About CPA Australia

CPA Australia has a membership of 170,826 members in over 100 countries, supported by 19 offices globally.

Our core services to members include education, training, technical support and advocacy.

Employees and members work together with local and international bodies to represent the views and concerns of the profession to governments, regulators, industries, academia and the general public.

What is a CPA?

A Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) is a finance, accounting and business professional with a specific qualification. Being a CPA is a mark of high professional competence. It indicates a soundness in depth, breadth and quality of accountancy knowledge.

CPAs are highly respected by employers and members. It provides members with an internationally recognised qualification as well as the opportunity to complete specialist training and continuing professional development (CPD). To use the CPA designation, a member must:

  • complete a degree or a postgraduate award recognised by CPA Australia
  • complete the CPA Program, including three years of professional experience in finance, accounting or business
  • undertake CPD activities each year
  • comply to a strict code of conduct set by CPA Australia.

To offer public accounting services, CPAs must also complete CPA Australia's Public Practice Program and hold a Public Practice Certificate in accordance with the CPA Australia's By-Laws.

History of CPA

Year Events

First meeting at the Office of Messrs. Davey, Flack & co, 10 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne at 8.00pm.

Karl Benz drives the first automobile.


160 members

Incorporated Institute of Accountants, Victoria (IIAV), later known as CPA Australia, is registered.


Mary Addison Hamilton is admitted to full membership.


Name change from IIAV to CIA, Commonwealth Institute of Accountants.

First sports broadcast takes place on radio.


First issue of the Australian Accountant was published, Volume One - Number One.


4440 members

Our Jubilee Convention is held in Sydney with much celebration.

Hitler formally abrogates the Treaty of Versailles - 6 May 1937 and the Hindenburg bursts into flames.


World War II begins.


18,000 members

Our Diamond Jubilee Convention in Melbourne.


FIA and CIA merge to form the Australian Society of Accountants (ASA).

ASA goes international with official Representatives appointed in London and Singapore.


Our first local representative appointed in Hong Kong.

Victorian Society of Public Accountants merges with ASA.


Our first local representative appointed in Kuala Lumpur.


Our request for a coat of arms made by the General Council is granted by the College of Arms, London.


24,000 members

We introduce a graduate entry policy as membership grows internationally.


AICA merges with ASA.


40,000 members

Our first advertisement for the Member Handbook in the February issue of the Australian Accountant.


The introduction of Professional Orientation Program (POP) becomes compulsory for advancement to Associate.


50,000 members

CPD Program, recommending a minimum of 120 hours professional development per triennium introduced
to support lifelong learning.

State President of ASA, Dulce Feige from Queensland, is elected.

IBM releases something called a Personal Computer.


A task force is formed consisting of senior members working in Commerce, Industry, Government, Public Practice and Academia. After six months of discussion with all Divisional Councillors, the report of the Task Force is accepted which Recommended an additional level of membership called CPA, with required workplace-oriented entry exams for graduates of accredited University courses.


Derrick Docherty receives his CPA certificate from Prime Minister Bob Hawke at Parliament House Canberra, for our first CPA Certificate presentation.

Launch of our first National TV campaign – Not Your Average Accountant – to promote the value of the CPA designation.


CPA Program launches in conjunction with new requirements for CPD and for Public Practice Certificates. This was marketed as The Professional Schedule providing credibility to CPA promotion.


Established Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong branches.


The ASA changes its name to ASCPA.


The first issue of Australian Accounting Review is published.


The member offer continues to evolve with our first Members Handbook first published on disk.

Our New Zealand office opens.


75,000 members

Our new leading-edge website, CPA Online, is launched providing knowledge, training and information at the touch of a mouse.

75,000 member certificate is presented.


ASCPA becomes CPA Australia.


Beijing Office opens.

2003 100,000 members

Shanghai Office opens.


CPA Australia releases first Sustainability Annual Report.
Congress offered via Second Life.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offices open.


CPA Congress held overseas with the inaugural event hosted in Singapore.

Our innovative Career Guidance System launches to support the career development of our members.


130,000 members

CPA Australia celebrates 125-year anniversary.


2012 Launch of INTHEBLACK.COM

Guangzhou office opens.

Established Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative in partnership with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. 


