15 March 2014

Ethiopia: National Board to Observe IFRS Standards in Ethiopia

A belated proclamation that seeks to unify the nations' finance and auditing standards into the internationally accepted International Financial Reporting Standard

(IFRS) finally surfaced at the House of Peoples' Representatives on Tuesday. The proclamation also bestowed the Council of Ministers with the power to establish a national body that would observe the new standards, in addition to licensing and accredit accounting and audit firms in country.

The National Accounting and Audit Board (NAAB) will have the mandate to regulate the accounting and auditing companies in Ethiopia, a task previously belonging to the Office of Auditors General, while tasked with reconciling the new financial reporting standards with the country's unfolding realities in the future. The new standard would help the country to have a common reporting platform in which it can outline and analyze economic and finance policies in tandem with the international standard.

Moreover, it will help the Tax Authority adapt a transparent finance reporting system. The board will also have the power to monitor the way financial reporting is done and approve or reject according to the new standard and the necessary changes that it introduces to the standard. According to the preamble of the new proclamation, which has been in the works since 2010, the board would also have the obligation to notify the public of any necessary changes it has decided to introduce, notwithstanding comments coming from stakeholders and all parties affecting the changes. Most importantly, the board will have the power to monitor the accountancy and audit sector.

The proclamation details NAAB's power to certify, evaluate and set the standard for the evaluation of accounting and audit firms in Ethiopia. Thus, auditors will have to maintain the standards and principles that are launched by the board and any International Auditing and Accountancy Federation affiliate body. No auditor shall be appointed to monitor the public enterprises unless he or she is licensed by the board to be a public auditor, according to the abstract presented to the MPs.

An auditor ought to present an application directly to the board along with an insurance proposal endorsed by the board for the accountancy and auditing when aiming to work at enterprises where public interest is high. The abstract also states the criminal code that sees one who finds himself in fraud, and unaccountability in favor of those attempting to breach the legal framework of the principles set by the board.

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