By Jason Bramwell
The International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) is seeking comments from the public on an exposure draft the independent board released on July 3 on its proposed 2014-2016 IAESB Strategy and Work Plan.
The IAESB's current strategic plan, which was published in March 2010 and set the direction and priorities for the IAESB, is set to expire in December. The approaching expiration of the plan, together with developments in professional accounting education and the profession as a whole, have made it necessary for the board to develop a new strategy and work plan for the next three years, according to the IAESB.
Interested stakeholders have until October 4 to provide comments on the exposure draft (see sidebar).
The IAESB has undertaken an initiative to revise and redraft its suite of eight International Education Standards. The objective of the project is threefold:
- Improving the clarity of the standards.
- Ensuring consistency with concepts of the revised framework document.
- Clarifying issues resulting from changes in the environment of accounting education and the experience gained from implementation of the standards by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) member bodies.
The revision of the International Education Standards will improve readability and ensure consistent application of each standard by reducing ambiguity about the requirements imposed on an IFAC member body, according to the IAESB. New International Education Standards will not likely be developed, but the IAESB will identify areas requiring guidance to assist with adoption and implementation of the standards.
The proposed strategy and work plan focuses on projects and activities aimed at providing adoption and implementation guidance on the revised standards to interested stakeholders in professional accounting education. This will assist IFAC member bodies in increasing the capacity and capability of the global accountancy profession, contributing to strengthened public trust, the IAESB states.
"Accounting education remains a fundamental pillar in improving the quality of reporting and auditing financial statements, and continues to be needed by professional accountants to serve the public interest", IAESB Chair Peter Wolnizer said in a written statement. "The aim of the 2014-2016 IAESB Strategy and Work Plan is to provide guidance on implementing requirements that are needed to develop high-quality professional accounting education programs."
The proposed strategy and work plan also includes four strategic objectives on how the IAESB works through IFAC member bodies to achieve its objective of serving the public interest:
- Establishing a series of high-quality standards and other publications reflecting good practice in the education, development, and assessment of professional accountants.
- Promoting the adoption and implementation of the International Education Standards.
- Developing education benchmarks for measuring the implementation of the International Education Standards.
- Advancing international debate on emerging issues relating to the education, development, and assessment of professional accountants.
According to the exposure draft, the IAESB is proposing its work be directed by three strategic priorities, beginning in 2014:
- Establishing and developing International Education Standards and pronouncements.
- Engaging stakeholders and promoting the adoption and endorsement of the revised standards.
- Supporting and providing guidance to facilitate the implementation of the revised International Education Standards.
"I am confident that the direction of our work will reflect our deep understanding of the strategic and educational challenges confronting the accountancy profession globally as well as the welcomed feedback received from extensive stakeholder consultations", Wolnizer said in the exposure draft. "Opinions from IFAC member bodies, regional organizations, professional accounting associations, public accounting firms, regulators, academics, and members of the public have helped to inform the determination of the IAESB's strategic priorities for the next three years. We will remain sensitive to the dynamic environment and remain alert should there be a need to amend or improve our plan at any time."