Changes to Accounting Skills Assessments from 1 July 2010

Acacia Immigration Australia, 27 April 2010

The Institute of Chartered Accountants and CPA Australia have announced changes to their criteria for skills assessment to come into effect from 1 July 2010. The changes will affect skills assessments lodged after 1 July 2010, but completed assessments lodged prior to this date can still be used to apply for general skilled migration.

Which Occupations are Affected?

These changes will affect the following occupations:
  • Accountant
  • Finance Manager
  • Corporate Treasurer
  • External Auditor
These are all 60-point occupations. The occupation of Accountant is also on the Critical Skills List (CSL).

What are the New Criteria?

The following are the criteria to be applied by ICAA and CPAA:
  • IELTS of 7 minimum in all 4 bands of Academic IELTS - currently there is no English language requirement for skills assessment in these occupations.
  • Completion of Bachelor degree or higher qualification - similar to current requirement
  • Completion of at least 9 of the 12 core accounting subjects - similar to current requirement
  • Introduction of Compulsory subjects - this is a completely new requirement

English Requirement

The requirement will be at least 7 in all 4 components of Academic IELTS. There is currently no requirement for people to meet any English requirement for skills assessment as an accountant. For the purposes of migration, general training IELTS is acceptable. For example, to be processed on a priority basis, 7 minimum of all 4 bands in either the general training or academic version of IELTS is sufficient to be on the Critical Skills List.

From 1 July 2010, only academic IELTS will be accepted for skills assessment in accounting occupations.

This is likely to have a significant effect on students completing accounting courses in Australia - many of whom did not require this level of English to study in Australia.

Compulsory Subjects

The introduction of compulsory subjects is a significant change as well. The following subjects are compulsory for all accounting occupations:
  • Accounting Systems and Processes: Basic accounting course
  • Financial Accounting: More advanced subject, generally taken in 2nd year, and covering accounting for corporations, equity accounting, foreign subsidiaries etc
  • Management Accounting: cost accounting, budgeting
There are also compulsory subjects for each different accounting occupation:
  • Accountant: Accounting Theory - a very advanced subject generally completed in the third year of studies dealing with limitations of traditional accounting methods.
  • Finance Manager: Finance - generally an entry level subject
  • Corporate Treasurer: Finance
  • External Auditor: Auditing - generally a quite advanced subject completed in 2nd or 3rd year
It is relatively common for overseas trained accountants not to have their studies recognised towards Accounting Theory and Financial Accounting, so this is likely to have a significant effect on such applicants.

Members of Recognised Accounting Bodies

Members of recognised accounting bodies (eg ACCA and CIMA) will be assessed as meeting the academic requirements for assessment. However, it appears that such people will need to provide evidence of their English language ability, even if they were educated in an English speaking country.

Validity of Skills Assessments

Skills assessments completed after 1 July 2010 will be valid for 2 years - the current validity period is 5 years.

Are all Assessing Bodies Changing their Criteria?

CPA Australia and the The Institute of Chartered Accountants have announced changes on their websites.

There has to date been no announcement from the National Institute of Accountants but we expect that they will also change their criteria in the near future.


These changes will have a significant effect on people applying under accounting occupations after 1 July 2010. We would recommend, if possible, that applicants apply for skills assessment prior to the changes coming into effect.

Feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss how the changes will affect you.

Stay up to date - Subscribe to Immigration News!