CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS and ASSOCIATE CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS TRAINING LOG

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1 CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS and ASSOCIATE CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS TRAINING LOG

2 2007 Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to the publisher. First published January 2007 New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants 50 Customhouse Quay PO Box Wellington 6142 New Zealand ISBN TRAINING LOG 1

3 Welcome to the accounting profession Welcome to the accounting profession and the practical application of the knowledge that you have gained in your academic studies. You are on the verge of a career where you can provide wide ranging and high quality professional advice, whether you are working in the public or corporate sectors or in public practice. There are opportunities, challenges and rewards ahead of you. I wish you well and look forward to welcoming you to full membership of the Institute in due course. Terry McLaughlin, Chief Executive Introduction to the training log This training log has been prepared to help you understand the Institute s practical experience requirements for admission as a full member of the College of Chartered Accountants or the College of Associate Chartered Accountants. This training log explains the admissions policy of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, the competencies you must demonstrate in your general and specific practical experience, the mentoring process, and the pathway you must follow to apply for admission as a Chartered Accountant or Associate Chartered Accountant. If you have any questions about the practical experience requirements or this training log, please contact Registry Services Bruce Bennett, General Manager Standards and Quality Assurance NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

4 TRAINING LOG FOR CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS and ASSOCIATE CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OVERVIEW Introduction Admissions process Overview of practical experience Practical experience is a vital component of the admissions process Detailed practical experience requirements Practical experience requirements for the Chartered Accountants College Practical experience requirements for the Associate Chartered Accountants College Working with your Institute-registered mentor Why have a mentor? What to look for in a mentor Finding a mentor What mentors do Establishing your relationship Planning your specified practical experience Monitoring and verifying competence Changing workplace and mentors Dispute resolution process Roles and responsibilities of ATOs, mentors and trainees About approved training organisations Competence What is competence? The Institute s competence framework Technical competencies Non-technical competencies Training plans Why are training plans important? Components of a training plan Process in developing a training plan 16 TRAINING LOG

5 7.0 Recording practical experience Frequently asked questions 18 COMPETENCIES 21 PART THREE FORMS 38 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

6 OVERVIEW 1.0 INTRODUCTION This overview is intended to assist provisional members understand and complete the practical experience requirements to become a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (the Institute) as either a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA). The Institute is New Zealand s largest professional body. It represents the interests of over 30,000 members of the accounting profession, who work in New Zealand and in 91 other countries around the world. It has 17 branches, offices in three countries, and a world-leading suite of professional accountancy designations. The Institute upholds the standards, policies and services of the profession to the highest levels. Its members are trusted and sought after worldwide. The Institute s admissions policy is geared towards high-calibre accounting professionals Chartered Accountants, Associate Chartered Accountants, or Accounting Technicians who are able to add value for their employers and clients as a result of the knowledge, skills and values they have developed through a rigorous and leading world-class education and development programme. To become a member of the Institute, you must successfully complete the Institute s education programme, including programmes of academic study, practical experience and professional competence. Practical experience is a vital component for qualifying as a Chartered Accountant or Associate Chartered Accountant. It provides the opportunity for you to apply the knowledge gained during your academic studies and develop professional skills that you can apply in a variety of situations. 1.1 Admissions process Pathway to membership as a Chartered Accountant or Associate Chartered Accountant Chartered Accountant Programme length 7 years 5 years Academic study programme Practical experience programme Professional competence programme Four year, degree-level recognised programme at an accredited tertiary institution 12 months of general practical experience, 24 months of specified practical experience in an ATO with an Institute-registered mentor Foundations Programme Professional Accounting School (PAS) and Professional Competence Examination 2 (PCE 2) Associate Chartered Accountant Bachelor s degree from an accredited tertiary institution 12 months of general practical experience, 12 months of specified practical experience in an ATO with an Institute-registered mentor Foundations Programme TRAINING LOG 1

7 Admissions process Start Here Academic study programme Apply for provisional membership General practical experience 12 months of relevant accounting experience May be completed before, during or after completion of academic study Submit your Certificate of General Practical Experience and notify the Institute of your mentor and ATO. Specified practical experience 12 months In an ATO Under the guidance of an Institute-registered mentor Foundations Programme Specified practical experience 12 months (2nd year) In an ATO Under the guidance of an Institute-registered mentor Professional Accounting School (PAS) Professional Competence Examination 2 (PCE 2) Apply for full membership as an ACA Apply for full membership as a CA 2 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

