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Accounting, Education

FASEA bridging course should be practical

AccountantsIQ has called on the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) to make its one-unit bridging course for accountants relevant and practical if it does not exempt accountants from further study to meet new education and professional standards.

In a submission to FASEA, the accounting services provider made a strong recommendation for the standards body to exempt chartered accountants (CA) and certified practising accountants (CPA) who have completed related degrees and approved related postgraduate qualifications and have demonstrable financial advice experience from any further study other than the compulsory exam.

However, in the event FASEA does not exempt accountants from the requirement to complete a bridging course to meet the new education and professional standards for accountants and financial planners, the firm urged that the unit be practical and relevant.

“One way this could be achieved is for accountants who are existing advisers (or any other members of professional member associations who currently operate under a strict code of ethics) and are currently required to complete a new code of ethics subject, the subject be replaced with a composite subject,” the submission said.

The composite subject could include subject areas such as the Corporations Act, with an emphasis on chapter seven on financial services and markets, the FASEA code of ethics, behavioural finance with a focus on client behaviour and decision-making, legal obligations, and regulatory requirements such as privacy and anti-money laundering.

The firm said the CA program requires candidates to pass subjects in 11 competency areas, including accounting systems and processes, financial accounting and reporting, finance and financial management, and ethics.

It said the CPA program requires the completion of four compulsory subjects, including ethics and governance, and financial reporting, two electives and three years of practical experience.

Elsewhere, the submission’s other recommendations include recognition by FASEA that CAs who have a ‘related’ degree at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 7 or equivalent and related postgraduate qualifications at AQF level 8 (the CA program) should be exempt from any further study except for the compulsory exam.

AccountantsIQ has also conducted an online poll on its website, in which it asked its clients and industry contacts whether they agree with the firm that as a minimum FASEA should consider further study, experience, ongoing continuing professional development and code of ethics as postgraduate qualifications.

Out of the 100 responses, 98 per cent of respondents agreed with AccountantIQ’s view that FASEA should recognise those four areas.

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