Section 3: Technical and professional competency areas and learning outcomes

Content Summary

In assessing a degree for professional accreditation, the Professional Bodies will expect to see opportunities for students to develop both technical and professional competency.

Competency areas and learning outcomes

Listed below are the specific technical and professional competency areas that must be covered in an accounting degree program seeking accreditation by the Professional Bodies.

The required competency areas for both Professional Bodies are the same with one exception: CPA Australia will accept accreditation submissions for programs that do not include the competency area of auditing and assurance. However, students must still have the opportunity to study subjects in this area through their institution. This competency area may be completed as part of CPA Program studies.

This list does not represent a list of prescribed subjects. In some cases (for example, financial accounting), one competency area will extend over more than one subject. Also, coverage of a particular competency area may be integrated with other areas in one or more subjects.

To summarise

The Professional Bodies require the following competency areas to be covered:

Technical competency area (TCA) CPA Australia Chartered Accountants ANZ
TCA01 Accounting systems and processes Required Required
TCA02 Financial accounting and reporting Required Required
TCA03 Audit and assurance Optional Required
TCA04 Business law Required Required
TCA05 Economics Required Required
TCA06 Finance and financial management Required Required
TCA07 Management accounting Required Required
TCA08 Quantitative methods Required Required
TCA09 Taxation (Australian or New Zealand) Required Required
TCA10 Information and communication technology Required Required
TCA11 Business acumen Required Required
Professional competency area (PCA) CPA Australia Chartered Accountants ANZ
PCA01 Intellectual skills Required Required
PCA02 Interpersonal and communication skills Required Required
PCA03 Personal skills Required Required
PCA04 Ethical principles, professional values and integrity Required Required

A broad definition of each competency area, both technical and professional, is provided in the following paragraphs.

Appendix 2: Technical competency areas and learning outcomes and Appendix 3: Professional competency and learning outcomes provide detailed learning outcomes and content guidance schedules where applicable for both technical and professional competency areas which set out the specific prerequisite competencies that graduates entering the professional programs of either Professional Body will be assumed to have acquired.

Whilst they are intended to be indicative only and not to be tightly prescriptive of program content, they will be used by the Professional Bodies in their review of accounting programs for professional accreditation and membership assessments.

It should be noted that from a student's perspective, covering the contents of competencies identified in the professional accreditation guidelines makes for a smoother and easier transition from the accredited degree to the successful completion of either professional program.

Technical Competency Area (TCA)

TCA01 Accounting systems and processes

This competency area covers the form and function of financial statements and how financial transactions are recorded.

TCA02 Financial accounting and reporting

This competency area covers the theoretical principles underlying accounting practice and their application to the preparation and analysis of financial statements. It also covers current developments in financial reporting at a national and international level.

TCA03 Audit and assurance

This competency covers the nature and purpose of audit and assurance and the regulatory and professional environment in which it operates. The area includes an understanding of the role of auditing standards, and their application to the audit process.

TCA04 Business law

This competency area covers general legal knowledge relating to the business environment, and an understanding of the responsibilities and risks in a business environment. It also covers data protection and privacy regulations that apply when collecting, generating, storing, accessing, using or sharing data and information.

TCA05 Economics

This competency area covers the fundamental concepts of microeconomics and macroeconomics, and the role of individuals and businesses in different types of market structures. It evaluates the response of business activity to changes in macroeconomic indicators as well as the impact of regulatory and political environments on business.

TCA06 Finance and financial management

This competency area covers fundamental concepts and application of business finance, treasury and should address the overarching questions of finance.

TCA07 Management accounting

This competency area covers an understanding of budgeting, product and service costing, control and performance evaluation, and strategic management accounting.

TCA08 Quantitative methods

This competency area covers the basic collection, analysis and interpretation of business data.

TCA09 Taxation (Australia or New Zealand)

This competency area covers the fundamentals of the taxation system and its administration.

TCA10 Information and communications technology

The information and communications technology (ICT) competence area covers the fundamentals of how ICT impacts on the organisation's environment and business model, analyses the data and information in such a manner as to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the business' operating systems and processes and its communication channels. ICT includes accounting information systems and their application to solve business problems. These are important elements in the initial development of accounting and business professionals.

TCA11 Business acumen

Business acumen covers the local and global organisational environment within which a business operates and also covers the features relating to business strategy and management. The basic principles of governance, risk management and internal controls adds a depth of understanding of business practices.

Professional Competency Area (PCA)

PCA01 Intellectual skills

Intellectual skills enable a professional accountant to evaluate data and information, apply critical thinking to solve problems, make decisions and exercise good judgment in complex organisational situations.

PCA02 Interpersonal and communication skills

Interpersonal and communication skills enable a professional accountant to work with others for the common good of the organisation, receive and transmit information, form reasoned judgments and make decisions effectively.

PCA03 Personal skills

Personal skills relate to the attitudes and behaviour of professional accountants. Developing these skills helps individual learning and personal improvement.

PCA04 Ethical principles, professional values and integrity

An understanding of ethical and professional values and attitudes is an important element in the development of accounting professionals. It is expected that higher education providers will pay attention in their programs to the fundamental ethical values of integrity, objectivity and confidentiality, as well as professional competence and due care.