Diplomatic Council awards quality certificates and software attestations
Marketing and sales promotion for providers, advice and security for users
Quality testing according to BMF GoBD, IDW PS 880, PS 870, AS4009-1992 and IEEE 1028-2006
The Diplomatic Council (DC), a think tank accredited by the United Nations with consultative status, has established a new office for software certification. This office operates on a three-tier model: Basic certificate (“Approved for International Use”, self-disclosure with a simple, standardized plausibility check), Professional certificate (“Recommended for International Use”, self-disclosure with individual plausibility check), and Software attestation (“Testified for International Use”, test according to legal requirements and national or international standards). Nearly any software can be certified using the Basic certificate. On the contrary, the Professional certificate and Software attestation may only be issued for business management software (Enterprise Resource Planning, etc.). Programs offered in SaaS (Software as a Service) mode can also be certified or tested.
Level 1: Basic certificate
The Basic certificate relies a standardized self-disclosure by the manufacturer. The manufacturer is thus subject to a standardized plausibility assessment by an expert panel. The certificate is awarded based on the decision of the DC certificate council. The certificate bears the label “Approved for International Use by The Diplomatic Council.”
The subject of the certification can be any complete software commercial available, from business software to machine control and Internet software to apps for smartphones and tablets. The certificate refers to the respective program in the version offered by the provider, regardless of its implementation, parametrization or customizing, and irrespective of the product application.
The award helps software vendors in entering international markets. Users are provided with advice in making the best software selection.
At 1 Euro per day (365 Euro plus VAT for one year), costs have been set deliberately low to allow as many vendors as possible – even emerging ones – to receive this fundamental quality certification from the Diplomatic Council.
Level 2: Professional certificate
The professional certificate relies on a detailed questionnaire to be completed by the manufacturer. Its answer is subjected to an individual plausibility verification. The expert panel responsible thereof will request further documentation to better understand individual areas should questions or doubts arise. The certificate will only be awarded if all doubts of the DC certificate council are dispelled in the course of the verification. The certificate bears the label “Recommended for International Use by The Diplomatic Council”.
This certificate provides software manufacturers implementing an intensive expansion strategy with a powerful sales and marketing tool, i.e. The Diplomatic Council recommends the use of the software. The certificate provides users with high security in their investments.
Depending on the complexity of the software and the related plausibility check, verification, certification and quality-seal award costs start at 2,500 Euro plus VAT in the first year and 1,250 Euro plus VAT for subsequent years without major release upgrade or change in the IT environment. Costs include the fee for corporate membership to the Diplomatic Council.
Level 3: Software attestation
The DC software attestation consists in an intensive testing pursuant to the requirements of national and/or international standards as per the submitting entity and in accordance with the “OECD Guidance on Tax Compliance for Business and Accounting Software”. After consultation, testing may be subject to international software testing standards such as IEEE 1028-2008 or country-specific ones like IDW PS 880 (Germany), PS 870 (Switzerland) and AS4009-1992 (Australia). Testing is performed on behalf of the Diplomatic Council by Vmag Valuation & Management Advisory Group, an auditing company specializing in software certification.
Testing results conform the basis of an attestation on the functioning of the software in accordance with the current requirements of the respective standards. Therefore, the attestation is also possible for countries lacking testing standards. The certificate bears the label “Testified for International Use by The Diplomatic Council”.
Suppliers and users express great interest
Suitable software include accounting programs and any upstream and auxiliary IT systems such as PC-POS, inventory management, invoicing, scale, cost accounting, time recording and documentation management systems.
Both the provider and the user of this software should have a strong interest in its verification and testing by an independent organization, as a means to certify that programs offered or used actually meet the requirements. This is exactly why the DC Global IT Forum of the Diplomatic Council has developed a certification process, which consists of six stages: Inventory of software and development environment, testing of processing functions and rules, testing of software security, testing of documentation, testing of functioning, and final results documentation in the attestation.
Depending on the extent of the necessary audit work, costs for the complete audit process with final attestation start at 9,500 Euro plus VAT in the first year and at least 4,000 Euro plus VAT in subsequent years without major release changes or changes in the IT environment. Costs include the fee for corporate membership to the Diplomatic Council.
“The DC software attestation complies with the principles for the proper maintenance and preservation of books, records and documents in electronic form. Concerned software include accounting-related, business software for accounting and finance, corporate control, risk management and compliance, as well as any upstream and auxiliary IT systems such as PC POS, inventory management, invoicing, scale, costing, time recording and documentation management systems”. Dipl.-Kfm. Klaus-Michael Burger, Auditor, Certified internal auditor, Certified technical experts for business valuation (IHK Cologne), Vmag Valuation & Management Advisory Group Aktiengesellschaft, Auditing company, DC plenipotentiary for international verification, certification and testing of software
Quality attestation favors the marketing and sales efforts of software vendors
Software vendors regard the independent and legally compliant certification provided by the Diplomatic Council as a major quality feature, as well as a significant sales and marketing driver. After all, customers consider quality certification as a crucial decision criterion when purchasing a software product.
Users receive extended assurances and save money
The user guarantees the independent attestation for the financial statements audit assurance to fulfill the new GoBD requirements as mandated by the Federal Ministry of Finance. In addition, the certificate saves users testing costs, because the results of software testing are considered part of the auditor’s risk assessment.