Last month, the TPB proposed to convert existing guidelines and information sheets containing requirements for board-approved courses into legislative instruments.
These include guidance on basic accountancy principles, commercial law, Australian taxation law and basic GST/BAS taxation principles.
The TPB noted that providing legislative status for its requirements would not change the substance of the requirements but “give greater clarity and certainty for tax practitioners, applicants for tax practitioner registration and course providers”.
However, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia have now urged the TPB to put its plan on hold until the report on the independent review of the TPB has been released.
Both professional bodies pointed to the fact that the review had explored the need to evaluate current education requirements and noted that it would be unwise to move ahead of the final report and its recommendations.
“We continue to be of the view that a detailed review of TPB education requirements is necessary,” said CPA Australia. “Therefore, we suggest that the formalisation of existing requirements in the absence of the TPB Review Final Report may be premature.”
Likewise, CA ANZ said: “We request that the proposals to legislate the TPB views in LIs be put on hold, at least until such time as stakeholders have seen the report, the recommendations it contains, and the government’s response to those recommendations.”
The professional accounting bodies also argue that the evolving nature of academic requirements needs to be considered before legislating current guidance.
“In any event, the nature and scope of academic requirements, such as standards and learning techniques, are constantly evolving and will require regular updates to keep the LIs current, and therefore requires flexibility in the TPB’s policy and in its application,” CA ANZ said.
“As such, in our view, it is inappropriate to attempt to lock in and give legislative force to detailed and prescriptive content of this nature.”
CPA Australia added that “the composition, delivery and assessment of professional education is constantly evolving”.
“Given that the draft LIs are based on TPB guidance developed more than a decade ago, they should be refreshed to reflect contemporary education offerings and outcomes-focused educational approaches,” it said.
CPA Australia has also recommended that if the legislative instruments are formalised, a sunset date must be included to ensure contemporary practices are reflected.
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.