCAI, a university in the Netherlands called ZUYD Hogeschool, and a certified and accredited educational institute in Suriname called UNASAT. The CA qualification will be granted to the candidates after completing the local educational program and attaining three years of practical experience. SCAI reports that it is in the process of updating its website to keep its members better informed of any developments.
In regards to CPD, the institute works to provide courses to its members in collaboration with NBA Netherlands. The SCAI CPD Committee was established in 2014 to develop the annual curriculum based on the needs of local professionals. SCAI members are required to provide proof that they fulfilled the both SCAI CPD requirements, as well as mother institutes’ CPD requirements on an annual basis.
Since not all the requirements of IES appear to have been incorporated into the national requirements, such as CPD, SCAI reported to staff in March 2019 that it they are conducting a self-assessment comparison SCAI’s internal guidelines with IES requirements (version 2015) to identify and eliminate any gaps.
Once the self-assessment comparison with the revised IES is complete, SCAI is encouraged to reflect in its SMO Action Plan, concrete activities with a specific timeline on how it plans to fulfill the gaps. SCAI is also encouraged to provide an update on the development and implementation of an envisioned CA certification program in line with the revised IES requirements.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Law on Accountancy of 2018 designates the SCAI as the audit standard-setter for all companies. SCAI requires the application of NBA Netherlands’ Dutch translated version of ISA which are translated in an ongoing manner.
SCAI supports its members with implementation by providing them with annual training sessions on ISA and other IAASB pronouncements. The institute works to ensure that its continuing professional development program incorporates technical courses to educate members and other stakeholders about new auditing and related standards, such as quality control, and how this may impact their work. Each year updates to the standards are also discussed in a dedicated “updates” course.
The institute also indicates that it maintains an active program for responding to IAASB exposure drafts both as an individual PAO and as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
In accordance with the Law on Accountancy of 2018, the SCAI is responsible for adopting ethical requirements for all professional accountants. SCAI, in compliance with the legislation, states it has developed its own code of ethics based on the 2016 IESBA Code of Ethics.
Furthermore, SCAI indicates that it has an ongoing process to consider and incorporate new and amended requirements issued by the IESBA. SCAI reported to staff in March 2019 that it anticipates a slight delay in converging with the 2018 IESBA Code of Ethics given the significant changes within the restructured code. Nevertheless, SCAI plans to publish information related to the 2018 Restructured IESBA Code of Ethics on SCAI’s website, quarterly newsletters and via SCAI’s social media forums such as LinkedIn and Facebook as soon as it comes into effect in June 2019.
To advance ethical behavior amongst professionals in Suriname, SCAI has been executing plans to raise awareness of the requirements amongst its members and other key stakeholders through the technical sessions that are included in the continuing professional education seminars.
SCAI is encouraged to elaborate on plans for the adoption of the 2018 IESBA Code of Ethics (including International Independence Standards). It is also encouraged to collaborate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) to provide comments to exposure drafts issued by IESBA as part of sharing its perspective at the international standard-setting level.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
While the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the adoption of public sector accounting standards, a formal government plan for adoption of IPSAS has not yet been communicated externally. As of the date of the assessment, the government uses a cash basis form of accounting.
As SCAI does not have responsibility for adoption of public sector accounting standards in the jurisdiction, it focuses its efforts on raising awareness and promoting the adoption of IPSAS. SCAI invited representatives from IPSASB to increase awareness and promote adoption during the SCAI annual conference held in August 2018 which was attended by key Ministry of Finance officials. Furthermore, representatives from SCAI proactively met with IPSASB representatives in 2018 to discuss various strategies that would enable them to better promote adoption of the standards.
To continue such endeavors, SCAI reports that it plans to create a committee focused on raising awareness of IPSAS and coordinating translations with the NBA Netherlands. It also proactively established plans to conduct IPSAS training for its members who work in the public sector.
SCAI is executing plans to encourage its members to attend a two-day IPSAS seminar scheduled to take place in mid-2019. The institute also notes that it will collaborate with the Surinamese government on the seminar in order to increase awareness amongst its top government officials.
