Enrolment regulations

Refer to the Requirements for Offering Public Accounting Services section below for information about the requirements to apply for a Public Practice Certificate or a Limited Practice Certificate.

All candidates are bound by these rules and regulations, including the non-disclosure agreement and the privacy policy, and the Public Practice Distance Learning Guide as they are updated from time to time. 

Copyright in study materials is owned by or used under license by CPA Australia. Subject to Part III Division 3 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), the reproduction, publication, adaptation and sale of study material content, without authorisation, is strictly prohibited and may amount to copyright infringement.

Eligibility requirements

To enrol in Practice Management, you must be a current member of CPA Australia Ltd (CPA Australia) and hold CPA or FCPA status. 

Note: It is no longer a requirement to complete the Taxation (pre-2010), Advanced Taxation (Semester 1, 2010 to Semester 2, 2018), Australia Taxation or Australia Taxation – Advanced subject of the CPA Program before enrolling into Practice Management. However, successful completion of an above-mentioned subject remains a requirement to obtain a Public Practice Certificate. This requirement does not apply to members in New Zealand or members overseas who do not wish to obtain a Public Practice Certificate to offer public accounting services into Australia. An exemption from the requirement to complete a taxation subject will be granted to members who hold registration as a Registered Tax Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).

Before you proceed with enrolment, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with the full range of requirements to obtain a Public Practice Certificate, and plan your studies and pathway into public practice accordingly.

Enrolment and scheduling

Refer to the important dates and fees in conjunction with the following:

  1. Enrolments can be completed online via My CPA Program before the relevant closing date for enrolment. You must satisfactorily complete full payment of the enrolment fee before you are enrolled in and undertake Practice Management and any assessment.
  2. Once confirmation of enrolment is received, it is your responsibility to schedule your exam appointment via My CPA Program before the advertised scheduling closing date, as per CPA Australia's Exam Scheduling Policy. Exams can be scheduled as soon as scheduling opens, after you have enrolled. The exams will be offered on two dates in the exam window, Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 October 2019. You are encouraged to secure an exam appointment as soon as possible once scheduling opens.
  3. If you fail to schedule your own exam before the exam scheduling closing date, you acknowledge that CPA Australia will schedule an exam appointment on your behalf. CPA Australia will select the closest available exam appointment based on your residential address. The appointment may be in any exam format and on any day during the exam period.
  4. CPA Australia endeavours to provide all candidates with access to an exam centre within a reasonable distance of their residential address. Reasonable distance will be determined at CPA Australia’s discretion. In some circumstances, candidates may be required to travel for a suitable exam venue. If you are unable to locate an exam venue within a reasonable distance of your residential address you must contact CPA Australia before the exam scheduling closing date. If you do not contact CPA Australia you may have to travel extensively to sit your exam.
  5. The availability of exam venues and exam formats are subject to change at any time at CPA Australia’s discretion.
  6. You may apply for reasonable adjustments to study materials and/or exam arrangements by the advertised closing date. The application is subject to assessment – refer to CPA Australia's Reasonable Adjustment policy.
  7. Occasionally, due to unforeseen events such as but not limited to natural disasters, extreme weather events, power outages or connectivity issues, changes to your exam may be required after your exam has been scheduled. Your exam may need to be rescheduled to another day and/or time during the exam period. Candidates should, therefore, ensure that they are available to attend exams on the stipulated dates. In the unlikely event that your exam may need to be rescheduled you will be contacted via phone or email as provided to CPA Australia.
  8. Refunds will be issued for cancellations of enrolment up to the advertised closing date for cancellations. No refunds will be issued if the enrolment is cancelled after the first cancellation closing date of the same semester as the original enrolment. 
  9. Deferrals will be accepted up to the advertised closing date for deferrals. An exam deferral fee will be payable for all deferral applications received by CPA Australia. A deferral is to the next study period/semester only. A maximum of two consecutive deferrals will be granted per enrolment. A third deferral may be granted for exceptional circumstances and with supporting documentation. If enrolment in a subject is subsequently cancelled, fees will not be reimbursed.
  10. If you defer your enrolment to the following semester, you will need to wait until scheduling opens for the following semester to schedule your exam.
  11. You cannot cancel or defer your enrolment if you attend the exam.
  12. If deferring, it is your responsibility to retain the study guide. No new study guide will be issued in the following semester, unless the study guide content has been updated.
  13. Once you have cancelled or deferred your enrolment, all access to My Online Learning will be terminated and any scheduled exam cancelled.

