Ensuring clarity in legal definitions, and allowing additional licensing conditions for public accountants, are two of three key provisions of the Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The third provision expands the membership categories for the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA), which regulates the accounting profession in our jurisdiction.
• Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) in the Cayman Islands can be used to structure professional businesses, including accounting firms. Accordingly, the Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2022 takes the step to include LLPs in its definition of “firms of public accountants”.
• Conditions. The bill broadens CIIPA’s scope to issue public accountant licences with conditions. The Accountants Act currently allows conditions to be attached only in relation to limited duration/temporary licences for persons on temporary work permits.
By broadening the scope, CIIPA would be able to issue licences with conditions under other circumstances - for example, when a new practitioner has experience that would be sufficient for simple engagements, but not for complex or public interest entity engagements.
• Deregistration process. Currently, deregistration happens only when a sole practitioner or relevant firm fails to renew its licence. The bill proposes to allow a sole practitioner or relevant firm to also surrender its licence, and also for CIIPA to cancel registrations under appropriate circumstances.
• Retired members. This new category would have several benefits for persons of retirement age, including:
• recognising their contributions to the accounting profession during their careers; and
• providing them with opportunities to contribute and stay engaged with the profession, by sharing their professional and life experiences via discussion groups, on volunteer or mentor roles, and attending events, webinars and conferences.
• Student membership. This category already exists, but the bill would allow all persons who legally reside and work here, and who also are pursuing a professional accounting qualification, to apply for membership.
The bill originates from CIIPA’s proposals. The Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce has consulted relevant stakeholders on the proposals, and considered their input during the drafting of the bill.
The bill will be presented to Parliament by the Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, the Hon. André Ebanks.
“CIIPA has worked collaboratively with the Ministry to ensure that the accounting regulatory regime is clear across multiple pieces of legislation, and that it’s sensible and fair in its oversight of practitioners,” he said.
“I also appreciate CIIPA’s recognition that wisdom from retired members of the profession, and the fresh perspectives from those entering the ranks, will help strengthen the local discipline of accounting.”