A professional accounting body has argued that the current licensing arrangements for accountants put the joint accounting bodies on a “pedestal” and disadvantage members of other professional bodies.
Bob Duncan, president of the Association of Taxation and Management Accountants (ATMA), responded to comments made by the Financial Planning Association’s Dante De Gori which questioned the decision to restrict the limited licence to accountants who are members of one of the three joint accounting bodies.
“If we’re working in a fair competitive market it should be open to all professionally qualified people that are offering services to members of the public,” Mr Duncan told SMSF Adviser.
“I feel anybody who is a member of a professional body, any professional body, in the accounting field should be able to get the accountants' exemption.”
However, the Institute of Public Accountants’ (IPA's) general manager for technical policy, Tony Greco, told SMSF Adviser that members of the major accounting bodies often have more “rigour” than non-members.
“For that reason it makes sense to extend that concessionary transitional rule to them,” Mr Greco said.
“That’s not to say that other bodies aren’t also worthy of that, but they have to show the government and prove what rigour they’ve got in place. We don’t begrudge that concession to our members because… there’s quite a few checks and balances,” he added.
“Each association needs to present its case and if they’re worthy of that concessionary treatment we don’t see why they should be excluded. As long as they’ve got the same rigours in place that the other accounting bodies have, we’re not saying that it should be an exclusive club by any means.”
Mr Greco said while the IPA understands the licensing system is not “perfect”, it is in the public interest to make it work.
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