CAANZ, IPA, CPA, which designation is for you (an employer’s perspective).
CA, IPA and CPA whilst all being accounting accreditations differ in their implementations and stereotypes.
Having hired all three designations, we have found many similarities between practitioners of all three designations (throughout our sample size).
Many accounting firms Melbourne have their preferences for certain designations, this may be due to the type of work performed, training facilities, regions, client types etal.
Although our sample size is small and may not truly reflect the reality of the situation, we have found the following with regards to our employees.
CAANZ accountants are generally regarded as the cream of the crop, there are many reasons for this. After reviewing materials for both CAANZ and CPA Australia, CAANZ materials are of a much higher standard and are generally much more in depth than the equivalent CPA materials.
CAANZ is very technical and the majority of CAANZ members we have come across have displayed very strong technical skills.
Audit is an area in which CAANZ cannot be matched by other accounting designations.
Personality traits commonly shared by CAANZ member within our limited sample size are as follows:
-Technically very competent
-Slight heir of arrogance
CAANZ is generally the preferred designation for most accounting firms melbourne and has an extremely high weighting in Sydney compared to other designations.
CAANZ is the equivalent of CPA USA and receives mutual recognition (CPA Australia is not affiliated with CPA USA and is not mutually recognised).
CPA has the advantage of sharing the same initials with CPA USA, although they are not affiliated with each other in way shape or form. This has given CPA Australia a recognition advantage which the other designations do not have.
CPA having the highest membership level of all the designations is somewhat of a mixed bag, there are members with a plethora of experience and others whom are mere graduates, members of CPA Australia are much harder to place in a basket.
Theoretically CPA coursework is much less in depth than that of CAANZ and is quite general in nature.
Of the compulsory subjects in CPA, there are only two which can be considered technical:
– Financial reporting
– Management accounting
Taxation knowledge is minimal (all registered tax agents are required to have a greater depth of knowledge than CPA members), and accounting theory is minimal compared to CAANZ and IPA’s diploma of accounting (also satisfies requirements to become a registered tax agent).
CPA does however have a strong following in Asia and may be a key factor in deciding on your designation for those planning to perform works in Asia.
Unfortunately, CPA Australia is not looking in good shape due to the alleged mis-appropriation of members funds to fund the ex-CEO’s lifestyle and self-promotion.
IPA is the least recognised of the three, however this is as a result of poor marketing rather than coursework requirements.
IPA is the only designation to issue a Master’s degree upon completion (provided through a university), and also provides a tax agent registration pathway (upon completion of the diploma of accounting)(a tax agent registration is a requirement to lodge tax returns Melbourne).
IPA also offers members the ability to obtain an MBA (can be put on HECS) and is the only designation with such an offer.
IPA caters for SME organisations and is geared heavily towards public practice accounting owners and provides a great deal of resources for accounting firm’s (ie checklists, templates etal).
Due to IPA’s limited market recognition and heavy gearing towards accounting firm owners, most IPA members we have found have extremely high levels of experience and are very adept at their chosen field of accounting (IPA members are generally experienced accountants joining a designation (or obtaining a public practice license) as opposed to accounting graduates looking to further their career.
Most IPA members which have worked for accountancy matters have been extremely productive and some of our best employee’s due to the high level of practical hands on experience they provide, common traits shared by IPA members throughout our sample size include:
-Extreme levels of productivity due to experience
-Very competent in practical knowledge
-Generally more for entrepreneur type accountants rather than “number crunching accountants”
As important as credentials are, from an employer’s perspective, experience trumps all!