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11 April 18 - AFR - Losses at Chartered Accountants alarm education body

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11 April 18 - AFR - Losses at Chartered Accountants alarm education body

Post by JWheldon » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:40 am

At this rate, the changes at ICAANZ with regards to the PY program, will put it in line with the CPA program. Maybe a merger will be discussed again in the future, given both organisations will have a computer based assessment professional program.

There certainly needs to be more effectively reporting, and disclosure and accountability. Also the audit engagement needs to change, to effectively highlight issues to the members within the not for profit sector.

More effort is needed to help those members that are struggling with the relevant education programs, given it has now turned to a low cost, computer based model.

Losses at Chartered Accountants alarm education body ... 410-h0ykpe

11 April 2018 - AFR by Edmund Tadros

The federal higher education accreditation body classed Chartered Accountants ANZ as a financial risk after the professional body made two years of consecutive losses, and gave it an adverse rating over errors it made in the reporting of student data.

The mid-2017 audit of the CA ANZ's flagship Chartered Accounting course caused panic within the ranks of the nation's second largest accounting body as the qualification forms the heart of CA ANZ's prestige to its 117,000-strong membership and the business community.

The body's latest annual report specifically references preserving the pre-eminence of "our designation" as one of its three strategic pillars.

CA ANZ is the only local accounting body approved to operate as a higher education provider by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), an accreditation that allows the association to award the graduate diploma of Chartered Accounting.

The course is also critical to the finances of the body. Education and other services brought in $57.7 million, or about 45 per cent, of the body's $127.9 million in revenue last year, while subscription and related revenue brought in the remaining $70.2 million.

CA ANZ is now revamping the way the course is managed and delivered, as well as the contents of the qualification, as part of a organisation-wide transformation program.
Financial risk

The details of the issues at the body's key education service comes after The Australian Financial Review revealed up to one in six staff face the chop at CA ANZ as CEO Rick Ellis seeks to cut costs at an organisation that has lost almost $15 million over the past two financial years.

CA ANZ, like rival CPA Australia, is a professional accounting body that represents, trains and disciplines members.

A mid-2017 TEQSA audit classed CA ANZ a moderate financial risk over its consecutive operating losses.

TEQSA also gave CA ANZ an adverse rating over errors the association made in data provided to some students, who were given incorrect information about their grades.

The accounting body has pledged that it would return to an operating profit in this financial year, an undertaking that will lead to large job cuts and outsourcing at the body, and put the incorrect grades down to an administrative error.

"In July 2017 TEQSA provided a risk assessment for CA ANZ, which is standard. We responded the following month and there has been no further communication between us in relation to that assessment," Mr Ellis said.

Separately, TEQSA told the Financial Review that there were no outstanding issues from the 2017 audit and that CA ANZ's accreditation had been renewed for another seven years, the maximum permissible period.
CA course revamp

Mr Ellis is in the process of revamping the CA course by allowing a larger variety of graduates into the course, increasing the number of modules available, and allowing students to access the courses and do exams remotely.

Big four consulting firm KPMG has been called in to review and streamline the way the course is run. CA ANZ confirmed the firm has been paid "substantially less than $600,000" but would not specific the exact figure, saying it was commercial in confidence.

"The CA program today is world class, but it needs to respond to the growing diversity of needs our members have," Mr Ellis said.

"We need to broaden the pathways to the CA program. So, we'll take somebody from an Agri-degree or a master's in tourism or data analytics or computer sciences into the program as long as they've got a minimum core of accounting in there.

"Then, when we look at the content within the CA program, our members tell us they need more optionality; more subjects that a provisional member can choose from. It's not just a one size fits all.

"So we're going to broaden the content offerings. Again, it comes down to relevance and employability, and we need to deliver that digitally, including examinations."

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