Accountants

Information for Accountants regarding visas and immigration to Australia.

If you intend applying as an Accountant or Auditor (or related) it is essential that you talk to one of our consultants first. Applying under this occupation stream can result in very long delays during the EOI stage, unless you are able to claim high points (80+)

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 (ANZSCO); 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 ANZSCO 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 ANZSCO 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.

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. Degree requirement

To meet the degree requirement for the general skills assessment, you will need a qualification that is assessed as equivalent to at least an Australian Bachelor degree.

To meet the degree requirement for the provisional assessment, you will need an Australian Bachelor degree or 12 unit Master degree in accounting, business, commerce or economics.

Core knowledge areas

Each ANZSCO code has mandatory and  optional core knowledge areas. To meet the core knowledge requirements of the general and provisional skills assessments, your qualifications will need to cover all mandatory areas for your chosen ANZSCO code, plus an additional optional areas.  Study that is assessed by CPA Australia as equivalent to at least an Australian Bachelor degree will be considered in the assessment of your core knowledge coverage.

The following is a list of the core knowledge areas needed for each ANZSCO code.

Accountant (general) 221111, and Management accountant 221112

Mandatory

Optional

  • Accounting Systems and Processes
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Management Accounting
  • Finance and Financial Management
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Audit and Assurance
  • Taxation Law

Taxation accountant 221113

Mandatory

Optional

  • Accounting Systems and Processes
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Management Accounting
  • Finance and Financial Management
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Australian Taxation Law
  • Audit and assurance

External auditor 221213

Mandatory

Optional

  • Accounting Systems and Processes
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Management Accounting
  • Finance and Financial Management
  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Audit and Assurance
  • Taxation Law

Finance manager 132211, and Corporate treasurer 221212

Mandatory

Optional

  • Accounting Systems and Processes
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Finance
  • Accounting Theory
  • Auditing
  • Commercial Law
  • Economics
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Taxation Law
  • Corporations Law

* Australian Taxation Law is compulsory only for this code – local tax law is optional for all other codes.

  • IELTS Academic Test Report Form (TRF) Number to show you have a band score of at least seven (7) on each of the four (4) components – speaking, reading, listening and writing;
  • or Evidence of completion of the Skilled Migration Internship Program Accounting: (SMIPA)

Please note that practical experience in a core knowledge area is not accepted as an alternative to formal tertiary study.

Members of Fully recognised overseas accounting bodies

The Institute has reciprocal agreements with the following overseas accounting bodies:

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland
  • Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • A legally constituted State Authority in the United States of America (the person having CPA status) subject to appropriate service. Also having a Licence to Practice in the state of issue
  • The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (members of the College of Chartered Accountants)
  • The Hong Kong Society of Accountants (only members who have completed the HKICPA Qualifications Programme and trained under an Authorised Employer/Supervisor).

Current Members of these professional bodies will, in general, be assessed as suitable for migration purposes.

Please note that student members of these bodies without a recognised Bachelor degree should only apply when they have become a full member.

Members of Partially recognised overseas accounting bodies

The partially recognised overseas accounting bodies are:

  • Current members of The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA, UK)
  • Current members of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA, UK)
  • Current members of The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA,UK)
  • Current members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Current members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP)

Current members of partially recognised overseas accounting bodies will, in general, be assessed as suitable for migration purposes depending on the nominated occupation chosen. The table above outlines the compulsory and optional areas for each nominated occupation that the Institute can assess.

Please note that student members of these bodies without a recognised Bachelor degree should only apply when they have become a full member.

Not a member of any of the listed accounting bodies?

The Institute will assess studies undertaken with an accounting body that is not listed above along with other tertiary studies to determine adequate coverage in at least 9 out of 12 core knowledge areas listed above.

Please note that the basic requirement for a suitable assessment is that your qualifications are assessed as at least comparable to the level of an Australian bachelor degree.

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 (ACCA)
    • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
    • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
    • The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
    • Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA – Canada)
    • The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada)
    • The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
    • The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore* (ICPAS)
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland (ICAI)
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP)
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
    • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL)
    • The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP)
    • The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI)
    • The Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA Ireland)
    • Malaysian Institute of Accountants* (MIA)
    • Southern Africa Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (SAICSA)
    • The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)

* 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 acceptable authorities for certifying documents endorsed by any of the following :

  • CPA / FCPA or member of an equivalent professional body
  • Commissioner for oaths
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Notary Public
  • Police officer, sheriff, sheriff’s officer
  • Bank manager, dentist, legal practitioner, medical practitioner, pharmacist, veterinary surgeon
  • Australian consular officer, or Australian diplomatic officer
  • Any other official who, in your home country, is authorised to endorse documents and legal declarations or witness sworn affidavits
  • MARA registered migration agents (commenced 1 October 2007)

Please note that the Institute reserves the right to request original documentation, if required or deemed necessary.

Photocopies of certified documents will not be accepted.

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).

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