WHAT IS A CPA
A Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) is a finance, accounting and business professionals with a specific qualification received from the Industry body. CPAs are highly regarded by employers and members. The CPA status is an internationally recognised qualification.
To become a CPA, you must:
- Complete a degree or a postgraduate award recognised by CPA Australia
- Complete the CPA Program, including three years of professional experience in finance, accounting or business
- Undertake CPD activities each year
- Comply with a strict code of conduct set by CPA Australia.
To offer public accounting services, CPAs must also complete CPA Australia’s Public Practice Program and hold a public practice certificate in accordance with the CPA Australia’s By-Laws.
Becoming a CPA is both time-consuming and expensive. I will now go through the financial cost of becoming a CPA.
THE FINANCIAL COSTS
Below are costs relating to the Australian CPA program. If you are interested in seeing fees for all other countries, click here.
APPLICATION & MEMBERSHIP
Before you are able to start the CPA Program, you must file an application. This costs $180. There is no guarantee at this point you will be accepted into the program. If you do not believe you have the qualifications to be accepted by CPA as mentioned above, I would suggest holding off until you have all the requirements completed.
Once accepted into the program, you need to become an Associate member. The memberships are due at the end of December each year and are paid for the entire calendar year. If you start in semester two then you only need to pay for half the year.
While completing the program, you are required to pay $325 each year. Once you have finished completing the program, the membership cost more than doubles and you must pay $720 each year.
If you are more than 14 days late paying your membership, a $50 fee will be applied.
SUBJECT ENROLMENT & EXAMS
This is where it gets expensive. If you are studying two subjects a year, you are looking at around $2,180 minimum in enrolment fees.
Signing up earlier gives you a $150 discount. The early bird discount applies from when the semester scheduling opens (around 6 weeks before the first day of semester) until around 2 weeks before the semester starts. Apart from saving $150, by signing up as soon as enrolments open, you also get to schedule your exam earlier. If you have a certain date and venue in mind, I would highly suggest signing up the day enrolments open. Some exam venues book out very quickly.
If you need to defer your exam and you do so more then 3 weeks before the exam period starts it costs $330. Deferring within 3 weeks of the exam period starting will cost you $450.
If you need to re-order your study guide, it will cost $100. CPA provides the textbook in PDF format once you have enrolled in a subject. If you have access to a printer, it may be more cost-effective to print the textbook yourself instead of buying a new one.
A lot of employers offer to pay for your CPA program so speak to your workplace. Personally, I was reimbursed for all exams I passed. I would pay for the exam and once it was completed and I had a pass mark, I would be reimbursed from my employer.
On top of the costs above, you can pay for assistance from other providers. To learn more about my experience with Knowledge Equity click here.
If you have any questions about completing the CPA program, leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out.