Standard for Providers of Accounting Services
This Standard is applicable to accounting service providers or accounting firms (hereinafter referred to as “Providers”).
The Provider is responsible for providing services in accordance with the accounting standards and principles, legislation, good practice recommended by the Chamber of Accounting Services at the CCIS (hereinafter referred to as CAS), and the contract with the Client. The Provider may not transfer this responsibility to another Provider. During work, the Provider shall take into account general ethical principles that are defined by the Code of the Members of the CAS.
The purpose of this Standard is to define the basic conditions that must be met by the Provider when carrying out activities. The Standard defines the basic conditions for providing quality of carried-out activities, appropriate staff, working environment and an appropriate attitude towards the Clients.
The user of the Standard must take into account the fact that the accounting business is constantly evolving as a result of professional, technological and market development, as well as legislative changes. Development solutions are acceptable if they maintain the level of service quality and if they are not contrary with this Standard.
2 Definition of key terms
2.1 Accounting service provider
The Provider is a business entity engaged in providing accounting services to Clients. It includes one or more accounting experts who respect the fundamental principles of their profession. Professional Manager of the accounting firm is responsible for professional implementation of Provider’s accounting services.
Clients are all business entities or natural persons that order accounting services at the Provider for a fee. The Clients generally enter into an Agreement on Provision of Accounting Services with the Provider. The Clients are directly responsible for all documentation, which the accounting firm receives and arranges on their behalf.
2.3 Accounting services
Accounting services consist of accounting and other accounting services. Accounting includes bookkeeping, accounting budgeting, accounting control and accounting analyses. Other accounting services include the services of organizing accounting and bookkeeping, accounting training, consulting and other services.
Accounting includes the accounting tasks implemented within the framework of the accounting execution and information system. The accounting execution system includes bookkeeping, accounting budgeting, analyses and accounting control. The accounting information system includes accounting information, storage and archiving of accounting data and information, and reporting on accounting control.
Data is a neutral message regarding an occurrence, which is not yet evaluated. Data is not the same as information, because it is not possible to make business decisions on the basis of data. It is possible to obtain information from more data. Accounting data is only a part of the data and represents an investment into the accounting information system. To obtain information in accounting, both accounting and non-accounting data are used.
Information is message, purposefully oriented towards a known user and for a known purpose. Information is a result of the information system. Information is generated on the basis of data processing. Information is useful for the user if the person who generated the information knows how to appropriately analyse data, if the user understands the information and can use it and if the information causes a feeling of danger or opportunity. This is why information must be accessible, accurate, timely, complete, concise, relevant and understandable for the user.
Documentation includes bookkeeping documents, business books and other records of the Client, which are at disposal of the Provider in accordance with the Slovenian Accounting Standards (hereinafter referred to as “SAS”) and International Accounting Standards (hereinafter referred to as “IAS”).
2.8 Bookkeeping documents
Bookkeeping documents carry information, which the Provider transfers into business books, while processing the documents and obtaining accounting information from them. Original bookkeeping documents are generally not generated at the Provider.
Accounts are final products of accounting and include accounting data on past balances and processes. They are produced for the business as a whole or for its individual components or activities (later calculation of purchasing, production or sales). An account is a synthetic report expressed with monetary criteria and produced using the bookkeeping data. Accounts can include other data as well to provide a more comprehensive overview and to compare them.
Accounts for the company as a whole or for parts of the company are produced for financial years, interim periods and specific needs. They are prepared when Client reports need to be produced.
The Provider employs accounting experts (accountants and bookkeepers) and other experts that are required for the pursuit of activities (tax consultants, lawyers, business consultants, HR experts, etc.).
In the event that a business operator conducts business as a sole proprietor and the sole owner of the business share in a single-person company, in which he/she acts as manager or managing director, the business operator is considered as an employee.
2.11 Working environment
Working environment constitutes suitable premises, functional office equipment and adequately powerful information and communication technology, which is at the Provider’s disposal.
3 Provision of services
Providers of accounting services carry out accounting services and non-accounting services.
