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Third Professional Accounting Education Community of Practice workshop on 23-24 February 2010 in Vienna

The CFRR organised the third professional accounting Education Community of Practice as a two-day workshop on 23 - 24 February 2010.

Summary


Objectives

Building upon the work of the previous workshops and GDLN, aims of the event were to:

  • Increase awareness of the relevant IAESB-International Education Standards (IES) and EU practices in ensuring qualified accountants and auditors possess the minimum experience, competencies and skills.
  • Contribute to develop an agreed identified common content and available resource to support economy-level implementation.
  • Strengthen links between universities, professional bodies and regulators in formulating and implementing improved education programs.

Description

Thirty-one participants from all Regional REPARIS countries (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia) attended the workshop representing ministries of finance, public oversight bodies, professional accountancy bodies, and academics. The feedback of the participants was very positive. Participants confirmed that the community of practice format within the Regional REPARIS program greatly helps discussions between economies within the region thus fostering peer learning and cooperation.

The workshop was moderated by Etienne Wenger, who is the CFRRs adviser on the formation and development of Communities of Practices, with technical experts from the CFRR.

The Community first continued the theme introduced by Paul Hurks at the February 8th 2010 GDLN, which was the "common content" model by examining in detail the learning outcomes associated with the role of the Statutory Auditor that are common to the various EU professional bodies that are members of the Common Content program, and agreed that, with very few exceptions, the common content and associated learning outcomes represented a good shared model for implementation in the region.

Dominic Light, from the UK based global accountancy education materials publisher BPP gave a presentation to highlight the availability of updated educational materials that could be obtained by specialist publishers, and customized for incorporation into national and regional programs. This presentation was relevant as participants became aware that there was a source of annually updated materials that covered the common content, and could be licensed for translation and use in the REPARIS region. He cited the example of SCAAK Kosovo, where BPP has entered an agreement which provides them with a solution to the major challenge faced by all REPARIS economies, which is ensuring that educational materials are updated as often as necessary to ensure coverage of the current International Standards in Auditing and Financial Reporting, and the EU acquis communautaire. During the Question and Answer session, it emerged that a number of the bodies including Serbia already had similar arrangements with international publishers, and these were not cost-prohibitive, once the initial translations were carried out.

Almir Kovacevic, Director of World University Services, (WUS Austria) which is an NGO funded by the Austrian Development Corporation gave a presentation on the work of WUS Austria in the REPARIS economies in promoting University reforms, with relevance to business and accounting education. Almir highlighted the regional approach of WUS’s activities in the University sector, and areas for possible future co-operation with REPARIS both regionally and nationally. He highlighted the demand-driven culture WUS was trying to promote within Universities; under which encouragement and support is provided for studies to determine the skills needs of the economy as a driver for future University course design. The Q&A session offered the University participants in particular to learn of specific initiatives in their respective economies.

Maria Musatova, senior financial management specialist with the World Bank provided an overview of the report on a World Bank study which she co-authored entitled "Establishment of modern accountancy education in the CIS". Highlighting the experiences of economies that have since joined the European Union, this presentation and subsequent Q&A provided an insight into how similar the challenges faced by the new EU states were, as compared with the REPARIS economies.

Finally, Etienne Wenger hosted a unique "fishbowl" shared learning technique during which detailed presentations prepared by Luc Cardinal and Liam Coughlin on the approaches of UK and Canadian bodies to setting, measuring, recording and monitoring the quality of practical experience for accountants and statutory auditors were disseminated.

Results

The Community of Practice continues to flesh out in greater detail the specific issues of concern to participating economies with a view to devising common and scalable solutions.

The next workshops and GDLNs will provide the opportunity to explore these themes in further detail, and also address practical solutions to the development and implementation of continuing professional education, and consider the IAESB proposed revision to IES-8, on the competence requirement for audit professionals.

