As part of the Government's Business Growth Agenda programme the Government has introduced legislation to reform aspects of the accounting profession. The Accounting Infrastructure Reform Bill includes proposals to:
- Reduce restrictions on the legal form for audit firms: The ban on companies performing statutory audits will be removed by allowing New Zealand audit firms to incorporate using the company form. The Bill will also allow certain incorporated overseas audit firms to operate in New Zealand. Standards relating to ownership, governance and professional indemnity insurance will be set in regulations.
- Introduce charities assurance: Registered charities with annual operating expenditure of NZ$500,000 or more will be required to have the financial statements they file with their annual returns assured by a qualified accountant. The Bill also creates a new requirement for large charitable entities to have their financial statements audited by a qualified auditor.
- Allow members of accredited bodies to perform statutory audits: Members of accredited professional bodies will be allowed to perform most statutory audits (other than audits of "FMC reporting entities" – as defined in the new Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013) if they are recognised by their professional body as qualified to do so.
- Provide for qualified accountants to perform statutory accountancy roles: References to "chartered accountant" in various Acts will be replaced with "qualified statutory accountant", where the context relates to specifying who may perform an accounting-related statutory role, in order to include qualified members of accredited bodies.
- Allow changes to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants structure: Changes to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Act 1996 will be made to enable NZICA's proposed agreement to join the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia in a combined new trans-Tasman institute.