Accounting in the Bahamas

The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) licenses certified public accountants, registered public accountants and public accounting firms. Currently, there are over 200 licensed chartered accountants in The Bahamas. The requirements for CA licensure include education, and experience.

What is a Chartered Accountant?
Registration as a member in the BICA entitles you to use the designation “Chartered Accountants” and the initials “C.A” after your name. Registration as a licensed member in the BICA entitles you to use the designation “Public Accountant” and the initials “P.A” after your name.

What are the Continuing Professional Education ( CPE) Requirements for members and licenses of BICA? Members must take acceptable courses totalling 40 hours in a reporting period. Licensees must take acceptable courses totalling 50 hours in a reporting period

How many hours are required from the BICA? Seven hours in each year must be obtained from a BICA sponsored seminar.

What is a reporting period and how do I file my hours earned? Each member/licensee must fill out the applicable form and file the CPE hours that they have earned with BICA every two years. The next reporting period is 2005. The forms filed are subject to a review by the institute which can take measures under the act for deficiencies.

I am not a member of the BICA, what work can I conduct for clients? The following can be conducted: (a) engaging in public practice exclusively in the course of his duties as an employee of any other person; or (b) engaging in bookkeeping or cost accounting or in the installation of bookkeeping, business or cost systems.

I am not a member of the BICA, what work is prohibited? A person who is not a member of the BICA cannot hold him/her self out to be a public accountant or engage in public practice. They are prohibited from signing off on reports of assurance engagements. Any person found performing these prohibited activities is guilty of an offense under the public accountants act.

What fees do I have to pay? Generally $150 annual fees for a member and $150 annual fees for a licensee. Full day CPE seminars are currently $125 for non-members and $100 for members.

I need to know whether an accountant is licensed by the BICA, how can I do this? There are a number of ways: a) You can access the website where you will be able to input the name of the accountant to determine if they are a current licensee of the BICA. b) Regulatory bodies/ agencies can make formal inquiries of the BICA office who can then inform them whether the accountant is in good standing. c) The BICA is required to gazette the names of all licensees by February of each year. A copy can be obtained from the newspapers.

What does BICA do and what benefits do I get? Provides training on timely and relevant subject matter through Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses held by the CPE committee Represents the membership via active involvement in several local and international bodies including: Bahamas Financial Services Board, International Federation of Accountants, Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean Provides comments / suggestions on draft acts particularly that have impact on accountants through the work of the legislative committee.

Regularly, draft acts incorporate changes based on insightful comments submitted by the BICA Investigates matters concerning conflict of interest and complaints against members of the institute through the investigations committee Issues professional practice notes that provide guidance for accountants on specific topics/issues Provides membership and license approvals to qualified accountants that apply and meet the requirements of the act and regulations Members receive discounts on CPE seminars and other courses/material produced by the BICA