Accountants were granted the longest-ever transition period allowed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to gain their limited licensing, and most left it to the last minute or totally missed the deadline.
That is the bottom line spelled out to a Federal Parliamentary committee as ASIC explained why a number of Brisbane accountants were still waiting for the regulator to process their applications.
ASIC commissioner, Greg Tanzer, told the committee that the accountants had been given "the longest transition period we have ever had for a regime like this — three years".
"We received 66 per cent of applications in the last four months, after a huge amount of work done between ASIC and the joint accounting bodies to get people to apply early," he said.
"We put very public notices out through the accounting bodies and publicly that we wanted people to apply by March this year."
"If they had applied by March this year we gave a guarantee that we would have finished their application assessment by the deadline and handed that out. Unfortunately a lot of practitioners did not heed that message and took until the end."
Tanzer said Government funding for the transition period ended on 30 June, so ASIC had no extra resources it could deploy but had nonetheless deployed resources dedicated to dealing with the issue.
"At this stage our expectation is that we will get through most of the backlog probably by the end of this year. However, I would still expect, given that a high number of the applications we have on hand at the moment are poor, in terms of their content, that we would still have in the low hundreds still on hand into the next year," he said.
"... it depends on what the nature of that application is."