Why a CPA is Great for your Business
The Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) body was formed to become one of the biggest accounting bodies in the world. It boasts of over 150,000 members spanning 121 countries worldwide. Members provide core services that include training, education, technical support, knowledge exchange, training, and networking and advocacy. Its involvement in the Asian market started during the 1950s in an attempt to strengthen and develop the accounting profession. Why should you aim to be CPA qualified?
Being a CPA
What does it mean to be a CPA? Basically, a CPA is not only an accounting professional, but also a business and finance one who possesses certain qualifications. Becoming a CPA translates to high levels of professional competence marked by a deep and high quality knowledge of accounting.
Employers and members of the accounting profession regard CPAs with distinction because of their qualifications that allow them not only to offer their accounting services to industries, but also to the field of education where they can become training specialists that help in the continuous development of students as well as those in the accounting profession.
To qualify as a CPA means that the person has:
- Completed a degree or postgraduate award that is recognized by CPA Australia;
- Completed the CPA program that includes 3 years of professional experience in accounting, business, or finance;
- Undertaken yearly CPD activities; and
- Complied with a strict code of conduct as defined by the CPA Australia.
Being a CPA qualified professional means the ability to offer public accounting services. By completing the CPA Australia Public Practice Program that involves distance learning activities combined with an Intensive and holding a Public Practice Certificate, the individual qualifies to deliver specialized accounting services in accordance with the existing laws covering the profession in Australia.
What does it take to become a CPA? As an accounting professional, how can you be a part of an organization for CPAs? Would it help you professionally to be an active member of such an organization?
In order to be considered for membership, obviously candidates should have either a degree or postgraduate degree that is recognized within Australia. The candidate for membership must also be able to demonstrate competence in the requisite knowledge areas while completing the CPA Program successfully within the prescribed six-year time frame.
Those who have previous education and qualification will be assessed in order to determine whether they have already taken up the needed knowledge areas. This will be part of the determination that every candidate of the CPA study program would need to undergo. After this determination, the candidate may start to pursue the CPA program.
How can competence in the required knowledge area be demonstrated? A determinant of the competence of the member applicant is through the CPA examination or the completion of a degree that is both accredited and recognized in Australia; like the accounting degree for example. These degree programs more often than not will meet all the knowledge areas required of candidates vying to be part of the CPA Program.
What is the CPA Program
In general terms, the CPA Program is defined as an integrated education program that incorporates professional experience based on high standards of learning. There are 6 educational subjects supported by 4 compulsory subjects and 2 electives to create a fully integrated practical educational program.
This particular program puts focus on four vital areas of the practice of the potential CPA so that he gains value regardless of employer. These focus areas are leadership, ethics, governance, and strategy. In a global market, all of these contents remain relevant to the accounting practice. This means that these focus areas can deliver flexible learning and delivery modes. So in essence, those who complete the CPA Program will be qualified leaders with strategic knowledge, higher level of analysis, sound decision making and reporting skills, and rational judgment.
The CPA Program requires 3-years of practical experience as part of the requirement. This is intended to ensure that the needs of the stakeholders, the industry, and those of the graduates are met head-on. The intention of the practical experience is to help in further developing the business, personal effectiveness, technical, and strategic leadership skills of CPA candidates.
Renewal of membership is yearly and comes with certain qualifications. Part of the renewal requirements for all members is to be able to declare all of their ongoing compliances with the CPA Australia requisites including minimum Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. In terms of CPD, the required hours to be fulfilled is 120 hours for a 3-year period with at least 20 CPD house completed every year. Otherwise, continued membership may not be possible.
Monitoring of the CPD hours of candidates will be their personal responsibilities. Members should be aware though that CPA Australia will conduct random auditing of its members to ensure that the reported CPD hours and other pertinent requirements are truly fulfilled. As a full member of CPA Australia, you will be able to use the designatory letters of CPA with senior members going on as Fellows with the letters FCPA as their designatory.
What it means to be a CPA
Because the CPA Program is recognized internationally, it gives the assurance to the stakeholders of the industry that the individual is fully equipped with all the knowledge and skill sets to tackle the extremely challenging world of finance, business, and accounting. This is valuable considering the global marketplace that CPAs today have to face.
Being a CPA means that you have been provided with and are adept at technical accounting. This means that your expertise goes way beyond mere number, but can also extend to passing on skills, becoming industry leaders, crafting strategies, and supporting businesses.
The Overall Assessment Criteria
All-in-all, becoming a CPA means that you would have to satisfy different criteria sets that are broken down into:
- Skills Assessment – the CPA has to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Australia and has successfully studied all the mandatory competency areas that are relevant to the title. English proficiency requirements should also be satisfied.
- Provisional Assessment – this criteria is to satisfy the requirements for a temporary visa (subclass 485). The candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree or at least 12 units of Master’s degree with a major in accounting. All the mandatory requirements of the competency areas should also be satisfied. English proficiency is also a must.
In short, a qualified CPA is great for your business.