3.1 Accounting services
Accounting services are divided into services of accounting system for management, execution and information.
When carrying out accounting services, the Provider must cooperate with the Client. This is especially important when generating information for the Client. For this purpose, the Provider must constantly train the Client. This is why Client training for understanding the accounting system and accounting information is an important part of accounting services.
3.1.1 Accounting services of accounting system for management
Within the framework of the services of the accounting system for management, the Provider shall plan, organize and supervise the processes of accounting and cooperate when planning and organizing the entire accounting information system. Decision-making regarding the accounting information system is the responsibility of the Client. The plan and organization of the accounting must be recorded in the Rules on Accounting or in other rules of accounting, which shall be adopted by the responsible person of the Client.
The Provider shall plan and organize bookkeeping, accounting budgeting, accounting analyses, accounting control, displaying data and information, storage and archiving of documents, business books, reports and other documents that are important for the Client and related with the accounting system. The Provider must plan and organize at least those parts of accounting, for which it provides services. It can plan other areas of accounting as well. The Provider is responsible for the development of internal reporting, which is why it should be involved when planning and organizing parts of internal reporting that are not related to accounting.
For the purposes of bookkeeping, the Provider must plan and organize at least the following:
- system of original and derived accounting documents and their movement and validation;
- business books, registers and process of data entry into business books;
- necessary accounts, deadlines for their preparation, and mode of transmission of accounts to users.
The Client and the Provider shall agree on deadlines and on the manner of delivery of bookkeeping documents to the Provider. The deadlines and manner of delivery must enable the Provider to record transactions in a timely manner and in the correct order. Deadlines and manner of delivery of bookkeeping documents shall be defined by the Provider who is responsible for timely recording of transactions in business books. In the event that the Client is late with delivery of bookkeeping documents, the Provider may stop providing accounting services and terminate the contractual relationship. The only exception is force majeure. Due to rapid transfer and processing of documents, use of channels for electronic communication is recommended. It is recommended to follow the Protocol defined in the Annex of the Standard Contract, adopted by the CAS.
The Provider must plan and organize the business books in such a manner that they satisfy the Client’s needs for accounting information and at the same time do not require redundant bookkeeping work.
A plan of the chart of accounts shall be individually prepared for each Client. For the purposes of internal reporting, the Provider shall – if necessary – plan a list of cost carriers, cost items and other dimensions. For the purposes of reporting, the code lists must be systematically arranged.
The Provider shall prepare a plan and organize the implementation of accounts. The Client and the Provider shall agree on deadlines for preparing accounts. The Provider must take into account the legal obligations for preparing accounts for external reporting and the Client’s purposes of internal reporting. The Provider must plan the accounts in such a manner that they are directly comparable with the budgets.
For the purpose of accounting budgeting, the Provider shall prepare a plan of budgets, which covers their purpose, the plan of required information for creating budgets, and time and procedures for their preparation. The budget structure must be the same to the account structure. In cooperation with the Client, the Provider shall organize the budget process.
The Provider and the Client shall agree on the extent of financial analysis. Based on this, the Provider shall plan preparation, implementation and presentation of the analyses. Within the framework of the plan, the Provider must methodically reconcile the accounting budgets and accounts. The Provider must adapt the plan of accounting records in accordance with the plan of needs for financial analysis. This means that the Provider must take into account the requirements of accounting analysis from the very beginning within the framework of planning accounting records and accounting budgets
The Provider shall prepare a plan and organize supervision of bookkeeping, accounting budgeting and accounting analysis.
3.1.2 Accounting services of accounting execution system
Accounting is carried out based on the purposes of internal reporting, the Code of Accounting Principles, SAS, laws and regulations that regulate accounting in the Republic of Slovenia and – if necessary – IAS.
Accounting services of accounting execution system are divided into the following:
- accounting budgeting;
- accounting analysis;
- accounting control.
Within the framework of bookkeeping, the Provider shall collect, arrange and record data, prepare accounts and show them to the Clients in real-time or subsequently.
