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17 September 2019

Re-certification of accounting profession – changes for accounting offices

After over five years since the statutory abolishment of accounting professional qualifications, the government proceeds with a new bill to regulate the access to the said profession. The act will be prepared in agreement with the Ministry of Education and will propose means such as a requirement of continuous education, among others.

The governments’ work on the new bill expedited due to the results of a poll that the Ministry of Finance conducted from July 20th to September 30th, 2018. An online survey covered the effects of the deregulation act of 2014 (results under the link). Its results turned out to be unambiguous: the majority of respondents (67 percent) evaluated deregulation negatively, pointing at a significant reduction in the quality of accounting services.

The then-supposed effect of the deregulation act was to be the creation of market mechanisms for controlling the quality of accounting services. According to free-market logic, the market should itself verify which entities will survive – due to the quality of educated services and flexibility in approaching clients.

However, such mechanisms did not arise. Only 4 percent of respondents gave credibility to accounting certificates issued by market companies (profit-oriented entities). Industry certificates that you can easily buy are rated poorly by respondents and experts.

Re-certification, self-education requirement

First of all, re-regulation will introduce the obligation of continuous learning (the knowledge from the fields corresponding to the position). Thus, EU requirements established under the International Educational Standards will be met, which are:

  • the need for appropriate qualifications (seniority, verification exam or a combination of both),
  • a requirement for continuous learning (a certain number of training hours),
  • membership in an organization of representatives of the profession,
  • compliance with the principles of industry ethics,
  • falling under the jurisdiction of corporate courts.

It is not yet known precisely how the Ministry intends to implement the mentioned requirements. It will probably be connected with membership in professional organizations and fulfilling the duty of continuous learning. It is known, however, that the new law will not be a mere return to the state before deregulation.

Changes

Not all employees dealing with accounting and tax consultancy will have to adapt to new legal conditions. The Act will cover only independent positions, such as accountant, tax adviser, and statutory auditor. Accounting office staff supporting the work of independent accountants will not be covered by the Act (even if their work consists of actual accounting or consulting).

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ARPI Accounting is a part of ARPI Group, a Norwegian holding which started to operate in Poland in 2001.

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