While many professionals dream of expanding their skill-sets with jobs overseas, the prospect of getting qualified in a new territory can often be a barrier to making it happen. However, for qualified accountants looking to experience life in a new country, getting the green light to practice internationally may be easier than you think.
While anyone moving outside of the EU for work will, of course, be subject to local visa restrictions, holding the relevant qualifications is the first step to being qualified to be offered a ‘specific offer of employment’ - a prerequisite of many work visas. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that professionals who have relevant experience will have to go back to the drawing board in terms of education. In the US, for example, it is possible to become qualified as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with no further training.
Global Accounting Network’s sister company, Hoxton Circle, is based in the US, and for clients across the pond a CPA licence can be a prerequisite for any accounting role. The criteria for becoming a licenced CPA varies between states – so it is vital that you do some research to see how your existing qualifications stack up against state board office requirements. However, it is worth noting that most states have passed mobility laws in order to allow practice in their state by CPAs from other states. So once you have the licence, it’s pretty mobile. While each state board sets its own requirements regarding education and experience, broadly speaking, all CPA candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, at minimum, and have no fewer than 150 semester hours of formal education, must achieve a passing score on the Uniform CPA Exam and gain field experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. In most states and jurisdictions, one year of supervised experience satisfies the requirement. Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam is determined by individual state boards of accountancy. A decision is made after existing qualifications are submitted and evaluated by a local university admissions officer to get a comparison to US qualifications. While some professionals will be able to sit the exam with no further training, others may need to complete additional courses before they qualify to sit. However, it is worth noting that these courses can usually be completed in your country or origin before setting foot in the US. For those with their sights set on destinations more exotic than the states, it is worth noting that while the CPA qualification is US based, it is internationally recognised. CPA exams can be taken in several other countries, including Japan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Brazil and the UAE, and the qualification is recognised in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. For candidates who are ACA qualified, the ICAEW has partnerships with accountancy bodies around the world, so those planning to live and work in another country may be able to join a local institute automatically. Membership recognition agreements are currently in place with organisations including CAANZ in Australia and New Zealand, HKICPA in Hong Kong, SAICA in South Africa. Similarly, the creation of the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation in 2011, which is a joint venture between The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), means that CIMA accreditation is now more globally recognised than ever before. While it can take some time to get your head around alternative processes and local legislation, core competencies such as interpersonal skills and technical ability travel well. And for those who are eager to climb the career ladder, international experience really can pay dividends. Feel free to contact either GAN at firstname.lastname@example.org or Hoxton Circle at email@example.com For more insights – check out our blog homepage
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