Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants
Member | Established: 1982 | Member since 1984
ZiCA is a mandatory membership body for the accountancy profession in Zambia. It was established under the Accountants Act 1982 which was subsequently repealed and replaced by the Accountants Act of 2008. Under the Act, ZiCA is responsible for the following: (i) setting corporate accounting standards for application in Zambia; (ii) setting corporate auditing standards; (iii) establishing initial and continuing professional development requirements and accrediting tertiary education providers; (iv) setting ethical requirements; (v) carrying out quality assurance reviews for its practicing members; (vi) maintaining a registry of its registered and practicing members; and (vii) establishing an investigative and disciplinary system for its members as part of public interest considerations.
ZiCA’s membership includes: Graduate, Technician, Licentiate, Professional (Chartered Accountant) and Fellow / Associate. It is the only organization in Zambia permitted to grant qualified individuals with the Chartered Accountant designation.
In addition to being a Member of IFAC, ZiCA is also a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants and Chartered Accountants Worldwide.
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 order to fulfill its legal responsibility of establishing a quality assurance (QA) review system, ZiCA established a Practice Review Department in 2009 and contracted the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for a period of six years to carry out QA reviews. During this time, ACCA was also assisting ZiCA to strengthen its internal capacity to conduct the reviews. In 2014, the contract with ACCA expired and ZiCA began conducting all QA reviews in the jurisdiction. Since then it reports to have carried out reviews on four large audit firms and 17 reviews of small- and medium-practitioners (SMPs). As the institute has assumed ownership of the QA review system, ZiCA states that its Practice Review Department is committed to reviewing its QA review system to ensure that it remains in line with SMO 1 requirements.
In addition, in 2015, ZiCA adopted amendments to the Accountants Act 2008 in order to establish a Standards and Regulatory Board within the institute. The Board is comprised of independent members outside of the accounting profession such as banking, insurance, etc. The Board is responsible for oversight of practice reviews and approves the decisions of the Practice Review Committee. The Standards and Regulatory Board will refer a practitioner to the Disciplinary Committee in the event of three consecutive unsatisfactory reviews.
In July 2015, ZiCA continued strengthening its QA system by signing a partnership with Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and Department for International Development to increase knowledge sharing and capacity building of ZiCA’s reviewers. Under the partnership, which concluded in June 2017, reviewers from both ZiCA and ICAEW periodically took part in the QA reviews for one another. For example, in December 2016, ICAEW accompanied ZiCA reviewers during the reviews of large firms as part of the mentorship program. Additionally, ZiCA provides ongoing trainings for its Practice Review Officers on IFRS, ISA, ISQC 1, and the QA review methodology to enhance reviewers’ understanding of the standards and methodology. Similarly, the institute also offers an annual Practitioners’ Forum for its practicing members. The forum always includes topics such as updates to professional standards and common deficiencies found during the QA reviews.
Furthermore, to inform its members and the public about the QA review system, ZiCA provides an overview on its website of the QA review framework and cycle, consequences of unsatisfactory reviews, and benefits of conducting the reviews, as well as common review findings, outcomes, and subsequent recommendations for improvement particularly for SMPs.
The new suite of Quality Management standards that will become effective in 2021–2022 will require significant change management for regulators and firms. ZiCA is encouraged to prepare members and raise awareness 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
ZiCA is responsible for establishing initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements and has established its own qualification program which it reports is in line with IES requirements. Additionally, as many Chartered Accountants of ZiCA hold foreign qualifications, the institute has required these members to take an examination that assesses knowledge of local tax and business legislation. While it has established an Education and Training Committee to review, recommend, and revise the content of ZiCA’s education and training commitment, the monitoring and enforcement of CPD requirements is carried out by its Membership Committee as members renew their membership on an annual basis.
The Chartered Accountant (CA) Zambia programme was established in 2017 which has been registered and accredited by the Zambia Qualifications Authority (AQA) as of March 1, 2021. First, after its Education and Training Committee’s five-year review of its Accountancy Programme in 2015 and in consultation with various stakeholders, the institute decided to rebrand its current qualifications to CA Zambia and the Diploma in Accounting to align with worldwide qualifications. The new qualifications were changed effective June 2017 with the first examinations expected at the same time. Beginning in January 2017, ZiCA conducted training workshops for exam-setters on the new accountancy qualification syllabus and revised structure of the examinations. Between August 2021 and December 2022, ZiCA will also be conducting training workshops for exam setters incorporating the 2019 revisions to IES 2, 3, 4, and 8.
Second, ZiCA launched a post graduate program on Public Sector Financial Management in 2017 as most of its members are trained for private sector positions and as a result, there is a knowledge gap for members that are working in the public sector.
Moreover, on an ongoing basis, ZiCA indicates that it organizes CPD events for its members such as a monthly Accountants Forum, workshops on IFRS and ISA updates, IFRS for SMEs and Zambia Financial Reporting Standard for Micro and Small Entities, workshops for internal auditors and chief finance officers, an annual Business Conference, and a workshop prior to its Annual General Meeting. Additionally, to ensure that practical experience requirements are maintained and uniform across different training firms, ZiCA holds workshops for practical training providers during which new mentors are guided through the practical training requirements and assessment, and then sign a Memorandum of Understanding.
Finally, ZiCA indicates that it references new developments to the IES in its quarterly student magazine, and on its website ZiCA provides access to a list of accredited tuition providers, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and resources, such as past exams, to support new and current members.
