New IAESB Exposure Draft Focuses on Clarifying Accounting Education Standards

Mar 26, 2009 | New York | English

The International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) approved a new exposure draft (ED) that includes recommendations to help improve the clarity of International Education Standards. Comments on this new ED, Explanatory Memorandum on IAESB Drafting Conventions, are invited by May 29, 2009.

Clarifying Professional Standards
The Explanatory Memorandum on IAESB Drafting Conventions reaffirms the IAESB's belief that the use of clear, concise, consistent, and definitive imperatives are essential to the consistent application of international standards. Key elements of the new drafting style include:

  • Basing the standards on objectives, as opposed to procedural considerations;
  • Use of the word "shall" to identify requirements that IFAC member bodies are expected to follow;
  • Eliminating the present tense to describe actions by an IFAC member body, which some had regarded as ambiguous in terms of obligation; and
  • Structural improvements to enhance the overall readability and understandability of the standards.

"International standards that are clear and capable of consistent application should contain no ambiguity about the requirements that an IFAC member body or other interested stakeholder in accounting education must meet," states Mark Allison, chair of the IAESB. "The proposed changes are designed to achieve this goal. This, in turn, will enhance implementation worldwide."

The IAESB has focused its efforts on (1) defining the structure of the Standards, and (2) clarifying the language used to describe the requirements of each IFAC member body.  The development of drafting conventions will ensure consistency among IAESB educational pronouncements, as well as consistency with other Boards' use of drafting conventions wherever possible.

How to Comment
The ED can be viewed by going to Comments may be submitted by email to They can also be faxed to the attention of the IAESB Technical Manager at +1 (212) 286-9570 or mailed to IFAC, 545 Fifth Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA. All comments will be considered a matter of public record and will ultimately be posted on IFAC's website.

About the IAESB and IFAC
The IAESB ( develops standards and guidance on prequalification education, training, and continuing professional education and development for all members of the accountancy profession. The Public Interest Oversight Board oversees the activities of the IAESB and, as one element of that oversight, establishes the criteria for its due process and working procedures.

IFAC ( is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 157 members and associates in 122 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. In addition to setting International Education Standards, IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets ethics, auditing and assurance, and public sector accounting standards. It also issues guidance to encourage high-quality performance by professional accountants in business.


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