The Australian Public Policy Committee (APPC), the representative body for the six large professional services firms and the major professional accounting bodies, welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to include external audit professionals and accountants on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) as of 22 June 2021.

APPC Chair and EY Partner, Chris George said that the decision was an important one for the profession and thanked the Federal Government for its proactive approach to the skills shortage issue.

“While Australia’s external border arrangements have proven to be the first line of defence against COVID-19, they have also acted to worsen the shortage of experienced and skilled professionals who execute high-quality audits that provide trust in financial reporting and are fundamental to the operation of our capital markets,” Mr George said.

“Whilst the first port of call for our industry will always be local talent, the decision announced today is a key step in addressing this concern and allow the audit profession to supplement its domestic ranks of external auditors with highly-qualified individuals from overseas,” Mr George said.

Audit quality is more important than ever given the need for corporates to provide transparency and certainty in a marketplace besieged by change in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and emerging accounting standards and trends.

“Our experience is that we frequently need to undertake additional work to better understand our clients’ risks and obligations – usually around 20% more time in the file, but without the equivalent resources we would normally have from international secondees,” Andrew Rigele, National Managing Partner Audit & Assurance from Grant Thornton said.

“This has put pressure not only on our clients, but on our people. The result has been a nation-wide shortage of auditors with between 3 and 5 years of audit experience.”

“On behalf of our clients and our people, we are absolutely delighted that accounting and audit professionals are now on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. We will be looking to our international networks to ensure we have the right people on the ground to support the upcoming reporting season and expected future growth,” Andrew Rigele finished.

About Australian Public Policy Committee (APPC)

The APPC comprises the six large professional services firms in Australia being, BDO, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, KPMG and PwC as well as the professional accounting bodies Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and CPA Australia. Our objective is to promote positive public policy outcomes with respect to audit, accounting and related regulated services.

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Therese Raft
National Communications Manager
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therese.raft@au.gt.com