Statement from the Board 13 March 2020

1. COVID-19 Impact and Response

The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a major threat to the health and well-being of the global community and a significant challenge for business. The Board is monitoring the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and is taking appropriate action in line with advice from relevant government and health authorities. CPA Australia’s COVID-19 Executive Committee meets daily to assess the latest information and put in place procedures to protect members, employees and the organisation. Our thoughts are with members who are affected by COVID-19 on a personal level, through family connections or business impacts.

To assist members in developing a risk management strategy for their business, we have released a series of COVID-19 resources to support businesses in navigating through the crisis.

Member events

While some member events are unaffected by COVID-19 planning, others have been cancelled, moved to a webinar format, or had health precautions added. These are summarised below:

  • At this stage, face to face events in Australia, Ho Chi Minh City, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand are proceeding as usual.
  • All member events scheduled for Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Indonesia from 1-13 March were cancelled.
  • Face to face events will resume in Singapore on 16 March and in Hong Kong from 17 March. Online events will resume in Beijing and Shanghai from 27 March and in Guangzhou from 31 March.
  • Special precautionary measures in place for events in Asia include attendees completing a health and travel declaration and consenting to a temperature check upon arrival.
  • Face to face member events scheduled for March in Hanoi have been cancelled and replaced by webinars.
  • We are not holding CPA Foundation exams in mainland China in March and will continue to provide updates to affected members.
  • In the United Kingdom, face to face events have been cancelled until 30 March and will resume on 31 March.
  • A decision about holding CPA Program exams and Foundation exams in April will be made in the coming days and we expect to be able to communicate the outcome to members within two weeks.

CPA Australia will continue to monitor the situation and advise members of any future changes. The latest updates on member events and exams can be accessed via the COVID-19 support pages

Health and Safety at CPA Australia Offices

  • Members visiting CPA Australia offices are encouraged to sterilise their hands at reception and be vigilant about the potential for transmission.
  • If you or any of your immediate family or household members have recently travelled through any of the high-risk regions or have had contact with a person with suspected COVID-19, you should isolate yourself at home for 14 days. We encourage you to seek medical advice and in the interest of containing any potential risk to fellow members and staff, please do not attend any CPA Australia offices during this period.
  • We are taking a number of precautionary measures for CPA Australia staff, including improving hygiene procedures in offices and enabling all critical staff to be able to work remotely. Staff based in Greater China have already been working from home for the past month.
  • All international travel has been suspended, except between Australia and New Zealand.
  • Staff who have recently visited high-risk countries are required to self-isolate for the recommended period.

The Board is conscious of the potential for disruption to the business as a result of COVID-19. As part of our risk management process, the Board is assessing the timing of normal business activities and planned strategic projects to help mitigate any financial impact of the outbreak. In all our decisions, the health and well-being of members and staff will remain our priority.

2. 2019 integrated report (including financial accounts)

The Board approved CPA Australia's annual financial statements for the calendar year 1 January to 31 December 2019. The financial results for 2019 will be detailed in CPA Australia's 2019 Integrated Report that will be released to members and other stakeholders via the website on 2 April, with hard copies available following that date.

This year's report highlights the progress CPA Australia made during 2019 in delivering on the strategy and the positive improvements in member ratings for value, service and performance across a range of measures. It is CPA Australia's first report to be assured under the Integrated Reporting framework and includes increased levels of disclosure and transparency, providing members with comprehensive insight into all material aspects of the organisation.

3. 2020 Annual General Meeting

We have placed the 2020 AGM arrangements under current review, having regard to very recent statements and advisories from federal and state governments about large scale meetings of people, given the coronavirus situation. We will provide a further update to members on these arrangements soon.

4. CPA Australia Director applications

The Nomination Committee and Appointments Council have commenced work with respect to the forthcoming vacancies on CPA Australia's Board of Directors.

A call for applications from suitably qualified candidates will be available on CPA Australia's website on 1 May and will appear in the May edition of INTHEBLACK and in CPA Update during May.

5. Chair of the Public Practice Advisory Committee

The Board is pleased to announce that Andrew Pearce FCPA has been appointed as Chair of the Public Practice Advisory Committee (PPAC). PPAC provides the Board of Directors with advice and a forum for consultation on issues relating to members working in public practice. It also advises on the development of strategies, regulations and support services so that it can manage and enhance the reputation of members working in public accounting service businesses.

Andrew brings significant experience to the role as an Adviser and Director of a multidisciplinary advisory business, previous member of PPAC as well as past Tasmanian Divisional Council Member, Deputy President and President.

Peter Wilson AM FCPA

President and Chair
On behalf of CPA Australia's Board of Directors