150,000 members


Launch of INTHEBLACK fortnightly e-newsletter.

CPA Australia celebrates 50 years in the Northern Territory.


155,000 members

CPA Australia celebrates 130-year anniversary.

Launch of CPA Australia Advice.

CPA Australia celebrates 60 years in Malaysia and Hong Kong.


Co-host the World Congress of Accountants in Sydney with 6000 delegates.


Launch of the inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to formalise CPA Australia’s commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander peoples.

Source : https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/about-cpa-australia/our-organisation/our-history/historical-timeline-and-milestones

Why choose Study CPA

CPA Australia is one of the world's largest accounting bodies with more than 168,000 members working in over 100 countries and regions. There are more than 25,000 CPA Australia members working in senior leadership positions.

The CPA Program goes beyond the numbers. It teaches you the skills that will help you reach the next level in leadership, strategy and business.

Being a CPA gives you a competitive advantage over your peers. CPAs are internationally recognised and membership is associated with a strong legacy, international presence and thought leadership.

CPA Australia builds and maintains strong relationships with high-profile companies globally, including more than 400 Recognised Employer Partners, ensuring the CPA certification and the quality skillsets of our members are internationally promoted.

Why study the CPA Program?

The CPA Program equips you with the skills to tackle any accounting, finance or business challenge
Recognised internationally, the CPA Program focuses on applying practical skills to real world challenges and scenarios.
The result is that CPA Australia members have:

  • commercial awareness
  • emotional intelligence
  • communication and collaboration skills
  • a technically skilled and solution-driven approach to problem solving
  • an awareness of the social impacts of accounting.

Being a CPA Australia member means you have more than just a technical accounting focus. We teach the skills you need to develop your career in leadership, strategy and business.

We'll support you the entire way

We understand everyone has their own approach to study and often juggling different commitments. As a CPA Program candidate, you have access to an extensive range of resources to help master your studies, connect with CPA Australia and your peers.

Our support is designed to ensure every candidate has the greatest chance of completing the CPA Program. Whether you prefer flexibility or structure, consistency or cramming, we have support to suit you.

In-semester guided learning resources

Study the CPA Program how, when and where you want.

Professional resources

We have online learning platforms, supplementary materials, information and resources to assist your professional development.

Extend your network

Join our dedicated private groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with peers, share your study experiences and receive support from us.

Your local division

Divisions can help you connect with the CPA Australia team at your local office or help you find support from members in your area.

After completing the CPA Program

We’re committed to enhancing your career, even after you’ve finished your study.

Professional development

Lifelong learning is important, which is why Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a requirement for ongoing membership. We know how quickly some industries can change, so we provide short courses, online learning and other development activities to ensure your skills remain relevant and current.

Industry news

Members receive direct access to our industry-leading publication INTHEBLACK, as well as regular discussions on the CPA Australia podcast.

Member benefits program

There is a wide range of special offers on products and services available exclusively for CPA Australia members.

Networking opportunities

We can help you connect with CPA Australia members from your community and across the world. You’ll have access to exclusive events, private networking platforms, discussion groups on CPA Member Connect and official member groups on social media.

My Career Navigator*

Discover the skills employers are looking for and plan your next career move. This online tool is exclusive for members and uses real time labour market data to shape your career pathway.

The CPA Library

Members have access to a variety of resources, including full text journals, newspapers and eBooks, as well as CPA Australia publications.

The CPA Program

4 Compulsory Subjects + 2 Electives + 36 months relevant experience

Most members need to complete four compulsory subjects and two elective subjects as part of their CPA Program studies. Your assessment outcome will let you know which subjects you need to complete to become a CPA.

Four compulsory subjects

  • Ethics and Governance
  • Strategic Management Accounting
  • Financial Reporting
  • Global Strategy and Leadership


Elective subjects (choose two)

  • Advanced Aduit and Assurance
  • Contemporary Business Issues
  • Financial Risk Management
  • Digital Finance
  • Australia Taxation
  • Australia Taxation - Advanced


36 months of relevant work experience

You need to gain 36 months of full time, or the equivalent for part-time work, of relevant experience.

Experience can be gained at any time: before or during your study, through relevant volunteer work, eligible work experience during university or you may already have enough relevant experience.