New Public Practice Program features learning on demand

Content Summary

Jackie Blondell | February 2020

This article was current at the time of publication.

Flexibility and facing the future challenges of an evolving market are at the heart of CPA Australia's new improved Public Practice Program, launched last month.

The new program has two components, a two-day workshop and a flexible eLearning program that replaces the subject which ran for a semester.

"These changes provide the flexibility and agility that members need, especially if they are looking to start their own firm," says Keddie Waller, CPA Australia's Head of Public Practice.

Future-focused and flexible

The five eLearning modules are now available on-demand, and members can choose to complete them before or after the workshop (see Program Snapshot below).

The workshop is based on insights from CPA Australia's "My Firm. My Future." report, which identified four key themes: "leveraging technology"; "specialisation"; "incorporating advisory services"; and "doing better business".

"We completed a holistic review of the Public Practice Program content and have used key themes from the My Firm. My Future. report to shape the new pathway," says Waller.

"We also engaged members and subject matter experts to review the content to ensure we are hitting all the key areas required to help set our members up for success," she says. "It is a much more practical and cost-effective program."

In New South Wales and Victoria, members have the option of attending the workshop or a two-day pilot residential option launched to gauge interest in this style of learning.

"Five years ago, the residential workshop was the norm. Members told us that they enjoyed this style as it gave them more time for networking, engagement, and building relationships with fellow members and facilitators. We'd like to bring them back and see if they would work in the present day," says Waller.

Along with themes from the My Firm. My Future. report, the workshop has also been developed with insights from CPA Australia members to create a new Public Practice Framework.

"We drew on the experience of members who are SMEs in these areas," says Waller. "A key strength of the new program for members is that it has been developed with insights from their peers.

"This includes culture and leadership, marketing, governance and compliance, practice management and service offerings that consumers and SMEs are demanding. The aim is to deliver all the things practitioners need to set up a future-focus plan for their business."

Practical insights

Waller explains the program's new eLearning modules and workshop provide practical insights for members to apply to their business.

"As an example, we have a dedicated technology section in the workshop that focuses on the efficiencies, the benefits and how to leverage technology in your business," she says.

Waller describes the new Public Practice Program as a valuable starting point for ensuring practitioners have all they need to set up a successful firm.

"The My Firm. My Future. report uncovered valuable themes for the future of public practice," she says. "Our new Public Practice Program builds on these themes to help practitioners meet the challenges and create a successful, sustainable firm."

Program snapshot

The Public Practice Program includes two components, and participants must be either a CPA or FCPA to enrol.

1. eLearning program

The program includes five eLearning modules available on-demand. Each module contains content and a multiple-choice assessment (open book).

  • Public Practice Certificate
  • Public Accounting Services
  • Ethics
  • Quality Management
  • Risk Management

Price: $300 plus GST for all five modules.

2. Workshop

The workshop runs over two days and is based on CPA Australia's My Firm. My Future. model. Its purpose is to introduce the new Public Practice Framework and enable participants to develop a future-focus plan that will form the basis of an optional peer visit up to 12 months post certification.

The workshop includes two facilitators to enable the group to be split, if required (e.g., between sole practice and partnership).

During enrolment, members will complete a short survey to provide input to help tailor the workshop.


A minimum of 14 workshops will be offered across Australia and New Zealand (this will vary depending on the uptake of the Public Practice Program).

Two pilot residential workshops will also be run in NSW and Victoria only.


Workshop: A$800 plus GST

Residential workshops: A$1,200 plus GST (NSW and Victoria only)