TEXT: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), a self-governing, autonomous body, was formed under the Chartered Accountants Ordinance, 1961 (CAO) for the purpose of regulating the accountancy profession. It operates under the provisions of the CAO and the CA Bye-laws, 1983 (Bye-laws).
The governance of the Institute vests with the Council under the provisions of CAO and CA Bye-laws. The Council provides strategic direction to the Institute, formulates policies on education, training and examination of students, membership of the Institute and other governance and regulatory matters.
ICAP sets forth and enforces the highest standards of qualification, education, training, professional development, service quality and ethical practices. The Institute is committed to promote the profession in the best public interest. ICAP promotes professional excellence through developing, monitoring and enforcing the highest standards of competence and ethical conduct.
The Institute has firmly established itself as a premier institution which produces qualified accountants, who are not only in high demand within the country but have also made a mark for themselves outside Pakistan.
In addition, ICAP plays a vital role in strengthening the regulatory framework in Pakistan through cooperation and collaboration with important policymaking institutions and regulators, including the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and other ministries.
ICAP has nearly 9,000 members who are playing a pivotal role in creating a high quality image of the Institute and the profession. ICAP members are key decision makers and strategists; contributing directly to achieve sustainable, adaptive and resilient organizations, business and economies.
Our members have presence in almost all sectors both locally and internationally, working in over 44 countries of all major economies around the world. Overseas members account for approximately 26% of overall membership.
The Institute realises that apart from professional education, values and ethics are critical attributes for a professional accountant. It upholds excellence in core competencies of the accounting profession adding value to the businesses and economy, safeguarding public interest, and aiding corporate governance in line with International best practices.
Professional development activities are provided through seminars, conferences and workshops and this year mostly through webinars.
ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISORY BOARD
Under the AML Act 2010, the Institute has been designated as an AML/ CFT Regulatory Authority. In this respect, the Institute has issued “Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Regulations for Chartered Accountants Reporting Firms” (ICAP AML/ CFT Regulations) under the authority given by the AML Act 2010.
In this regard, the Institute has also established an AML Supervisory Board to supervise, regulate, implement and enforce the ICAP AML/ CFT Regulations. The Board comprises of five members nominated by SECP, Financial Monitoring Unity (FMU) and the Council.
DIGITAL ASSURANCE AND ACCOUNTING BOARD
Digital Assurance and Accounting Board (DAAB) is established to monitor the digital technologies and the trends impacting the profession and practice of Accounting.
CORPORATE ADVISORY FORUM
To strengthen engagement with the corporate world, the Council has approved forming Corporate Advisory Forum, which will have representation of renowned corporate icons.
Corporate Advisory Forum will provide firsthand knowledge of emerging business trends and requirements in order to equip ICAP for proactive policy responses, particularly, in the areas of image building of ICAP, professional development of members and students, improving employability of ICAP professionals, expanding members’ practice domains and improving public trust.
INCUBATION CENTER – PROMOTING INNOVATION
To promote innovation and entrepreneurship among its members and students, the Institute is setting up an ICAP Incubation Centre. The I-Thrive incubation center will provide for a period of twelve months, basic office infrastructure and allied facilities along with mentoring and hand holding to budding entrepreneurs to enable them to embark on ventures in accounting and finance.
RESEARCH COLLABORATION WITH UNIVERSITIES
The Institute has collaborated with a leading university through ICAP-Universities Accounting Research Program. This program envisages mutually beneficial partnership between ICAP and leading universities in Pakistan under a defined framework with an aim to promote research in the areas relevant to the profession, including finance, accounting, auditing, corporate governance and taxation. For this, ICAP has signed a Framework with IBA Karachi for the development of a Research Unit which would allow students and members to partake in the development pragmatic and actionable research.
INTERNAL AUDIT PRACTICES DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
The Institute being the pioneer in establishing corporate governance in Pakistan is cognizant of the importance of the internal audit function for improving the effectiveness of governance, risk management and control processes of an organization. For this, the Internal Audit Practices Development Committee (IAPDC) has been formed to develop our members in this area through learning tools, guides and training.
DIGITAL FINANCIAL REPORTING IN PAKISTAN - IXBRL
Accounting Standards Board (ASB) initiated the project of ‘Digital Financial Reporting in Pakistan’ in public interest, in coordination with SECP. A detailed report on ‘Digital Financial Reporting in Pakistan’ prepared by ASB has been shared with SECP. As part of the project, the Institute is developing iXBRL financial reporting taxonomy. The iXBRL financial reporting taxonomy development is an integral part of the iXBRL system, and the Institute will be a significant contributor to this project.
