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The Lowdown on the National Accreditation of Software Training Courses

What is a nationally accredited bookkeeping course?

walking on a pathway to a profession with a nationally accredited online training in bookkeeping courses
If your training is deemed a pathway to a profession you may be able to get national accreditation for your course.

EZYLEARN IS OFTEN ASKED whether our Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks training courses are nationally accredited bookkeeping courses.

They’re not. In fact, there’s no nationally accredited training course for Xero, MYOB, QuickBooks or any other accounting software.

That’s because software skills are all the same, regardless of the program you’re using. (You won’t find any “nationally accredited” training courses for Adobe Photoshop or WordPress or Microsoft Office either.)

Nationally accredited training courses are for professions

The government only grants accreditation to training courses for professions, not individual skills. In other words, a Certificate IV in Financial Services is nationally accredited because it’s a pathway to a profession.

For an institution to offer nationally accredited training courses, it must be a registered training organisation (RTO), which means they comply with a number of requirements set by the government, and they keep up that compliance to maintain their accreditation. You can read more about RTOs at the national accreditation page of our website.

BAS agents can complete CPD anywhere

For six years, until part way through 2018, EzyLearn was an Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)-accredited training organisation.

Bookkeeping industry accredited accreditation associations companiesThat meant that students could complete an EzyLearn course and get a free ICB student membership. The ICB charged us $1,200 a year, which we thought was a good investment, as it gave aspiring BAS agents a foot-in-the-door with an industry organisation, so they could continue their career development.

However, during our six-year stint as an accredited training provider with ICB we came to realise that very few students ever joined the ICB. And the ICB referred very little traffic to our site. Furthermore, we don’t need to partner with, or be recognised by, an industry association to provide CPD training.

BAS agents can complete their CPD training at any training provider, so long as the training is approved by the TPB — which is pretty much anything that relates to being a BAS agent. That includes things like Excel and Word training. (BAS agents should just make sure to keep a log of their training, in case the TPB ever requests it.)

Is industry association-accredited training really any better?

For the six years EzyLearn was an ICB-accredited training provider, our organisation was never assessed, nor were are training courses ever evaluated or reviewed. The ICB is one of the industry’s leading associations.

woman wondering whether national accreditation makes for a better online training course
During the 6 years EzyLearn was a “nationally accredited” by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), our courses were never evaluated or assessed by this organisation in any way.

Because we provided relevant training, the onus was on EzyLearn to ensure that students completed our training courses with the skills they needed to provide MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks bookkeeping services to their clients.

Since we ceased being an ICB-accredited training provider, our course content hasn’t changed — well it has actually; it’s gotten better as it continues to always get better because we continue to keep adding new modules and courses to our Xero and MYOB training. But the standard of training hasn’t slipped — it, too, has only gotten better.

CPD is mandatory, but industry associations aren’t

Industry associations are a great idea, but it’s not mandatory for BAS agents to join them. As long as you keep up your CPD to remain certified by the Tax Practitioners Board (CPD), you may not find any need to join an industry association.

Unless you would like discounts off in-person training and seminars and a discounted subscription to an industry publication or journal, you can completed all of your CPD hours with online training courses, just like the EzyLearn CPD courses.

Practitioner-endorsed training courses

We found that, rather than spend $1,200 a year to be “accredited” by the ICB — or any industry association, for that matter — we’d rather become endorsed by BAS agents. By providing practitioner-endorsed training courses, it means our content is grounded in the real world. Anything a BAS agent would be required to do in MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks for a client, is included in our training courses, making them more relevant and more practical to students.

For people who choose our training courses offering lifetime access, they can go back a review different modules whenever they like — whether it’s a month, six months or two years later! Visit our website to learn more about our lifetime access courses.

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EzyLearn’s online training courses are accredited by BAS agents, accountants and bookkeepers — those we deem to be the industry’s “high water mark” for bookkeeping work. These people are the highest qualified individuals operating in the accounting and bookkeeping space. If they believe the content of our courses is genuinely of high quality and relevant to the bookkeeping world, then this is the accreditation that we trust will give you peace of mind as well. 

I found the EzyLearn Xero course great — a comprehensive step-by-step learning tool to add to my resume and a new tool to use in my Bookkeeping Practice.”
— Patricia Darby
Registered BAS Agent and Bookkeeper, High Quality Bookkeeping

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What’s the Role of Industry Associations for BAS Agents?