Agenda


Agenda of the workshop

Activity Content and objectives Logistics Output
1. Registration and coffee
2. Welcome John Hegarty
3. Context and process
  • Formation of leadership groups
  • Introduction of new people
  • Introduction to the workspace
Establish leadership groups perspectives
Bring newcomers up-to-date by review-ing progress to date
Get ready for the activities of the meeting
Etienne introduces leadership groups and CoP processes
Leadership groups introduce their new people from their perspective, then summary of the whole
Etienne introduces the wiki work-space
Capture some reports
4. Review of agenda Agree on steps for the two days
Roles of leadership groups in activities
Etienne & Liam
Theme 1: Practical experience requirements
Professional Accountancy Education – practical experience, employee and employer development, identification of tools and guidance to facilitate elaboration of input based requirements into competence/output based requirements
5. Group work preparation
  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What input do we have?
  • What does success look like?
Set the stage for using external input to the creation of an approach to practical experience requirements Liam and Luc announce what they can contribute
Leadership group prepare their questions and process
Each group produces a set of questions/expectations for the session
6. IES requirements and practical examples of implementation
  • Insights
  • Possibilities
  • Lessons learned
  • Differences
  • How Practical Experience re-quirements of IES and EU 8th Direc-tive are defined, recorded, verified, and monitored in UK for accountants and statutory auditors
  • Canadian system for implement-ing practical experience requirements for accountants and auditors
Liam Coughlan: IES require-ments and how implemented by ACCA in more than 120 coun-tries
Luc Cardinal: Implementation example - CICA
In fishbowl format, the groups engage with Liam and Luc to appropriate the experience from UK and Canada
7. Group work on Theme 1
  • Consolidate input from each perspective
  • Prepare contribution to the overall product
  • Identify elements of existing practice that should be retained
  • Identify the kind of tools this community can adopt, adapt or de-velop for implementation of IES 5 and 8 relating to practical experience
See questions on leadership roles description Groups prepare input from their own perspectives
Social reporters prepare a frame and container
8. Work in groups (continued)
9. Reports/integration on Theme 1
  • Whole group consolidation of inputs
Produce a representation that captures the various perspectives from the groups Social reporters capture the con-tributions of all the groups A working document for the work of the community
Theme 2: Foundation for common content
Identifying the common content relating to teaching financial reporting (IFRS) and auditing (IES), and tools and programs to support implementation of same
10. Group work preparation
  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What input is available?
  • What does success look like?
Set the stage for using external input to the creation of an approach to practical experience requirements Presenters announce what they can contribute
Leadership group prepare their questions and process
Each group produces a set of questions/expectations and plan for the session
11. Input from WUS Austria
  • University education programs
Inspiration from the work of WUS Austria in regional program for developing Uni-versity education programs Fishbowl discussion with Adi Ko-vacevic, Executive Director, WUS Austria

Agenda for Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Activity Content and objectives Logistics Output
12. Input from CIS study
  • Comparisons across the region
Report on the development of accounting education in CIS Fishbowl discussion with Mariya Musatova, Research Analyst at the World Bank
Jan Tyl moderates
13. Group work on Theme 2
  • Consolidate input from each perspective
  • Prepare contribution to the overall product
Identify common content of FR and Auditing teaching programs, using Common Content learning outcomes as a baseline and answers provided to Guide to Qualification of Accountants and Audi-tors in REPARIS region See questions on leadership roles description Groups prepare input from their perspectives
14. Reports/integration on Theme 2
  • Whole group consolidation of inputs
Produce a representation that captures the various perspectives from the groups Social reporters capture the con-tributions of all the groups A working document for the work of the community
Theme 3: International publishers
Resources from international publishers – availability, cost, translation rights, etc., relating to BPP
15. Resources available
  • Perspective from an international publisher
Explore resources available from inter-national publisher of learning media to support implementation of Financial Re-porting and Auditing education programs Discussion with Dominic Light, BPP Learning Media, UK
16. Taking advantage of these resources
  • Perspectives from the groups
How does the REPARIS region take advantage of these resources? Discussion with Dominic Light, BPP Learning Media, UK
Theme 4: Working as a community of practice
Moving the learning process along
17. Moving forward
  • Perspectives from the groups
  • Consolidate the learning from the meeting
  • Define how to proceed
Leadership groups work on their topics (see questions on role de-scriptions) Groups prepare input from their perspectives
18. Next steps and next meeting
  • List action items
  • Proposed plan for next meeting
  • Select a design team
Prepare the next few months and the next meeting Agenda activisties go first with a plan of issues/activities
Other leadership groups contrib-ute their inputs to the self-design: critical friends and community keepers
List of next steps
Initial design for next meet-ing(s)



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