The International Accounting Education Standards Board has published three new International Education Standards, adjusting the suggested content of educational programs for initial professional development of aspiring accountants.

The three new standards—IES 2, Initial Professional Development-Technical Competence; IES 3, Initial Professional Development-Professional Skills; and IES 4, Initial Professional Development-Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes—will replace the educational requirements of the three existing standards: IES 2, Content of Professional Accounting Education Programs; IES 3, Professional Skills and General Education; and IES 4, Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes.

Under the standards, the content of a professional accounting education program is supposed to support aspiring accountants in developing professional competence, including technical competence, professional skills, and professional values, ethics and attitudes. Each of the new standards specifies various competence areas and learning outcomes relating to the professional competence required of aspiring accountants.

The IAESB develops education standards, guidance and information papers for use by member bodies of the International Federation of Accountants. The American Institute of CPAs is one of IFAC’s member bodies.

The new standards take effect July 1, 2015, and aim to help accounting organizations, as well as educational organizations, employers, regulators, government authorities, and other stakeholders that support the learning and development of accountants.

“These three education standards form the content of the professional accounting education program,” said IAESB chair Peter Wolnizer in a statement. “The learning and development that is demonstrated within a professional accounting education program by aspiring professional accountants remain one of the fundamental pillars in achieving high-quality financial reporting.”

IES 2 prescribes the learning outcomes for technical competence that aspiring accountants are required to demonstrate by the end of their initial professional development, including the ability to apply professional knowledge to perform a role to a defined standard.

IES 3 describes the learning outcomes for professional skills that aspiring accountants are required to demonstrate by the end of their initial professional development. The professional skills include intellectual, interpersonal, personal and organizational skills that an accountant integrates with technical competence and professional values, ethics and attitudes to demonstrate their professional competence.

IES 4 covers the learning outcomes for professional values, ethics and attitudes that aspiring accountants are required to demonstrate by the end of their initial professional development. Professional values, ethics, and attitudes are defined as the behavior and characteristics that identify accountants as members of a profession. They include the ethical principles generally associated with, and considered essential in defining, the distinctive characteristics of professional behavior.

The new standards stem from the IAESB’s initiative to improve the clarity of its International Education Standards. So far, the IAESB has redrafted and revised IES 1 through 6 to prescribe the requirements for initial professional development. In addition, IES 7, Continuing Professional Development, has been redrafted in accordance with the IAESB’s new drafting conventions. IES 8, the remaining standard in the set of eight education standards, is expected to be redrafted and revised by the fourth quarter of this year.

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