Development of engagement partners to be revised

STANDARDS GOVERNING the development of audit engagement partners are to be revised as part of an initiative to improve the clarity of accounting education standards.

The education board of IFAC, the global accounting regulator, is consulting on changes to IES 8, the standard that governs the professional development for engagement partners responsible for audits of financial statements.

As part of the revised standard, the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) is proposing learning outcomes – rather than prescribing requirements – that demonstrate the professional competence required to become an engagement partner in areas relating to technical competence and professional skills, as well as professional values, ethics and attitudes.

The IAESB also included a new requirement for IFAC member bodies to regularly review and update their professional development programmes and included clarifications on practical experience and assessment activities.

IFAC member bodies will be required to establish appropriate assessment activities to assess the achievement of the necessary skills and values of aspiring engagement partners, and will need to prescribe the sufficiency of and the environment within which practical experience is obtained by the aspiring engagement partner.

“A primary way the accountancy profession protects the public interest is by requiring that engagement partners have the necessary skills and training to perform their roles effectively,” said Peter Wolnizer, IAESB chairman. “The public has a right to expect that engagement partners are properly trained and can be relied upon to competently perform audits of financial statements throughout their careers.”

As part of its initiative to improve the clarity of its standards, the IAESB is redrafting all eight of its IESs.

The IAESB is expecting to finalise IES 8 in the third quarter of 2013 and has provisionally agreed that IES 8 will be effective for implementation for periods beginning on or after 1 July, 2015.

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