Australian CA Program


John Smith

I emigrated to Australia several years ago from a country which has a
very high standard of accounting education. Huge workloads, extreme
exam conditions etc. etc. Becoming a CA in my country of origin really
meant something.

Then I enrolled on the CA Program in Australia. What a shock. I
obviously know that all the main Chartered Accounting Institutes have
reciprocal membership agreements so I naturally assumed that the
standards were comparable. WRONG. What a joke. The Australian CA
program was easier than my under grad degree. Words can hardly describe
how low the standard is and they don't seem to realise it. A couple of

Cost accounting and advanced cost accounting is not even part of the
syllabus. Its been replaced with Strategic management accounting. This
boils down to a lot of management waffle about KPI or whatever today's
fad happens to be. (don't get me started on KPI). i.e. the module
completely avoids anything vaguely technical or advanced.

The Financial Accounting and Auditing module consists of about 75%
Accounting and 25 % Auditing. Auditing gets lip service and Applied
Auditing doesn't even get mentioned (too hard I suppose). By the way I
am not aware of any Australian degree that offers more than one semester
course in Auditing for an accounting degree. Having experienced Advanced
and applied courses in Auditing I find that down right scary especially
in light of the large number of corporate collapses this country has
experienced. In that respect the bureaucrats keep righting more rules
but no one seems to be examing the education standards of the profession
doing the Auditing. The Financial Accounting exam I wrote could have
been written without a calculator? Only a few standards were covered in
the module in words, very little practical application or advanced
technical questions and solutions to work through.

The program consists of 5 modules. Of those five we have one called
foundations which is about pre-school level and has absolutely nothing
to do with Finance, Accounting or Auditing. Auditing does not even get
its own module. There is no module on Financial Management,
consequently I deal with Accountants everyday who still use SOYD (Rule
of 78) to amortise loans. They have no idea about concepts such as TVM,
CAPM etc.

The course material itself for what its worth has very little practical
application and hardly any question and answer type learning material.
How do you study and understand Accounting and Finance without continual
practical application and reflection.

The modules are completed one at a time. They are so easy they could
all be rolled into a single one year course.

And so on. The bottom line is a whole bunch of young CA's running
around with very little advanced knowledge in their heads and everyone
thinks they're great because they are Chartered Accountants. Talk about
land of the blind. How long does name recognition last?

I have compared the Aus CA program to the UK program, CIMA and ACCA.
The Aus program doesn't stack up, not even to the introductory level of
these professional qualifications.

I want to expose this program for what it is. A complete farce. My
problem is I don't where to start. The only thing I can think of is
reciprocal membership. Surely reciprocal membership has to be based on
more than just name recognition. How do I get some respected overseas
institutes like ICAEW or ASCPA to look at this program properly and
hopefully give Aus a wake up call by revoking reciprocal membership
agreements? Does anyone have any contact names and email addresses.

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