Members are elected to Divisional and Branch Councils by the members of a division or branch. The councils are an important channel of communication between members and the board and are essential for engaging and serving members. Their key focus is on member engagement and advocacy of the profession and CPA Australia.
Divisional and Branch Councils
The election of members to Divisional and Branch Councils is held annually, with the call for nominations made in August in our member publications (INTHEBLACK magazine and CPA Update newsletter). When it is necessary to hold a ballot, members eligible to vote will be sent an invitation to participate in the ballot, which is held during October.
Councillor terms and the procedure for the conduct of elections for Divisional and Branch Councils are given in Articles 65 and 66 of the Constitution of CPA Australia, and in Parts 6 and 8 of the By-Laws. The voting method used in CPA Australia elections is optional preferential, and is explained in detail in By-Law 6.2. Members with any queries about council elections should contact their nearest CPA Australia office.
Role of the Divisional and Branch Councils
Divisional Council is an advisory body elected by members resident in the division. It is responsible for serving and representing members by connecting with the broader divisional membership base to develop informed viewpoints on matters impacting members and the profession.
Individual Councillors act as advocates for CPA Australia and for members of the division in their regions and spheres of influence.
The CPA Australia Ltd. Board of Directors considers that Divisional Councils:
- are the primary touch point for members with a key focus on member engagement and advocacy of the CPA Australia brand
- are essential to linking with and serving members
- must work in concert with the broad aims and activities of the Board and the organisational Corporate Plan
In support of the CPA Australia Ltd Board of Directors, the role of the Divisional Council is to:
- contribute ideas towards the strategy and direction of CPA Australia for the benefit of all its members
- develop and implement a Council Engagement Plan in consultation with the General Manager
- enhance relationships with key stakeholders including employers, government and educational institutions, through representation in the community by promoting the CPA designation and brand to decision makers and leveraging its relationships with community leaders to create external advocates and supporters
- contribute towards the effective representation of all members within the division, including effective succession planning and management of member groups
- provide the forum for professional debate on relevant issues including accounting, finance, law and ethics
- promote the skills, qualifications and professionalism of members
- discharge the responsibilities of the Divisional Council as contained in the Constitution or otherwise delegated by the Board of Directors from time to time including:
- making decisions regarding Special Admission applications to CPA status
- appointing Divisional Council members to the Representative Council
- nominating members for CPA Australia awards, including Divisional President’s awards
- being accountable for any member groups established by the council to support it in performing its role
- when requested, communicate key messages of the Board to members
Each Divisional Council will decide what are the priorities in their division and for which they have a capacity to contribute.
Each Divisional Council should evaluate the effectiveness of its council by completing the annual survey distributed by the division.
Examples and best practice
Councillors have an important role to play as elected representatives of the membership. Their contribution to the effective engagement of members is valued by the organisation. Working collaboratively toward the same objectives will improve the member experience, create productive working relationships and ensure that the experience of being part of Divisional Council is a satisfying and rewarding one for each Councillor.
The following examples, many taken from Council Engagement Plans and activities, are provided as guidance to what approaches and activities have been used successfully to enhance member engagement by Divisional Councils.
