This article provides an explanation of the main changes to the ACCA Rulebook, which take effect on 1 January 2017. The Rulebook is divided into three sections:
Section 1 carries the Royal Charter and Bye-laws
Section 2 carries the Regulations
Section 3 carries the Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Changes to the Rulebook arise largely from policy decisions, legislative and lead regulator requirements, or changes to the IESBA Code which must be replicated in Section 3.
SECTION 2 - REGULATIONS
Replacing Practising Certificates with registration Changes to the Membership Regulations and Global Practising Regulations (GPRs) will give effect to a new policy in respect of ACCA practising certificates. This removes the need for a member in practice to hold an ACCA practising certificate unless he or she is practising in the UK, Ireland or a designated territory, or is otherwise required by local legislative and/or regulatory requirements to hold an ACCA practising certificate. Members not requiring (or otherwise electing to hold) an ACCA practising certificate will nevertheless be required to notify ACCA if they are carrying on public practice, and such practitioners will be placed on a register of ACCA practitioners.
Insolvency Regulations ACCA has entered into a collaborative arrangement with the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) in respect of the future regulation of insolvency practitioners licensed by ACCA. The changes to Annex 1 of the GPRs include moving the regulations relating to insolvency practice to a new Appendix 4, and reflecting the nature of the collaboration, in which IPA may perform certain regulatory functions in respect of ACCA insolvency practitioners.
Membership Regulations In addition to the changes made to the Regulations in respect of practising certificates, changes include:
more principles-based regulations concerning subscriptions for affiliates
clarification of what is meant by a ‘registered student’, and that all students are bound by the requirements of the ACCA Rulebook.
Global Practising Regulations – Annex 2 Amendments have been made to Annex 2 of the GPRs (in respect of the Republic of Ireland) in order to:
simplify the requirements concerning the signing of audit reports
amend the professional indemnity insurance requirements for liquidators, in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Act 2014 (Professional Indemnity Insurance) (Liquidators) Regulations 2016.
Irish Investment Business Regulations The changes to these regulations resolve a problem with the current regulation 3(3). The amendment will allow spouses (and others who might meet the definition of ‘controller’) who take no part in the business of a firm that holds an investment business certificate (Ireland) to hold shares in that firm.
Appeal Regulations Changes have been made to ensure consistency with the notice provisions across the regulatory and disciplinary regulations.
SECTION 3 – CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT A change to section B4 replicates the change to Annex 2 of the GPRs regarding the signing of audit reports in the Republic of Ireland. A further change to section B4 updates the provisions concerning the use of the ACCA logo.
However, most of the changes to the Code arise from the recent pronouncement by IESBA concerning Responding to Non-Compliance with Laws and Regulations. The most significant change is the addition of sections 225 and 360, although there are other changes, for consistency, particularly to section 210.
Section 225 sets out the provisions for accountants in public practice, and places higher demands on those engaged in the audit of financial statements than on those providing other services. Similarly, a senior accountant in business (section 360) has responsibilities beyond those of other accountants in business. There are situations in which external auditors and senior accountants in business are required to determine whether to disclose a particular matter to an appropriate authority.