The International Accounting Education Standards Board has issued a set of revised standards for the initial professional development of accountants emphasizing that practical experience plays a key role in developing the competence of fledgling accountants.

International Education Standard 5, Initial Professional Development—Practical Experience aims to assist educational organizations, employers, regulators, government authorities and other stakeholders who support the practical experience of professional accountants. The revised IES 5, which is effective from July 1, 2015, recognizes that practical experience is relevant in developing the competence of an aspiring professional accountant while also promoting greater flexibility in measuring practical experience. The revised standard also permits “practical experience supervisors” to direct, advise and assist an aspiring professional accountant’s experience; and requires practical experience to be recorded in a verifiable and consistent way.

“The revised IES 5 requires that the aspiring professional accountant completes practical experience by the end of initial professional development to perform a role of a professional accountant,” IAESB chair Peter Wolnizer said in a statement. “In addition, International Federation of Accountants member bodies are required to demonstrate that the method used by the aspiring professional accountant to gain experience follows one of three approaches: input-based, output-based, or a combination of input- and output-based. These approaches meet the public expectation that a professional accountant has completed a professional accounting education program and has obtained sufficient practical experience.”

The IAESB operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, of which the American Institute of CPAs is a member body.

The release of the revised IES 5 represents the fourth standard released by the IAESB as part of a project to revise its suite of eight International Education Standards. Recently, IES 1, Entry Requirements to Professional Accounting Education Programs, IES 6, Initial Professional Development – Assessment of Professional Competence, and IES 7, Continuing Professional Development were published in accordance with the clarity drafting conventions outlined in the Framework of International Education Standards for Professional Accountants (2009). The current timetable envisages that all the education standards will have been revised and redrafted, or redrafted only, by the fourth quarter of 2013.

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