As the national accountancy body, it is ISCA's calling to raise the ethical standards of all professional accountants in Singapore. One key initiative is to adopt a more structured approach in the ethics standards issued by ISCA. Henceforth, every ethics standard issued, including the ISCA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics, will be numbered and termed an "Ethics Pronouncement" (EP).
EP 100 ISCA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics
All ISCA members must adhere to EP 100 ISCA Code of Professional Conduct Ethics. EP 100 is modelled after the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). It also encompasses any other additional provisions included in the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities issued by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). EP 100 contains three parts. Part A establishes the fundamental principles of ethics for professional accountants and provides a conceptual framework for applying those principles. Parts B and C illustrate how the conceptual framework is to be applied in specific situations. Part B applies to professional accountants in public pactice. Part C applies to professional accountants in business.
EP 100 is undergoing revision and will be issued in due course. Do watch this space.
EP 200 Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism - Requirements and Guidelines for Professional Accountants in Singapore
Expectations of professional accountants to combat money laundering and terrorism financing are rising. Internationally, there are increasing calls for professional accountants to adopt measures that are at least up to the international standards recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Singapore is a member of the FATF, an inter-governmental body established to set standards and to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorism financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. As a member of the FATF, Singapore is obliged to comply with the "International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation" issued by the FATF (FATF Recommendations) and is subject to FATF mutual evaluations on the adoption of FATF Recommendations. The FATF Recommendations include requirements for accountants.
EP 200 is applicable to all professional accountants and professional firms1 in Singapore.
EP 200 is effective 1 November 2014, except for the establishment of, and any improvement to, systems and controls to meet the requirements and guidance in Sections 3, 4 and 5 of EP 200, which shall be implemented by 1 May 2015.
All ISCA Members are required to comply with the requirements in EP 200. Apparent failure to do so may result in an investigation into the member’s conduct by the Investigation Committee of ISCA. EP 200 is also adopted by ACRA and is applicable to public accountants and accounting entities registered under the Accountants Act who are regulated by ACRA (please click here for the press release).
EP 200 covers the following areas:
Section 1- Introduction and scope;
Section 2 - Legal obligations of professional accountants under the existing Singapore legislations to report suspicious transactions;
Section 3 - New requirements on the anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) systems and controls that professional firms shall have in place;
Section 4 – Requirements/guidelines on customer due diligence and records keeping measures;
Section 5 – Guidelines on other measures in the area of reporting procedures, training, compliance, hiring and audit;
Summary of basic criminal offences under the relevant legislations in Singapore;
Indicators of suspicious transactions;
Suspicious Transaction Reporting Form template; and
Supplementary guides for auditors and tax practitioners.
1 A professional firm is an accounting corporation, an accounting firm or an accounting LLP approved under the Accountants Act; or an entity owned or controlled by a professional accountant or professional accountants, that provide professional services. Professional services are services requiring accountancy or related skills performed by a professional accountant including accounting, auditing, taxation, management consulting and financial management services, as well as the following designated high risk services:
(a) Buying and selling of real estate;
(b) Managing of client money, securities or other assets;
(c) Management of bank, savings or securities accounts;
(d) Organisation of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies; and
(e) Creation, operation or management of legal persons or arrangements, and buying and selling of business entities.