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(New York, New York, December 13, 2013)

The International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) today released for public exposure a proposed revision of International Education Standard (IES) 8, Professional Competence for Engagement Partners Responsible for Audits of Financial Statements.

A revised draft of IES 8 was exposed for public comment in August 2012 and, while respondents’ comments were generally supportive, further clarification was requested on the scope of the standard and in explaining the requirement on learning outcomes. As a result, the IAESB has made substantial changes to the content of IES 8.

The revised standard now focuses on the professional competence requirement for engagement partners who have responsibility for audits of financial statements. IES 8 is primarily aimed at IFAC member bodies, but recognizes the shared responsibilities of engagement partners, public accounting firms, and regulators as part of the system of quality control for engagement teams performing audits of financial statements. The proposed revision of IES 8 will also be of interest to employers, government authorities, educational organizations, and any other stakeholders who support the learning and development of professional accountants.

The IAESB recognizes that continuing professional development is required for professional accountants to develop and maintain the competence to perform the role of an engagement partner. Accordingly, the IAESB is proposing learning outcomes that engagement partners need to demonstrate in areas relating to technical competence, professional skills, and professional values, ethics, and attitudes. As the career of an engagement partner progresses, practical experience also becomes increasingly important in maintaining and further developing the necessary depth and breadth of professional competence.

“A primary way the accountancy profession protects the public interest is by requiring that engagement partners have the necessary skills and training to perform their roles effectively,” said Prof. Peter Wolnizer, IAESB chair. “The public has a right to expect that engagement partners are properly trained and can be relied upon to competently perform audits of financial statements throughout their careers.”

As part of its initiative to improve the clarity of its standards, the IAESB is redrafting all eight of its IESs in accordance with its new drafting conventions. The revision of IES 8 builds upon educational requirements stated in the revised:  IES 2, Initial Professional Development – Technical Competence; IES 3, Initial Professional Development – Professional Skills; IES 4, Initial Professional Development – Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes; IES 5, Initial Professional Development – Practical Experience; and IES 6, Initial Professional Development – Assessment of Professional Competence.

Under the current timetable, the IAESB anticipates that all IESs will have been revised and redrafted, or redrafted only, by Quarter 4 of 2014.

How to Comment
The IAESB invites all stakeholders to comment on its proposals. To access the IES 8 exposure draft and submit comments, visit the IAESB’s website. Comments are requested by April 17, 2014.

About the IAESB
The IAESB develops education standards, guidance, and information papers for use by IFAC member bodies under a shared standard-setting process involving the Public Interest Oversight Board, which oversees the activities of the IAESB, and the IAESB Consultative Advisory Group, which provides public interest input into the development of the standards and guidance. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IAESB are facilitated by IFAC.

About IFAC
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. It is comprised of 179 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.

Jennifer DiClerico
Head of Communications

Prepared by IFAC's Communications Department. Contact communications@ifac.org for further information.
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