CPA Australia Professional Standards Scheme update

CPA Australia Professional Standards Scheme approved for gazettal

Public notification documents

There are currently no Professional Standards Scheme (Scheme) public notices.

Previous Scheme public notification documents can be viewed:


 Professional Standards Scheme

A CPA Australia Professional Standards (Accountants) Scheme (Scheme) is not insurance, it is a legal instrument made under professional standards legislation in all Australian States & Territories.  It protects consumers by ensuring compensation measures are in place and preserves the viability of the accounting profession ensuing professional indemnity insurance (PII) remains affordable for practitioners by putting a cap on the amount of damages available to consumers through civil litigation.  Find out more about CPA Australia’s Scheme.

The Scheme has the following objectives:

  • Increased consumer protection (through compulsory PII and other measures)
  • Encouraging a commitment to high professional standards and continual improvement

Consumer Protection – keeping professional standards high

The Scheme drives and supports CPA public accountants to deliver continual improvements in consumer protection.  It does this by ensuring public accountants are subject to prescribed codes and standards of practice, undergo continual professional development and submit to periodic quality review assessments.  The Scheme ensures a commitment to continual improvement and high standards.

Consumer Protection - Professional Indemnity Insurance

The Scheme ensures that CPA public accountants hold at least the minimum PII required under CPA Australia’s By-Laws to compensate you for damages suffered.  However, any award of damages may be capped at your CPA public accountant’s level of PII, which means a court cannot award you damages above that amount. Find out more about the Scheme by visiting the Professional Standards Counsel’s website.

How do I know if my public accountant participates in the Scheme?

If your CPA public accountant participates in the Scheme, he or she must display a limited liability statement: “Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation” on all promotional material.  This statement indicates that your CPA public accountant participates in the Scheme.  You can also expect to see the limited liability statement on your CPA public accountant’s website, terms of engagement, tax invoices & receipts and any other promotional material advertising public accounting services. 

Professional Conduct is monitored by CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit

If you believe that your CPA public accountant has failed to observe a proper standard of professional care, skill or competence, you can make a complaint. 

Six things you should know about the Scheme

  • You can’t negotiate out of the Scheme because if your CPA public accountant is eligible, participation is compulsory
    • You can choose to go with another practitioner that isn’t a CPA public accountant, but they may not have the same qualifications and may not be subject to the same professional standards rigour.
  • Your CPA public accountant must make you aware that he or she is a Scheme participant by displaying the limited liability statement.
  • You get the benefit of knowing that your CPA public accountant is subject to consumer protection mechanisms through Scheme requirements
  • If something goes wrong, you can be confident that your CPA public accountant has PII of at least the minimum required under the CPA Australia Ltd By-Laws.
  • Legislation may prevent the Scheme from limiting liability in some cases, including financial planning and commercial and credit services.
  • A Scheme may limit damages awarded to you if you have a cause of action arising within a Scheme’s commencement and end dates (see table below). You can also locate current and past Schemes on the Professional Standards Councils website.
 

Professional Standards Schemes - effective dates

State or territory 20172019 Scheme effective dates inclusive 2019–2024 Scheme effective dates inclusive
NSW 23 December 2017 – 22 December 2019
23 December 2019 – 22 December 2024
WA 30 December 2017 – 22 December 2019 23 December 2019 – 22 December 2024
QLD
1 January 2018 – 22 December 2019
23 December 2019** – 22 December 2024 
 ACT 1 January 2018 – 22 December 2019  23 December 2019** – 22 December 2024 
 NT 18 January 2018 – 22 December 2019   23 December 2019** – 22 December 2024 
 SA 24 January 2018 – 22 December 2019  23 December 2019 – 22 December 2024 
 TAS 21 February 2018 – 22 December 2019  23 December 2019** – 22 December 2024 
 VIC 19 March 2018 – 22 December 2019  23 December 2019 – 22 December 2024 
**these are preliminary dates to be confirmed by gazettal in each State in due course.

For further information on the consumer benefits of a professional standards scheme visit: www.psc.gov.au/consumer information

Consumer information

All CPA Australia Public Practitioners must ensure that consumers' interests are protected. Members are required under CPA Australia's By-Laws to:

  • Hold minimum levels of prescribed Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) that mirror the current Scheme minimum caps.

    This provides confidence that compensation is available, so if anything goes wrong, you know our members have insurance.

    In addition, CPA Australia arranged a group Member's Professional Indemnity Excess Insurance Policy to support members in public practice effective 8 October 2017. The policy continues to be in place. For consumers this means consumer protection over and above the minimum amounts of PII that a CPA Australia Public Practitioner must maintain.

  • Comply with Professional and Ethical Standards prescribed by the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (APESB)

    Professional and ethical standards are fundamental to the reputation of CPA Australia and ensure consistency of practice and confidence for Australian businesses. We set high professional standards via our regulation and oversight programs.

    The APESB is an independent national body which sets the code of ethics and professional standards with which our members must comply. 

  • Maintaining Professional Competencies. Keeping Up to Date

    Our members are committed to life-long learnings and required to complete 120 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each triennium.

    Our professional development programs ensure our members maintain the knowledge and skills relevant to the services they provide.

  • Monitor Compliance

    Through our Quality Review Program we monitor members’ compliance with the application of standards and regulations.

    We provide oversight via a Quality Control Program and maintain a Complaints and Discipline program. So if you believe that a member you’ve dealt with has acted unprofessionally or breached their professional standards, you can make a complaint.

For further information on the consumer benefits of a professional standards scheme visit: psc.gov.au/consumer-information.