Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants
Associate | Established: 2005 | Associate since 2015
VACPA was established in 2005 under Decision 15/2005/QD-BNV by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Originally established as a professional association under the umbrella of VAA, in 2014, VACPA became a second PAO operating in Vietnam. VACPA is recognized as the national PAO for auditors and audit firms and while membership is voluntary, all members must hold a CPA certificate issued by the MOF. There are some members of VACPA that are also members of VAA. Under Article II of VACPA’s charter, the objectives of VACPA are: to develop the quality of accounting and auditing services; to preserve professional ethics; to enhance member value to be recognized by regional and international organizations; and contribute to transparency of economic and financial information in Vietnam in accordance with laws and regulations. VACPA also administers training and development for its members; works with the MOF to draft technical standards for the profession, including the national Code of Ethics; and participates in both quality assurance, and investigative and disciplinary activities, which are overseen by the MOF. In addition to being an IFAC Associate, VACPA is a member of the Confederation of Asian and Pacific 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
In Vietnam, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is responsible for administering quality assurance (QA) reviews. Since 2009, VACPA has been participating at the request of the MOF during the execution of QA review activities. These activities include participating in on-site inspections and providing input on policies related to QA. VACPA reports that the QA system adopted by the MOF is mostly aligned with the requirements of SMO 1, except that the system is not linked with the investigation and discipline (I&D) system.
The process for QA reviews in Vietnam includes a self-assessment by audit firms of the system of quality control relating to audits of financial statements; a review of the quality control policies and procedures; a review of audit working papers; and an assessment of compliance with local accounting and auditing standards. The self-assessment resources are developed by the MOF in collaboration with VACPA and it provides the criteria for determining if the overall outcome of a QA review can be considered satisfactory or unsatisfactory. VACPA has also supported the quality control initiatives in Vietnam by developing VSQC 1, which is based on ISQC 1.
VACPA reports that between 2010 and 2013, VACPA’s Quality Review Committee (QRC) participated in 80 QA inspections with the MOF. VACPA has collaborated with the MOF and the SEC to host workshops to communicate with audit firms and other stakeholders on topics such as audit quality and discussing the results of the QA reviews. VACPA has also developed guidance materials on quality control, and the association has developed a QA manual for SMEs based on resources issued by IFAC. As CPD is mandatory for all VACPA members, the association has developed CPD around QA and quality control issues.
VACPA reports that in 2015, its QRC had begun developing an independent QA review system for its members, which is to be a separate mechanism from the one being operated by the MOF. In 2017, a proposal for VACPA’s new QA program, which VACPA reports is developed in line with the requirements of SMO 1, was presented to the MOF. The MOF is currently evaluating the proposal; however, no timeline for approval has been indicated.
VACPA is encouraged to consider how it can work with the MOF to address the gap in the existing QA mechanism to achieve full alignment with the requirements. Alongside this recommendation, VACPA is encouraged to consider how it can reflect on the results and findings from the MOF QA reviews to tailor and develop specific CPD seminars and courses for its members. Lastly, in the next submission of its SMO Action Plan, VACPA is to provide updates on its proposal of a new QA program to the MOF.
- SMO 2: International Education Standards
In Vietnam, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is responsible for implementing initial professional development (IPD) and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for all professional accountants. VACPA has been accredited by the MOF to provide training courses for auditors and the association monitors the fulfillment of CPD hours by its members and submits any issues of non-compliance to the MOF for further action and possible sanctions. VACPA also supports the MOF by participating in the MOF’s examination council, which is responsible for administering the Vietnam CPA exam that is mandatory for individuals that choose to become auditors, reviewing the exam papers, and distributing exam results. VACPA reports that it monitors new and revised regulations and standards and encourages the responsible bodies to incorporate them into education and examination requirements. According to the World Bank ROSC, as of August 2018, the IES are not incorporated into accountancy education requirements in Vietnam.
VACPA has established a Training Committee and a ‘Research and Consulting Center for CPAs’ to develop and host classroom-based CPD courses for its members. VACPA invites partners and managers from the Big 4 accounting firms to lecture CPD courses. Topics range from accounting, audit, tax, finance, banking, securities, valuations, amongst others, and VACPA reports that courses developed and offered are based on feedback from its members.
