The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) is the professional organization that regulates the activities of all Certified Public Accountants (the CPA(K)s) in Kenya. It was established in 1978 by the Accountants Act CAP 531. Since then, ICPAK has been dedicated to development and regulation of the accountancy profession in Kenya so as to enhance its contribution and that of its members to national economic growth and development. In 2008, a new Accountants Act No. 15 was enacted to replace the 1978 Accountants Act to take into account the various developments that had shaped the accounting profession in Kenya, and globally.
The Accountants Act No 15, 2008 prescribes the following as the functions of the Institute:
- To promote standards of professional competence and practice amongst members of the Institute
- To promote research into the subject of accountancy and finance and related matters, and the publication of books, periodicals, journals and articles in connection therewith;
- To promote the international recognition of the Institute.
- To advise the Examination Board on matters relating to examinations standards and policies;
- To advise the Minister on matters relating to financial accountability in all sectors of the economy;
- To carry out any other functions prescribed for it under any of the other provisions of this Act or any other written law; and
- To do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the preceding functions.
Governance and Management of the Institute
ICPAK is governed by an 11 member Council comprising;
- A Chairman elected from the members of the Institute. The Chairman is elected for a one year term and is eligible for re-election for a further one year term.
- Six Members elected from the members of the Institute. These members serve for a three year term and are eligible for re-election.
- Two Members nominated by the Minister for Finance, one of whom will typically be drawn from the Ministry of Finance and will serve to provide the linkages with the Ministry and aid the Institute in fulfilling its role as an advisor to the Minister for Finance in matters of accountability and governance particularly as affects the economy. The other Member would be drawn from a profession other than accountancy and would typically represent users of accounting services and would serve to bring the perspectives of these users to the Council ensuring that the Institute and its members serve the public interest.
- One Member nominated by the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (KASNEB) which is the national body charged with overseeing and administering the professional accountancy examinations in Kenya.
- One Member nominated by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) charged with the development and regulation of the Capital Markets in Kenya. This representative brings the perspectives of regulators and serves to strengthen the regulatory role played by ICPAK.
The Accountants Act provides the following with regards to the functions of the Council;
- That the Council shall issue standards of professional practice, including accounting and auditing standards, which shall form the basis of accountancy practice for members of the Institute in the preparation, verification and auditing of financial statements.
- That the Council may with the approval of the Minister, issue by-laws, regulations and guidelines to govern matters affecting the operations of the Institute and practice by members of the Institute.
- That the Council may establish such committee as are necessary for the performance of the functions of the Institute and may, subject to the provisions of this Act, delegate powers conferred on it to such committees.
The day to day operations of ICPAK are undertaken by the Management Team headed by the Chief Executive who is also the Secretary to the Council. The Chief executive oversees with a group of professional staff, who are stationed at the Institute's offices.