Academic journal article Global Perspectives on Accounting Education

International Accounting Certification in the Russian Language: A Case Study

Academic journal article Global Perspectives on Accounting Education

International Accounting Certification in the Russian Language: A Case Study

Article excerpt


The 15 former Soviet republics known as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) all have their own national accounting and auditing certifications. These republics have been evolving in different directions since the break up of the Soviet Union. However, they have at least one thing in common - their certifications are not held in high regard beyond their borders, and perhaps even within their own countries. Several internationally recognized certification bodies have tried to fill the market need by offering their exams within the borders of the CIS, but these attempts have been only partially successful because these international certification exams are offered only in the English language. As a result, the majority of accountants in the CIS are not able to write a professional exam. Until recently, non-English speaking accountants within the CIS had no alternatives other than their national exams. Starting in late 2001, a plan was made to introduce into several former Soviet republics a series of examinations based on the accounting principles used in the developed market economies. These exams were offered in the Russian language, thus offering non-English speaking accountants an opportunity to earn a certification based on internationally recognized accounting principles. This paper reports on this movement.

Key words: Accounting certification, Russia, Central Asia, certified accounting practitioner, CAP, certified international public accountant, CIPA


A private sector initiative to reform and upgrade accounting certification is well underway in several former Soviet republics. This initiative is important to accounting educators in Russian speaking countries for several reasons. For one, the topics covered in the exams are different from the topics currently being taught in many universities in the region. Thus, there is a divergence between university accounting education and what is being demanded by the market. As these examinations grow in popularity, increasing pressure will be placed on universities in the region to change their accounting curriculum to prepare students to pass these certification exams. Universities that fail to meet this demand will be faced with a loss of accounting student enrollments, while universities that incorporate these new subjects into their curriculums will see their enrollments grow.

Another reason why this examination program is important to educators in the Russian zone is because many professors and lecturers may not be sufficiently familiar with the material to adequately teach it. The reason for this lack of familiarity is because much of the content of these exams is based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Standards on Auditing (ISA), financial management and management accounting, which are topics that were probably not taught in the universities when the present generation of lecturers and professors were students. Thus, in order to teach these new subjects, these faculty members will somehow have to become familiar with this material. Those who have a command of the English language can become proficient by reading some of the many books and articles that have been published in the English language on these subjects, but those who cannot read English are at somewhat of a disadvantage, because the accounting materials available in local languages such as Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Tajik, and Kazak are not as numerous and not of the same quality.

Another reason that professors in the Russian zone might be interested in this recent development is because it could be an extra income opportunity for them. If they can learn the material sufficiently well, they may have the opportunity to teach it in the private sector exam preparation courses that are emerging to serve the demand for instruction. Since the private sector generally pays higher hourly salaries than state universities, teaching in these private programs could provide a good salary supplement for professors who can qualify. …

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