Bookkeeping data can be collected only on the basis of suitable bookkeeping documents.
Original bookkeeping documents are issued or received and confirmed by the Client. If the Provider detects a deviation from planned documents or a violation of legal or professional provisions related to the documents, the Provider shall require the Client to eliminate them. The Client must confirm credibility of original bookkeeping documents.
It is recommended that the Provider keeps a record of documents received from the Client. If the Client sends the documents by electronic means, enough information should be available so that it is possible to verify which documents were sent and when the Provider received or sent them.
Each Provider should seek to record the data in business books as soon as possible after the occurrence of a transaction. When the Client accesses the data for its own purposes of reporting, the Provider must provide data in business books no later than 5 (five) days after receiving a bookkeeping document. The deadline for recording transactions into business books is 3 (three) days before preparing accounts, so that accounting control of data in business books can be carried out. In the event that accounts are not prepared monthly, the transaction shall be recorded by the end of the next month after the day of occurrence to ensure current recording.
Accounts shall be prepared for the purposes of internal and external reporting and for the purposes of implementing other accounting services. The Provider must prepare required accounts at least 2 days prior to producing financial reports or so early that it is possible to carry out accounting control of the accounts.
Within the framework of accounting budgeting, the Provider shall produce budget statements and other forms of budgets for Client’s purposes. To produce accounting budgets, the Provider shall collect, arrange and process data related to planned accounting categories. The Provider must take into account bookkeeping data, as well as data on planned events and changes of business environment and data on planned business decisions of the Client. The Provider must obtain data on planned events and changes of business environment and data on planned business decisions from the Client in such a manner, that the Provider will be able to understand it and correctly take it into account when producing accounting budgets.
The Provider can carry out accounting analysis if qualified to do so. On the basis of collected data, the Provider must determine balances, changes and differences between the actual and desired balances or changes, as well as identify the reasons for changes or differences. On the basis of accounting analysis, the Provider shall deliver expert basis for decision-making to the Client.
The Provider must carry out formal and substantive control, during which truthfulness and accuracy of displayed transactions, correctness of recording of transactions in business books, reconciliation of balances in business books with the actual balance and other items shall be assessed.
3.1.3 Accounting services of accounting information system
The Provider shall forward, present and explain accounting information arising from Client’s business to the Client. Accounting information is intended for the Client, regardless of whether it is used by its internal or external users. The Provider must be especially careful when forwarding information within the framework of internal reporting because the Client makes decisions based on this information.
The Provider shall keep bookkeeping documents, business books and Client reports with due diligence and in accordance with practice in the profession and regulations. The Provider must keep the bookkeeping documents, business books and reports in such a manner that they cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons. They must be stored in a safe place that is not exposed to dust, moisture or heat. If the Client’s documentation is in electronic form, the Provider must ensure adequate protection against unauthorized intrusion and losses due to damage to computer equipment. The Client and the Provider shall agree on how long the Provider shall keep the bookkeeping documents, business books and reports and the manner of storage.
The Client and Provider can agree that the Provider shall archive the bookkeeping documents, business books and reports for the Client. In this case, the Provider must comply with all conditions for management and storage of archival material, provided by the profession and regulations.
Documents, business books and reports stored by the Provider must be returned to the Client if required. The Provider must not withhold bookkeeping documents, business books and reports of the Client if the Client is late with payment for services rendered, except in the case when it is otherwise specified in the contract with the Client.
All documents, business books and reports of the Client that are stored by the Provider, not in use any more and do not need to be archived, must be converted into an unreadable form by the Provider. Useless electronically saved documents, business books and reports shall be deleted from storage media. If the Provider discards, sells or otherwise disposes of the storage media, the Client’s documentation must be protected in such a manner that it impossible to read with normal reading processes.
3.2 Non-accounting services
On the basis of the contract, the Provider may carry out non-accounting services for the Client. It should be noted that the following services are contrary to accounting and organization principles of the entire business process: payment without an order from the Client’s responsible person, management of cash operations, accounting of travel orders, introduction and implementation of annual inventories, audit of statements for the Client, management of Client’s tax policy and management decision-making.
