January 12, 2010
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This issue focuses exclusively on the newly-released Framework for International Education Standards for Professional Accountants (the "Framework").
In this issue:
1) IAESB Enhances Relevancy and Consistency of Education Standards with New Framework
2) Framework Outlines Fundamental Concepts for Education Standards
3) Support Material for New Framework
4) Share IAESB eNews with Your Colleagues
1. IAESB Enhances Relevancy and Consistency of Education Standards with New Framework
Following the approval of due process by the Public Interest Oversight Board, the IAESB has released its Framework for International Education Standards for Professional Accountants (the Framework), designed to enhance the relevancy, consistency, and applicability of its publications to IFAC member bodies and other interested stakeholders in accounting education.
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 issues 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.
The Framework can be accessed via the Education section of the IFAC Publications website at web.ifac.org/publications.
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 programs 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 has prepared a summary of the changes made to the original Framework document which enables interested readers toreadily identify significant changes. This support material is available on the IAESB website at: www.ifac.org/Education/Resources.php.
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About the IAESB and IFAC
The IAESB, an independent standard-setting board within IFAC, develops standards and guidance on prequalification education, training, and continuing professional education and development for all members of the accountancy profession. The Public Interest Oversight Board oversees the activities of the IAESB and, as one element of that oversight, establishes its due process and working procedures.
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 159 members and associates in 124 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. In addition to setting international education standards through the IAESB, IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets standards on ethics, auditing and assurance, and public sector accounting. It also issues guidance to encourage high quality performance by professional accountants in business
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