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Chartered accountants scoop rare free trade deal

Chartered accountants scoop rare free trade deal

New Zealand has become just the fourth country in the world whose chartered accountants are recognised as on a par with their influential US counterparts.

The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) and its American equivalents have taken a step towards freer trade relations with a rare Mutual Recognition Agreement.

It recognises the quality of the education and professional development received by chartered accountants (CAs) here, and smoothes the way for them to practice in the world’s financial powerhouse.

In return, NZICA now recognises the qualifications of US accountants and will licence them to practice in New Zealand, subject to supplementary study of local company and tax law.

The agreement acknowledges that Kiwi CAs are among the best in the world, says NZICA Chief Executive Terry McLaughlin.

“This is a huge step forward for Kiwi chartered accountants hoping to work in the US,” says McLaughlin.

“Only Canada, Mexico, Australia and Ireland have been previously granted such recognition by the US National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).”

The reciprocal agreement exempts Kiwi CAs from a 150-hour academic study requirement (the equivalent of a five-year university degree) and recognises work experience and professional development attained here.

It also allows chartered accountants to bypass the unpopular US Uniform CPA Examination, and sit the shorter and simpler International Qualification Examination (IQEX). On completion of this, they are entitled to use the US-recognised Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.

NZICA members will still need to be licensed by one of the 50 US state accountancy boards, as US-qualified accountants must be.

“For NZICA members like me in the US who wish to be licensed as CPAs, the MRA will make things significantly easier,” says Simon Holland.

Holland is currently a financial analyst at health insurers Blue Cross Blue Shield in Chicago and is hoping to sit the IQEX next year.

“Sitting the Uniform CPA Exam is a lot more work as it is really like four separate exams as I understand it.”

He says being able to use the CPA designation will help Kiwi CAs get traction in the vast US market.

The MRA will be formally signed by NZICA President Linda Turner and US International Qualifications Appraisal Board Chair William Treacy at a formal ceremony in Wellington on August 12.

ENDS

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