8 2.0 OVERVIEW OF PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE 2.1 Practical experience is a vital component of the admissions process Your practical experience is a vital step towards qualification as a member of the Institute. It gives you the opportunity to: Build on your academic qualifications by applying theoretical knowledge in practical situations Exercise, develop and apply specific professional skills and competencies that can be applied in a variety of situations, including: personal skills attributes of judgement initiative objectivity administrative ability ability to motivate and supervise others communication skills. Your training programme should help you to: enhance your understanding of organisations, of how businesses work, and of work relationships be able to relate accounting work to other business functions and activities become aware of the environment in which accounting services are provided develop the appropriate professional values, ethics and attitudes in practical, real-life situations have an opportunity to work at progressive levels of responsibility. 2.2 Detailed practical experience requirements The Institute s admissions policy prescribes different requirements for trainees seeking to qualify as either a Chartered Accountant or an Associate Chartered Accountant. 2.3 Practical experience requirements for the Chartered Accountants College If you wish to become a Chartered Accountant, you are required to complete a minimum of: one year of general practical experience two years of specified practical experience. TRAINING LOG 3

9 Your general practical experience may be gained: before, during or after completion of the academic component with no more than three employers with or without an Institute-registered mentor. Your specified practical experience is gained: after you have completed the academic component and one year of general practical experience ideally, while registered as a provisional member with the Institute with an Institute-registered mentor within an ATO. Practical experience can be gained in all sectors public sector, corporate sector, public practice, and the academic environment. Experience can be gained in New Zealand or overseas. Your specified practical experience will usually be gained during full-time continuous employment with a single employer, but may be gained over a 48-month period with no more than three employers. Content of experience The Institute has a competency framework which prescribes a range of competencies of differing levels across seven accounting functions. The level of competence to be achieved depends on which designation (Chartered Accountant or Associate Chartered Accountant) the trainee is seeking to gain. The accounting functions in which trainees can gain experience are: accounting information systems auditing external reporting financial management insolvency and reconstructions management accounting taxation. To become a Chartered Accountant, you must gain competencies in at least one of these areas to level 3, and to level 2 in another two areas. It is likely that one particular job or task you undertake will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate competence in more than one area. Development of the required competencies may take longer than the minimum period of time stated in the Institute s policy; timeframes are indicative only. You cannot complete your specified practical experience in less than two years. It is also possible to gain practical experience in academic work. Please contact the Institute to confirm experience requirements in this area. 4 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

10 2.4 Practical experience requirements for the Associate Chartered Accountants College If you wish to become an Associate Chartered Accountant, you are required to complete a minimum of: one year of general practical experience one year of specified practical experience. The general practical experience may be gained: before, during or after completion of the academic component with no more than three employers with or without an Institute-registered mentor. Your specified practical experience is gained: after the completion of the academic component and one year of general practical experience ideally, while registered as a provisional member with the Institute with an Institute-registered mentor within an ATO. Practical experience can be gained in all sectors public sector, corporate sector, public practice, and the academic environment. Experience can be gained in New Zealand or overseas. The year of specified practical experience will usually be gained during full-time continuous employment with a single employer, but may be gained during full-time equivalent employment within a 36-month period with no more than three employers. Content of experience To become an Associate Chartered Accountant you must gain competencies in at least two areas to level 2. It is likely that one particular job or task you undertake will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate competence in more than one area. Development of the required competencies may take longer than the minimum period of time stated in the Institute s policy; these timeframes are indicative only. You cannot complete your specified practical experience in less than one year. TRAINING LOG 5

