May 26, 2022

The Institute of Solomon Islands Accountants (ISIA) has signed a historic Partnership Agreement with the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA, which is supported by the Australian Aid Program through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. The strategic Partnership between the two Professional Accounting Organisations (PAOs) in collaboration with Monarch Institute will see the joint delivery of ISIA’s first ever professional qualification program under its Education Framework launched in 2020.

The Professional Diploma in Accounting is a four-module program aimed at equipping bookkeepers and accounting technicians with relevant knowledge and technical skills aligned to internationally recognised standards. This is consistent with the Institute’s overall objective of raising the standards of the local accounting profession in the country.

Pamela Naesol-Alamu, ISIA’s Chief Executive Officer said: “The overall intention of the Institute is to raise the confidence of the public and other key stakeholders who rely on the services provided by our members. As the legal body mandated to develop and regulate the accounting and auditing profession in Solomon Islands, ISIA has a big responsibility to professionally develop our accountants to ensure that they are highly competent and well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills to enable them to provide high-quality services to their employers and their clients”.

This program will significantly contribute to the development of local accountants, especially those with years of practical work experience in the field but do not have a degree qualification. Successful candidates under this program will be certified by the Institute as practicing bookkeepers and accounting technicians. ISIA also intends to use this qualification to certify tax agents in the future once the Tax Administration Bill is passed by Parliament.

Andrew Conway, IPA Group Chief Executive Officer said: “The co-design of a genuine capacity building education program to support financial transparency provides self sufficiency to ISIA and the accounting and auditing profession in the Solomon Islands. This underpins economic health and goes to the heart of the global accounting professions’ ethos to operate in the public interest. We’re proud to play a role in the development of this model which has garnered interest from other Pacific Island countries.”

Monarch Institute Chief Executive Officer, Nick Chapman, agrees that the introduction of ISIA’s professional qualification is important for both the industry and the accounting members based in the Solomon Islands.

“Monarch Institute is delighted to be involved in this important program for the accounting and auditing professions in the Solomon Islands. The collaborative program is being developed by leading industry professionals and practitioners from Monarch, ISIA and the IPA and will utilise Monarch’s award-winning learning platform for delivery. We look forward to working with all the parties to continue to build and enhance the capacity of these important professional services in the region”.

The four modules offered in this program include Financial Reporting, Budgets and Management Accounting, Financial Performance, Internal Controls and Economics, and Taxation and Law. The Tax and Law module is currently being developed by ISIA and will be contextualised to the Solomon Islands Income Tax Act, as well as other local tax regimes. Students undertaking this program will learn about the tax systems in Solomon Islands and the application of the Income Tax Act.

Consequently, this will be the certifying qualification which the Institute intends to use to certify tax agents in the future. This means that any practicing accountant intending to be registered as a tax agent will be required to successfully undergo this program. This will ensure that the Institute certifies persons who are technically competent and has the appropriate knowledge and skills required to offer book-keeping and taxation services to the public. It acts as a quality-control mechanism over the services that ISIA members provide to the public.

Ms Naesol-Alamu said: “This is a milestone achievement for the Institute. We are so happy to be able to deliver to our members and potential members, a quality professional accounting program that will develop their knowledge and skills and in turn raise the quality of services they provide whether it be in employment or in public practice. It has taken us almost two years to eventually bring this concept to life and we are very thankful and grateful to all our key partners in this project. The progress made so far would not have been possible without the financial support of the Australian Government, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Monarch Institute, and Pearson Vue, who have significantly contributed to executing this project and making it a reality”.

The ISIA Secretariat, under the leadership of the CEO continues to progress the Institute’s Strategic Plan 2021 – 2025 which ultimately aims at raising standards of the local accounting and auditing profession to meet international standards in the future.

Having internationally recognised standards of accounting and auditing in Solomon Islands will strengthen the local accounting profession which in turn will increase foreign investors’ confidence in the financial reporting system of the country. It will also strengthen public financial management of government resources which is a critical factor for sound economic development of an emerging economy such as Solomon Islands.