The education professional accountants receive—both before and after they earn an accountancy qualification—establishes the groundwork for a strong, sustainable, resilient accountancy profession able to evolve as the landscape changes and engender trust in organizations, markets, and economies. Creating and evolving this education foundation involves:
- Pathways into the profession that are open to all, including aspiring accountants from different socio-economic backgrounds as well as marginalized and underrepresented communities.
- International Education Standards, which set forth the principles for accountancy programs and focus on a learning outcomes approach, that is, focusing on what is learned rather than what test is passed.
- Professional accountancy organizations, which base their education requirements on the standards and work with national authorities, regulators, universities and private education providers, and others to adopt and implement the standards.
- An expansive, complex education ecosystem that includes professors and universities, academics, regulators, governments, and professional accountants working together to best equip current and future accountants with the skills and training they need.
- A continuous cycle of evaluating and revising the International Education Standards to ensure they meet the needs of the global accountancy profession and the stakeholders that rely on it.
- Professional accountants committed to being life-long learners eager to learn new ways to apply existing skill sets as well as maintain current skills and expertise.
To meet these objectives, IFAC follows a multistakeholder approach that includes advice and counsel from the International Panel for Accountancy Education, regular input from education directors at IFAC member organizations and the Forum of Firms, and input and oversight from the IFAC Board.
- Helen Partridge, CFO and Director, Accountancy Education
- Bruce Vivian, Principal
International Education Standards
The International Education Standards (IESs) set out the principles and learning outcomes all accountancy programs should follow, including requirements for pre- and post-qualification education. The IESs cover:
- Entry into an accountancy program
- Initial education for aspiring accountants (technical competence, professional skills and professional values, ethics, and attitudes)
- Applying and assessing education for aspiring accountants (practical experience and assessment)
- Building and maintaining skills for previously qualified accountants (post-qualification education and audit engagement partner competence)
Explore the International Education Standards and related resources in the IFAC Accountancy Education e-Tool.
The International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) made significant contributions to international accountancy education and the global accountancy profession by developing high-quality, relevant International Education Standards and by harnessing stakeholder relations to understand future needs. In 2018, the IAESB and IFAC agreed on a new path forward that includes shifting the responsibility for the International Education Standards and guiding accountancy education into the future to IFAC, working in close partnership with its 180 member organizations, Network Partners and Forum of Firms stakeholders. The valuable contributions of and publications by the IAESB are included throughout this website and serve as a foundation to build upon.