ICAG pursues actions that are ultimately in the public interest

Dear Editor,

It has come to the attention of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Guyana (ICAG) that various comments have been posted on Facebook by Mr. Nigel Hinds which seek to slander the ICAG. The ICAG Board would like to inform the public of the following facts:

The ICAG was established in 1966 and became a statutory body with the enactment of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Guyana Act 1991 (ICAG Act). Among its objectives is the training, education and examination of persons practicing or intending to practice the accountancy profession. To this end, ICAG has a joint examination program with the Internationally Recognized Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) to offer its professional accountant qualification in Guyana. This offer is open to all interested persons without restriction. There are several private educational institutions in Guyana that offer high quality courses to Guyanese students.

In addition to this path to membership, members of other recognized professional accountancy bodies (eg AICPA, CPA-Canada and ICAEW) are also potentially eligible for ICAG membership. ICAG members wishing to provide accounting services to the public must hold a license to practice, in addition to membership. The normal requirement for issuance of a license to practice by the ICAG is continuous service for at least two years under the supervision of a practicing member of the ICAG or other recognized accountancy body. This post-qualification service requirement is similar to what exists in other professions and is necessary in the public interest.

ICAG is a member institute of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), whose membership consists of 180 professional accountancy organizations in 135 jurisdictions. As a member institute of IFAC, ICAG must comply with all Statements of Membership Obligations (SMO 1-7). Quality Assurance SMO1 requires member institutes to have in place a quality assurance review system for members performing audits of financial statements. In accordance with SMO 1, ICAG has established a Practice Monitoring Program (Quality Assurance Review) which applies to ICAG members providing accounting services to the public. The program, which began in 2008, is run under the auspices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) and is designed to assess the quality of audit work performed by licensees in the jurisdictions members of the ICAC – which currently includes Guyana, Barbados, Belize, the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The quality of audit work is judged against International Standards on Auditing, the most widely recognized set of guidelines for the audit profession.

The ICAC engaged ACCA to conduct the practice reviews in the above countries. Licensees to practice in all territories, including Guyana, are required to make themselves available for this practice monitoring process. Reports on the findings of practice reviews are received by a special ICAG practice review committee, made up of members who are not involved in practice. This committee recommends corrective measures in each case. The ICAG Board has in recent years reviewed its governance framework, including its bylaws which assist in the pursuit of ICAG’s objectives. Following a comparative study of the governance frameworks of our regional counterparts, several areas for improvement were identified, including measures relating to the practice monitoring program and the continuing education of members offering accounting services to the public.

Various recommendations for changes to the bylaws were therefore presented to all members for consideration. As with any modification of the statutes, the changes will ultimately have to be decided by the constituent members. The ICAG Board hopes that the above explanations will reassure the public that the ICAG continues to take actions that serve its statutory mandate and are ultimately in the public interest.

Sincerely,

Harryram Parmesar

President

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