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Cross Crediting with Other Accounting Bodies

A brouser advises:

"It would appear that the NZ Society of Accountants is intent on maintaining a closed shop. I am a UK qualified Accounting Technician who emigrated to NZ in 1989.

"When the NZ society advertised they were starting an NZ Accounting Technicians Qualification I wrote to them and asked what reciprocal arrangements they had with the UK body.

"The response was none whatsoever and to qualify as a an NZ Accounting Technician I would have to sit some 20 papers.

"Since that College was in its infancy at the time, I took no further action hoping that once they were fully up and running a reciprocal agreement would take place.

"However to date it nothing more has happened. The NZ Society has no interest in pursuing a reciprocal agreement with the UK society. The situation becomes farcical as I attended an Open Evening hosted by the Society at the Christchurch Polytech a couple of years ago. The evening was held to promote to potential students the benefits of the NZ Accounting Technicians Qualifications. The Head of the Business & Accounting Dept at the Polytech quoted a number of examples of existing Accounting Technicians and the high salaries they received. However all of his examples were in the UK with a UK Qualification not the NZ one! When I asked again if a reciprocal agreement was in place I was told no but they were looking into it. The question I ask is if the Accounting Technicians qualification has been available in NZ for a number of years now, why has the NZ Society not progressed with achieving a reciprocal agreement with the UK ?

"Personally I have been disadvantaged by this lack of progress, and how many NZ students on arriving in the UK as NZ Technicians have also been disadvantaged ?"

Editor's Response

I appreciate your feelings. Its an interesting topic. It seems that they do give credits for overseas papers passed and experience obtained. Have you loaded down the application form that they have on the net for this purpose? I think its fair enough that you need to sit a paper or two eg tax, to ensure that you get a feel for NZ conditions. But 20 papers seems quite excessive and would suggest that you have not been offered any credits. I suspect that the person who told you that was not with it.

Reciprocal agreements require mutual confidence of each organisation in one another. Following the release in 1993 of the Securities Commission report into Certain Arrangements entered into by the Bank of New Zealand in 1988 it seems likely that the standing of the New Zealand body has plummeted and reciprocality might be hard to negotiate. High profile accountants talked about the woeful state of NZ standards, I suspect that was because they wanted colleagues caught up in the BNZ saga to be deemed to have stumbled over the standards so talked down, and so keep out of trouble. With a slump in the international recognition of NZ qualifications these "top" accountants decided that somebody had to suffer. They picked on those if low incomes, some of whom had had the cheek to criticise participants in the BNZ affair, and added a couple thousand to the cost of being a full member by way of Continuing Education fees (the "top" accountants ran the courses and collected the fees) and then for good measure opened the floodgates to people with lesser accounting qualifications to flush out the last vestiges of these hitherto low income fully fledged accountants. They were herded into a body called the Associated Chartered Accountants College which was supposed to have parallel administration along with Chartered Accountants College and the new Accounting Technicians College but in practice nobody was allowed to be appointed to the ACA college committee which had been set up by the constitution, and a few year's latter there were calls from the Institute President to annihilate ACA. The latest proposal is to eliminate auditing as a qualifying subject for CA which will reduce the number of people with the confidence or background to criticise bad audits and tend to make audits mumbo jumbo known only to those who practice it, but I digress.

This was all dumped on the staff so understandably they were unsure whether they were Arthur or Mather. The Wellington branch management ran a series of articles promoting AT College members as an alternative source of accountants and it is a pity that you have not been in the college to make the most of it. The argument justifying the setup of AT was presumably that the word "technician" implies being of a lower capability but in practice I doubt if that is so. Indeed in the classic 1990 BNZ Audit story the auditors to ensure the best of audits did the ultimate and called in their "Senior Technical Partner". There is also the matter of AT members not saying that they are such but I am sure that you would not be into that.

Well that is by way of background from perhaps a different viewpoint to yours. I suggest that you apply again in writing for AT status using that form . I would be interested to see their written arguments if they knock you back again. The 1980's are a while ago now and it would be desirable to provide evidence that you have been keeping up to date with IT and the like.Original AT members will have chalked up quite a bit of CE by now so they might say that you need to have had similar exposure. You will need to keep an eye on the cost of joining though, including those of CE remembering that your UK qualification should be usful in its own right. I would also be interested to know whether your UK qualification is current and does it require Continuing Education to stay valid?

Further discussion welcome.

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