- Contribute ideas towards the strategy and direction of CPA Australia for the benefit of all its members
- The CPA Australia Corporate Plan is reviewed and redeveloped every three years. The Board of Directors asks Councils to identify issues important to members and to contribute ideas toward the new plan in preparation for the formal Board strategy and planning meetings where the plan is finalised
- Suitably qualified Councillors lead task forces created to respond to calls for comment as part of formulating CPA Australia submissions to government and regulatory bodies
- Suitably qualified Councillors become members of congress and conference task forces to assist for identification of key topics and speakers
- Plan through the development and implementation of a Council Engagement Plan in consultation with the General Manager
- Attend Council planning day, contribute ideas and volunteer to assist in implementation
- Councillors select a project aligned with their interests and with the member engagement objectives for the year and share plans and progress with the rest of Council on a regular basis
- Councillors nominate to attend specific events scheduled as part of the Divisional Engagement Plan, acting as host and taking the opportunity to meet and understand other members. Attendance and feedback is reported as part of the Engagement Plan delivery
- Councillors assist in selecting and securing speakers for events, using their influence and networks
- Councillors promote events and encourage attendance by their staff and colleagues
- Councillors participate in divisional activities which welcome new members. For example, attending Entry Point events, or calling new members, establishing connections between Council and the membership
- Councillors facilitate or lead discussion group meetings for members in their sector or location
- Council nominates members to attend committee meetings and to facilitate communication between council and their committees and branches
- Enhance relationships with key stakeholders including employers, government and educational institutions, through representation in the community by promoting the CPA designation and brand to decision makers and leveraging its relationships with community leaders to create external advocates and supporters
- Councillors facilitate introductions to key stakeholders for Business Development Executives, creating new avenues to connect with potential members, including those from academic institutions and employers
- Councillors identify stakeholders who may be eligible for membership via the special admission process, collate information and share it with Council in order to arrange, where appropriate, an invitation to apply for membership
- Councillors identify potential FCPA applicants and assist them with completing the application process
- Members facilitate employer interest in becoming a Recognised Employer Partner
- Councillors bring new information affecting stakeholder relationships to the attention of the General Manager, divisional staff and Council
- Contribute towards the effective representation of all members within the Division, including effective succession planning and management of member groups
- Councils consider sectoral, gender and demographic diversity within the council when making casual vacancy appointments and work together to encourage nominations for Councillors from members in areas that are under represented
- Represent all members within the division regardless of sector, gender or ethnic background
- Councils form task forces that enable other members to become involved in activities and projects, increasing representation and input from under represented sectors of the membership
- Councillors make it their responsibility to be fully informed about developments in their sector and to share these and the implications of changes with Council and the General Manager
- Provide the forum for professional debate on relevant issues including accounting, finance, law and ethics
- Councillors contact members to gather information and views that will inform feedback on submissions
- Councillors with particular knowledge and skills volunteer as presenters for discussion groups and events
- Councillors use or create opportunities to get to know one another more, supporting a more effective working relationship
- Support and engage in CPA Australia's website, INTHEBLACK website, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter conversations
- Promote the skills, qualifications and professionalism of members
- Council meetings are conducted in a professional manner, with due respect for policy, process and for fellow members
- Council members be involved in new Councillor Induction
- Experienced Councillors "buddy" or mentor newly elected Councillors, facilitating their active and effective participation in Council business
- Members abide by the Volunteer Code of Conduct, being particularly aware of their responsibilities to upholding the highest standards when considering conflict of interest, access to member records (and privacy obligations), demonstrating knowledge and conformity to the By-Laws as they apply to public accounting services and when using or requesting use of CPA Australia resources
- Councillors take every opportunity to promote CPA Australia and the attributes of members to friends and colleagues
- Councillors contribute articles for publication in local editions of CPA Update, INTHEBLACK (Short Talk, Mentor Corner and Payback), raising the awareness of members to the nature of the people representing them and of the important role that Divisional Council plays
- Councillors make themselves available to mentor associate members completing the Practical Experience Requirement
- Councillors volunteer using the Pro-Bono partnership to source suitable roles and access complimentary PII through their membership
- Discharge the responsibilities of the Divisional Council as contained in the Constitution or otherwise delegated by the Board of Directors from time to time including:
- Making decisions regarding Special Admissions to advance members to CPA status in strict accordance with the directive of the Board.
- Appointing Divisional Council members to the Representative Council
- Respond to requests for nomination in a timely manner
- Be informed about the role of the Representative Council and about nominees
- Nominating members and others for CPA Australia awards requiring Board approval; and considering and approving nominations for CPA Australia Divisional President’s Awards’.
- Respond to requests for nomination in a timely manner
- Be familiar with the policy for awards and carefully consider nominees
- Being accountable for any member groups established by the council to support it in performing its role. This could include:
- Councillors attending meetings of member groups and reporting back to Council on a regular basis
- Appointment of a “Branch champion” Council member who participates in regular communications with divisional staff and divisional branch members
Each Divisional Council should evaluate the effectiveness of its Council by completing the annual survey distributed by the division by:
- completing the survey in a timely manner
- contributing to the discussion of results, taking the opportunity to provide feedback on Council performance as a whole and in specific areas with a view to continuous improvement.