Swaziland Institute of Accountants
Member | Established: 1985 | Member since 1986
The Accountants Act of 1985 establishes EIA as the only national professional accountancy organization. EIA confers the titles of Registered Accountants and Chartered Accountants to individuals that are qualified abroad by fulfilling academic programming, practical experience, and passing final examinations. Membership in the institute is mandatory for in order to offer accountancy services.
Under the Accountants Act of 1985, EIA’s responsibilities include: (i) setting auditing standards; (ii) promulgating applicable accounting standards; (iii) establishing ethical requirements; (iv) setting initial and continuing professional development requirements; (v) maintaining and publishing a registry of its registered and practicing members; (vi) establishing quality assurance and investigative and disciplinary systems for its members; and (vii) assisting the government with legislation deemed relevant to the profession.
In addition to being a Member of IFAC, EIA is a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants.
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
To fulfill its regulatory responsibility of establishing a mandatory quality assurance (QA) review system, the eSwatini Institute of Accountants (EIA) has worked in collaboration with external QA review providers due to limited internal capacity.
From 2008-2015, EIA contracted the ACCA to carry out the QA reviews on behalf of EIA utilizing ACCA’s procedures that meet the SMO 1 requirements. Subsequently, the EIA worked with the Pan African Federation of Accountants to identify QA service providers in the region. As of March 2020, EIA is in discussion with the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZiCA) to carry out the next QA review cycle, which would be in June 2020. ZiCA’s QA review procedures meet the SMO 1 requirements.
To support members’ implementation of the standards and understanding of the inspections, EIA provides training on the relevant standards and technical resources, such as a pre-review questionnaire and checklist. After the review is performed EIA also follow-ups with members on the results of the review and in cases where there are deficiencies, the institute requires members to submit an action plan to address the identified deficiencies.
Implementation of the next QA review cycle with ZiCA is an important step in fulfilling SMO 1. Best practice for this area should guide EIA and the institute can consider how to offer tools (e.g. audit template tool, ISQC 1 manual), trainings, and CPD on the most common deficiencies found. Additionally, EIA is encouraged to prepare members for the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards that are being proposed and reviewed by the IAASB.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
eSwatini Institute of Accountants (EIA) is responsible for establishing initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for professional accountants. EIA does not offer a local professional accountancy qualification.
Registered Accountants must either (i) pass the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT-UK) Technician training scheme, (ii) hold a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of eSwatini (UNISWA), (iii) hold a bachelor’s degree in commerce or accounting which included three years of accounting courses from a EIA-approved university, or (iv) be a member in good standing of the Institute Chartered Secretaries & Administrators or the Certified Institute for Public Finance & Accounting. All Registered Accountants must have three years of proven accounting work experience.
Candidates for the Chartered Accountant title must be either (i) a member in good standing of another IFAC member organization or (ii) hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an EIA-approved university, pass the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) final examination, and have at least three years’ experience under an approved training contract. Individuals without a university degree may follow the same path Chartered Accountants if they complete five years of work experience. In order to obtain an Audit Practicing Certificate in eSwatini, individuals must hold the Chartered Accountant title from EIA and must pass the EIA’s “Conversion Examination” on eSwatini taxation and business legislation.
As of 2020, the institute is offering computer-based examinations for AAT and ACCA exams. Within eSwatini, EIA states that it promotes the IES requirements to local accountancy education providers—universities approved by EIA based on academic requirements. However, progress in engaging with the universities has been limited due to institutional bureaucracy and university curricula may not align with the 2019 IES. There exist opportunities for EIA to further execute actions in this regard as part of advancing IES implementation.
EIA members must complete and report on 120 hours of CPD over a three-year period, which is in line with an input-based approach under the 2015 IES requirements. The institute offers CPD courses in collaboration with SAICA and ACCA. In 2018–2019, the institute provided training on IFRS, anti-money laundering, and ethics and professional integrity.
The revised (2015) IES emphasize the need for professional accountants to demonstrate competencies to carry out their roles and responsibilities throughout their initial professional development programs. It is not clear from the available information if the IPD requirements, particularly university accounting education and practical experience arrangements, align with the IES requirements. Further, in 2019, newly revised IES address learning and development for information and communications technologies (ICT) and professional skepticism. As market expectation increases for ICT skills and professional skepticism, these standards were developed to address the competencies, skills, and behaviors for both aspiring and professional accountants in these critical areas. These revised standards become effective January 2021. The institute is encouraged to continue and strengthen its engagement efforts with eSwatini universities and practical experience providers / employers to ensure that accountancy candidates are prepared to meet the market needs by receiving education in line with the IES requirements. A gap analysis would be a good starting point and EIA would need to identify the resources needed to achieve this initiative.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Companies Act of 2009 establishes the ISA and auditing guidelines adopted by the eSwatini Institute of Accountants (EIA) as the applicable auditing standards in eSwatini. EIA states that it established an Auditing Standard-setting Committee which has adopted the ISA as issued by IAASB for application in all audits and reports that its Council meets monthly to review new and amended standards. It primarily focuses on advancing the implementation of the standards.
