Date posted: 16/09/2020 3 min read

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand launches new Risk Specialisation

A response to the complex business environment and member feedback.

In Brief

  • The next Risk Specialisation intake is in February 2021
  • Risk advisory is one of the fastest growing areas of accounting practice
  • The Specialisation is an opportunity for CA to benchmark members’ knowledge, and complement their skills and experience

Risk advisory is one of the fastest growing areas in business and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand has responded to this, and to member feedback, by creating the CA Risk Specialisation.

Co-designed with the AGSM at the University of NSW, members can choose from a range of flexible pathways to complete the program, which is split into five modules: governance, enterprise risk management, strategic risk, financial risk and non-financial risk.

Jan Jackson, the Specialisations Program Manager at Chartered Accountants ANZ who has guided the development of the initiative, says the 2017 Royal Commission in Australia into the financial industry and the response of regulators APRA and ASIC has put compliance and risk at the top of the agenda for many organisations.

She points to the Australian Financial Review's annual Top 100 Accounting Firms research for 2019, which showed that more than half of the surveyed firms nominated risk advisory as one of the fastest growing parts of their business.

Jackson was involved in a research project with members in 2019, where around 300 members were surveyed and 20 chief risk officers were interviewed. This process confirmed strong interest among members, and provided insights for the development of the framework.

The creation of the Specialisation, says Jackson, is a "significant opportunity" for Chartered Accountants ANZ to create a "benchmark" course for risk practitioners which complements members' experience and skill.

Ross Tilly FCA and Head of Audit at the Reserve Bank of Australia (previously a Risk Consulting partner at KPMG), chairs the Risk Committee which developed the Specialisation's new framework.

"To have an accreditation that enables CAs who are risk professionals to be recognised as such is a welcome development."
Ross Tilly FCA, Head of Audit at the Reserve Bank of Australia.

"This enables these risk specialists to leverage their primary professional designation in a way that has not been possible until now."

"The Risk Specialisation will quickly enable the recognition of the premium training and calibre that comes with being a CA but now extends to this discipline."

Tilly noted the growth of Risk Consulting groups in the Big Four accounting firms over the last decade, to the point where Risk is now a mature business line.

CAs played a role in developing the first Australasian (and global) standard for risk management, AS/NZ 4360, back in 1995 and were involved in rolling it out across the corporate and public sectors.

Chartered Accountants ANZ was also a member of the ASX Corporate Governance Council, formed after the A$5.3 billion collapse of insurer HIH in 2001, which developed a principles based approach for corporate governance which all listed companies must report on, and which includes a risk management principle.

Tilly said the increased importance of risk had seen the rise of the Chief Risk Officer as an "executive committee 'C Suite' risk professional."

"In smaller organisations the CRO role is often allocated to the CFO as a natural recognition of this pivotal and strategic level role," said Tilly.

"Many of the professionals in these key governance roles or those who undertake this work – as staff or consultants – are Chartered Accountants."

The Risk Specialisation Course covers an organisation's approach to risk management from board level through to operational staff across all types of risk.

The initial focus is governance and considers the responsibilities of board members and directors in setting strategies which are then cascaded through senior management to staff who manage risk on a daily basis.

The course explores how activities, incidents and outcomes are escalated back through governance forums to the board, with a continuing focus on managing risk in alignment with business objectives to ensure relevance and resilience.

The course involves formal learning complemented by additional reading and culminating in an assessment of the course representing 60 hours CPD.

The Risk Specialisation's, Chartered Accountant ANZ's fifth specialisation category, next intake is in February 2021. Enrolment for the course is open now. 

The course is available for risk professionals in Australia, New Zealand and internationally.

Risk Specialisation

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