The goal of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is to create, not destroy. That is why the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was established in 2015. The AEC aims to transform ASEAN into a single market and production base that will allow the ASEAN member states (AMS) to enjoy free movement of goods, services and investment, as well as benefit from smoother flow of capital and skilled labour.
With business services like accountancy being an important part of economies and trade, the liberalisation of trade in services will help ASEAN to achieve the objective of the AEC sooner. Under the AEC, the mobility of accountants within the region is facilitated by the Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Accountancy Services (MRAA) which was signed by all 10 ASEAN member states in 2014.
The objectives of the MRAA are as follows:
a. Facilitate mobility of accountancy services professionals across ASEAN;
b. Enhance the current regime for the provision of accountancy services in the AMS;
c. Exchange information in order to promote adoption of best practices on standards and qualifications.
Under the MRAA, a professional accountant who is an ASEAN national and possesses the necessary qualifications and experiences that comply with the MRAA may apply to be an ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountant (ASEAN CPA). ASEAN CPAs are legally allowed to provide accountancy services under Central Product Classification (CPC) 862 of the United Nations1 (except for the signing-off of the independent auditor’s report and providing accountancy services that require domestic licensing) in ASEAN markets without having to undergo extensive re-training or re-qualification procedures.
An ASEAN CPA who wishes to provide professional accountancy services in another ASEAN country shall apply directly to the National Accountancy Body (NAB) and/or Professional Regulatory Authority (PRA) of that country (also known as “Host Country”) to be registered as a Registered Foreign Professional Accountant (RFPA). An RFPA will have to work in collaboration with a local professional accountant in the Host Country and agrees to be bound by the domestic laws and regulations of the Host Country. The ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountant Coordinating Committee (ACPACC) is now in discussion on the RFPA registration process and more details will be released soon.
With the ASEAN CPA title on your resume and/or name card, it will provide you with market access to the rest of ASEAN, presenting new opportunities in one of the highest growth economic regions in the world.
The ASEAN CPA registration is free for one year from April 2017 to April 2018, and renewable2 every year.
Who can apply
A professional accountant who meets the following qualifications, practical experience and conditions is eligible to apply to be an ASEAN CPA:
- Holds the nationality of an ASEAN country;
- Has completed an accredited accountancy degree, or professional accounting education programme recognised by ISCA;
- Possesses a current and valid ISCA membership (CA (Singapore) or Associate (ISCA));
- Has acquired relevant practical experience of minimum three (3) years cumulatively within any five (5)-year period prior to application;
- Has complied with the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) policy of ISCA, and
- Has no record of serious violation of technical, professional or ethical standards.
1 The list of accountancy services covered under CPC 862 are financial auditing services, accounting review services, compilation of financial statements services, other accounting services and bookkeeping services, except tax returns.
2 Renewal fee will be announced in due course.