Available Languages: English | Russian
When I started working in 2007 on accountancy and audit reform in the post-Soviet countries, it was clear that region needed a significant increase in qualified accountancy professionals able to support the ongoing adoption and implementation of international standards. The latest accountancy education practices, which help prepare professional accountants to support businesses and economies, were not available or accessible to aspiring professionals.
Although progress has been made in developing professional programs, accountancy education in many countries continues to be offered at the university level, with curriculum established by respective Ministries of Education, and initial professional development requirements as outlined in the International Education Standards (IES) for professional accountants are not always incorporated. In few jurisdictions is the completion of professional educational programs legally mandated to provide accounting, and in some countries, auditing services.
Mutual recognition of national qualifications offered by professional accountancy organizations (PAOs), often on a voluntary basis, in the region is limited or non-existent. No Russian-language qualification is internationally recognized as fully equivalent to international accountancy qualifications such as those offered by ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA and AICPA, among others. Limited international recognition of the quality of accountants and auditors in the region can lead to a lack of trust by both international and national investors in the quality of corporate financial information, creating an environment where good governance struggles, corruption thrives, and economic growth suffers.
The regional CAP/CIPA accountancy qualification in the Russian language, originally developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the early 2000s, offers a two-level certification in the Russian language but is not recognized as equivalent to international qualifications. Nor does it offer programming at the third, advanced level, and the materials have not been sufficiently and uniformly updated to incorporate the needs of the business community and employers as well as the developments in international standard-setting. An ACCA Diploma that has recently become available in Russian is a major step forward. However, only the first two levels are presently offered in the Russian language, with the third level still required to be undertaken in English. Other internationally recognized qualifications in English are available for aspiring professionals; but, they are in English and are rather expensive which restricts access.
Filling the void
A project Strengthening the Capacity of the Accountancy Profession in the Kyrgyz Republic, funded by the UK Government, administered by IFAC, and implemented by ICAEW aims to close this gap.
ICAEW has developed an up-to-date, competency-based, three-level professional qualification in the Russian language. The qualification will have 12 papers across three levels, supported by comprehensive study materials, question banks, and mock exams. ICAEW and IFAC closely collaborate with the World Bank, which is bringing university programs in accounting in the Kyrgyz Republic in line with international standards as part of The Kyrgyz Audit and Reporting Enhancement Project (KAREP).
The professional qualification is benchmarked against international qualifications and it is expected that, in due course, it will allow PAOs that effectively administer it to achieve mutual recognition. This will be an important consideration in light of the Eurasian Union economic integration, which will affect the accountancy profession in the participating states.
A new syllabus reflecting internationally recognized practices is now available
The syllabus for the new qualification, available both in English and Russian languages, is designed to meet the specific business needs of the region, and PAOs and stakeholders may find the qualification helpful in designing their national frameworks for the education of professional accountants.
The syllabus aims to prepare well-rounded advisors who:
- contribute real value in management of all types of organizations;
- act in the public interest as well as that of their employer or client;
- deliver and demonstrate competencies that include sound knowledge and higher value technical skills expected of future accountancy and finance professionals; and
- deliver their technical knowledge and skills in a practical and relevant way.
The main features of the syllabus include:
- A three-tier syllabus and examination structure aimed at supporting the development of competent professional accountants at the foundation, intermediate and advanced levels.
- Benchmarking with international qualifications to facilitate a degree of mutual recognition with other professional qualifications.
- Meeting the requirements of IES that are effective as of January 2021 and incorporating international accounting and auditing standards.
- A skills matrix that shows what skills are developed as students progress and the detailed syllabus that identifies the subject content and how students’ abilities are achieved in terms of competencies.
- Extensive references to ethical aspects of practicing in the accountancy profession. Students will be required to address ethical problems in auditing, financial reporting, governance, taxation, and other areas.
The development of the framework and the syllabus is only the first step. Study materials, question banks, and mock exams have also been finalized and are expected to be pilot-tested during the course of 2021. These materials will also be made publicly available and will help PAOs and other stakeholders responsible for lifelong learning of accountants to bring professional accountancy education in the Eurasian region to a new level.
Let’s work together to finally close the void!
For resources, guidance, and advice from the IFAC community on advancing accountancy education in the public interest, please visit the IFAC Accountancy Education E-Tool, an interactive, user-friendly compendium of authoritative IES and implementation support materials for PAOs and other stakeholders.