11 3.0 WORKING WITH YOUR INSTITUTE-REGISTERED MENTOR The Institute believes it is important that experienced members of the profession are involved in the training of prospective members. You must have an Institute-registered mentor for your specified practical experience. It is preferable that you also have an Institute-registered mentor for your general practical experience. 3.1 Why have a mentor? Your mentor plays a vital role in monitoring your specified practical experience as being appropriate to prepare you as a future member of the Institute. The mentoring system is part of practical experience requirements to: ensure you have a designated member of the Institute from whom you can seek guidance and advice on matters relating to your practical experience ensure you have a member of the Institute involved throughout your practical experience process who can confirm you are meeting all the requirements ensure that, when you apply for membership, you have the necessary practical experience ensure that your practical experience is properly monitored, guided and verified formalise what is currently seen as best practice for provisional members gaining appropriate practical experience. Ideally, your mentor will act as your professional role model and will exhibit a high level of professionalism at all times. In this document, the term mentor always means an Institute-registered mentor. 3.2 What to look for in a mentor You are responsible for finding a mentor. Look for someone who: has sufficient standing in the organisation where you are working to undertake the responsibilities of mentor is based in the same organisation as you or has regular contact with the organisation is familiar with the Institute s Admission Policies meets the Institute s criteria for mentors is willing to share their knowledge and understanding is, or will apply to be, an Institute-registered mentor. Your mentor does not need to have direct-line management responsibility for you. In many cases training will be provided by a range of people who you have professional relationships with. Look for a mentor who you find approachable and with whom you will be able to discuss your work progress freely and honestly. Look for someone who will have time for you when you need it. 6 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

12 3.3 Finding a mentor A mentor could be one of the following: Within your employing organisation direct manager senior executive or partner board members Outside your employing organisation your organisation s auditor or external accountant another Chartered Accountant or Associate Chartered Accountant who has regular contact with you and the organisation you work for. If you wish to become a Chartered Accountant, you will need an Institute-registered mentor who is a Chartered Accountant. If you wish to become an Associate Chartered Accountant, your Institute-registered mentor should be either an Associate Chartered Accountant or a Chartered Accountant. You must advise Registry Services who your Institute-registered mentor is at the start of your specified experience. 3.4 What mentors do Your mentor is responsible for: monitoring, guiding and reporting on your practical experience supporting you as you prepare for the Foundations Programme, PAS and PCE 2 approving your record of experience regularly (at least every three months); this process will verify the accuracy of this training record checking that your practical experience meets the stated requirements of the Institute undertaking a personal interview at the end of your practical experience completing the s Final Report for submission with your application for membership. 3.5 Establishing your relationship ing and developing the required competencies can only be successful if it is planned carefully and realistically in an objective and professional way. One of the key initial steps towards establishing an effective relationship is for you and your mentor to formally plan how the objectives of the mentoring programme can be achieved and to seek clarification of each other s expectations. Once you have found someone to act as a mentor you should agree with that person on how they should exercise their responsibility. You should make arrangements for regular meetings, and discuss what arrangements can be made for any ad hoc meetings you need. TRAINING LOG 7

13 Your first meeting with your mentor is a useful time to agree clearly on: when and how often you will meet to review progress what you should each bring to meetings what style of mentoring will suit each of you what you should expect of each other the goals and outcomes from the relationship who is responsible for what the communication that needs to happen between you and your mentor. You should reach a shared understanding about your expectations of each other. In particular, where the mentor is also your supervisor, you should discuss boundaries between management issues and mentoring issues. 3.6 Planning your specified practical experience It is recommended you, together with your mentor and employer, develop a training plan for how you will meet the Institute s practical experience requirements. The training plan should link your job tasks to the Institute s competencies, ensuring you will be able to gain experience in the required number of areas to the required level. For more information about training plans, please refer to section 6.0 of this overview. 3.7 Monitoring and verifying competence Your mentor is responsible for monitoring and verifying the experience you have gained and the competencies you have developed. Throughout the period of practical experience, you and your mentor should meet regularly to monitor and review the experience being gained and competence being developed against the training plan you have developed. You are responsible for retaining all records of your practical experience, and ensuring these are up-to-date. The competencies are prescribed at different levels, and you are required to develop all the competencies in your chosen areas to the appropriate level. The mentor should sign the training plan or other record to verify that you have achieved the required level of competence. You should provide one or two examples demonstrating how you have developed each competency, consistently and over time, throughout your period of specified practical experience. It is possible to demonstrate development of competency across a range of areas (technical and non-technical) through one project or piece of work. When your mentor is satisfied you have developed all the required competencies to the appropriate level, they will complete the s Final Report. It is important that you maintain complete records of your practical experience, as the Institute may ask to see these when you submit your application for membership. 8 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

