The manager, Quality Assurance and Regulation at Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) Susannie Kyamanywa, has said in response to address the audit quality challenges in Uganda, the council has reviewed and approved changes in the accountancy practice licensing regime.
In a statement, she explained that audit and assurance services are interlinked with the level of audit quality.
Audit quality is integral to the effectiveness of a good financial reporting value chain and it requires all stakeholders involved in the financial reporting value chain to undertake their roles robustly, competently and diligently.
The results of the fourth audit quality review cycle of ICPAU, which ended in March 2021 reveal that over 50% of the firms had serious audit quality concerns implying that there are high chances of reaching a wrong audit and assurance opinion due to the quality challenges exhibited.
She said the board noted that some practising accountants have only a few audit clients and generate meagre revenues from performing audit and assurance services.
“This group of practitioners, it was noted, generates a significant proportion of their revenues from non-assurance services and continues to have challenges with audit quality,”she said.
In response to the survey conducted and, in a bid to address the audit quality challenges, Kyamanywa explained that the council of ICPAU has reviewed and approved changes in the accountancy practice licensing regime.
She said practising accountants will now be licensed to offer services in their desired areas of accountancy but ensuring that one can demonstrate the specialised expertise for their choice.
The council has approved two broad categories of certificates of practice.
The first category permits a practising accountant to provide all types of accountancy services (including audit and assurance services),” she noted.
The second category of certificates of practice permits the holder to only provide non-assurance services (that is excluding audit and assurance services).
The review and changes in the licensing regime for practising accountants are intended to drive public confidence in the financial reporting value chain and promote provision of high quality accountancy services.
Upon implementing the revised licensing regime, Kyamanywa said it is expected that more members will be able to join accountancy practice, and this will make accountancy services more accessible to the public.
“The revised regime will also strengthen the accountancy profession in Uganda and ultimately improve the quality of accountancy by fostering specialisation. The reforms also bring the ICPAU licensing regime closer to the practices in other East African countries,” she said.