The International Accounting Education Standards Board has proposed a set of clarified standards and revisions governing the practical experience requirements for aspiring professional accountants.

The IAESB, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, released the document for public exposure as a proposed revision of International Education Standard 5, Practical Experience Requirements. IES 5 currently prescribes the practical experience that International Federation of Accountants member bodies such as the American Institute of CPAs should require before qualification as a professional accountant. In addition, this IES can be helpful to educational organizations, employers, regulators, government authorities, and any other stakeholders who support the practical experience of professional accountants.

The revision of IES 5 continues to support the use of practical experience in developing the competence of an aspiring professional accountant, but also proposes greater flexibility in measuring practical experience; permitting supervisors or mentors to direct an aspiring professional accountant’s experience; and requiring practical experience to be recorded in a verifiable and consistent form.

“The IAESB believes that relevant practical experience is at the heart of the development of competence of a professional accountant,” said IAESB chairman Mark Allison in a statement. “This revision of IES 5 reflects the different ways that experience can be gained, and is a significant step from a rules-based approach to a system based on principles.”

IFAC member bodies will be required to demonstrate that the method of gaining experience follows one of three approaches: input-based, output-based, or a combination of input- and output-based approaches.

“We have ensured that this approach to experience requirements for Initial Professional Development is consistent with that recently issued for the continuing professional development of experienced professional accountants,” said Allison.

The IAESB has undertaken a project to redraft all eight of its International Education Standards in accordance with its new clarity drafting conventions, as outlined in its 2010-2012 Strategy and Work Plan. This project began in December 2010 with the proposed revision of IES 7, Continuing Professional Development: A Program of Lifelong Learning and Continuing Development of Professional Competence. Proposed revisions of IES 4, Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes, and IES 6, Assessment of Professional Competence, were released for exposure in April 2011. IES 1, Entry Requirements to a Program of Professional Accounting Education, was released on June 21. The comment period for these three standards is still open. The current timetable envisages that all the standards will have been revised and redrafted, or redrafted only, by the first quarter of 2013.

To access the exposure draft and submit a comment, visit the IAESB’s Web site at Comments on the exposure draft are requested by Oct. 8, 2011.

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