14 3.8 Changing workplace and mentors Your period of practical experience would normally be completed in one organisation and with one mentor; however this may not always be possible. It is your responsibility to inform the Institute if you change your place of employment or your mentor, by advising Registry Services in writing. A change of mentor may be necessary under the following circumstances: your mentor ceases to be an Institute-approved mentor your mentor ceases to have regular contact with the organisation where your practical experience is being obtained you change jobs and continue your practical experience in another organisation it is agreed between you and the mentor that circumstances have changed and a more appropriate person should be appointed mentor. Examples may include: you changing departments, your mentor changing job responsibilities, or a new person more suitably qualified as a mentor beginning work in the organisation the relationship has broken down. The previous mentor should complete an Interim s Report, as well as ensuring all records regarding your period of practical experience, including your training plan, are completed and current. The Interim Report will need to be included with the Final Report when you apply for membership. 3.9 Dispute resolution process If the mentoring relationship is not working satisfactorily for you and the mentor you should first attempt to resolve the dispute in line with processes within your employing organisation. If there is an irreconcilable breakdown in the relationship, either party may wish to contact the Institute for assistance in resolving the problems. The Institute s dispute resolution process consists of the following steps: 1. The disputing parties, where possible, resolve the dispute between themselves. 2. If unsuccessful, the disputing parties attempt to resolve the dispute by way of mediation within the employing organisation. 3. If step 2 is unsuccessful, either party can contact the Institute for general advice on the dispute resolution procedure or for an interpretation of the Institute s requirements and specific advice on the resolution procedure. 4. Where the nature of the dispute involves a claim of unethical behaviour, the claimant will be advised by staff to engage in the Institute s formal complaints process and referred to the Professional Conduct division. 5. Both parties must agree in writing to the mediation process (Agreement to submit to mediation) and specifically accept the Institute-appointed mediator who mediates on behalf of the Institute. The purpose of the appointment is to ensure impartiality in decision-making. (Note that mediation is an Institute service provided to members and provisional members free of charge.) 6. The mediator is required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the rules of natural justice are observed in the conduct of the mediation. 7. The mediator is briefed by an appropriate Institute staff member on the dispute case and is asked to undertake face-to-face mediation and review any written documentation that is available to staff regarding the dispute. TRAINING LOG 9

15 8. The mediator will give each party the opportunity to comment on the submissions and evidence of the other before reaching a decision. On completion of steps 1 to 8, the disputing parties may decide to either enter step 1 again (and the subsequent steps), or solve their differences by engaging in an arbitration process with a suitably qualified arbitrator. The cost of the arbitration will be borne by the applicant(s), not the Institute. 10 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

16 4.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF ATOs, MENTORS, AND TRAINEES There are three parties involved in the practical experience programme trainee, mentor and approved training organisation (ATO). The responsibilities of each party are set out below: The trainee is responsible for: The mentor is responsible for: The ATO is responsible for: Finding a mentor and managing the relationship Keeping a record of the experience they have gained Developing the training plan in conjunction with the ATO and the mentor, taking responsibility for documenting the plan Ensuring the records of experience are signed off quarterly Completing the period of practical experience Advising the Institute of any change in their situation (for example, change of mentor or employer) Enrolling in the Professional Competence Programme, when appropriate Preparing for the Professional Competence Programme and successfully completing the examinations. Registering as a mentor before the commencement of the period of specified practical experience Acting as a guide, coach and role model for the trainee Developing the training plan in conjunction with the trainee and the ATO Meeting regularly with the trainee to review experience gained and set objectives for the next period Helping transfer information to a new mentor, if required Completing a s Interim Report if the trainee changes mentor and/or employer Supporting the trainee to prepare for the Professional Competence Programme and verifying experience gained for enrolment purposes Supporting the trainee through PAS and, on the completion of their specified practical experience, completing the s Final Report to accompany the trainee s application for admission Applying for ATO status before the commencement of the period of specified practical experience Providing a range and depth of practical experience Developing the training plan in conjunction with the trainee and the mentor Providing an appropriate environment to support trainees through the admission process Running a formal performance appraisal process to monitor and review the trainee s progress Providing for trainees to attend PAS. Motivating and supporting trainees as they prepare for the Foundations Programme and PAS/PCE 2 TRAINING LOG 11

17 4.1 About approved training organisations You are responsible for finding your own employment. You must complete your specified practical experience in an ATO. ATOs are organisations that have demonstrated to the Institute that they can offer trainees the range and depth of training and work experience and the appropriate professional environment in which to develop the competencies required to become a Chartered Accountant or an Associate Chartered Accountant. Completing your experience in an ATO is an assurance for you and the Institute that you are offered planned, supervised and relevant experience that meets the Institute s requirements. A large number of organisations from all sectors in New Zealand and overseas are ATOs. If your employer is not currently recognised as an ATO, it may be eligible to become one. The Institute s website has more information about the criteria and role of an ATO. 12 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

