Australian CPA vs CA exams

  • Thread starter dijabringabeeralong
  • Start date

D

dijabringabeeralong

How do Australian CA exams and course compare to CPA exams in terms of
difficulty.

I will be pursuing a CA or CPA designation, preferably CA, but I am
concerned about the difficulty of the courses. Especially when I see
first write pass rates in recent CA exams of just over 60%.
 
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J

Joker

d> How do Australian CA exams and course compare to CPA exams in terms
d> of
d> difficulty.

d> I will be pursuing a CA or CPA designation, preferably CA, but I am
d> concerned about the difficulty of the courses. Especially when I see
d> first write pass rates in recent CA exams of just over 60%.

I think the last statistic I read was the first time pass rate fo the CPA
was around 45% which seems to suggest it is harder. If you will be working
in Australia, would the CPA even transfer?
 
J

J

How do Australian CA exams and course compare to CPA exams in terms of
difficulty.

I will be pursuing a CA or CPA designation, preferably CA, but I am
concerned about the difficulty of the courses. Especially when I see
first write pass rates in recent CA exams of just over 60%.
Never mind the exams..Would you rather be called a CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT
or a Certified Practising Accountant - seems this latter group is quite
embarrassed that they don't even call themselves that anymore : )

Note: the US CPA is quite different from the Aus CPA. The US CPA is
probably equivalent to the Aus CA (I sure someone will correct me).
 
D

dijabringabeeralong

I would absolutely rather be a Chartered Accountant than a CPA. I
started out in the CA program in Canada, but there was 7 courses, which
almost no one got on first write, and then the horrific Uniform Final.
The exams had about a 50% pass rate, and I just couldnt see writing 14
exams and then a UFE, which most people I knew did. Less than 50% ever
made it to the UFE. So, I chose to go the CMA route, which was hard
work, but do-able. However, it didn't do me much good. I was offered a
partnership if I got a CA, but the CMA was useless. Then, when I moved
to Australia, it was completely useless. I didn't get a single credit,
and had to do 3 university level courses before even starting the CA or
CPA. SO, I said "stuff it" and stayed in technical writing.

So, now I'm 47 and have a driving need to return to accounting and get
a CA or CPA. CA is definately first, as the CPA being non-transferable
and second rate (in public accounting) doesnt thrill me. HOWEVER, at
47, I am worried about my ability to compete with young hotshots just
out of uni, if there is a low pass rate in the CA program. I've seen
their stats, and they are a little bit misleading.

So, basically, that's the long story about why I would prefer a CA, but
need to know how the exams compare.

And, yes, the US CPA is the equivalent to the CDN, UK and Aus CA.
 
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S

S.M.Serba

Does Australia not have a CGA programme? Could you not look into that?


--
Stephanie Wells, AICIA
Partner, Durham Business Outsource
Accounting & Technology
www.dbo.ca
smwells <at> dbo <dot> ca
 
B

Bob Williams

And is the equivalent to a Chartered Accountant.
Absolute rubbish. Public accountants in Australia can be CPA, CA or
members of another organisation called the National Institute of
Accountants. Each body is precious about its standing, with the CPAs
and CAs requiring a university degree as a prerequisite.

In each case, a public practice certificate is required for public
practice. CAs, CPAs and NIA members also work in corporations. There
are over 100,000 CPAs, of whom more than 10,000 are in public
practice. There are fewer CAs in both categories, and probably have a
higher proportion in public practice. CPAs and CAs work for the same
firms and when in partnership together, one can bring either
designation to the firm.

There may be a perception that being chartered is better (and the CAs
are trying to promote this with advertising), but as in any field
there are good and bad. There have been a few CAs recently involved in
some rather shady dealings (re:Vizard and ACCC for example, and I
believe Arthur Andersen were CAs - they have gone now due to some poor
practices in the US. Likewise, the CPAs have some of these characters
two. From what I can see from four decades of watching from the
sidelines (as a teacher) and now for a few years as a CPA, there is
precious little other than prejudice that separates the two
organisations. They have similar entrance standards and professional
training, and they adopt the same accounting standards and similar
codes of ethics.

