The International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) has released for public exposure a proposed revision of International Education Standard (IES) 6, Assessment of Professional Competence. The revised education standard will assist IFAC member bodies and other professional accountancy organisations in understanding both the learning and development requirements for areas of assessment of professional competence, and their obligations in upholding the standards.
IES 6, originally drafted in 2004, currently prescribes the requirements for a final assessment of a candidate’s professional capabilities and competence before qualification. The revised standard addresses elements that are essential to assessing professional competence over the career of a professional accountant. Specifically, it proposes:
* A principles-based approach, which specifies the requirements for the assessment of professional competence across the Initial Professional Development (IPD) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of a professional accountant;
* Principles of individual assessment used by member bodies to assess professional competence—applied across IPD and CPD career stages—that shall be reliable, valid, equitable, transparent, and sufficient; and
* A requirement that IFAC member bodies undertake a formal evaluation of the adequacy of competence of aspiring professional accountants prior to their admission to the profession and have a systematic process to verify whether professional accountants meet CPD requirements.
“An overall assessment of the competence of aspiring professional accountants before qualification is essential in sustaining public trust. Professional accountants must engage in development and assessment activities to maintain competence throughout their careers due to a constantly changing work environment,” explains Mark Allison, chairman of the IAESB. “The IAESB believes that the features of these proposed revisions, which demonstrate our desire to move to a more principles-based approach in standard setting, will be more useful to IFAC member bodies and other professional accountancy organisations, educational institutions, regulators, and other interested parties than the current approach.”
The IAESB has undertaken a project to redraft all eight of its IESs in accordance with its new clarity drafting conventions, as outlined in its 2010-2012 Strategy and Work Plan. This project began in December 2010 with the proposed revision of IES 7, Continuing Professional Development: A Program of Lifelong Learning and Continuing Development of Professional Competence. A proposed revision of IES 4, Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes was released for exposure earlier this month, and the comment period is still open. The current timetable envisages that all IESs will have been revised and redrafted, or redrafted only, by the first quarter of 2013.
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