18 5.0 COMPETENCE This section outlines the competencies you are expected to develop through your period of practical experience. 5.1 What is competence? For the purposes of the Institute s practical experience programme, competence is defined as: The ability to perform the activities within an occupation to a defined standard, consistently and over time. 5.2 The Institute s competence framework The Institute has developed a competence framework to define the various levels of competence expected for admission to each College and of members operating in specialist roles after qualification. Level 1 - Foundation Level 2 Intermediate Level 3 Senior Working under supervision and carrying out tasks of a low level of risk and complexity using established processes. Makes judgements of quality using given criteria. Working as part of a team and carrying out some tasks independently, being responsible for the quality of own work. Exercises judgement within established parameters. Managing your own work and being responsible for the quality and quantity of the work you do. Exercises professional judgement. May be responsible for leading a team and managing certain functions. As a minimum, trainees seeking to become Accounting Technicians are expected to achieve practical experience to Level 1 (Foundation), trainees seeking to become an Associate Chartered Accountant will achieve practical experience to Level 2 (Intermediate), and those trainees seeking to become a Chartered Accountant will achieve practical experience to Level 3 (Senior). Within the competence framework, the Institute has developed a range of technical and non-technical competencies appropriate for each level. 5.3 Technical Competencies Technical competencies are prescribed in seven key areas of accounting work: accounting information systems auditing external reporting financial management insolvency and reconstructions management accounting taxation. TRAINING LOG 13

19 To become a Chartered Accountant, you must gain all the competencies in at least one of these areas to level 3, and to level 2 in another two areas. It is likely that one particular job or task you undertake will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate competence in more than one area. To become an Associate Chartered Accountant, you must gain all the competencies in at least two of the areas to level 2. It is likely that one particular job or task you undertake will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate competence in more than one area. Structure The competencies include descriptions of tasks underlying each competency statement. These can be used as performance criteria to assess achievement against the competency statement. Provisional Chartered Accountant and Associate Chartered Accountant members are expected to achieve the majority of the tasks for each of their chosen areas at the required level. 5.4 Non-technical competencies Provisional Chartered Accountant and Associate Chartered Accountant members are required to develop various non-technical competencies. These competencies are developed through the academic component and the professional competence programme, and developed and applied through the period of practical experience. These are generic competencies required by all accounting professionals, and include capabilities in: teamwork organisational skills research and evaluation decision making exercising ethical and professional behaviour communication and interpersonal skills. 14 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

20 6.0 TRAINING PLANS While training plans are not compulsory, it is highly recommended that you, together with your mentor and employer, develop a training plan at the beginning of your period of practical experience to plan how you will achieve the required competencies. A clear understanding of all parties authorities, responsibilities and accountabilities regarding practical experience and training, including the Institute s requirements, will benefit everyone. 6.1 Why are training plans important? A training plan is a roadmap to guide you through your period of practical experience. It will ensure you, your employer and your mentor have considered the Institute s requirements, and agreed how you will achieve the required competencies and other requirements for membership. The training plan sets goals and objectives, and gives indicative timeframes for these to be met. In developing the training plan, you need to consider: the competencies required for membership of the Institute the work objectives and requirements of your employer the training available through your employer your interests and intended career path. The training plan should be reviewed and updated jointly with your mentor regularly (for example, every three months). Each time you and your mentor review the training plan you should jointly set more objectives to continue your progression. 6.2 Components of a training plan There is no one standard format for a training plan; however the following guidance provides an outline of one style and format you may choose to use or adapt to your purposes. The training plan might include the following: competencies required by the Institute (technical and non-technical) how these competencies might be developed and achieved to the required level through different solutions (for example, work experience, on-the-job training, coaching, training courses, books, computer-based learning solutions) the support and resources required to develop each competency the priority and timeframe for the competency to be developed date for review of progress. The training plan may also incorporate your employer s performance management system competencies, and other competencies required to fulfil your longer-term career objectives. TRAINING LOG 15