If you want to be a CA - go for it. Or a CPA. Or join the NIA.
Whatever you do, don't make your decision on the so-called ease of
examinations or on some specious comparison with the same post-nominal
as used in another country. Do a bit of research as to what you want
to do in Australia, and select the organisation that will best help
you achieve your goals.

Bob Williams CPA
 
D

dijabringabeeralong

No, as far as I know, it only has CA, CPA and NIA, and only the CA and
CPA are highly recognised. CA and CPA here seem to be close to
equivalent, but CA is recognised more in other countries.
 
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D

dijabringabeeralong

If you want to be a CA - go for it. Or a CPA. Or join the NIA.
Whatever you do, don't make your decision on the so-called ease of
examinations or on some specious comparison with the same post-nominal
as used in another country. Do a bit of research as to what you want
to do in Australia, and select the organisation that will best help
you achieve your goals. <<
From what I have seen and heard, CPA or CA are close to equivalent in
terms of finding work. CPA is more appealing because it allows more
choice and more specialisation.

However, for me, getting no credit for my Canadian CMA, therefore
having to start from scratch again is frustrating. Add to that the fact
that I am restarting again at 47, not having done a professional exam
in 15 years. As a result, between my age, and frustration at doing it
all over again, competing with a bunch of hot-shots out of uni is
intimidating, especially if the fail 50% of them like they did in the
Canadian CA system.

Had I got a CA in Canada, I wouldnt be going through all this. And I
could easily end up back in Canada at some point.

Therefore, since the two are fairly equivalent in terms of employament
options, based on my situation, the difficulty of the exams and the
transferability are by far the most important issues that separate the
two, and quite possibly the only ones that really matter.
 
B

Bob Williams

Whatever you do, don't make your decision on the so-called ease of
examinations or on some specious comparison with the same post-nominal
as used in another country. Do a bit of research as to what you want
to do in Australia, and select the organisation that will best help
you achieve your goals. <<

terms of finding work. CPA is more appealing because it allows more
choice and more specialisation.

However, for me, getting no credit for my Canadian CMA, therefore
having to start from scratch again is frustrating. Add to that the fact
that I am restarting again at 47, not having done a professional exam
in 15 years. As a result, between my age, and frustration at doing it
all over again, competing with a bunch of hot-shots out of uni is
intimidating, especially if the fail 50% of them like they did in the
Canadian CA system.

Had I got a CA in Canada, I wouldnt be going through all this. And I
could easily end up back in Canada at some point.

Therefore, since the two are fairly equivalent in terms of employament
options, based on my situation, the difficulty of the exams and the
transferability are by far the most important issues that separate the
two, and quite possibly the only ones that really matter.
Do you know if they will knock you back on an approach to have your
other qualifications and experience recognised. There is another
approach to gaining membership of these associations - they all have
the ability to recognise experience and qualifications similar to a
CPA or CA (I know from personal experience that the CPAs have such a
rule). You should approach the membership officer in your state in
each association, especially the one you prefer.

BTW, I get your drift - and that what was what I was driving at - it
should be the outcome that is best for you. The snobbery driving the
differences between the CPAs and CAs should be seen for what it is!

Best wishes

Bob Williams
 
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D

dijabringabeeralong

I wasn't aware that there is a chance of any degree of recognition. I
actually would have been happy even to have been treated like an
Australian graduate, where if they didnt have auditing or tax, they
could take it as an option, but since I have a foreign (4.5 year
degree) instead of an Australian (3 year degree), the CPAs don't give
me that option. I thought that was pretty random.

What I might do is approach the CPAs and see if they will let me take
audit as one of the courses, in view of the fact that I have done an
internal audit course with the CMAs, and I had eight years of audit
experience.

Looking at the programs, I would agree with you, that it appears to be
snobbery. In fact, the CPA program looks better. The CAs might claim
tougher and more in-depth courses, but the reality is that what makes
someone a good accountant is learned more on the job than in a
classroom. For example, in Canada, I was the Senior Audit manager in a
CA firm, without having actually taken an audit course. Although, I
would have been a way better auditor with training, the to me, that's a
fairly extreme example of the importance of on-the-job training.

Thank you very much for all your comments, they have been very helpful.
Especially the comments about the numbers or CPAs vs CAs. That's an
angle that I hadn't really considered.
 

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