Developing Competent Professional Accountants
By the MIA CPE Compliance Department
Professional accountants are the core building blocks of the nation, playing a critical role in the business ecosystem, whether in their capacity as professional accountants in business, assurance providers or consultants. Hence, it is essential that professional accountants have the necessary professional competence to perform their duties. To achieve this, professional accountants need to be lifelong learners, constantly keeping abreast with the latest developments.
Championing good governance amongst public accountants
Professional accountants, in holding themselves out to the public as possessing the requisite skills, knowledge and competencies, are required to fulfil the CPE requirements as outlined in the Institute’s By-Laws on Continuing Professional Education [Section 410].
The onus is on each individual to ensure that they maintain and/or acquire the necessary competencies to render professional services to the public.
Holding professional accountants to higher standards
All professional accountants are required to achieve a minimum of 20 structured CPE credit hours per annum [By-Laws Section 410.4]. As a step-up effort in safeguarding public interest, the Institute has imposed more stringent CPE compliance requirements on professional accountants serving the public.
Approved company auditors
Effective 1 January 2017, approved company auditors are required to fulfil 10 out of 20 structured CPE hours on training related to International Standards on Quality Control (ISQC 1), approved auditing standards and/or approved accounting standards [By-Laws Section 410.4 and Appendix V].
Practising Certificate holders
The Institute has included the CPE compliance as a mandatory requirement for Practicing Certificate (PC) holders. PC holders who wish to renew the practicing certificate in the next financial year 2018/2019 would be required to comply with the 2017 CPE credit hours requirements. For subsequent years’ PC renewal, PC holders must ensure that the preceding year’s CPE credit hours are met.
Weeding out recalcitrant professional accountants
Continuous learning ensures that professional accountants are kept in the ‘know-how’ on matters relating to the profession and ensures the respect of the profession from stakeholders and the public.
As a monitoring process, the Institute conducts CPE audit annually on professional accountants to determine their compliance in accordance with the Institute’s By-Laws.
To uphold the PC status, PC holders who have not complied with the CPE requirement will not be eligible to renew their practising certificate and this may result in cancellation of the practising certificate. One shall not hold themselves out as a member of public practice and provide public practice services without a valid PC issued by the Institute.
For 2016/2017, as a result of failing to comply with the Institute’s CPE requirements, three members did not obtain the Institute’s support in their application for their renewal of audit licenses to the Accountant General.
Fulfilling the yearly CPE requirements should not be viewed as just another item to tick off the annual to-do-list. Instead, professional accountants should take charge of their self-development, remaining steadfast in their commitment to providing competent services to the public while upholding the values of integrity, accountability and trust.
Above all, the Institute remains committed to its primary purpose of developing and regulating the accountancy profession to mould competent and ethical accountants to support nation-building as enshrined in the Accountants Act 1967.