Glossary of Terms
This glossary comprises terms that are specifically defined within the International Education Standards (IES). Many terms may have different common meanings, nuances of meaning, and applications in different countries. The glossary does not prescribe the use of terms; rather, it clarifies the meaning of terms included in the IES and within the IFAC Accountancy Education E-tool.
Words and phrases that are underlined link to their definitions elsewhere in the glossary.
The definitions in this glossary are effective from January 1, 2020.
An individual who has commenced a professional accounting education program as part of Initial Professional Development.
A combination approach combines elements of input-based and output-based approaches.
In relation to assessment, whether an assessment activity provides adequate coverage of the particular aspect of professional competence being assessed.
Learning and development that takes place after initial professional development, and that develops and maintains professional competence* to enable professional accountants to continue to perform their roles competently.
A program of education, generally leading to a degree, which includes alternating periods (e.g., terms, semesters, trimesters) of academic study and full-time work experience. This will generally result in additional time required to complete degree requirements.
Systematic process aimed at acquiring and developing knowledge, skills, and other capabilities within individuals, a process that is typically but not exclusively conducted in academic environments.
In relation to assessment, whether an assessment activity is fair and without bias.
In relation to assessment, whether an assessment activity is perceived to measure what it is intended to measure.
A structured representation of historical financial information, including disclosures, intended to communicate an entity's economic resources or obligations at a point in time or of the changes therein for a period of time in accordance with a financial reporting framework. The term "financial statements" ordinarily refers to a complete set of financial statements as determined by the requirements of the applicable financial reporting framework, but can also refer to a single financial statement. Disclosures comprise explanatory or descriptive information, set out as required, expressly permitted or otherwise allowed by the applicable financial reporting framework, on the face of a financial statement, or in the notes, or incorporated therein by cross-reference.
The financial statements subject to audit are those of the entity, prepared by management of the entity with oversight from those charged with governance.
Those elements considered essential to the education and development of professional accountants and performed at a standard necessary to the achievement of professional competence.
Established and emerging technologies, techniques, and processes used to capture, manage, transform, or communicate data and information.
Learning and development through which aspiring professional accountants first develop competence leading to performing a role as a professional accountant.
An input-based measure focuses on the investment made in learning and development, for example, the number of hours an individual is expected to attend a course or the subject areas covered.
An approach that establishes an amount of learning activity required for professional accountants to develop and maintain professional competence.
Skills relating to the ability of a professional accountant to solve problems, to make decisions, adapt to change, and exercise professional judgment.
Skills relating to the ability of a professional accountant to work and interact effectively with others.
An ongoing process of developing and maintaining professional competence throughout the career of a professional.
The content and the depth of knowledge, understanding, and application required for a specified competence area.
Systematic process of collecting, reviewing, and confirming the evidence that demonstrates professional competence has been developed or maintained.
Skills relating to the ability of a professional accountant to work effectively with or within an organization to obtain the optimal results or outcomes from the people and resources available.
An output-based measure focuses on whether the professional accountant has developed the specified competence.
An approach that requires professional accountants to demonstrate, by way of achieved learning outcomes, that they develop and maintain professional competence.
Skills relating to the personal attitudes and behavior of a professional accountant.
Workplace and other activities that are relevant to developing professional competence.
A professional accountant who is responsible for guiding, advising, and assisting aspiring professional accountants in acquiring sufficient practical experience.
In relation to assessment, whether the content of the assessment activity relates to the particular aspect of professional competence that it is intended to assess.
An individual who achieves, demonstrates, and further develops professional competence to perform a role in the accountancy profession and who is required to comply with a code of ethics as directed by a professional accountancy organization or a licensing authority.
Education and training that builds on general education, and imparts (a) professional knowledge, (b) professional skills, and (c) professional values, ethics, and attitudes.
Programs designed to support aspiring professional accountants to develop the appropriate professional competence by the end of initial professional development. They may consist of formal education delivered through degrees and courses offered by universities, other higher education providers, IFAC member bodies, and employers, as well as workplace training.
The application of relevant training, knowledge, and experience, within the context provided by auditing, accounting, and ethical standards, in making informed decisions about the courses of action that are appropriate in the circumstances of the audit engagement.
Those topics that make up the subject of accountancy as well as other business disciplines that, together, constitute the essential body of knowledge for professional accountants.
An attitude that includes a questioning mind, being alert to conditions which may indicate possible misstatement due to error or fraud, and a critical assessment of evidence
Intellectual, interpersonal and communication, personal, and organizational skills that a professional accountant integrates with technical competence and professional values, ethics, and attitudes to demonstrate professional competence.
The characteristics that identify professional accountants as members of a profession. They include the principles of conduct (e.g., ethical principles) generally associated with and considered essential in defining the distinctive characteristics of, professional behavior.
Qualification as a professional accountant means, at a given point in time, an individual is considered to have met, and continues to meet, the requirements for recognition as a professional accountant.
The iterative process by which professional accountants, at all stages of their career, continue to develop their professional competence by reviewing their experiences (real or simulated) with a view to improving their future actions.
Those ethical requirements to which professional accountants are subject, which ordinarily comprise the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants' International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (IESBA Code) together with any national requirements that are more restrictive.
In relation to assessment, whether an assessment activity consistently produces the same result, given the same set of circumstances, quality or state describing whether a measurement approach consistently produces the same result, given the same set of circumstances.
The formal recognition by a member body of a group of its members possessing distinctive competence in a field, or fields, of activity related to the work of the professional accountant.
In relation to assessment, whether an assessment activity has a balance of depth and breadth, knowledge and application and, combines material from different areas applied to a range of situations and contexts.
Whether practical experience has a balance of depth and breadth, knowledge and application and, where appropriate, integration of material from different areas applied to a range of situations and contexts.
The breadth of practical experience is affected by factors such as: nature of role; level of proficiency, prior level of formal education, national or local laws; requirements of regulatory authorities; and the public's expectation for professional competence.
The depth of practical experience is affected by factors such as: the variety and complexity of tasks; level of supervisory and mentoring support.
Technical competence is defined as the ability to apply professional knowledge to perform a role to a defined standard.
Learning and development activities that complement education and practical experience. Training emphasizes practical application, and is usually conducted in the workplace or a simulated work environment.
In relation to assessment, whether details of an assessment activity, such as competence areas to be assessed and timing of the activity, are disclosed publicly.
Quality or state describing whether a measurement approach measures what needs to be measured.