CPA Australia VS CPA US: Which one should you pick?

CPA Australia VS CPA US Which one is better course details eligibility

  • Today we’ll discuss what are the differences between CPA Australia and CPA US.
  • What is the scope of CPA Australia and CPA US?
  • What are the eligibility criteria, and exam structure of CPA Australia and CPA US?

CPA Australia requirements

A Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) is a qualified financial, accounting, and business professional. A CPA verifies a person's depth, breadth, and quality of accounting expertise.

CPA members receive a globally recognized qualification as well as the ability to participate in specialized training and continuous professional development (CPD).

CPA Australia is a course that is widely recognized in Australia. It gives you a license to pursue a career as a practising accountant.

To apply for the CPA Australia certification exam, candidates must fulfil these requirements specified by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC):

  • A Bachelor’s degree in an approved accounting or management specialization from a recognized University or institution.
  • Candidates from diverse backgrounds are also eligible to apply, but they would have to clear the CPA Foundation Program before they can apply for the CPA Program.

CPA Australia Syllabus

There are six subjects that are included in the CPA Australia curriculum; four of them are compulsory and the other two are elective subjects.

Exams are scheduled twice a year.

The questions are objective-based (Multiple Choice Questions), or case study based.

Which subjects do you need to study if you are planning to pursue CPA Australia?

  1. Ethics and Governance: This subject provides you with the analytical skills and knowledge to identify and resolve professional and ethical issues.
  2. Strategic Management Accounting: Strategic Management Accounting is a key component of the overall skills base of today’s professional accountant.
  3. Financial Reporting: This subject covers financial reporting, technical accounting, skills and values that are applicable to global business.
  4. Global Strategy and Leadership: The capstone subject for the CPA Program comprises ethics, financial reporting and strategic management accounting.

There are two elective papers as well.

You can choose two subjects from here as your electives:

  • Advanced Audit and Assurance
  • Contemporary Business Issues
  • Financial Risk management
  • Digital Finance
  • Australia taxation
  • Australia Taxation-Advanced
  • Hong Kong Taxation
  • Malaysia Taxation
  • New Zealand Taxation
  • Singapore Taxation

However, there are some conditions to choosing elective subjects.

If you’ve already completed recognised studies in tax and auditing, you can choose any elective. If you haven’t, and tax is a compulsory subject in your CPA program, you must pick either of these

  • Australia Taxation
  • Australia Taxation - Advanced
  • Local variants that are available in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

If you haven’t completed recognised studies in audit, and audit is a compulsory subject in your CPA program, you must take the subject of Advanced Audit and Assurance.

Work Experience:

You need 36 months of relevant working experience where you will gain skills in four key areas:

  1. Technical                                                      
  2. Personal Effectiveness
  3. Business
  4. Leadership

You can complete these before, concurrently, or after completing your CPA Program.

Also Read

Which CPA is better - CPA Australia,CPA USA or CPA Canada?

Who are eligible for US CPA?

CPA US is one of the most sought-after qualifications in the field of accounting. The CPA examination is administered by the world’s largest accounting body, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Previously, the CPA exams were conducted four times a year, but in 2020, that changed. It is now conducted year-round.

In the United States, the CPA is a license that you have to acquire to provide accounting services to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states of the US for practising.

Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws to allow CPAs from other states to practice in their state.

To appear for the CPA USA Examination, the candidates must have any of the below qualifications

  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • Member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India
  • Member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India
  • Master of Commerce
  • MBA

 A few US states also accept Indian CAs with B.Com qualifications. However, the exact criteria vary from state to state.

How many exams are there in CPA USA?

Unlike CPA Australia, CPA US only has 4 subjects  

  1. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)
  2. Auditing & Attestation (AUD)
  3. Regulation (REG)
  4. Business Environmental & Concepts (BEC)

Breakdown of each of the four subjects:

1. Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR)

  • Conceptual Framework, Stand-Setting and Financial Reporting 25-35%
  • Financial Statement Accounts 30-40%
  •  Transactions 20-30%
  • State and Local Governments

2. Auditing and Attestation

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles 15-25%
  • Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response 20-30%
  • Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence 30-40%
  • Forming Conclusions and Reporting 15-25%

3. Regulation (REG)

  • Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures 10-20%
  • Business Law 10-20%
  • Federation Taxation of Property Transactions 12-22%
  • Federal Taxation of Individuals 15-25%
  • Federal Taxation of Entities 28-38%

3. Business Environmental & Concepts (BEC)

  • Corporate Governance 17-27%
  • Economic Concepts and Analysis 17-27%
  • Financial Management 11-21%
  • Information Technology 15-25%
  • Operations Management 15-25%

CPA US or CPA Australia?

If you have the question, “Which course is easy to crack and which course has better global recognition?” The answer would be US CPA.

Considering all the areas, US CPA seems to have a wider scope than CPA Australia.

As per the facts, with worldwide recognition, a US CPA can find the best opportunity in a big MNC with an average salary of 30-40% more than other accounting and financial professionals.

Now you may ask  “In which case will CPA Australia be worth it?”

if you have a  PR (Permanent Residency)  visa to Australia or you are interested in working in Australia, then you should pursue the Australia CPA program.

It’s a prestigious and highly respected designation that prepares you for an accounting career in Australia.

Betty D’souza is a qualified Chartered Accountant who immigrated to Australia in 2015 with her family and started all over again.

“Since I am a CA from India and decided to clear CPA only after moving to Australia (as CPA holds a higher value than the Indian degree) I had to give just 2 subjects.” said Betty. However, if  you ask “Which exam among these two will be the most difficult?” Then CPA Australia is the answer.

CPA Australia’s Passing Percentage is also generally lesser than CPA US.

If you are interested in working as an accountant in the U.S., it’s best to pursue the CPA US course. You will learn U.S. GAAP and prepare yourself for a career in America. It’s also quicker and more cost-effective.

CA Maulik Mehta had the dream of, ‘living in the USA’ from a very young age. By January 2012, he was promoted to Senior Associate at KPMG Mumbai but no matter how hard he tried, it was difficult to get an intra-company transfer to KPMG US.

“Taking a career break and going for a CPA certification seemed like the most sensible thing at that moment,” says Maulik.

Also Read

How To Get CPA Australia After Completing Indian CA

CPA Australia MRA with ICAI

CPA Australia has a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with ICAI.

You may be eligible to apply for Associate CPA Australia membership if you:

  • Are a member of good standing with ICAI and not currently subject to any disciplinary sanctions or investigations
  • Did not gain entry to ICAI membership through another MRA, any other similar pathway agreements or any special member pathway
  • Have successfully completed:
    • ICAI exams
    • ICAI practical experience requirements
  • Hold a university degree recognised by the Australian Department of Education (equivalent to an Australian Bachelor's degree) or have at least five years of work experience in professional accounting.


Q. What does a CPA earn in Australia?

The average salary for a Certified Public Accountant is $90121 per year in Australia.

Q. What is the salary of a US CPA in India?

In India, an entry-level CPA earns around Rs 6 lakh per year, according to Indeed

Q. Is CPA USA tougher than CA?

CA and CPA need a great deal of effort and dedication. The CPA test may be passed in 6-12 months, whereas becoming a CA takes 3-4 years. The time restrictions may suggest that the CA exam is more extended and thorough. As a result, comparing the two examinations is incorrect.

Q. How much does CPA USA cost?

INR 2,00,000 without training fee.

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