Accounting Bodies Raise Bar for Migration Skills Assessment

The Accounting Professional Bodies have announced changes to the skills assessment requirements. These will make it more difficult to meet the educational requirements for skills assessment from 1 July 2015.

The changes see the current 12 core accounting areas reduced to 9. Most applicants will need to show that they meet 7 of these, though some occupations will require applicants to meet 8 of them.

However, the devil is in the detail and below is a detailed analysis of the changes.

Assessing Bodies Affected

All accounting professional bodies will change their criteria from 1 July. This includes:
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
CPA Australia
Institute of Public Accountants
Occupations Affected

The changes will affect all occupations assessed by the accounting professional bodies, including:
Finance Manager ANZSCO 132211
Accountant (General) ANZSCO 221111
Management Accountant ANZSCO 221112
Taxation Accountant ANZSCO 221113
Corporate Treasurer ANZSCO 221212
External Auditor ANZSCO 221213
Overview of Assessment Criteria

For most applicants applying for a permanent skills assessment, the following must be met:
Qualification: a qualification comparable to an Australian bachelor degree. There is no change to this requirement.
Core Accounting Knowledge Areas: you must have covered certain compulsory subjects in your qualification. The changes from 1 July are in relation to which subjects are required.
English Language: you must undertake an English test. Requirements are similar to those for Proficient English. There is no change to this requirement.
Compulsory Subjects – All Occupations

The range of compulsory subjects for assessment has increased from 4 to 7 for most occupations. This gives applicants less choice in how they make up the required subject areas. The compulsory subjects from 1 July will be:
Accounting Systems and Processes: No Change – previously required for all applicants
Financial Accounting and Reporting: now made up of Financial Accounting (an advanced subject covering accounting for corporate groups and reporting) and Accounting Theory (another advanced subject covering accounting standards and new developments in accounting). Previously, Accounting Theory was compulsory only for the Accountant (General) and Management Accountant occupations.
Management Accounting: No Change – previously required for all applicants
Finance: Previously optional for most applicants, apart from Finance Managers and Corporate Treasurers
Business Law: Previously optional for all applicants. This will now include both Commercial Law (covering contracts and typically employment law) as well as Corporations Law (general a fairly detailed subject covering laws applying to companies).
Economics: previously optional for all applicants
Quantitative Methods: previously optional for all applicants
Compulsory Subjects – External Auditors and Tax Accountants

In addition to the above core areas, External Auditors will need to complete Audit & Assurance, and Tax Accountants will need to complete Australian Taxation Laws.
This means that for these occupations, 8 core areas will need to be covered, rather than 7 as required for other occupations.

Accounting Information Systems

Accounting Information Systems has been removed from the list of core knowledge areas. Many applicants have completed subjects which met the requirement for this core area (effectively an introduction to computing in a business context).
Conclusion

The changes may have a significant impact on some applicants, and effectively require the same compulsory core accounting areas to be completed by all applicants.
External Auditors and Tax Accountants will need to complete one more essential core subject as compared to other accounting professions. Previously, all applicants needed to cover the same number of core subjects (9).

If you wish to avoid the changes, we would recommend that you consider making your skills assessment application prior to 12:00 PM on the 23rd of June 2015 and ensure that all required documents are provided at lodgement.

Note that your visa application does not need to be lodged prior to the cut-off date to avoid the changes, but your skills assessment must be.

Please book a consultation with one of our immigration advisors to discuss your situation in more detail.

References

Chartered Accountants Website
CPA Australia
IPA Australia