An industry association membership may be just what you need

a registered BAS agent wanting to join an industry association
Joining an industry association can help towards things like CPD points, but it pays to make sure you’re getting market rate for any courses and that the ongoing fees are of benefit to you.

IF YOU LIKE BOOKKEEPING, but you’d like to provide additional services to your clients, the next step is to become a BAS agent. BAS agents provide businesses with a range of services, including the lodgement of business activity statements, registering and advice on all GST matters, assistance with PAYG, and a number of other services.

There are a number of requirements to becoming a registered BAS agent. For starters, you need at least a Certificate IV in Financial Services, and then you need to have supervised experience working as a BAS agent so that you can become certified by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). (If you’re not TPB certified, you can’t work independently as an unsupervised BAS agent.)

How industry associations help

There are a number of recognised bookkeeping industry associations in Australia. To register with the TPB, you must have a minimum of 1,400 hours of supervised experience with another BAS agent, unless you’re a member of an industry organisation — then you only need 1,000 hours of supervised experience.

Industry associations help BAS agents keep abreast of changes to the industry, including new legislation that make affect clients, as well as change to the Act that may affect BAS agents. They also administer or oversee continuing professional development (CPD) training, which the TPB requires BAS agents to undertake each year to keep their certification and continue working in the industry.

Industry associations BAS agents can join

Bookkeeping industry accredited accreditation associations companies

There are a number of industry associations a BAS agent (or aspiring BAS agent) can join, each with different membership requirements and joining fees. They include:

  • Association of Accounting Technicians — affiliate members must have Certificate IV in Financial Services or at least two years experience and no formal qualifications; membership fees: $295 for three months ($1,180 per year).
  • Australian Bookkeepers Network — no requirements to join; membership fees: $462 annually.
  • Institute of Certified Bookkeepers —  Affiliate members must have Certificate IV in Financial Services or complete an ICB assessment; membership fees: $264 annually. (After achieving 12 months experience Affiliates can become Associate members; membership fees for contractors $432 annually.)

Other industry associations BAS agents can join, include:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ANZ
  • Chartered Accountants ANZ
  • CPA Australia
  • Institute of Public Accountants
  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)

Industry associations and CPD training

A key reason to join an industry association is to gain access to training that goes towards your mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) points, which every individual working in the financial services industry — whether they’re bookkeepers, BAS agents, accountants or financial advisors — must complete annually. We have written before about the type of education the TPB requires in order to get your CPD points.

Many associations run their own webinars and in-person seminars (for an additional fee), which count towards your CPD hours. (BAS agents must complete 45 hours of CPD over a three year period.) Some of them will help you with the running of your own bookkeeping business, while others will take you through new trends in bookkeeping (single touch payroll) or changes to the Act and relevant legislation.

BAS agents can also complete software training, in MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks, as well as Microsoft Excel or Word training; they can even complete cyber security training, so long as it’s approved by the TPB.

Each time you complete a webinar or some other form of approved CPD training, it’ll be counted towards your CPD hours. You can also complete CPD training through an accredited training organisation. (Check with your industry organisation to see which training institutions you can learn with.)

Choosing an industry association

Not all industry associations are the same. Some are geared more towards the accounting industry (CPA, Chartered Accountants ANZ, etcetera) and accountants; others cater specifically to bookkeepers. Even within the group of associations that cater only to bookkeepers, some provide a range of services (updates on the industry, CPD training), while others offer very little (discounts on professional indemnity, a newsletter).

As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you want to pay very little, you’ll get very little in return from your industry association. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot either. Have a look at a few of the associations we’ve listed above, and see which one suits you best.

The Association of Accounting Technicians offers affiliate memberships, which provides affiliates with access to a number of discounted fees on training courses to help them develop their skills and progress to a “member” level membership — and then register as a BAS agent with the TPB at the reduced 1,000 hours of experience concession.

They also offer discounts on professional indemnity insurance and bookkeeping journals and publications. And they offer a range of online webinars to help members get their CPD hours up.

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EzyLearn’s online training courses are accredited by BAS agents, accountants and bookkeepers — those we deem to be the industry’s “high water mark” for bookkeeping work. These people are the highest qualified individuals operating in the accounting and bookkeeping space. If they believe the content of our courses is genuinely of high quality and relevant to the bookkeeping world, then this is the accreditation that should give our students peace of mind. 

I found the EzyLearn Xero course great — a comprehensive step-by-step learning tool to add to my resume and a new tool to use in my Bookkeeping Practice.”
— Patricia Darby
Registered BAS Agent and Bookkeeper, High Quality Bookkeeping