Australia Migration, Immigration Australia, Migrating to Australia
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Accountants - CPAA

Certified Practising Accountants of Australia

Accountants

Information for Accountants regarding visas and immigration to Australia.

Obtaining a visa to reside permanently in Australia made easy.

On this page you will find all forms and information documents pertaining to Accountants. All documents are listed under "Downloads," top right corner of this page.

Overview

There is no legislated requirement in Australia for registration of accountants in Australia (except for financial advisers, tax agents and external auditors). The profession tends to regulate itself by preferring to recruit accountants who are members of an Australian professional accounting body (ie. CPA or CA). Likewise, public practitioners with an Australian professional body designation are the preferred choice of Australians wishing to utilise the services provided by a public practice accountant. CPA Australia is one of the two professional accounting bodies in Australia and is a designated assessing authority for the following Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO); Accountant, Corporate Treasurer, External Auditor and Finance Manager.

Assessment for migration purposes is based on the same criteria required for Associate (entry-level) membership of CPA Australia. It is largely similar to assessments provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA). In general, you can select either CPA Australia or ICAA to provide your assessment. ACCA and CIMA qualified accountants who do not also have an undergraduate degree are offered several options for meeting the requirements for admission as an Associate (entry level) membership of CPA Australia. However, for the purpose of migration applications, these accountants are advised to apply to the ICAA for skills assessment.

To meet the educational standard for any of the above ASCO occupations, you must have formal qualifications assessed by CPA Australia as at least comparable to an Australian Bachelor degree. These qualifications must include adequate coverage of at least 9 of the 12 core curriculum areas required for Associate membership. Work experience is not accepted in lieu of formal qualifications. The core curriculum areas are: basic accounting, financial and corporate accounting, current accounting issues (standards and theory), cost and management accounting, business finance, auditing, introductory law (including contracts), economics, statistics, computer information systems, Australian taxation law and Australian company law.

CPA Australia will issue a written assessment result indicating that your qualifications either meet or do not meet the requirement for the nominated ASCO occupation. If your assessment advises that you meet the requirement, you can submit it with your visa application without completing any further study. Assessments are valid for five years and will include details of accredited study programs available by distance learning. Thus, if your assessment is not successful in the first instance, you will be able to complete additional studies required to meet the standard required for migration.

If your visa is granted (and activated) and you wish to apply for membership of CPA Australia, you must complete the remaining entry level studies prescribed in your assessment before admission. Members admitted at Associate level must complete our postgraduate level CPA Program and satisfy requisite work experience before advancing to CPA status. 

Your application and the assessment process

The full heading on CPA Australia's application form is 'Application for Assessment of Qualifications for PBCIS or Membership Purposes'. For ease of reference it will be referred to simply as the Application for Assessment form. Our Application for Assessment form gives complete, but necessarily brief, information about the assessment process and instructions for preparing your application. The following information elaborates on that information and includes some frequently-asked questions and answers. The FAQs are shown in bold italics. This section is intended to be a helpful back-up to the application form. It will also :

  1. Help you to estimate your chances of receiving a successful assessment to use with your migration application; and
  2. Help you to prepare your application for assessment so that you include all the material and evidence which will help CPA Australia to process your application quickly and efficiently.

    On receipt of your application, CPA Australia will conduct a brief, preliminary examination of your documents. A written acknowledgment will be sent to you immediately to confirm receipt. Any immediately obvious missing material will be requested in the acknowledgment letter but we may still ask for further details or clarification once your assessment commences.

Estimate your chances of successful assessment

Assessment for migration purposes is based on the same criteria required for Associate (entry level) membership of CPA Australia. These criteria are determined by the accounting profession in Australia and form the standard recognised by the profession. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) uses this standard to evaluate your chances of gaining suitable employment in Australia if they grant you a permanent resident visa.

To receive a successful assessment for migration purposes, you must have:

1. A qualification from an accredited educational institution which is assessed by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) and CPA Australia as comparable to an Australian 3-year Bachelor degree.

Can CPA Australia provide me with a list of recognised universities and degree qualifications? No. There are simply too many institutions world-wide and many of the qualifications are limited by the Division, Class or Aggregate Grade awarded. We do not have the resources to maintain our own sources of reference. In determining the status of your degree, we use (in most cases) the guidelines published in the relevant NOOSR Country Education Profile.

2. The content (curriculum) of your qualification/s must fulfil at least 9 of the following 12 core curriculum subject areas :

  • Basic accounting
  • Cost and management accounting
  • Financial and corporate accounting
  • Auditing
  • Current accounting issues (standards and theory)
  • Business finance
  • Introductory law (including contract law)
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Computer information systems
  • Tax Law
  • Company Law

Therefore, a successful assessment for migration will advise that you have:

  1. a qualification which is comparable to an Australian Bachelor degree/tertiary qualifications; and
  2. not more than three additional subjects to complete in order to meet the requirements for membership.

Membership of other professional bodies

If you have a recognised university qualification in any discipline in addition to any of the following professional qualifications, you can generally expect to receive a successful assessment:

  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK (ACCA)
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK (CIMA)
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants India
  • The Hong Kong Society of Accountants
  • *American Institute of CPAs
  • *Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • *The Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales
  • *The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • *The Institute of CPAs Ireland
  • *The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland
  • *The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • *le Conseil Sup�rieur de l'Ordre des Experts-Comptables (France)

* If you are a member (by examination) of one of these professional bodies and have a degree assessed as comparable to an Australian Bachelor degree, you may be eligible for admission to membership of CPA Australia with full CPA status, subject to fulfilment of all other admission criteria. However, it is emphasised that the basis of any assessment is that you have a recognised degree. For example, if you are a member the Institute of CPAs Ireland but you were admitted with the AAT qualification, you will not be able to receive a successful assessment for migration purposes unless you are prepared to upgrade the AAT to a recognised Bachelor degree or 2-year full-time Masters. (See heading 'Eligibility for Membership' in the Application for Assessment form.)