To this end, EIA reports that it provides trainings and training materials on the most recent ISA developments for its members and disseminates the ISA and IAASB pronouncements on its websites and in the local press. EIA also monitors compliance with the standards through its quality assurance system.
The 2018 Handbook is now effective, which includes revised standards ISA 250 and 540. EIA is encouraged to outline its planned implementation support on the revised standards effective in December 2019 as part of providing more information on its overall activities in this area. EIA is also encouraged to continue monitoring and preparing members for the changes from quality control standards to quality management standards that being proposed and reviewed by the IAASB.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
EIA is responsible for setting ethical requirements for professional accountants in eSwatini. Having first established its own Code of Ethics that incorporated the 2004 IESBA Code of Ethics, the EIA states it has since subsequently adopted all revisions to the IESBA Code of Ethics as issued, including the 2018 International Code of Ethics.
To support its members with the implementation of the Code, EIA indicates that offers training on ethics. In 2020, an expert ethics from KPMG South Africa conducted a workshop on professional ethics and integrity for EIA members and non-members.
Additionally, EIA also reports that it is involved in an ongoing consultation with eSwatini universities to update ethics-related curriculum in its accounting syllabi. Engagement with universities continues to be a work in progress, although no specific activities in this regard have been reported since 2014.
Considering the restructuring and revisions within the 2018 International Code of Ethics, EIA should provide further information on planned actions or initiatives related to raising awareness on the 2018 International Code of Ethics and supporting its proper implementation amongst members (e.g. case studies on working through an ethical dilemma; a confidential hotline to ask questions).
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Public Finance Management Act 2017 states that the Accountant General is responsible for adopting accounting standards in accordance with IPSAS as issued by the IPSASB. According to EIA, currently the standards applied are cash-basis and there is no timeline for application of accrual-based IPSAS.
EIA states that with the passage of the new Public Finance Management Act, it is keen to be involved in supporting the government to move toward the adoption and implementation of IPSAS. The Accountant and Auditor General both participate on EIA’s Council. Further, the institute states it has offered its technical assistance to the government and has a specialist within EIA on IPSAS. EIA is considering if offering CPD on the standards is feasible as part of further fulfilling SMO 5.
The eSwatini government has taken a positive step by referring to IPSAS in legislation. The EIA can play a key role in advocating and advising the government on next steps and the value of accrual-basis IPSAS—through technical assistance, training and education, sharing IPSAS resources and best practices from neighboring jurisdictions, and prompting dialogues on the subject. If appropriate, the EIA should indicate in its Action Plan its plans and related actions and resources needed to undertake these types of adoption and implementation support activities.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
EIA is responsible for establishing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system for professional accountants for misconduct and breach of professional standards. It has established a Disciplinary Committee, with individuals appointed by the Ministry of Finance, to conduct inquiries into any charges, complaints, or allegations of unprofessional conduct. The Disciplinary Committee reports its findings and any recommendations of sanctions to the EIA Council. EIA’s Council is then responsible for issuing the formal decision.
Individuals may appeal the Council’s decision with the High Court and must submit an appeal notice to the EIA’s Registrar.
EIA reports that its I&D system meets the SMO 6 best practices; however, there are opportunities for further improvements. In September 2015 there were three cases brought to the Disciplinary Committee based on information from QA reviews. There have since been no other cases brought to the Disciplinary Committee. EIA indicates that it keeps its members informed of the I&D procedures by providing copies of the I&D rules.
I&D procedures that meet the SMO 6 benchmark are foundational to maintaining public trust and confidence in the profession. While the institute seems to have procedures that meet the benchmark, zero cases over the last few years might indicate that the public does not know how to file a complaint with the institute or that the system is not operating as needed. The institute is encouraged to consider efforts to raise public awareness and education of EIA’s complaint process.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
The Companies Act of 2009 stipulates that all companies must prepare annual financial statements in accordance with the IFRS. The eSwatini Institute of Accountants (EIA), as established by the Accountants Act of 1985, approved the IFRS for SMEs in 2010 as a permissible framework for companies that meet the SME definition under the Companies Act and choose to publish financial statements.
EIA indicates the Council meets monthly to review new and amended standards and shares updates to standards on its website and in local gazettes. EIA notes that it offers an annual IFRS update training for members.
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