21 6.3 Process in developing a training plan 1. Choose the areas of competency to be developed: consider the work role and responsibilities of the trainee consider the programme of practical experience offered by their organisation consider the trainee s interests and intended career path. 2. Identify opportunities to engage in activities and tasks that will enable the development of individual competencies: consider other work opportunities available in the organisation consider what other training opportunities may be available through the organisation consider incorporation of the competency standards with the trainee s development objectives within their organisation s performance management system. 3. Assign timeframes for development of certain competencies (for example, break down objectives to quarterly goals): consider the employer s priorities ensure sufficient time is allowed to develop competence consider if the scheduling of work tasks, roles and activities can be realistically accommodated within the employing organisation ensure activities are appropriately structured to build up to the required level of competence. 4. Identify what other supporting resources may be required for the development of each competency: consider what other resources are available within the organisation (for example, other staff, on-the-job training, coaching) consider external resources that might be required to support the development of competence (training courses, books, computer-based learning solutions). 5. Assign timeframes for when competency development is to be reviewed and assessed: consider project timeframes assign a tentative date for achieving competence. 6. Agree when the training plan is to be reviewed by the mentor and trainee: consider the timeframes identified for development of individual competencies consider how often the mentor and the trainee should meet to review progress. More information about training plans, including examples, can be found at 16 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

22 7.0 RECORDING PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE You must maintain a comprehensive and continuous record of all your practical experience. This is important to ensure you have a comprehensive reference source for you and your mentor to track and plan your progress against the Institute s practical experience requirements. It is your responsibility to maintain a record of your practical experience, and it is your mentor s responsibility to verify the experience gained against the competencies set by the Institute. It is therefore important you and your mentor keep records in case of any discrepancies. Sample forms are available on the Institute s website to help you and your mentor track your progress towards completing the practical experience requirements. The information included in the forms will provide you with a reference source and material to justify your mentor s final recommendation regarding your admission to the Institute. The forms are intended to provide: Guidelines for you to document information your mentor might require in order to judge whether you have achieved the required standards, level of professionalism and experience in the competencies needed, to achieve admission to the Institute Guidelines to assist you to prepare for mentoring meetings A copy of the s Final Report, which is required by the Institute to affirm the achievement of the required standards, level of professionalism and experience in the competencies needed. The records you keep should be in sufficient detail to justify how you have met the required competencies. Simply ticking off each competency is not sufficient you should keep records that describe the various tasks and activities you have completed to support achievement of each competency and the relevant elements and performance criteria. If you wish to use your own format to record the information the Institute may request, you may do so. Your organisation may have a comprehensive internal competence-based performance management system for managing individual performance. If this is the case, you and your mentor may prefer to use that system to record your progress. The Institute requires the record of your experience to be presented a legible and logical format, and requires your mentor to complete the s Final Report on the form provided. Please ensure you retain your supporting records, as the Institute may request to see these when you apply for membership as a Chartered Accountant or an Associate Chartered Accountant. TRAINING LOG 17

23 8.0 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is an Institute-registered mentor? A mentor guides you through your specified practical experience. Your mentor signs your s Final Report at the end of your specified practical experience period and confirms you have achieved the required level of competency in your chosen areas of accounting. Your mentor must be registered with the Institute before your period of specified practical experience can commence. What is an ATO? ATO stands for approved training organisation. An ATO is an organisation that has been approved by the Institute as offering the type of work experience that fulfils the practical experience requirements for admission to the College of Chartered Accountants or the College of Associate Chartered Accountants. What kind of general practical experience is the Institute looking for? General practical experience should be drawn from one or more of the core accounting areas (accounting information systems, auditing, external reporting, financial management, insolvency and reconstructions, management accounting, and taxation). During your period of general practical experience you should be developing the following skills: technical skills for example, literacy, numeracy, IT proficiency, and technical accounting skills analytical ability for example, problem identification, organising, analysing and interpreting information, and problem solving personal skills for example, initiative, independent and objective thinking, and self-learning skills business judgement for example, understanding relationships, integrating and synthesising knowledge, evaluation, professional judgement, and decision-making interpersonal skills for example, communication, negotiation and influence, team work and leadership, and political acumen. After at least 12 months of general practical experience, it is expected that you have shown: the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to practical accounting and related issues the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing an awareness of professional issues and problems an appreciation of the relationship between the Institute s disciplinary and professional structures and processes. Can I gain my general practical experience with more than one employer? Yes. While it is more beneficial for you to gain your general practical experience with one employer in continuous full-time employment, it is possible for you to gain your experience with up to three different employers. The total 12 months of general practical experience must be completed within 48 months. Your role must be of more than six weeks duration (continuous full-time equivalent) for the Institute to consider it to contribute to your general practical experience. 18 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