If the Client establishes supervision over the implementation of the following services, which is not organized within the framework of the Provider, the Provider may carry them out: calculation of salaries, wages and other remunerations, invoicing, payment collection and billing of default interest.
The Provider may advise the Client on how to organize and implement accounting. When doing that, the Provider must take into account the Code of Accounting Principles, SAS, IAS and other regulations.
The Provider must employ at least one person that meets the following requirements:
- completed examination under the CAS programme for becoming Professional Manager of the accounting firm, or
- certificate of the CCIS on completion of Programme for Accounting Firm Management Training, or
- professional title of Certified Accountant or Accountant, obtained at the Slovenian Institute of Auditors, or
- professional title of Auditor or Certified Auditor, obtained at the Slovenian Institute of Auditors, or
- professional title of Internal Auditor, obtained at the Slovenian Institute of Auditors, or
- completed examination in accordance with the ACCA programme, or
- with The CIPFA International Diploma in Public Sector Acounting from The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
With respect to the scope of work, contractually agreed with the Clients, the Provider shall ensure sufficient number of qualified staff to timely and responsibly carry out the ordered services.
A Provider with more than four employees must have an appropriate Act regulating internal organization and job systematization. In the context of systematization, it is necessary to define the positions of employment for a bookkeeper (if bookkeeping services are carried out) and an accountant (if services of accounting budgeting, analysis and control are carried out). Suitable positions of employment must be defined for other accounting services as well, such as payroll accountant and similar positions of employment.
The Provider shall provide constant training to its employees and ensure an adequate level of those professional skills that are necessary to effectively and efficiently carry out the agreed services. The Provider shall select high-quality professional training organization that can ensure relevant knowledge to its employees.
4.3 Contractual relationships
The Provider shall conclude appropriate written contracts with its employees and other experts that are required to carry out its activities, which shall clearly and unambiguously define the obligations and rights arising from performing individual work.
From the perspective of Client protection and sensitivity of data managed by the Provider, the contract concluded with employees and other experts must contain provisions on protection of personal data, professional secrecy and tax secrecy.
The contracts must be concluded in accordance with the applicable regulations. It is recommended to conclude a contract for a longer period of time.
4.4 Outside staff
Outside staff are persons that are performing work for the Provider in the form of a non-employment contract or other business contract. Outside staff with the Provider must be adequately trained to perform accounting and other services.
5 Working environment
5.1 Information technology
All Provider’s information technology must be licensed if such a license is required. At the same time, the Provider must use such information systems that were legitimately purchased or leased.
The Provider shall use such an information system that provides an overview of business books at any time. It is recommended that the Provider uses an information system for its operations that enables the Client to directly view its data. It is also recommended that the Provider uses modern information solutions for its daily work that enable the fastest possible data entry based on the system of single information input.
The information system must allow for reading, entry and creation of e-invoices in accordance with regulatory standards. The information system must also allow for creation of such copies that can be exported to other formats, such as .xls, .xlsx, .pdf, .xml and others.
The Provider shall ensure that it is at any time possible to view and print out business books for the period of up to 10 years. This means that storage discs must be sufficiently large, appropriately secured and protected from unauthorized intrusion. The Provider shall ensure daily database archiving.
The Provider shall also ensure an appropriate anti-virus system that prevents data corruption on storage discs. The anti-virus system must be constantly up to date.
If the Provider uses cloud computing solutions, it must have a concluded contract with the provider of such services, which – among other things – defines the manner and system of data protection and at any time allows for print-outs for the period of 10 years. The Provider is responsible for protection of cloud-based Client’s data.
If the Provider uses Client’s information system to provide its services, the Client is responsible for data protection.
It is recommended that the Provider has an internal authorized person or an external contractor that is responsible for correct operation of the entire information technology.
