Three Caribbean professional
bodies have partnered with the Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants (ACCA) to implement audit practice monitoring
programmes in Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and

The programme is a regional initiative of the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC), an umbrella body for
the Caribbean institutes. ICAC president Angela Lee Loy said it is
intended to improve the standards within the regional accountancy
profession, raise the international profile of the local profession
and fulfil the International Federation of Accountants’ (IFAC)
requirements for members to maintain efficient quality assurance
review systems.

Joint stakeholders

The monitoring will be carried out by the ACCA and the findings
will be reported to the three regional institutes, who will retain
full regulatory responsibility for practitioners and firms. Both
the ACCA and the local institutes are stakeholders in the Caribbean
profession as many practitioners are qualified with both

ACCA head of practice monitoring Sha Ali Khan said that five
years ago the ACCA council decided the association’s members should
be subject to robust regulation no matter where they are located.
“Although we have always had a professional conduct department to
investigate complaints and take disciplinary action, one of the
things that we don’t have is all our members subject to audit
monitoring or quality assurance,” he said.

“In the UK, since the Companies Act in 1989, ACCA members like
any other registered auditors, are subject to frequent inspections
and ACCA’s council decided that members in public practice outside
the UK should also be subject to some sort of inspection

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Khan said the ACCA’s strategy for monitoring members in
jurisdictions that don’t have monitoring by regulators is to
collaborate with the local professional body wherever possible. The
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus was the first
such partnership and the ACCA also has contracts with professional
bodies in Botswana, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia.

In the Caribbean, the institutes of Trinidad and Tobago,
Barbados and Guyana, along with Jamaica, were initially approached
regarding the monitoring as they are the largest in the region. The
Jamaican institute is yet to finalise its contract as it had
another level of regulation to contend with.

“Unlike the other Caribbean islands, Jamaica has what is known
as the Public Accountancy Board, which is really an arm of the
government,” Loy explained. “So the institute has to work alongside
the public accountancy board and they of course had their own
concerns. So [the Jamaican institute] had to deal with that at a
more localised position.”

Loy said the Jamaican institute has received formal approval
from the government and is expected to finalise its contract with
the ACCA imminently. Khan said there are a couple of other smaller
Caribbean institutes that the ACCA is talking to as well.

The ACCA will, partly due to its duty to its members, absorb
two-thirds of the monitoring costs, Loy said. The ICAC president’s
local institute in Trinidad and Tobago has already charged its
members the remaining third. “I personally think it’s a reasonable
fee, it’s an amount of £172 ($321) per person,” Loy said.

The first monitoring visits are expected to occur in October
this year. The monitoring will run on the cycles recommended under
IFAC’s Statement of Membership Obligations 1, which is every six
years for non-public interest entities and every three years for
public interest entities.

Added benefits

Loy said the monitoring will be useful for members in terms of
getting them better positioned to “deal with the complexities of
the world”. “What I think will be very fulfilling for many of the
people is how much they can learn through this process. It is not
only about being a bad guy, but it is about educating them on how
they could do things better. The ACCA was very frank about that,
they said ‘we are not here to throw you off the wall, this is new
for some people, it is going to be a learning curve’,” she

At this stage only audit firms in the Caribbean will be
monitored, however in the UK the ACCA has a programme where it
examines members’ firms to ensure they are applying best practice
and complying with rules and regulations where it doesn’t involve

This scheme has been extended to Cyprus and could at some stage
be extended to other jurisdictions, including the Caribbean.

Carolyn Canham