Thousands of accountants could ‘vacate advice space’ from January
The Institute of Public Accountants is concerned with the new education standards being implemented in the accounting profession, IPA Group CEO Andrew Conway said recently.
Mr Conway said that imposing a new education structure on top of the existing structure will result in the possibility of thousands of accountants vacating the advice space.
“No one disputes the merits of greater oversight, greater transparency and raising the bar on ethics. These things have been the hallmark of our profession for centuries,” he said.
“But when it comes to the practicalities of how this actually works, the reality is that unless you are already on a licence, the best-case scenario is that you are going to have to do at least three units, if not a full graduate diploma by 2024.”
People who have been accounting for 20 years are refusing to go through this process, Mr Conway noted.
“These people will leave the space,” he warned.
Mr Conway explained that the IPA already has a structure in place.
“Speaking in relation to the IPA, we have a degree requirement for entry, you have to do a practice orientation program, adhere to our code of ethics, you have to make sure your practice is set up and structured accordingly with the appropriate insurance requirements in place, and maintain 40 hours of CPD per year,” he said.
“Now we are going to layer on top of that another regime that is going to make it more difficult potentially to get services to clients.”
The IPA has lobbied for the licensing regime to be reformed so that accountants are not excluded from giving advice.
“We are arguing that we actually need to reform the licensing arrangement to reflect the fact that the engagement with the accountant is at a different level and the accountant has a different base level of competence – this is not about being elitist, this is about being realistic,” he stated.
Mr Conway added that the government has shown interest in an accountants’ licensing reform.
“We have presented to government the fact that people are simply not getting the advice they were once able to get and rather than opting out of advice from an accountant or a financial planner, they are simply opting out of advice,” the IPA CEO said.
He added that the IPA is working on some viable options to recognise the qualification and skill that accountants bring. "We will keep prosecuting the case" with the government, Mr Conway concluded.