Choosing your subjects

The CPA Program education component comprises four compulsory subjects:

And, two electives selected from:

Unless you have received an exemption as a result of earlier recognised study, you will be required to complete all four compulsory subjects and two electives.

If you have already completed recognised studies in tax and auditing, you are free to choose any elective.

If you have not received an exemption for Taxation, you must choose a Taxation elective – either Australia Taxation, Australian Taxation – Advanced or a local variant available in Singapore, Malaysia Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Note, the exam for Australia Taxation – Advanced will be held on two fixed dates in computer-based format. Candidates must be available to attend an exam on the fixed dates and prepared to travel to an exam centre.

If you have not received an exemption for Audit, you must choose Advanced Audit and Assurance.

Financial Planning Electives Update

Due to changes in the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) education requirements, CPA Australia will no longer be offering financial planning subjects. To replace these subjects, we have partnered with a FASEA provider – Kaplan Professional – to support candidates wanting to pursue a career in financial planning. If you wish to pursue a career in financial planning, we encourage you to review the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning course offered by Kaplan Professional, which can be completed alongside the CPA Program. As an Associate member, you may be eligible for subject discounts if you choose to undertake this qualification with Kaplan Professional. You may also be eligible to receive exemptions for up to three CPA Program subjects:

Ethics and Governance

  • Completion of Ethics and Professionalism in Financial Advice (FPC002B) and CPA Australia’s Professional Development module Better Practice in Governance and Accountability.

One unspecified elective

  • Completion of Tax and Commercial Law for Financial Planning (FPC006).

This is a Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) approved subject in the Australia taxation law and Tax Agent Services Act (TASA) 2009, including the Code of Professional Conduct (Code). Recognised as a taxation elective for the CPA Program, this subject meets the core taxation requirement to become a CPA.

One unspecified elective

  • Completion of Superannuation and Retirement Advice (FPC003), or Estate and Succession Planning (FPC005), or Investment Advice (FPC008).

There is a maximum of two unspecified electives, noting members who do not have audit or taxation in their undergraduate degree would be required to complete these units. Members may elect to complete Tax and Commercial Law for Financial Planning (FPC006) to satisfy CPA Australia’s requirement.

Candidates undertaking this pathway will also have access to Kaplan Professional’s individual Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments administered in accordance with their applicable RPL policies. Candidates may be eligible for RPL as a result of prior studies and/or industry experience.

To find out if you are eligible to pursue this pathway, contact Member Services who will provide you with the documentation Kaplan Professional require for assessment of eligibility. 

Visit the Kaplan Professional website, to find out more about the Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning course.

If you have previously completed financial planning subjects with CPA Australia, we will recognise these as elective units in the CPA Program. Members must advance within the required time frame to have their studies recognised.

If you are interested in becoming a financial adviser and would like career advice, contact [email protected] for more information.

CPA Program requirements

To complete the CPA Program and become a CPA, you’ll need to satisfy three requirements:

Successfully complete the CPA Program education component

This typically requires you to successfully complete four core subjects and two electives – unless you received an exemption for prior study when you applied for Associate membership. In which case, you need only complete certain subjects as advised. The CPA Program is available in three approaches, so you can study your way and find the level of support you need to succeed – choose between distance learning, full-time study or a combined master degree.

Satisfy Your Experience requirement

To satisfy Your Experience you must submit claims for 36 months of experience, and have those claims signed off by a CPA, FCPA or an equivalent full member of an International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) member body and then verified by CPA Australia. That experience can be gained before, during or after you’ve completed the education component.

Hold a recognised degree

All CPAs must hold a degree-level qualification from a recognised education provider. If you didn’t advise us of your degree when you applied for membership, contact us.