SCAI is encouraged to continue executing its plans to promote IPSAS adoption, and to consider sharing exposure drafts issued by the IPSASB with the relevant public sector stakeholders for information.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
In accordance with the Law on Accountancy of 2018, the SCAI is responsible for establishing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system with the Ministry of Justice for all professional accountants. SCAI executed several plans prior to the passage of the 2018 legislation to prepare for the creation of an I&D system that would meet SMO 6 requirements. Notably, SCAI drafted its Charter and the Law on Accountancy of 2018 to ensure that the regulations clearly permit and outline I&D procedures.
SCAI reported to staff in March 2019 that it is in the process of forming an I&D committee that will develop a strategy plan for implementation of the I&D system using SMO 6 best practices by October 2019. Once the I&D committee is established, the I&D system’s date of operation will subsequently be determined. SCAI plans to obtain approval of the draft I&D procedures at the 2019 SCAI Annual General Meeting, as well as input from the NBA Netherlands and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Prior to the establishment of the new system, SCAI plans to disseminate publications via its quarterly newsletter to raise awareness amongst its members and stakeholders.
According to the Law on Accountancy of 2018, the Ministry of Justice determines the composition of the Disciplinary Board—which will consist of three (3) members; two of which are retired accountancy professionals that are members of SCAI with at least ten years of experience, and one that is a member of the Ministry of Justice. The law also stipulates that both SCAI and the Ministry of Justice will be responsible for establishing an Investigations Committee.
In the interim, since all members of SCAI are also required to be members of ACCA, NBA Netherlands, or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), all are required to abide by I&D procedures that are in line with SMO 6 requirements. SCAI requires all members on an annual basis to demonstrate that they are still a member of one of the three IFAC recognized professional accountancy organizations and that no disciplinary measures have been imposed. SCAI also signed an agreement with the mother institutes to be informed of any I&D cases against its members. The Board has authority to issue further rules regarding the investigation and disciplinary system as needed. SCAI members—individuals and firms—that seek to file complaints must do so via the mother institutes.
SCAI is encouraged to provide an update on progress made with regard to operationalizing the I&D system given its resources.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
At present, there are no regulations that stipulate a specific accounting framework for companies to follow. The majority of companies in Suriname follow a form of Netherlands national accounting standards because of the historical relationship of Suriname and the Netherlands. Netherlands GAAP is published in Dutch, which is the national language of Suriname. The Central Bank of Suriname is responsible for prudential supervision of financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and credit unions. However, neither the Bank Act nor regulations adopted by the Central Bank mandates the specific accounting standards to be followed by those financial institutions.
Based on the Act of Annual Accounts of 2017, the following financial reporting requirements will be effective in 2020. All large corporations and public interest entities (PIEs) will be required to prepare financial reports in accordance with IFRS as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). All medium sized entities will be required to apply IFRS for Small and Medium Sized Entities (SMEs) and will have until 2021 to transition to the IFRS for SMEs. All small entities will be required to apply Fiscal Accounting Policies (the fiscal valuation principles in accordance with the Suriname Income Tax Act of 1922).
According to SCAI, IFRS for all large corporations and PIEs have already been implemented in the jurisdiction prior to the 2020 deadline.
SCAI executed several plans prior to the passage of the 2017 legislation to prepare for the adoption of IFRS. Notably, SCAI worked with the government to ensure that the regulations clearly outline IFRS requirements.
The institute has been proactive in supporting implementation of IFRS. It began offering training prior to the adoption of the Law in 2017. SCAI also reports that it will continue to publish details of IASB pronouncements through newsletters, professional publications (e-copies and hard copies), and announcements on its website. The institute also indicates that it works with various universities in the Netherlands to include IFRS in university curricula in Suriname, and plans to continue this activity on an ongoing basis.
Other activities that SCAI undertakes to facilitate implementation include: (i) ensuring that its continuing professional development program incorporates IFRS and at least one course on first time adoption to assist business and professionals with the transition; (ii) developing and providing training for businesses, and financial practitioners; and (iii) maintaining an active program for responding to IASB exposure drafts both as an individual PAO and as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean.
SCAI is encouraged to provide specific examples or links to demonstrate that IFRS for all large corporations and PIEs have already been implemented prior to the 2020 deadline.
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