President of Caribbean accountants calls on members to cooperate and forge a stronger regional profession

27 June 2016 by Carlos Martin Tornero

Belize City, Belize. Jasmine Davis, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC), called on all the Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) of the region to work closer together in the pursuit of a stronger cooperation to commit to the promotion of a robust compliance culture within professional bodies.

Davis addressed the participants of a consultative meeting on capacity building held in association with IFAC on Thursday 23 June, to which The Accountant was given access, preceding ICAC annual conference which this year takes place in Belize.

This PAO joint meeting with IFAC follows up on a previous one held in April where ICAC members identified key challenges that are hindering the betterment of their respective national professions.

Among those challenges are the implementation and enforcement of international standards, the ability to effectively conduct lobby to influence government, as well as advocacy activities to strengthen the reach of the profession both at national and regional levels.

However, it was acknowledged that those challenges will not be overcome unless stronger PAO-to-PAO cooperation between ICAC members is achieved.

In that respect, Davis called on ICAC members to "work as a region" and use "the power of collaboration".

"Don't say it, do it," Davis remarked, meaning that for ICAC to move forward, commitment and not just words are needed.

She added that ICAC board members are accountable, and as such they should deliver on that work, despite the idiosyncrasies of each ICAC member countries.

Davis's remarks were in line with the other main topics addressed at the meeting: IFAC membership rules (Statements of Membership Obligations or SMOs) on quality assurance (SMO 1) and investigation and discipline of accountants (SMO 6).

The majority of ICAC members hold full IFAC membership (as opposed to associates and affiliates), for which they are required to comply with the federation's SMOs.

IFAC technical manager Darlene Nzorubara and ACCA director of regulatory development Sha Ali Khan made presentations focusing on the challenges to comply with those SMOs.

Regarding SMO 6 Nzorubara said one of the main difficulties is to guarantee the independence of the investigation and disciplinary process of individual members.

Khan highlighted that PAOs should guarantee that the disciplinary process is followed in full and that there are consequences for accountants who have breached their duties.

During the course of the meeting representatives from the institutes of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Eastern Caribbean and Guyana shared their experiences on SMO 1 and SMO 6 with their fellow ICAC members.

"Don't make exceptions. The credibility of the profession is at stake," Davies added in her closing remarks.