VACPA has also collaborated with international professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) such as the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), CPA Australia, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) to develop and co-host CPD sessions and seminars. Activities reported by VACPA with these bodies include working with ACCA and ICAEW to translate their respective syllabi into Vietnamese. In addition, since June 2016, individuals who have passed the Vietnam CPA exam are exempt from taking the exam on tax as offered by CPA Australia, and the exams on Tax and Audit and Assurance Services as offered by ACCA. VACPA reports that it was in discussions with CPA Australia to offer another exemption on the exam on auditing.
VACPA reports of plans to collaborate with local universities to translate the IES into Vietnamese. The purpose of translating the IES is to ultimately work with the MOF and universities to improve the quality of educational offerings and to promote the adoption of the IES.
Although VACPA does not have direct authority to adopt accountancy education standards in Vietnam, it is encouraged to consider formalizing and implementing its plan to advocate and collaborate with the VAA and the MOF to support the formal recognition and incorporation of the IES requirements in the jurisdiction, especially in light of the 2015 revised IES. As VACPA offers CPD, it is strongly recommended to develop specific plans to align its current CPD programming with the revised IES.
- SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
Under Article 6 of the Law on Independent Audit, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is responsible for setting auditing standards in Vietnam which are the Vietnam Standards on Auditing (VSA). In 2012, under Circular No. 214 issued by the MOF, VACPA was directed by the MOF to update the VSA. To that effect, VACPA has established the Auditing Standards Committee and its responsibilities include translating, researching, drafting, and submitting the standards to the MOF for approval. As of August 2018, there are 47 VSA in Vietnam, which VACPA reports have been developed in line with the 2009 ISA but with minor modifications.
VACPA’s Training Committee has included the VSA into its various training programs and the committee has also developed guidance documents for the application of VSA and ISA. VACPA reports that lecturers from the Big 4, and foreign PAOs are invited to share insights and expertise with VACPA members as part of its training programs. VACPA reports that it collaborates with the MOF and other stakeholders in a unified approach to review and respond to exposure drafts. VACPA believes the current model of working with other groups in Vietnam allows for a collective understanding of the needs in the country.
VACPA reports that it has translated into Vietnamese the “Guide to Practice Management for Small-and Medium-Sized Practices” as published by IFAC and plans to issue the translation to its members, the general public, and universities in December of 2018.
As VACPA is involved with the development of standards, it is encouraged to promote the importance of adopting the latest version of the ISA, which includes the new auditor’s report to the MOF. As part of this, given that VACPA has previously translated the 2012 version of the ISA for reference, the association is encouraged to translate the latest ISA.
- SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
Under the Law on Accounting 2015, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is responsible for establishing ethical requirements for all professional accountants in Vietnam. Professional accountancy organizations in Vietnam are not required and have not established their own separate ethical codes. VACPA reports that the 2014 IESBA Code of Ethics is currently adopted in Vietnam. VACPA reports that it has plans from 2019-2020 to begin translating the latest IESBA Code of Ethics, which includes the NOCLAR standard.
Although VACPA is not directly responsible for the adoption of ethical requirements in Vietnam, it reports that it supports the MOF by drafting the code and presenting to the MOF for approval, and translating the Code into Vietnamese. VACPA also reports that the Code of Ethics is incorporated into mandatory annual CPD for its members.
In its role as technical support and advocator, it is encouraging that VACPA has indicated plans to translate the latest IESBA Code of Ethics as translations would facilitate a more timely adoption of latest standards and enhance implementation of the requirements. In the next submission of its SMO Action Plan, VACPA is encouraged to provide specific examples of the types of activities it plans to undertake to raise awareness of and support its members with the implementation of revised ethical requirements.
- SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Under the Government Decree No.25/2017/ND-CP, Decree No.174/2016/ND-CP, and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) Circular No.107/2017/TT-BTC, public sector entities follow a specialized Accounting Regime designed for the public sector. The Law on Accounting, revised in 2015, also provides regulations on government financial reporting. The MOF has indicated that as part of the National Accounting General Project, in 2020, a government financial reporting template will be completed by the Vietnam State Treasury (VST). It is envisioned that the VST, as a part of this project template, will develop a Treasury and Budget Management Information System to serve the needs of accounting in the public sector.
Although VACPA is not responsible for the adoption of public sector standards in Vietnam, it reports that its main activities have revolved around the promotion of IPSAS adoption and that it has supported research on IPSAS when participating in activities hosted by the MOF. VACPA reports that it has also attended workshops and conferences on IPSAS and issues around the public sector hosted by the MOF.
In August of 2018, VACPA collaborated with CAPA to organize a Roundtable on the Public Sector in Hanoi. In addition, VACPA also translated into Vietnamese and distributed “Improving Financial Management in the Public Sector-The Eight Key Elements of PFM Success” published by CAPA.
VACPA is encouraged to consider further collaborative activities with the MOF that promote the adoption of IPSAS, or activities that revolve around promoting and supporting the implementation of national public sector accounting standards. For example, VACPA is encouraged to consider its participation and contribution to the National Accounting General Project and TABMIS, and how its participation will benefit the profession and environment in Vietnam. As there are VACPA members that work in the public sector, VACPA is encouraged to consider and provide examples of support for those members to understand and apply public sector standards and regulations.
- SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
Under Decree No. 41 of 2018, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is responsible for establishing an investigation and disciplinary (I&D) mechanism in Vietnam for all professional accountants. The Law on Independent Audit sets out the types of violations that would warrant an investigation, and lists the sanctions that would be imposed on individuals guilty of misconduct. VACPA reports that it participates in the disciplinary committee of the MOF; however, other functions and roles of VACPA in this regard is unclear. The I&D mechanism implemented by the MOF is not aligned with the requirements of SMO 6.
VACPA states that its membership regulations stipulate certain criteria and conditions for engaging in practice—for example, adhering to continuing professional development (CPD) requirements and ethical requirements of the MOF. VACPA also reports that it has developed and published guidance that deals with complaints about its members, but it is not clear if its own I&D mechanism exists to investigate and discipline members who violate any of the regulations. On an annual basis, VACPA submits reports of CPD hours completed by all of its members to the MOF, who utilizes the data to issue or withdraw practicing certificates to auditors.
VACPA is strgonly encouraged to develop and execute specific plans to promote the requirements of SMO 6 to the MOF so that the existing I&D system in Vietnam can be aligned with international best practices. Similar to SMO 1, VACPA is encouraged to consider how it can reflect on findings from the MOF I&D mechanism to develop and tailor specific training for members.
- SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
Under Government Decree No. 87/2017/ND-CP, the Accounting and Auditing Supervisory Department (AASD), operating within the Ministry of Finance (MOF), is responsible for setting accounting standards for all entities in Vietnam. The AASD established the Vietnamese Accounting Standards Board, which has been given responsibility to develop Vietnamese Accounting Standards (VAS). The VAS are developed taking the IFRS into consideration; however, differences remain.
Although VACPA does not have responsibility for the adoption of the standards, it reports that it has provided feedback during the review and revision of accounting standards in Vietnam. VACPA reports that it has plans to support the MOF in translating the most recent IFRS into Vietnamese to facilitate the adoption of IFRS in Vietnam in the future. It also indicates it has taken an active approach in promoting the awareness of IFRS to its members and other stakeholders in the jurisdiction through training courses and CPD. The institute has hosted annual trainings on IFRS with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and it has also supported the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants in translating the standard on ‘Fair Value following IFRS’ into Vietnamese. In November of 2018, VACPA and ACCA will collaborate to launch a training program on IFRS for VACPA students and members.
VACPA is encouraged to continue its efforts to support the MOF with the translation of IFRS into Vietnamese and also participate in initiatives to promote the adoption of IFRS. In the next submission of its SMO Action Plan, VACPA is encouraged to provide updates on the overall effort to adopt IFRS in Vietnam.
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