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Singapore – Proposed Amendments to the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities

6 January, 2014

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Singapore – Regulatory & Compliance

 

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA“) is seeking public feedback on proposed amendments to the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities (the “Singapore Code“). ACRA is assisted by the Ethics Sub-Committee of the Public Accountants Oversight Committee, which comprises senior members of the accountancy profession and stakeholder representatives.


The proposed amendments are aimed at further strengthening the standard of professional ethics and auditor independence in Singapore and ensuring that the Singapore Code remains relevant, such that ACRA’s regulatory framework for auditing in Singapore are kept in line with internationally recognised standards.


The public consultation exercise runs from 29 November 2013 to 10 January 2014.


Background


The Singapore Code came into force on 1 August 2009 and is based on the Code of Ethics issued in 2006 by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants of the International Federation of Accountants (the “IESBA Code“). The Singapore Code includes Singapore provisions that provides, in addition to those in the IESBA Code, supplementary guidelines and requirements for public accountants and accounting entities in Singapore (the “Singapore Provisions“).


The IESBA Code was revised in 2009 and 2013 (the “Revised IESBA Code“). The Revised IESBA Code prescribes stricter guidelines or requirements, which ACRA is now considering adopting into the Singapore Code.


Key Proposed Amendments


According to ACRA, some key proposed changes to the Singapore Code include:

 

  • Extending higher independence standards to public interest entities (“PIEs”): At present, higher independence standards apply only to audits and reviews of listed entities. ACRA proposes that such standards be extended to audits and reviews of all PIEs, including financial institutions and large charities.

 

  • Adopting the Revised IESBA Code’s thresholds for independence threats relating to audit fees: This proposed change seeks to replace the existing Singapore Provisions with thresholds in the Revised IESBA code, which relate to independence threats arising from the level of audit fees an auditor receives from an audit client. Specifically, these thresholds prescribe when an independence threat must be dealt with by an auditor and the actions the auditor must undertake in the event of a breach of such thresholds.

 

ATMD Bird & Bird

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Lim Jia Hui, ATMD Bird & Bird

[email protected]

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