The primary role of accountants in New Zealand is to plan and provide accounting services associated with financial dealings and taxation of individuals and firms, and advice on record-keeping and compliance needs. At present, accountants are in great demand in New Zealand. Based on a survey conducted by Robert Half Finance and Accounting together with ICANZ (Institute of Chartered Accountants New Zealand) there is a shortage of accountants in New Zealand and Australia. To deal with this problem, they are hiring accountants from other countries provided that they have completed the education and training requirements.
Education, Trainings and Program Requirements
The professional body representing Chartered Accountants (CA) in New Zealand is the NZICA or New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants. They represent over 33,000 members of the accounting profession in New Zealand and more than 90 other countries. The majority of accounting technicians and public accountants in NZ belong to the NZICA. Their goal is to uphold the highest level of trust and responsibility by providing the best services and standards to support members.
There are 3 colleges or membership groupings within the NZICA: Chartered Accountants (CA), Associate Chartered Accountants (ACA) and Accounting Technicians (AT).
- Chartered Accountants (CA)
CAs are accountants qualified to provide the full range of accountancy services both in the public and private sectors. In order to become a member of Chartered Accountants you need to complete the following requirements:
- You must have a bachelor degree
- Completed the following topics – financial accounting, finance, taxation, management accounting, auditing, organizational management, economics, commercial and corporate law, quantitative methods, accounting information systems.
3 main steps in becoming a CA:
- Complete academic program (3 years)
- Complete a practical experience program (3 years)
- Complete the Chartered Accountants Program
To be able to continue with your membership in CA, you need to complete 20 hours of verifiable Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year and 20 hours non-verifiable.
- Associate Chartered Accountants (ACA)
This is a mid-level qualification. Members should complete professional education requirements, but are not eligible to provide service to the public.
CA is not directly comparable to the ACA designation offered by the ICA (Institute of Chartered Accountants) in England and Wales and Ireland. In Ireland, ACA denotes a fully qualified CA.
In order to become an ACA you need to complete the following:
- academic study
- a practical experience program
- a professional competence program
3 steps in becoming an ACA:
- Complete academic study program (3 years)
- Complete a practical experience program (1 year)
- Complete the Foundation Program
To be able to continue with your membership in CA, you need to complete 15 hours of verifiable Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year and 15 hours non-verifiable.
- Accounting Technicians (AT)
Accounting Technicians are hired to oversee and deal with financial accounts in roles such as Assistant Finance Manager or Accounts Manager. They work in all areas of business and finance, carrying out different functions like receiving and settling invoices, auditing internal and external work, looking after all financial transactions, accounting for resources and managing payroll and budgets.
There are three ways to earn an AT designation – Vocational Pathway, Academic Pathway and Experience Pathway. Vocational Pathway is the practical study path that covers a wide range of practical accounting topics. You will receive an AAT accounting qualification. You can study and earn at the same time. This is a 3 year part-time study program.
In Academic Pathway, you will get a formal academic qualification that covers accounting and broad business management. You need to complete two years tertiary study comprising of a New Zealand Diploma in Business or Equivalent Degree Level Study.
In Experience Pathway, you get your experience through on the job trainings. You need to have at least 5 years working experience. You only need to have an impressive assessment of competence in order to become an AT.
Accountancy Governing Bodies in NZ
There are two local accountancy bodies in New Zealand - the NZACPA or the New Zealand Association of Certified Public Accountants and the CAANZ or the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
You need to be a member of CAANZ for you to be able to audit public companies in New Zealand.
The NZACPA offers foundation level certificates and diplomas known as Foundation in Accountancy that provide an entry point for those who are new to accounting and finance and who were not able to meet the minimum entry requirements to qualify as a member.
Wages and Salaries
Accountant’s salaries in New Zealand vary depending on the region they practice, their experience and qualification. The highest wages are generally found in Wellington and Auckland.
Based on a 2014 survey done by the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, the average total remuneration of an accounting manager was $107,000. The average wages for a financial accountant on the same year was $94,000 and for tax accountant was $80,000.
The average hourly wage for accountants in New Zealand according to Statistics New Zealand was $28.62 in September 2014. Thus, the annual salary of a full-time accountant during that time was around $55,000.
Below are accountant salaries on their designated position and regions for the year 2014-2015:
Accountant Salary Region
Senior Management Accountant $110,000 Auckland
Tax Accountant $35 to $45 per hour Auckland
Financial Accountant $65,000 Wellington
Assistant Accountant $45,000 to $50,000 Christchurch
Financial Accountant $50 to $60 per hour Auckland
Assistant Accountant $55,000 to $60,000 Auckland
Intermediate Accountant $50,000 to $60,000 Christchurch
Senior Accountant $70,000 to $95,000 Christchurch
Job Outlook in New Zealand
According to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, there will be a continued growth in the field of accountancy in the coming years. The growth maybe slower in New Zealand but it will definitely help lower the unemployment rate. The projected decline in unemployment is 4.9% by March 2017.