Terms of Reference

The terms of reference for the consultancy are set out below.

APEC Accounting Services Initiative

Scope of the consultancy

The consultant will be responsible for co-ordinating and delivering an inventory of licensing and qualification requirements and procedures for accountants in each APEC economy. Tasks include:

  1. project manage the research and collation of data on the licensing and qualification requirements for accountants in the APEC economies, including:
    • the rights of foreign accountants to practice in different APEC economies, and associated licensing requirements; and
    • the appropriate regulatory, administrative and professional bodies and contact details for each jurisdiction.
  2. design and deliver an online repository, a website, including:
    • standardising the look and feel of the website with other APEC projects;
    • seeking feedback from the Steering Committee and industry groups on the content of the online repository.
  3. prepare a discussion paper, identifying elements of non-binding guidelines for the regulation of accountancy services provided by foreign professionals and firms based on the research complied.
  4. attend a workshop with APEC member representatives (date and location to be confirmed) and facilitate a discussion/drafting session on draft non-binding guidelines.
  5. finalise a paper on the non-binding guidelines following the workshop and make it available on the online repository.

Output / reporting

The consultant will undertake research in accordance with Attachment 1: Project Plan.  Results are to be presented in electronic format as agreed with the Project Overseer. The research results are to be presented at a workshop in 2011 as agreed with the Project Overseer. The consultant will be required to design and develop the online repository.

The consultant will be required to prepare a discussion paper identifying elements of non-binding guidelines for the regulation of accountancy services provided by foreign professionals and firm, and lead a discussion/drafting session on the guidelines at a workshop in 2011, as agreed with the Project Overseer. The guidelines are to be finalised following the workshop and consultation with the APEC Group on Services.

The consultancy will be completed when the online repository has been finalised and workshop completed.

Fees and possible facilities to be provided by client

The consultant will be engaged on a contract and compensated with a lump sum of USD20,000 payable in two instalments, the first instalment on delivery of the research and collation of data and the final instalment at the completion of the consultancy.

Travel costs associated with attendance at the workshop, being return airfare and daily per diem, will be provided to the consultant in addition to the consultancy fee.

The following resources will be available for use by the consultant:

Qualifications of consultant

The successful consultant will be familiar with researching and interpreting foreign statutes and regulations and possess knowledge of, and experience in, government and regulatory frameworks. International liaison and research experience is essential, along with proven knowledge of, and experience in, the fields of international trade in services, trans-national business, regulation of professional services and/or the provision of accounting or other professional services internationally. The consultant will need excellent English writing skills in order to compile the inventory and prepare the discussion paper.

Background information

Key objectives of the APEC Accounting Services Initiative

The key objectives of the initiative are to:

  1. Increase transparency of licensing and qualification requirements and procedures relating to the provision of accountancy services by foreign professionals in the APEC region.
  2. Create an inventory of current licensing and qualification requirements in the APEC economies, in the form of an online repository.
  3. Hold a workshop for APEC accountancy services bodies, practitioners and regulators to exchange views on the regulation of foreign accountancy service providers.
  4. Develop non-binding guidelines for the regulation of foreign accountants across APEC economies.

Project implementation stages

The initiative will be carried out in the following steps:

  1. Develop an inventory of existing licensing and qualification requirements for each APEC economy. It should include, at a minimum, information on local requirements for the supply of accountancy services (1) in the local market; (2) on a cross-border basis and (3) via fly-in, fly-out or through the temporary entry of professionals. This will involve liaison with local accounting professional bodies.
  2. Evaluate the inventory by providing GOS representatives with the opportunity to comment and/or correct the inventory results.
  3. Design, develop and launch the online repository – a static website – taking into account the need to standardise the look and feel of the website with other APEC projects.
  4. Prepare a discussion paper identifying elements of non-binding guidelines for the regulation of accountancy services provided by foreign professionals and firms, based on the research complied.
  5. Prepare a workshop covering discussion of:
    • The benefits of liberalization of trade in accounting services, and how this could be achieved;
    • New developments in the accountancy sector that may provide additional opportunities for foreign accounting professionals;
    • Whether existing licensing requirements reported in the inventory provide adequate flexibility for the provision of accountancy services by foreign professionals, balanced against individual economies’ need to regulate the industry;
    • The prospects for increased convergence in approaches to the regulation of foreign accountants;
    • Identification of capacity-building needs in the accounting profession, particularly for accountants from developing economies looking to engage in the international trade in accountancy services.
  6. Finalise a paper on the non-binding guidelines following the workshop and make it available on the online repository.
  7. Launch the online repository.

Steering Committee

Australia will coordinate the implementation of this initiative with the assistance of a Steering Committee comprising Australia, Japan, the Philippines and the United States.

Wider Benefits

The capacity to obtain accounting services in multiple jurisdictions is a key factor in driving foreign investment through increasing the efficiency and reducing the costs of transnational business transactions. This initiative seeks to facilitate the availability of accounting services across APEC economies by providing a single reference source for requirements to practice in different APEC economies. It also seeks to build the capacity of participating APEC economies to develop cooperative networks of appropriate bodies to assist in developing non-binding guidelines for the regulation of accounting services provided by foreign professionals and firms. The initiative will help promote the liberalisation of trade in accounting services internationally.

The initiative has a wide range of intended beneficiaries, including:

Regulation of Accounting services – the Australian approach

Australia is keen to promote the liberalisation of trade in accounting services internationally and share its experience to assist others in progressively opening the accounting services market to suit their particular circumstances.

Contact details

Ms Caroline McCarthy
Director
Services Trade and Negotiations Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221 Australia
Tel: +612 6261 2048
Fax: +61 2 6273 1527
Email: caroline.mccarthy@dfat.gov.au

Ms Maria Vu
Executive Officer
Services Trade and Negotiations Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221 Australia
Tel: +61 2 6261 1141
Fax: +61 2 6273 1527
Email: maria.vu@dfat.gov.au