PRACTICE REVIEW & SUPPORT PROGRAM
To strengthen our SMPs in line with the prevailing best practices, the Institute has rolled out the Audit Practice Review & Support Program for conducting firm and engagement review of non-Quality Control Review (QCR) rated firms engaged in audits, assurance or related services. The program has become effective from October 1, 2020.
LAUNCH OF CA WOMEN’S DIRECTORY 2020
The Companies Act 2017 has made it mandatory to include at least one woman as director on the board of public interest entities. CA Women’s Committee taking the initiative has published a directory showcasing talent of more than 350 CA women, which would assist the corporate sector to appoint professional women on their boards. The launching ceremony of CA Women's Directory 2020 was held at Pakistan Stock Exchange on January 24, 2020.
DIGITAL COMPETENCY ASSESSMENT
The Institute has developed a Digital Competence Assessment (DCA) survey to help SMPs self-evaluate their digital capabilities and taking steps to move up the maturity level on digital competency. The usage of the tool is open to SMPs free of charge.
BRANCH OFFICE IN UAE - FIRST INTERNATIONAL FOOTPRINT
ICAP has got the requisite approval to establish its branch office in UAE ‘ICAP (DMCC Branch)’.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & ENGAGEMENT DURING COVID-19 PHASE
Like every other aspect of our life, COVID-19 also reshaped the way we conduct our professional development activities. The Institute organized series of webinars on pertinent topics during the year in order to highlight opportunities for members coming out of pandemic.
Further, to facilitate our members in identifying and responding to key accounting and reporting implications in the state of uncertainties and complexities and to help our auditors in responding to challenges arising due to COVID-19, the Institute has issued a series of publications on financial reporting and auditing issues.
COVID-19 RESPONSE PAGE
ICAP’s website immediately became responsive for dissemination of information and announcement in times of crises due to COVID-19. ICAP launched a COVID-19 Response Webpage to serve as a hub of the Institute’s key information and updates and also to provide links to various digital resources, publications and professional development material.
ICAP MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
ICAP mentorship program has been put in to action by PAIB Committee in order to leverage experience of seasoned chartered accountant for the development of younger CAs.
STUDENTS SUPPORT PROGRAMS
The Institute has been attracting talented students from across Pakistan without neglecting the underprivileged segments of the society and funding them through ICAP Endowment Fund Program and Edhi-CA Talent Program.
ONLINE REMOTE PROCTORING AFC EXAMINATIONS
To avoid further loss of time for our students due to COVID-19, the Institute successfully conducted part of its Examination – Autumn 2020 under online remote proctoring environment.
NATIONAL FINANCE OLYMPIAD
National Finance Olympiad (NFO), launched in 2015, is an excellent combination of testing skills, showcasing talent and basking in the glory of triumph, conducted every year. The exciting program encourages participants to step up their knowledge and application of Accounting, Finance and Governance standards, facilitates networking and recognizes finance talent. The next Olympiad is planned on December 02, 2020.
VISION OF e-ICAP
As vision of e-ICAP, an automated process for new membership applications and FCA applications was introduced. Further, the process of application and approval of Students’ Endowment Fund were automated. The study pack request has also been automated through its work flow, from inception of requested to dispatch by courier.
The Institute signed agreement for implementation of SAP ERP & Student Life Cycle Management (SLCM). This implementation will significantly enhance the efficiency of operations of ICAP and the quality of service provided to its members, students, and other stakeholders.
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION & OUTREACH
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) has representation at various international forums. Nomination on International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) committee is an example.
On regional basis, the Institute plays its role through its nominees on South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA), Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and Asian Oceanian Standard- Setters Group (AOSSG). ICAP continues its focus to widen arrangements with international accountancy bodies, especially with bodies in countries where significant number of our members resides.
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) re-introduced its Pathway Scheme that included ICAP whose members are eligible to apply under the scheme.
For international recognitions of the CA qualification, ICAP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Canada, whereby the requirement of passing two capstone examinations in addition to Common Final Examination (CFE) is recommended.
ICAP signed an MoU with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) which facilitates ICAP members living in Australia or New Zealand to become a member of CAANZ.
ICAP and Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants (SOCPA) signed a MOU in February 2020 to assist in continued mutual support and collaboration towards the accounting profession, with CPD and other training activities scheduled in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020