The difference between an accountant and a chartered accountant (we're the latter)

29 July 2019

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It might surprise you to learn that in New Zealand, anyone can call themselves an accountant. Anyone can work as an accountant. No qualifications required. No training needed. You want to be an accountant? Simple. Just call yourself one. It’s as easy as adding 1 + 1 and ending up with an answer of 3.

To become a chartered accountant, you are required to go through a demanding professional competence program.

On the other hand, if you want to be a chartered accountant (CA), you must do the hard yards. We should know because we’re chartered accountants ourselves.

To become a chartered accountant, you are required to go through a demanding professional competence program. This is followed by a strict period of practical experience assessment. It takes seven years of diligent study and damn hard work to become a chartered accountant. It’s worth it. The CA is a brand known the world over. It gives us credibility. More importantly, it gives you peace of mind.

This is because we are tightly bound by professional ethics. We must adhere to the rules and the code of conduct established by the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) institute. These rules exist for one reason. Your protection. As you’re about to see, protecting your interests is a multi-faceted exercise:

  • You can expect us to be professional and honest. To act with integrity. To exercise due care. To perform our duties with skill. To maintain the utmost confidentiality. You can expect all these things because we’re duty bound to provide them.
  • Every year, we must complete continuing education courses. We must also adhere to the strict quality control requirements of CAANZ and keep ourselves up to date with current laws and regulations.
  • As CAs who hold public practicing certificates, and provide accounting advice as a result, we must ensure we’re compliant with strict quality requirements; this involves a review of our work on a regular basis. This ensures we’re properly trained and able to deliver the best possible service to you.
  • It is also compulsory for us to carry professional indemnity insurance. This protects our clients in the event of a claim.

Anyone can call themselves an accountant. But when livelihoods are on the line, dealing with just anyone is fraught with danger. For peace of mind, and protection, always seek out the services of a Chartered Accountant. Whether you choose us, or someone else, you’re in much safer hands.


for more help feel free to reach out. Get in touch with Eugenie Jones