Update from the CPA Australia Board 17 December 2021

Content Summary

  1. Developing the next strategy
  2. Member Management and Finance (MMF) System
  3. Ethical scorecard revealed
  4. Update on KPMG Australia internal assessment misconduct
  5. CPA Australia Constitution update
  6. Peter Wilson to retire from CPA Australia Board

Developing the next strategy

CPA Australia is set to commence the process of developing the next organisational strategy to follow on from the current CPA Australia Strategy 2018-2022. The strategy will build on the progress made so far and act as a blueprint to push the boundary for the future of accounting through education and policy. As with the current strategy, the new strategy will be co-designed in close collaboration with divisional councils, members and employees. Members will have an opportunity to provide input and participate at each stage of the process, with focus groups and workshops to be run in the first half of 2022. The Board encourages all members to take an active part in setting CPA Australia’s goals and priorities over the next few years.

Member Management and Finance (MMF) System

The Board has approved investment to develop the Member Management and Finance (MMF) system – an integrated finance, marketing and customer relationship management system that will streamline processes and improve the way we deliver services. MMF will provide a more personalised, efficient and consistent experience for members and help us deliver services tailored to different stages of each member’s journey. It will future-proof our systems, strengthen the security and confidentiality of member data and provide a safe environment for more online transactions.  

This project stems from a need to invest in technology that enables us to better meet the demands of the digital age. As foreshadowed in the 2019 and 2020 Integrated Reports, the investment required will see the need for us to operate at a deficit over the next two to three years, including 2021. This includes the change to the interpretation of the intangible asset standard which has resulted in expenditure on cloud-based systems which were previously capex now being required to be expensed in the year they are incurred. Work has begun on the design and scope of the system that will be developed throughout 2022 in preparation for release in the first quarter of 2023. Further details will be included in the 2021 Integrated Report that will be released next year.   

Ethical scorecard revealed

CPA Australia has ranked as one of Australia’s top five most ethical member associations according to the Governance Institute of Australia’s annual ethics index. The index surveyed over 1,000 people across Australia to gauge their perception of ethics in different sectors, institutions and professions. The accounting profession overall also rated as highly ethical with ‘Your accountant’ rating as the fourth most trusted professional survey respondents have contact with, behind ‘Your doctor’, ‘Your pharmacist’ and ‘nearest local hospital’. CPA Australia is proud of the strength of these ratings in a year when, according to the survey, trust overall has declined. This reflects the hard work and integrity CPA Australia’s members and employees have displayed in supporting businesses and the Australian community throughout the pandemic.

Update on KPMG Australia internal assessment misconduct

CPA Australia has concluded a thorough investigation into misconduct involving KPMG Australia’s internal professional development program. During our investigation, we reviewed evidence and other information supplied by KPMG Australia. This included the results of a root cause analysis by the firm, as well as information about internal sanctions and remedial actions applied following the discovery of the misconduct. In addition, we reviewed the report and decision of the United States audit regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), into this matter.

We are satisfied that KPMG Australia has addressed the matter appropriately and introduced measures to prevent a recurrence. We have nonetheless taken steps to maintain and uphold the integrity of our external audit, which is conducted by KPMG Australia. As advised to members previously, no employees involved in the misconduct will participate in the CPA Australia audit and the firm has confirmed that all audit team members have completed appropriate professional development. Finally, we note that KPMG Australia must provide evidence to the PCAOB of compliance with the conditions of its Order. Thank you for your support and patience while we concluded our investigation into this matter.

CPA Australia Constitution update

The Board is currently reviewing CPA Australia’s Constitution in line with the principles approved by members at the 2018 AGM. The review will examine removing redundant transitional provisions, refreshing the language and re-organising the document so that it is more user-friendly and takes into account anticipated technology and legislative changes, including to the Corporations Act. The proposed updates will be included in the Notice of Meeting for the 2022 AGM when members will have an opportunity to vote on the changes.

Peter Wilson to retire from CPA Australia Board

I would also like to share with members the news that Peter Wilson AM FCPA has decided to retire as a Director of CPA Australia, effective 31 December 2021.

Peter has made many outstanding contributions to CPA Australia, as both President (2017-2020) and Director over the past four years. He joined as a member of the new Board in October 2017 during one of the most difficult periods in the organisation’s 135-year history. Upon his appointment as a Director, Peter immediately took up the critical role of President and Chairman to lead the board and organisation through a major transformation. During his passionate and energetic service as President and Chairman, CPA Australia became a more modern, high performing organisation, one that prioritises the needs of members first and foremost and works to protect the reputation of the CPA Australia designation. Peter led a series of major reforms including implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review of 2017, which resulted in strengthening the amended Constitution as approved by CPA Australia members at the 2018 AGM. These reforms saw the introduction of substantially improved governance arrangements and the subsequent adoption of best practice procedures throughout the organisation.

During Peter’s time as President, he led the organisation in working to regenerate the trust and confidence of members through increased levels of disclosure, transparency and accountability. Peter was instrumental in instilling a culture of consulting and communicating regularly with members – including establishment of the Board Member Engagement and Culture Committee, with regular and comprehensive connections to the new Council of Presidents, and all CPA Divisional Councils. He was also instrumental in working with the Board and management to drive the development of the new CPA strategy 2018-2022 that places members at the centre of the organisation’s decision making and focuses on delivering core services of education, professional development, technical support and public advocacy. Consistently positive annual growth in member sentiment towards CPA Australia has been a hallmark of Peter’s leadership, which more recently has also been important in guiding the organisation through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, CPA Australia members and employees, I would like to thank Peter Wilson wholeheartedly for his exemplary leadership of this organisation and for the lasting and extraordinarily positive contributions he has made. Peter leaves CPA Australia in a significantly better position than when he joined the board four years ago, and I wish him every success as he takes up some very exciting new opportunities ahead, including his new role as Chairman of the Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation. 

Finally, on behalf of the Board, I extend Season’s Greetings to you all and wish you a safe and happy New Year.

Merran Kelsall FCPA
President and Chairman
On behalf of CPA Australia’s Board of Directors