How the Accountancy Profession is Helping Fight Corruption and Economic Crime in Costa Rica
Guillermo Smith Ramírez | February 15, 2023
Available Languages: English | Spanish-Latin America
Costa Rica’s Certified Public Accounts Association (CCPA) has endorsed and supported The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Action Plan for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime, launched in September 2022 to combat money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and other financial crimes. IFAC's plan is based on five pillars: education and professional development; support for international standards; formulation of prevention and control policies based on evidence contained in high-quality information; engagement, and partnership of the profession at a global level; and assurance that accountants’ viewpoints and voice are heard.
Anti-corruption is interwoven with the accountancy profession, which is recognized worldwide as essential for financial markets to development more solid and sustainable economies. Professional accountants serve the public's interest in the pursuit of credibility, relevance, reputation, and the value we provide.
The CCPA is contributing to anti-corruption activities. Effective December 21, 2022, the CCPA conducted an integral update of its Code of Ethics, reinforcing the certified public accountant (CPA) response to legal and regulatory breaches. According to the updated Code of Ethics, CPAs must aby by the authorities breaches of the following regulation:
- Law on Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances, Unauthorized Use of Drugs, Connected Activities, Capital Legalization, and Terrorist Funding;
- Law on Combating Tax Evasion;
- Law on the Liability of Legal Persons for Domestic and International Bribery and Other Crimes.
This means that the CPA’s role has been expanded. Their suitability, experience, and professional competence contribute further to transparency and reliability; they also may alert an institution’s corporate management on alleged acts and fraud risk.
In addition to the CCPA update to its Code of Ethics, it presented an integral reform to its implementing regulation to Law 1038, which incorporates an update on the CPA's activities and duties, and which addresses corruption, money laundering, and unlawful acts. Furthermore, to raise awareness of the changes and cooperate with critical national stakeholders, the CCPA signed a cooperation agreement with the Foundation for the Study of Money Laundering and Crime (FELADE), and jointly worked with the Costa Rican Drug Institute (ICD) and the Public Ethics Procuracy.
The Costa Rican media followed up on these changes and the commitment of the accountancy profession to fight these crimes.
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The CCPA Board considered that IFAC's Action Plan constitutes an excellent framework to improve our profession's contribution to the fight against corruption. Nonetheless, we must understand that though anti-corruption is a fundamental part of our practice, we cannot be successful alone, but that success can only be achieved in collaboration with other key players, such as government corporations, political leaders, and the active participation of the private and the public sectors.
Education and training have a vital role in fighting corruption: as we will forge better professionals, we will also be avoiding a credibility and reputation risk. This is why CCPA is committed to maintaining permanent training in its annual programs.
“Public accounting is excellence made into a profession, so by doing our job well, we show our passion, love to the discipline, and respect for whoever receives our reports”.
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