The workspaces where the work is carried out must meet the legal requirements defined by technical standards of this kind. The Provider must have a Statement on Safety in the Workplace, which states that the premises are bright enough, protected from noise and adequately heated. The premises must be sufficiently ventilated as well.
The Provider must also ensure the following security measures:
- theft protection,
- fire protection,
- storage of certain items in the vault.
The Provider shall assess how to ensure the above measures. The Provider must however prevent free movement of unauthorized persons, in particular due to protection of data entrusted to the Provider by the Client.
The Provider must also ensure adequate fire protection measures that prevent the documentation and data to burn in full or be destroyed.
5.3 Equipment in premises
Equipment in business premises must ensure that workplaces are properly ergonomically designed. Relating to this, it is important to select the right chair and ensure appropriate height and surface of the work desk, suitable screens and other equipment.
The Provider shall also ensure that certain items, such as personal employee certificates, passwords for software access, passwords for software that performs payment operations, etc., will be appropriately protected from theft. Storage of such items in another location where they are appropriately protected, a safe, or a special locked metal cabinet are considered as appropriate protection.
The Provider shall establish prices for its services based on the calculation of its cost price. The Provider of accounting services shall not offer its services at lower prices than its cost price.
The Provider shall draw up its price list, which shall be always accessible to the Clients and presented when the contract is concluded.
If the costs of services are substantially higher than expected due to special circumstances, the Provider must inform the Client about this and provide clarifications.
6.2 Offer of services
The Provider shall compose an offer of services that it can carry out in a quality manner based on an assessment of its capabilities. The Provider undertakes that it shall not deceive the Client with an offer of services that it cannot perform in a timely and quality manner.
In the event that the Client’s tasks exceeds the Provider’s capacity, the Provider must immediately notify the Client about this. In the event that the Provider requires outside staff to perform such tasks, an additional agreement with the Client must be concluded.
6.3 Professional liability insurance
The Provider shall constantly monitor potential dangers in its operations. These dangers include errors in service provision, destruction of data and documents due to force majeure, accidents at work, etc. If the Provider is performing payment transactions for the Client, it is reasonable to extend the insurance coverage and include coverage of potential embezzlement.
Monitoring of potential dangers is important, so that the Provider does not cause economic damage to the Client neither directly nor indirectly. In that regard, professional liability insurance and accident insurance are important guarantees for the Client that the Provider is provides its services with due diligence.
6.4 Conclusion of contractual relationships
The contract on accounting services must specifically define the accounting services that the Provider shall provide. It is recommended that the minimum requirements are those that are in accordance with the CAS Standard Contract or the applicable Code of Obligations.
If the Client and the Provider shall conclude an agreement on a long-term business cooperation, it is recommended to conclude the agreement in writing. For single orders and services, oral agreement is considered as having the status of an agreement.
6.5 Termination of contractual relationships
Upon termination of a contractual relationship, the Provider and the Client undertake to strictly respect the articles of the Agreement on Accounting Services, thus enabling smooth transition of the Client to another Provider.
Upon the handover of business documents, the Provider shall take into account the Rules on Handover, issued by CAS, and articles of the Standard Contract related to the termination of contractual relationship.
7.1 Date of adoption and coming into effect
CAS adopted this Standard at its 37th meeting on 7 October 2014. The standard shall come into effect on 1 January 2015.
8 Certificate of Conformity
CAS shall issue the Certificate of Conformity to the Provider of accounting services in accordance with the provisions of the Standard after receiving a completed statement, which is an integral part of the Standard. The Certificate shall be valid only for provision of accounting services in the Republic of Slovenia.
In the event that the Provider of accounting services violates the provisions of the Standard or fails to comply with them, CAS can revoke the Certificate.
Expert committee appointed by the Administrative Board of CAS shall decide about revocation of the Certificate.
CAS keeps a list of issued and valid Certificates of Conformity and publishes it on its website.
The Administrative Board of CAS shall determine the amount of compensation for issuing the Certificate of Conformity.
Attachment: Statement of Provider of Accounting service