I am not a member of a professional body. Can I still apply for assessment? Yes. Our Application for Assessment form asks you to provide evidence of membership (and examinations) of other professional bodies. This is not intended to imply that you must be a member of a professional body before you can apply for assessment (or migration). It simply means that if you do have professional membership, you should submit appropriate evidence. If you are not a member of any professional body, then you can disregard this item. 

Preparing your application

The following information is relevant to the material you must submit with your application for assessment.

Certified true copies

Documents will not be returned to you after assessment. Thus, we require that you submit certified true copies of original academic awards (certificates, diplomas) and academic transcripts (examination results) with your application.

Who can certify my documents? We will accept documents endorsed by any of the following :

  • Commissioner for Oaths
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Notary
  • Lawyer
  • Doctor
  • CPA or Chartered Accountant
  • Bank manager; or
  • any other official who, in your home country, is authorised to endorse documents and legal declarations or witness sworn affidavits

The endorsement must clearly indicate which of the above categories the signatory represents and state that the copies are true and unaltered reproductions of the original documents. CPA Australia will not accept photocopies of your certified documents. You may keep a photocopy for yourself if you wish but please make sure that your application contains the copies bearing the original endorsements.

Academic Transcripts (exam results)

These must be official transcripts. Results downloaded from websites or printouts issued on plain paper will not be accepted.

If your academic transcript indicates that you were given credit towards a degree based on previous studies (either at a lower level or at another institution), you must include relevant documentation for that prior study.

If your university/educational institution issued separate transcripts for each individual year of study, please include transcripts for all years of study.

Syllabus Details (Subject Outlines)

Note: Members of any of the professional bodies listed in the section Membership of other professional bodies are generally not required to submit any syllabus information. There are some exceptions. For example, if you completed a recognised degree which included Auditing and subsequently completed the CIMA professional program, you should submit an outline for the auditing unit/s in your degree.

To obtain a successful assessment for migration purposes, your recognised qualification/s must fulfil at least 9 of the 12 core curriculum subject areas. It is your responsibility to ensure that you provide adequate syllabus detail to demonstrate that your studies covered the required core curriculum subject areas. You must provide detail for all relevant accounting, law, finance, economics, statistics and computer information systems subjects. Failure to provide sufficient syllabus detail may adversely affect the result of your assessment. You will be advised to complete further studies in any subject areas in which we are unable to assess the depth of your knowledge. This will adversely affect the result of your assessment.

I do not have a copy of my syllabus, what can I do? Most reputable institutions keep some information about courses conducted in past years. If not in the form of comprehensive course notes, at least the brief outlines usually found in the handbook/calendar. Contact the university/institution at which you studied and ask if they can provide you with this information. If you graduated recently, you may be able to find the information in the university's website. If the university cannot provide syllabus/outlines for the exact period during which you studied, try to get as close as possible. In this case, the subject names or codes may not exactly match your academic transcript. Please make sure that you clearly indicate those changes. You can do this by writing directly onto the syllabus document and/or academic transcript so that we can easily cross-reference the relevant subjects. If you have (or you are able to obtain) a complete booklet of all subject outlines offered by your university/faculty, please clearly mark those subjects which you actually took or photocopy and submit only the relevant outlines. This will save us from wasting time sifting through irrelevant pages find the information we need. Time wasted in this way results in significant delays � to you and everyone else awaiting assessment results.

I have contacted my university but they cannot give me any syllabus detail for my studies � what can I do? You must prepare your own summary of topics covered and submit it with a Statutory Declaration that the information given in the summary is true.

I graduated years ago and cannot recall what I studied � what can I do? Remember that the basic purpose of the qualifications assessment is to determine that you have the knowledge relevant to your qualifications and the occupation for which you are being assessed. The assumption is that your knowledge is current and therefore useable in your nominated occupation if and when you arrive in Australia.

Failure to provide sufficient syllabus detail may adversely affect the result of your assessment. You will be advised to complete further studies in any subject areas in which we are unable to assess the depth of your knowledge. This will adversely affect the result of your assessment.

How much information should the syllabus contain? Each subject outline should contain enough detail to demonstrate that your studies adequately covered our requirements in each of the core knowledge subject areas (see Recognised Qualifications). For example, a description for Financial Accounting which merely shows that the subject 'covers aspects of duties undertaken in a financial accounting environment' tells us nothing. This kind of description is often found in university handbooks. If your subject outlines look like this, then you will be asked to provide more detail. You will avoid unnecessary delay by ensuring that your application includes syllabus/subject outlines which list all the key topics covered in each of the relevant subjects.

Other tertiary qualifications

You may have an undergraduate degree in Arts (for example) followed by a postgraduate degree in Accounting. Please submit details of both. (Syllabus detail required only for relevant accounting subjects as described in Syllabus detail/subject outlines).

Thank you for taking the time to read this information. If you still have questions which remain unanswered please contact BCIS Consultants.

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