24 Who can verify my general practical experience? Details of your general practical experience should be provided on the Institute s Certificate of General Practical Experience, available from Registry Services or on the website. Your certificate should be completed and signed by your employer or supervisor. If your employer or supervisor is not a member of the Institute or a member of another recognised professional accounting body, you will need to have your certificate counter-signed by a full and current member of the Institute. This person must have knowledge of the duties you performed and be willing to verify your experience (for example, your organisation s auditor). Immediate family members should not act as signatories. When should I submit my Certificate of General Practical Experience? Your general experience will only be assessed when you are a provisional member of the Institute. However, you can submit your Certificate of General Practical Experience with your Provisional Membership Application. When can I enrol in the Foundations Programme? You may enrol in the Foundations Programme after you have: been accepted as a provisional member of the Institute completed 12 months equivalent full-time general practical experience; and received a letter from the Institute confirming your eligibility to enrol in the Foundations Programme. When do I need to have a registered mentor? You need to have a registered mentor before commencing your specified practical experience. Having a mentor during your period of general practical experience will be beneficial to you and add value to your experience; however it is not essential. Any experience gained before your mentor is registered with the Institute will be considered as general practical experience and will not count as specified practical experience. There are no qualified accountants employed in my organisation. Who can be my mentor? Look for someone who has regular contact with you and your organisation to enable them to effectively work with you through your period of practical experience. Options include members of your organisation s board of directors or its external accountant or auditor. In this situation it is vital that you and your mentor formally meet regularly and frequently, for example, monthly. Which organisations can become ATOs? Organisations of all sizes and sectors that meet the ATO criteria may become an ATO. Organisations that cannot offer the range of experience required may establish arrangements with another organisation to ensure trainees are able to gain the appropriate experience for admission. In this type of situation documentation of such an arrangement must be supplied with the application. Can organisations based outside New Zealand become ATOs? Yes. Their requirements and obligations are the same as those for New Zealand organisations. TRAINING LOG 19

25 There are no Chartered Accountants employed in my organisation. Can it still become an ATO? It may be possible for your organisation to gain ATO status without having a Chartered Accountant on its staff. However, your organisation must have access to Chartered Accountants (or Associate Chartered Accountants in the case of provisional Associate Chartered Accountant trainees) who are able to register to act as mentors. An appropriately qualified accountant working for the organisation s auditors or other Chartered Accountants could act as a mentor, but they need to become closely involved with the trainee s work. It is also vital that there is someone (not necessarily an Institute member) within the organisation to take responsibility for the programme and be designated as the contact person with the Institute. 20 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

26 COMPETENCIES About the Institute s competency requirements The Institute has developed a competence framework to define the various levels of competence expected for admission to each College and for members operating in specialist roles after qualification. A competency framework focuses on work outcomes the tasks and functions normally carried out by accounting professionals in the workplace. Level 1 (Foundation) Level 2 (Intermediate) Level 3 (Senior) Minimum level expected for admission as an Accounting Technician Minimum level expected for admission as an Associate Chartered Accountant Minimum level expected for admission as a Chartered Accountant A range of technical and non-technical competencies are prescribed for each level. Technical competencies are prescribed in seven areas of accounting: accounting information systems 1 auditing external reporting financial management insolvency and reconstructions management accounting taxation The competencies for these seven areas of accounting are available on the Institute s website. Competency requirements to become a Chartered Accountant To become a Chartered Accountant, you must develop all the technical competencies prescribed for one area to Level 3, and all the technical competencies prescribed for two other areas to Level 2. (Note, competencies for the accounting information systems area are prescribed only to Level 2, therefore you must select another area for your Level 3 competencies.) You must also develop all the non-technical competencies to Level 3. 1 Note, competence is only prescribed to Level 2 in this area. Trainees intending to become Chartered Accountants must choose another area for their senior, or Level 3, experience. TRAINING LOG 21