It is commendable that the institute’s Education and Training Committee has established and began executing plans to review the revised IES requirements against the requirements of its latest educational and training programming by December 2022. In the next SMO Action Plan update, ZiCA is encouraged to report on the results of the review conducted. The IES Checklist and the Accountancy Education E-Tool developed by IFAC may be used to conduct the assessment.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
ZiCA is responsible for the adoption of auditing standards in Zambia and, based on recommendations from its Technical Committee, the institute has adopted ISA as issued by the IAASB without modifications and including effective date. The institute focuses its efforts on continuously supporting its members’ understanding and implementation of the applicable standards and contributing to the international and national standard-setting processes.
For example, following the issuance of the new auditor reporting standards in January 2015, ZiCA highlights that it began an awareness raising campaign amongst its members which included publishing a series of step-by-step implementation articles in its magazine and discussing the new standards during the 2016 Annual General Meeting. Furthermore, ZiCA also notes that it held consultative meetings with the Central Bank and other industry regulators on the new standards which resulted in the institute creating and disseminating practice guidance that broadened the scope on reporting Key Audit Matters to non-listed public interest entities and statutory bodies.
Additionally, ZiCA reports that it holds at least two continuing professional development workshops each year focused on the latest developments and updates to the standards. In addition, it provides links to the latest auditing standards and supporting resources on its website and includes new developments on ISA in its quarterly magazine.
Lastly, ZiCA states that it actively participates in the international standard-setting process by commenting on exposure drafts and discussion papers issued by the IAASB and monitoring new and revised standards for subsequent adoption and dissemination.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
ZiCA—the entity responsible for setting ethical requirements for its members—indicates it has adopted the IESBA Code of Ethics in effect at the time of this assessment and has established procedures to review the Code to incorporate revisions and updates.
ZiCA states that it regularly organizes continuing professional development (CPD) programs for its members to communicate the requirements of the IESBA Code and incorporates ethics topics into its CPD events such as its pre-Annual General Meeting workshop, internal auditors’ workshop, and workshop on ISA and IFRS updates. Given the issuance of the 2016 IESBA Handbook and the new NOCLAR standard, ZiCA reports that it has reviewed the standard and is in the process of sensitizing its members. Moreover, the institute notes that it is monitoring its implementation and is considering developing practice guidance on around the standard.
As part of its required review of its Accountancy Programme, ZiCA reports that it updates its syllabus every three years to incorporate new ethics requirements. In addition, it indicates that it provides all new members with a CD containing the IESBA Code.
The institute also reports that it is active in contributing to the international standard-setting process by submitting comments to IESBA-issued exposure drafts and discussion papers.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
In Zambia, ZiCA is mandated to develop, promote, and enforce internationally comparable practice standards, which include public sector accounting standards. Currently cash-based IPSAS are applied in Zambia; however, ZiCA reports that it has put forth the recommendation of adopting IPSAS as issued by the IPSASB and is working in coordination with the government to define a roadmap for the implementation of accrual IPSAS for all relevant departments in the jurisdiction by 2024. ZiCA has indicated that funds to implement this project have been secured from the World Bank and, with the procurement of a consultant to do a feasibility study now underway, ZiCA states it will continue to play an advisory role in the implementation process.
Additionally, in 2017, ZiCA launched a post graduate program on Public Sector Financial Management as the majority of its members are trained for private sector positions and as a result, there is a knowledge gap for members that are working in the public sector. To further address the knowledge gap, ZiCA also integrated public sector content into their professional qualification.
ZiCA has already been supporting its members working in the public sector with training resources. In March 2016 it held a two-day training on IPSAS and going forward, ZiCA intends to hold annual workshops on IPSAS. The institute also provides links to public sector accounting resources and the standards on its websites.
Finally, ZiCA also indicates it participates in the international standard-setting process by submitting comments on exposure drafts issued by the IPSASB.
During its next Action Plan submission, ZiCA is encouraged to provide an update on the progress of activities associated with the implementation the roadmap for accrual IPSAS.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
ZiCA is responsible for establishing an investigative and disciplinary (I&D) system and accordingly, it has established and operationalized a system for all professional accountants that is line with the SMO 6 requirements. The institute notes that it regularly reviews its I&D procedures to ensure they continue to meet SMO 6 requirements.
For example, under the Accountants Act, the established Disciplinary Committee is chaired by senior legal practitioners to enhance independence. In addition, ZiCA has signed Memorandums of Understanding with its members’ qualifying institutes, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, to exchange information for disciplinary purposes. ZiCA reports that decisions of its Disciplinary Committee may be appealed to the High Court of Zambia.
ZiCA also states that it presents reports from its Disciplinary Committee to its members each year during the Annual General Meeting and publishes cases heard by the Disciplinary Committee in its quarterly magazine as well as local media. In 2020, ZiCA reports to have received 26 complaints, 7 of which were referred to the Disciplinary Committee.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
As the legal accounting standard-setter in Zambia, ZiCA has adopted IFRS as issued by the IASB without modifications including effective dates since 2005. Furthermore, in 2010, the institute also established a tiered reporting framework to designate which companies must apply full IFRS and which may apply IFRS for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs) and issued a Zambian Financial Reporting Standard for Micro and Small Entities.
ZiCA supports its members with the implementation of the standards by organizing annual workshops on IFRS updates, IFRS for SMEs, and the standards for micro and small entities. It also includes relevant links to the standards and resources on its website along with other information that is pertinent to the application of accounting standards in Zambia.
Additionally, ZiCA’s Technical Committee intends to partner with the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) to review listed companies’ compliance with the IFRS. ZiCA details that the review would be incorporated into the LuSE’s Corporate Governance Code assessment for listed entities. In 2016, a compliance checklist was developed and shared with the LuSE but was not utilized as modalities were not yet agreed upon.
Lastly, ZiCA also reports it contributes to the international standard-setting process by commenting on exposure drafts issued by the IASB.
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