In an address yesterday to the Tax Institute and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Mr Hockey urged the accounting industry to compete on a global scale.
While 70 per cent of the Australian economy is services driven, these services only account for 17 per cent of total Australian exports, according to Mr Hockey.
“We were always the land down under, so for the first time in our history, we can compete with the rest of the world because of the internet and new telecommunications,” he said.
Mr Hockey noted there is a multitude of new avenues in global markets for accountants and advisers alike to pursue.
“You can be an accountant and provide financial advice into a market overseas about the Australian laws of maybe international accounting standards,” he said.
Mr Hockey added that “you can be a financial adviser and provide financial advice into China, or into Japan, where you’ve got a massive aging population that are looking to invest money, perhaps in global markets”.
Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Tony Greco, general manager of technical policy, IPA, echoed Mr Hockey's sentiments regarding overseas opportunities.
“The government is trying to encourage the industry, and there are opportunities out there to service abroad in emerging markets, the seed has been planted in our minds to think further abroad,” he said.
Mr Greco added that while Australia has been fortunate with resources, the presence of free trade agreements will open up new opportunities in the services and agriculture sectors.
Asked whether overseas opportunities are a viable option for smaller accounting firms, Mr Greco said technology has proved fruitful for firms regardless of size.
“With cloud technology you can keep your finger on the pulse without a physical presence. We are in the right part of the world to flourish”, he concluded.
Greg Keith, CEO Grant Thornton Australia said the firm, as a larger mid-tier, has already seen the opportunity present in Asia.
"We are there to support the clients of Grant Thornton regardless of where they are domiciled," he said.
"It was only 18 months ago that I returned to Australia from working with our Chinese firm in Hong Kong for two years. I experienced firsthand the collaboration built on trust, understanding and deep relationships."