After months of consulting with the accounting, financial planning and education sector, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) senior policy adviser and Accountants IQ founder Bronny Speed said there is widespread confusion about what education counts, the exam, how CPD will be consistently accredited across all professional member bodies and whether credit will be given for ethics subjects that have already been examined.
“Accountants are well positioned as far as FASEA’s standards are concerned, and members of CA ANZ and CPA Australia don’t believe a major overhaul of their requirements to gain and retain their professional designations will result in a big improvement to the industry,” said Ms Speed.
“In fact, it may be of detriment to the industry, as many accountants plan to exit should the proposed reforms be implemented as they currently stand.”
A recent straw poll conducted by sister website SMSF Adviser comprising 2,002 votes showed that over a third or 37.1 per cent indicated they would either exit the advice industry or cease offering advice services as an accountant.
A further 14.5 per cent indicated they would remain working in their firm but stop offering advice to clients.
Ms Speed explained that accountants are already highly educated professionals, have completed a three-year practical mentoring program, are obliged to adhere to a strict code of ethics and undertake significant ongoing professional development.
“Professional advisers who have fulfilled these requirements and have not been under any form of ASIC disciplinary action should be able to continue to practice in their chosen field without further study,” she said.
“Why should study for study’s sake even be considered? What’s the point of further bridging courses when the above mentioned exam will contain much of the same subject matter?”