Study and assessment

  1. The Practice Management distance learning subject is conducted by external study, at your own pace and according to your own study plans. Assessment is by a closed book exam which contains multiple-choice questions and questions based on case studies, which require written responses. Results are Pass or Fail only. 
  2. A PDF copy of the study guide will be available in My Online Learning upon successful enrolment after the advertised enrolment opening date. Any additional learning materials will be available on My Online Learning from enrolment.
  3. Access to My Online Learning will end the day after the end of the exam period. The 'Ask the Expert' online forums become read only from the advertised dates.
  4. You must have a valid email address and you must check your email regularly. Email is the official way we will communicate with you and no waivers or consideration will be given if you miss important information because you did not check your email. You must have access to the internet for the purposes of receiving updated information throughout the semester and to access study materials. 
  5. It is your responsibility to provide current personal information to CPA Australia, including name, residential address for exam scheduling, mailing address for delivery of your study guide, email address for program and exam information, and contact numbers. If this is not provided and kept up to date, your exam may be scheduled at an inconvenient location and you may be charged a fee for any reschedule requests, your study guide may be sent to an incorrect address and you may be charged a reissue fee, and you may not receive critical information.
  6. You must have access to relevant accounting and auditing standards, professional statements and relevant legislation. This is not supplied as part of the study guide. It is your responsibility to access these via the standard-setters' or legislation websites. It will be necessary to print relevant sections for exam purposes. 
  7. CPA Australia will not be accountable for any customs fees or duties imposed by a country. It is also your responsibility to provide any country-specific information that is required for customs clearance of the study guide. We will not be able to deliver your study guide to the following countries if you do not supply the information listed below:
    • India: You will be contacted via email after you enrol and asked to provide additional information to complete a form that gives the courier company permission to act on your behalf to ensure clearance from customs.
    • Russia: Please provide a business address, including the business name.
    • Taiwan: You must register your details on the government platform. For more information, refer to our website
  8. A replacement fee may be payable if you have received your study guide and subsequently misplaced it or require a replacement study guide for another reason.
  9. It is your responsibility to bring appropriate and original ID to the exam. If you do not provide appropriate ID, you will not be permitted to sit the exam. It is your responsibility to make sure the name on your CPA Australia profile matches your ID – if it does not, you will not be permitted to sit the exam.
  10. You must maintain your membership of CPA Australia while enrolled in the Practice Management program (unless express permission is granted by CPA Australia). Failure to maintain current membership will result in the loss of access to all member online facilities including the Members' Handbook, My Online Learning resources, and My CPA Program applications – which may significantly impact exam preparation and the ability to access results.
  11. If you fail the exam, do not attend the exam or are not granted a deferral by CPA Australia, you must re-enrol and pay the full fee to enrol in the distance learning program again. No refunds will apply. 
  12. If you successfully complete the exam you can claim up to 120 continuing professional development (CPD) hours. If you do not sit or fail the exam, you can claim up to 20 CPD hours.
  13. CPA Australia ensures the integrity of every exam result. Once the exam results are published, you will not be re-examined nor will your exam be re-marked.
  14. Integrity is a fundamental principle underpinning the profession. Actions by Practice Management candidates, whether members of CPA Australia or not, such as but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, collusion and any other conduct whereby the candidate has sought to obtain an unfair academic advantage are not permitted. These actions may be treated by CPA Australia as academic misconduct. Allegations of academic misconduct will be reviewed by CPA Australia’s Certification Unit and the exam results may be withheld pending the outcome of a referral to CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit for investigation. Penalties include, but are not limited to, the following: 
    • forfeiture of membership 
    • suspension of membership 
    • lowering of membership status 
    • exclusion from admission as a member 
    • requirement to undergo further CPA Program subjects 
    • a fine 
    • results withheld 
    • failure of the program.

Non-disclosure agreement

Your exam is confidential. CPA Australia owns the rights in the intellectual property, copyright and trademarks used in providing the exam and are protected by law. The exam is made available to you as a candidate, solely for the purpose of your assessment. You are expressly prohibited from disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting the exam, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means including visual, aural, verbal, written, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the prior express written permission of CPA Australia.

The exam questions and answers are not released or available for viewing due to the secure nature of the exams and process adopted by CPA Australia in establishing passing standards. The personal data which you provided at enrolment will be used to transmit your score to CPA Australia, and for monitoring purposes. Your personal data and exam data will be stored in the Pearson VUE database. CPA Australia reminds you that you have the right to access, delete and modify your personal data. To exercise such right, please contact CPA Australia.

Privacy statement

CPA Australia Ltd (CPA Australia) is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. By enrolling in the Practice Management program, you agree to accept the terms and conditions of CPA Australia’s privacy policy.

CPA Australia processes assessment, membership and other payments using EFTPOS and online technologies. All transactions processed by CPA Australia meet industry security standards to ensure member details and payments are protected. For more information about our security procedures and payment processes, contact +61 3 9606 9606. 

