Making a complaint

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    Before submitting a complaint

    You’ll first need to confirm the accountant is a CPA Australia member. Call us on 1300 737373.

    We recommend that you try to resolve the matter directly with your accountant before lodging a complaint. You can do this in writing or discussing the issue directly with the accountant.

    Complaints we can investigate

    As a voluntary professional membership body, we can only investigate matters that fall within our jurisdiction such as breaches of:

    • the Code of Conduct 
    • the Constitution 
    • the By-Laws, or any of the applicable regulations, standards or rules that govern our members.  

    Complaints we can’t investigate

    We cannot investigate complaints in the following circumstances:

    • if the accountant is not a CPA Australia member 
    • fee disputes
    • that are unsupported by the documentary evidence available
    • if the complainant does not have the authority to lodge the complaint
    • that are made anonymously
    • that occurred more than five years ago
    • more appropriate to be heard in an alternative forum

    We also will not investigate vexatious or frivolous complaints.

    Outcomes

    Our outcomes are limited to the membership of the Member. 

    CPA Australia does not hold a fidelity fund and therefore cannot provide any compensation to you if we find in your favour.

    The complaints process

    The first step is to complete the Complaint Form, consenting to the Member’s disclosure of your private information to CPA Australia. The form contains other important declarations which you must read and understand. It’s important that you attach all supporting documentation when you submit the form. Examples of supporting documents include a Letter of Engagement from the Member, the work undertaken by the Member and relevant email communications.

    It is a legal requirement that the complainant sign the complaint form. If we do not receive a signed complaint form, we cannot investigate the matter. 

    When we receive your complaint, we’ll determine if you have provided enough information for us to investigate.  We may contact you to request further information before starting a formal investigation.

    If we can’t investigate your complaint, we’ll tell you why.

    A Professional Conduct Officer (PCO) will be assigned to your complaint. It’s likely they’ll ask some questions to understand the issues involved.  If any of the issues in the complaint are subject to court proceedings or any other higher authority, the investigation will be placed on hold until those proceedings have concluded.

    When the PCO is satisfied that no further evidence can be obtained, they will prepare a report for the General Manager Professional Conduct (GMPC).  A decision is then made about whether the matter needs to be referred to a Disciplinary Tribunal (DT) for hearing.

    If the matter is referred to a DT, you will be advised. These hearings are held in private. We’ll advice you of the outcome, which we also publish on our website

    If there is evidence of a breach which is capable of being remedied or minor in nature, the member may be issued a Caution or Reprimand. Such findings are not published but you will be notified of the decision. Such outcomes may be used in any subsequent proceedings against the same member.

    Complaints that do not proceed to a Disciplinary Tribunal for hearing, will be closed. These circumstances include:

    • insufficient documentary evidence is provided
    • there is a more appropriate forum for the complaint to be heard
    • the issue involved doesn’t reach the standard required to proceed to a DT.

    We’ll inform you if this occurs.