IFAC and IAESB plan overhaul of education standard-setting board

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The International Federation of Accountants is changing the oversight and priorities of its International Accounting Education Standards Board, which sets standards for education and professional development of accountants.

The IAESB operates with the support of IFAC, which has come under pressure recently from the Monitoring Board, a group of international securities and auditing regulators that includes the European Commission and the Financial Stability Board, to overhaul two of its other boards, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board and the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (see IFAC concerned about losing separate standard-setting boards for auditing and ethics). The Monitoring Board wants more representation on the boards from non-accountants like investors and government regulators.

In the case of the International Accounting Education Standards Board, IFAC and the IAESB said Friday they will be changing oversight of the model for international accounting education to the IFAC board, instead of the Public Interest Oversight Board. They are also establishing a multi-stakeholder advisory group to help develop the future model, and facilitate a smooth transition from the current IAESB. The advisory group will include representatives from both the IAESB and IAESB Consultative Advisory Group to help develop and implement the new model, but it will presumably also include representatives from other types of constituents, as the Monitoring Board has been pushing for the IAASB and IESBA standard-setting boards.

“Global business, technology and education imperatives are placing new demands on the global profession, and we must anticipate and prepare for the future,” said IAESB Deputy Chair Anne-Marie Vitale, who will chair the new advisory group. “We will work with key stakeholders to develop a model that considers, addresses, and advances the needs of current and future accountants and acts in the public interest to progress a robust and relevant accountancy profession.”

IFAC pointed out the IAESB has contributed significantly to international accounting education and the global accountancy profession by developing high-quality International Education Standards, or IES, and by harnessing stakeholder relations to better understand future needs. The model will continue to advance IES implementation and build the capacity of professional accountancy organizations.

Ahead of the transition, the IAESB said it will focus on accelerating completion of its top priority projects, including revision to standards on Continuing Professional Development and finalizing new related guidance, and on its pivotal work on Information and Communications Technology and Professional Skepticism. It will also continue its work in order to position the future model to take maximum advantage of the IAESB’s body of work.

“The need for real-time advice and action on accountancy education is increasingly pressing,” said IAESB Chair Chris Austin in a statement. “Whilst the IAESB has made good progress in improving the quality and relevance of the IES and support material, a different model that combines standards development, capacity support, better leveraging the work of professional accountancy organizations, and monitoring compliance will have a bigger impact on the quality of accountancy education and hence on the profession. That will be in everyone’s best interest.”

The future model will start operations by July 1, 2019.

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Accounting education Accounting standards International accounting IFAC