27 Competency requirements to become an Associate Chartered Accountant To become an Associate Chartered Accountant, you must develop all the technical competencies prescribed for two areas to Level 2. You must also develop all the non-technical competencies to Level 2. Structure of competencies Each of the technical competencies in the seven areas are supported by tasks which are indicative of the required tasks needed to demonstrate competence. To develop each competency, you would normally be expected to demonstrate you have met the majority of tasks supporting that competency. You will need to produce evidence for your mentor that you have done the work consistently and over time, and that your work meets the required levels prescribed in this training log. Preparation In your initial discussions with your mentor and employer, you should identify which areas you are likely to choose to develop competence in during your specified practical experience. From there, you can begin to develop your training plan. When you are given a job to do, check back and identify which competency and tasks could be covered. You may find that tasks from more than one competency (both technical and non-technical) can be covered. It will take time to develop competence to the required level for admission, and you may need several development solutions to achieve the required level. 22 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

28 ACCOUNTING INFORMATION SYSTEMS Level 2 Competency AIS 1 Apply appropriate information systems and tools to business and accounting problems Use information systems to achieve a particular accounting outcome Use and apply relevant software (word processing, spreadsheets, databases, internet tools, presentation software, etc) to achieve a particular accounting outcome Understand and use accounting software. AIS 2 Assist to assess accounting information systems and develop an organisation s accounting information systems strategy Identify, and assist to document, user needs Consider, and assist to document, costs and benefits of proposed solutions Assist to evaluate effectiveness and efficiency of accounting information systems Report on potential weaknesses in internal controls within accounting information systems. AIS 3 Assist to design and manage accounting information systems installations and upgrades Assist to identify and evaluate alternatives for accounting information systems packages Assist to design and manage, or advise on, system installations and upgrades Assist to design and implement accounting information systems using accounting software. TRAINING LOG 23

29 AUDIT Level 3 Competency A 1 Plan the audit process Establish the scope, objective and terms of reference of the audit Become familiar with the nature and activities of the client organisation, including information systems, relevant documentation and results of previous audits or reviews; and identify risk areas Identify and evaluate risks and business issues, and determine implications for the audit engagement Design and plan the required audit process, including documentation, applying relevant standards and regulatory requirements. A 2 Implement audit procedures Implement the audit process in relation to specific financial representations and non-financial representations Undertake appropriate research, and gather and evaluate audit evidence Prepare comprehensive audit working papers Establish effective working liaison with the relevant staff of the client organisation and ensure clear communication Report audit results in an appropriate form to relevant parties, using both oral and written communication. A 3 Examine compliance Gather data relating to the range of compliance requirements applicable to the organisation Evaluate evidence and the results of analysis Draw conclusions. A 4 Prepare audit reports Draft the audit report (audit opinion and the report to management) with regard to the scope and terms of reference of the audit, ethical and professional standards, and regulatory requirements Discuss and communicate audit findings with client. A 5 Manage the audit function Plan resource needs for the audit Monitor project timelines and other performance indicators for the audit plan Participate in managing and counselling audit staff Participate in managing relationship with client. 24 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

30 AUDIT Level 2 Competency A 1 Implement audit procedures Understand the scope, objective and terms of reference of the audit Become familiar with the nature and activities of the client organisation, including information systems, relevant documentation and results of previous audits or reviews; and understand risk areas Become familiar with the audit plan Gather audit evidence and make preliminary evaluations Complete audit working papers Develop working liaison with the relevant staff of the client organisation Monitor project timelines and other performance indicators. A 2 Assist to examine compliance Gather data relating to a range of compliance requirements Form preliminary conclusions based on evidence gathered. A 3 Be aware of audit reporting process Contribute to the preparation of the audit report. TRAINING LOG 25

31 EXTERNAL REPORTING Level 3 Competency ER 1 Apply accounting standards Maintain awareness of relevant accounting standards and pronouncements Identify standards and pronouncements relevant to the individual task Apply relevant standards and pronouncements appropriately. ER 2 Determine the external reporting policies and expectations of an entity Identify critical reporting requirements (including any regulatory and other requirements) Assess user needs Develop a reporting timeline Develop a statement of objectives and service performance. ER 3 Use and evaluate accounting and information systems Review and analyse specifications of information systems Review operation of information system and evaluate reliability of outputs Understand sources and methods of acquiring necessary inputs Maintain ability to operate information systems effectively and to evaluate outputs required. ER 4 Prepare reports in accordance with requirements and policies Select appropriate data and documentation Evaluate information systems required to provide input data for reliability, timeliness and completeness Develop, prepare and update reporting distribution lists. ER 5 Participate in managing the external reporting function Plan and allocate resources Plan and monitor project timelines Participate in managing staff. 26 NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

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