In August, the TPB announced that it would be reviewing the CPD records of 1,000 registered tax agents, particular those who were not aligned with a professional association.
Accountants Daily understands that early stages of the audit have indeed revealed that there were agents who failed to provide evidence of their CPD records, despite indicating that they met the requirements in their annual registration renewals with the TPB.
Further, it is understood that the compliance program will soon target registered agents who are part of a professional association, with a priority on bodies that do not conduct an internal audit on CPD for their members, before moving to random checks on all registered agents.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, the Institute of Public Accountants general manager of technical policy Tony Greco said the public announcement of the audit should come as a warning to agents to get their CPD affairs in order.
“The fact that they are actually going to do a compliance project means they are going to have to show how many they have audited and the results and to me, that is more than telling people there’s a requirement, but it is one step further than what they have done previously, to my knowledge,” said Mr Greco.
The audit program follows from the government’s budget announcement to increase funding to the TPB to the tune of $20 million via an increase in registration fees to help the board enforce “appropriate professional and ethical standards”.
“At the end of the day, you can’t be competent unless you’re keeping up with changes in the law so it’s very important that they undertake more compliance and make sure the competence of practitioners is up to the rigour of what a professional should be doing,” said Mr Greco.
“It is a reminder that the profession has got this obligation and it is a timely reminder for those who aren’t unaligned to a professional body that there’s a CPD requirement as part of the professional code of conduct.”
Likewise, Association of Accounting Technicians chief executive, Rochelle Park said the CPD audit should come as a reminder for agents to prepare records and evidence of their CPD, should the TPB come knocking in the near future.
“We certainly welcome it – CPD is an extremely important commitment for both BAS agents and tax agents because our world changes very consistently, both legislatively, and in terms of software so to be relevant in what we’re doing and to be competent and confident in the services that you are delivering, CPD is absolutely essential to ensure that you are who you need to be and know what you need to know,” said Ms Park.
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.