Requirements for offering public accounting services

Offering public accounting services into Australia or New Zealand

Members offering public accounting services into Australia or New Zealand must hold a Public Practice Certificate or a Limited Practice Certificate. A practitioner providing public accounting services from a country outside Australia or New Zealand for a client within Australia or New Zealand, must have a Public Practice Certificate or a Limited Practice Certificate for each of the jurisdictions for which they provide the services.

Public Practice Certificate

If you intend to earn more than $45,000 gross fees per annum from the provision of public accounting services into Australia or New Zealand, you must obtain a Public Practice Certificate. Completion of the Public Practice Program is one of the prerequisites for obtaining a Public Practice Certificate.

The Public Practice Program has two components: the Practice Management distance learning program and the Public Practice Program Intensive workshop. To successfully complete the Public Practice Program you must pass the Practice Management exam and attend a workshop. You can attend a workshop either in the same semester as your enrolment in Practice Management or at a later date. Workshops are conducted in most states in Australia. Please visit My Online Learning or contact the CPD Hotline on 1300 73 73 73 for dates and fees. New Zealand members should ring +64 9 913 7450. There is a separate fee for attending the Public Practice Program Intensive workshop.

You must have attended a workshop and successfully obtained a Public Practice Certificate within five years of passing the Practice Management exam. You must also have passed either the Taxation (pre-2010), Advanced Taxation (Semester 1, 2010 to Semester 2, 2018), Australia Taxation or Australian Taxation Advanced subject of the CPA Program. (An exemption from the requirement to complete the Advanced Taxation subject will be granted to members who hold registration as a Registered Tax Agent with the Tax Practitioner's Board (TPB) or will be practising solely in New Zealand). If you do not successfully apply within five years of passing the exam you will be required to repeat the Practice Management distance learning program and exam and attend another workshop. You must also have relevant work experience to obtain a Public Practice Certificate.

Limited Practice Certificate

If you do not intend to earn more than $45,000 gross fees per annum from the provision of public accounting services on an ongoing basis (refer to exceeding the earning threshold), you can apply for a Limited Practice Certificate. Completion of the Practice Management distance learning program is one of the prerequisites for obtaining a Limited Practice Certificate.

You must obtain a Limited Practice Certificate within five years of passing the Practice Management exam. You must also have passed either the Taxation (pre-2010), Advanced Taxation (Semester 1, 2010 to Semester 2, 2018), Australia Taxation or Australia Taxation – Advanced subject of the CPA Program. (An exemption from the requirement to complete the Advanced Taxation subject will be granted to members who hold registration as a Registered Tax Agent with the Tax Practitioner's Board (TPB) or will be practising solely in New Zealand). If you do not successfully apply within five years of passing the exam you will be required to repeat the Practice Management distance learning program and exam. You must also have relevant work experience to obtain a Limited Practice Certificate.

If you hold CPA or FCPA status, and you do not earn more than $10,000 gross fees per annum from the provision of public accounting services, you do not need to obtain a Public Practice Certificate or Limited Practice Certificate. However, you must hold professional indemnity insurance. Please also note that there is a requirement to hold a Public Practice Certificate or Limited Practice Certificate if you are conducting audits of self-managed superannuation funds, irrespective of the fees earned.

Exceeding the earning threshold

If your earnings exceed the $45,000 gross fees threshold within five years of passing the Practice Management exam, you may be eligible to transfer from a Limited Practice Certificate to a Public Practice Certificate after completion of the Public Practice Program intensive workshop.

Offering public accounting services outside Australia or New Zealand

CPA Australia does not regulate members in public practice outside Australia or New Zealand. Members who are interested in public practice and are based outside Australia or New Zealand may enrol in the Practice Management program. Members can also access the Public Practice Pathways Guides, which contain an overview of the requirements to practise as an accountant in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. This material is intended to be an introduction to the requirements only—members are responsible for ensuring they are aware of and comply with all of the regulators’ requirements in the country in which they work.

Members residing outside Australia or New Zealand who have completed Practice Management and who later wish to offer public accounting services into Australia or New Zealand must first meet the eligibility requirements for a Public Practice Certificate. Among other requirements, members applying for a Public Practice Certificate must have successfully completed either the Taxation (pre-2010), Advanced Taxation (Semester 1, 2010 to Semester 2, 2018), Australia Taxation or Australia Taxation Advanced subject of the CPA Program, have passed the Practice Management exam within the last five years and have attended a Public Practice Program Intensive workshop within the five-year time frame. To obtain a Public Practice Certificate, members must also have relevant work experience gained in Australia or New Zealand and meet other requirements.