IAESB newsletter explains in detail the newly released Framework for International Education Standards for Professional Accountants
13 January 2010
The intended benefits of the Framework include the development of International Education Standards which are consistent and a more efficient and effective standard-setting process. It will also increase transparency and accountability of the IAESB decision-making process.
1. IAESB Enhances Relevancy and Consistency of Education Standards with New Framework
The new Framework document replaces the previously existing Framework for International Education Pronouncements and the Introduction to the International Education Standards documents which were published in October 2003. It uses a more concise and simplified structure that:
- sets out the underlying educational concepts which the IAESB uses in its publications; and,
- provides an overview of its publications and related IFAC member body obligations.
The Framework also includes an appendix, titled IAESB Drafting Conventions (the Drafting Conventions). This appendix will serve a number of roles, including acting as a guideline when improving the clarity of education standards.
Moreover, the language and tone of the Framework document has been simplified to ensure that first-time readers can readily understand its content. In addition, both developing and developed member bodies will obtain a better understanding of their obligations when developing learning and development programs for professional accountants.
The intended benefits of the Framework include:
- The development of International Education Standards (IESs) which are consistent, because they are based on a common set of concepts relevant to education;
- A more efficient and effective standard-setting process, because the IAESB debates issue from the same conceptual base; and
- Increased transparency and accountability of the IAESB for its decisions, because the concepts underlying the Board's decisions are known.
2. Framework Outlines Fundamental Concepts for Education Standards
Part One of the Framework describes the following educational concepts:
- initial professional development,
- continuing professional development, and
- assessment used by the IAESB when developing IESs.
Each of these is important in the development of a professional accountant. Competence is defined as the ability to perform a work role to a defined standard with reference to working environments. An individual becomes competent through learning and development. The term "learning and development" refers to the ongoing process of acquiring, maintaining, and renewing competence at an appropriate level throughout a professional accountant's career.
The learning continuum that occurs during a professional accountant's career includes stages of initial professional development and continuing professional development. Initial Professional Development enables an individual to first develop competence leading to performing a role in the accountancy profession. Continuing Professional Development is used to maintain and develop capabilities to enable professional accountants to perform their roles competently.
The effectiveness of learning and development programmes must be assessed regularly to ensure that professional accountants can continue to meet the demands of society. The IAESB will apply the educational concepts set out in the Framework when developing the IESs. In the absence of a specific IES, IFAC member bodies and other interested parties should also apply these concepts when designing, delivering and assessing education for professional accountants.
Part Two of the Framework describes the nature of IESs and related publications, as well as related IFAC member body obligations. IESs prescribe good practice in learning and development and are thus more authoritative than International Education Practice Statements, which provide guidance (for example, on how to achieve good practice). The practice statements are, in turn, more directive than Information Papers and Support Material, which discuss issues (including emerging issues), present findings or assist in achieving good practice.
The Framework is addressed primarily to IFAC member bodies because of their interest in the education, development, and assessment of their members and students. It is also relevant to a wide range of stakeholders, including accounting faculties at universities, employers of professional accountants, professional accountants, prospective professional accountants, and others interested in the work of the IAESB.
3. Support Material for New Framework
IFAC staff has developed support material in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and supporting speaking notes to assist in providing an overview of the content of the Framework. In addition, staff have prepared a summary of the changes made to the original Framework document which enables interested readers to readily identify significant changes.