Professional accreditation of a program signifies that the program and provider have been assessed as meeting the standards and that the program provides the graduates with the knowledge, skills and professional attributes necessary to practice in the accounting profession.
The accreditation standards are also used by both Professional Bodies to assess whether an accounting degree will produce graduates with the knowledge, skills and attributes required for entry into the relevant professional accounting program, the Chartered Accountants Program and the CPA Program.
There are seven standards that need to be addressed for higher education providers wishing to offer a professionally accredited accounting program. A provider seeking professional accreditation of their accounting degree must demonstrate that it satisfies, or is capable of satisfying, all the accreditation standards. Where it does not satisfy a standard, it must set out its plans to meet the standard. This may apply particularly to new and evolving schools.
Where a provider meets the guidelines and evidence notes accompanying each of the standards, it can be reasonably confident that it will satisfy that standard. Providers may elect to provide an alternative type of evidence but must demonstrate that their approach enables them to meet the standards.
The accreditation standards apply to the following accounting programs:
- an undergraduate program resulting in a bachelor degree award that is listed as approved on the Australian or New Zealand Qualifications Framework (AQF or NZQF) register and by TEQSA or NZQA
- a postgraduate program resulting in a postgraduate award that is listed as approved on the Australian or New Zealand Qualifications Framework (AQF or NZQF) register and by TEQSA or NZQA.
Any new school of accounting or new accounting program within an established school must not advertise an accounting program or give the impression that it will lead to a qualification which entitles graduates to enter the relevant professional program until such a program has been granted accreditation approval by the Professional Bodies.
The Professional Bodies accreditation standards are primarily concerned with graduate outcomes rather than inputs or processes. The required Technical and Professional competency areas and related learning outcomes, including the content guidance schedules in Section 3: Technical and professional competency areas and learning outcomes, provide further detail to program developers on the specific graduate learning outcomes expected by the profession.
Guideline and evidence requirements
The Professional Bodies require higher education providers to provide a copy of their submission and relevant documentation listed under “evidence” with all submissions for new programs (see Section 6: Accreditation submission templates). This must be provided electronically to both Professional Bodies.
It is not the intention of the Professional Bodies to have providers write material especially for the submission. Instead, it is preferred and anticipated that much of this material already forms part of the providers’ existing documentation and can be readily accessed and utilised for submission purposes.