In the first show of solidarity since the three bodies met formally in 2012, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia, and the Institute of Public Accountants have now reforged the joint accounting bodies alliance, calling for a more efficient regulatory framework for advisory services.
“The joint accounting bodies have come together today as we believe the time has come to re-examine the frameworks that regulate how financial and tax advice is provided in Australia,” said CA ANZ chief executive Rick Ellis.
“We are working together on a broader and more robust solution to the complexity of the current regulatory framework that will enable both businesses and Australians to not only access the advice they need but understand that advice.”
The tripartite lobbying effort comes as the bodies believe there is a ripe opportunity to persuade the government to listen because the industry is at the crossroads of change, with the review of the Tax Practitioners Board underway, the introduction of new education and professional standards under FASEA, and the fallout of the banking royal commission.
CPA Australia’s regulatory burden report has laid the groundwork, highlighting the onerous compliance obligations borne by public practitioners and the flow-on impact on consumers who face a dearth of accountants able to provide financial advice.
“Accounting professionals need the flexibility to talk and engage with their clients – but this is often problematic when that advice falls under multiple regulatory frameworks in the same conversation, or even the same sentence,” said CPA Australia chief executive Andrew Hunter.
The IPA’s chief executive Andrew Conway, who had previously led calls for a “new, extended accountants’ exemption”, said this combined lobbying effort was needed to address the failures of the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms.
“Our shared goal is to reduce the regulatory burden on our members, so we retain financial advisers in the industry. For the first time in the best part of two decades we are at risk of creating an advice gap in the market,” said Mr Conway.
“So rather than bringing back the limited accountants’ exemption, each of our accounting bodies in our consultation with our various members has shown that we need to review the regulatory frameworks.
“We have a clear focus to revisit definitions, licensing regimes, and to harmonise obligations when members operate under multiple regulatory frameworks to provide the one piece of advice.”
The joint accounting bodies are now seeking member feedback on client experiences to inform their solution to take to government.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.