Requirements for authorisation as an external accountant are set out in Act of 18 June No. 109 on the authorisation of external accountants (External Accountants Act) and associated regulations of 8 February 1999 No. 196 on the authorisation of external accountants (External Accountants Regulations).
Under section 1-4 of the External Accountants Regulations, applicants entitled to provide external accountancy services in another EEA member state will on certain conditions be eligible for authorisation as external accountants in Norway. This provision was added in pursuance of Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications (Professional Qualifications Directive). The Directive provides that evidence of qualifications necessary for practising the profession in an EEA member state should also be recognised for the purpose of practising the profession in any other EEA member state.
1. Different terms apply depending on whether or not external accounting is regulated in the EEA member state concerned
1.1 EEA states where the provision of external accounting services on a commercial basis is regulated by law
The applicant must have evidence of qualifications confirming that as of the date of application he/she has the right to practise the profession of external accountant in the EEA member state concerned. The evidence of qualifications must have been awarded by a public authority, or by a body with equivalent powers. In addition the applicant must present an education certificate confirming that the applicant has completed a course of higher education of at least one year's duration.
1.2 EEA states where the provision of external accounting services on a commercial basis is not regulated by law
The applicant must present an education certificate confirming that he/she has completed a course of higher education of at least one year's duration. In addition the applicant must present a certificate of practice confirming that he/she has practised the profession of external accountant for at least one of the last ten years. The education certificate and the certificate of practice must show that the applicant is suited to practise the profession of external accountant.
The requirement of two years' professional experience does not apply if the applicant has completed a course of vocational training regulated by law that includes professional practice. Such training must be documented by certificate.
2. Aptitude test
Qualifications from another country will normally not meet the requirements for Norwegian rules on financial accounting, tax law and jurisprudence including The External Accountants Law, as mentioned in section 1-1, first subsection, second sentence of the regulations. For that reason applicants need to take an aptitude test. Exemptions apply to applicants who provide documentation of professional practice that remedies all or some of the disparities in education and training.
The aptitude test involves successful completion of examinations in financial accounting (15 ECTS credits), tax law (15 ECTS credits), jurisprudence (7.5 ECTS credits) and The external accountants law/etichs/accountant practice standards/accounting organisation (number of credits is not specified); see section 1-1 of the regulations. Requirements on the content of the examinations are described in the recommended plan for the bachelor's degree in economic and business administration with concentration in external accounting (Norwegian only). Applicants are recommended to contact an educational institution that offers training in external accounting for further information about the above examinations; see the list of institutions given below. Students must themselves sign up for examinations and pay any examination fee due.
Links to educational institutions (non-exhaustive list):
3. Other requirements
Applicants must be of legal age, financially trustworthy and of good repute; see the External Accountants Act section 4, first subsection, nos. 3, 4 and 5. Applicant must present a certificate of good conduct that predates the application date by no more than three months, and a copy of their most recent income tax assessment or income tax return. A certificate of good conduct must be obtained from the Police. The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) may require an applicant to submit a certificate of good conduct issued by his/her home state.
Please note that an external accountant must have the language skills needed to conduct business in Norway. Finanstilsynet may require the documentation of sufficient language skills and may not allow a business to start up until documentation of language skills has been provided; see the External Accounting Regulations section 1-4, fourth subsection.