17 December 2019

CPA Australia’s Board of Directors met last week and would like to provide an update on the matters discussed at the meeting.

  1. Independent Review Implementation Committee
  2. Regulatory burden project
  3. My Firm. My Future
  4. Professional Standards Scheme update
  5. Centres of Excellence
  6. CPA Congress 2019
  7. Public commentary
  8. Member satisfaction rating

Watch a video message from President and Chair, Peter Wilson.

1. Independent Review Implementation Committee

One of the first acts of CPA Australia’s new Board of Directors in October 2017 was to establish a committee to oversee the implementation of recommendations from the Independent Review Panel (IRP). The IRP handed down its preliminary report on 14 September 2017, and its final report on 30 November of that year. The final report contained 29 recommendations which, together, provided a framework for CPA Australia to enhance its governance arrangements and operations to better meet the needs of members.

Over the past two years, the Independent Review Implementation Committee (IRIC) has been responsible for providing recommendations to the Board on appropriate action, helping to develop implementation plans and monitor the organisation’s progress in executing each of the recommendations.

On 13 December 2018, the IRIC released an update report (PDF) showing CPA Australia’s progress on implementing the respective recommendations. In addition, individual elements from the recommendations have been communicated to members via updates in regular statements from the Board.

In October 2019, the IRIC completed a final update report (PDF). The committee is satisfied that all of the IRP’s 29 recommendations are now either complete with no further action required, or are embedded into management’s business-as-usual work programs. The Board has reviewed and accepted IRIC’s recommendation to conclude its work in this way. As the final report has been signed off by the Board and now released to members, the IRIC has fulfilled its function and will now cease.

The Board thanks the members of the committee for their diligent work in assisting CPA Australia to implement these recommendations, which strengthen the organisation’s governance and are in the best interests of members.

2. Regulatory burden project

In October, CPA Australia published a Regulatory Burden Report (PDF) based on extensive industry research about the current regulatory complexity impacting public practitioners. This has led to the three major professional accounting bodies in Australia – CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and the Institute of Public Accountants – coming together to call for more efficient regulatory frameworks governing how financial and tax advice is provided in Australia. The three accounting bodies share a goal to reduce the regulatory burden on members and have pledged to work together in advocating for change.

In a significant move for the accounting profession, the CEOs of the three bodies released a joint video calling for a holistic review. The video was shared on Facebook and LinkedIn, and reached more than 54,000 members and recorded more than 38,000 views, clicks, likes or shares, which signifies strong engagement from members. More than 1620 people have visited the regulatory burden page on CPA Australia’s website, which houses the video and the report. There has also been coverage in key industry print and digital publications, including Australian Financial Review, Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

3. My Firm. My Future

CPA Australia's My Firm. My Future Report 2019 (PDF) released in November offers in-depth analysis of the changing public accounting landscape. Drawing on insights from more than 500 public practitioners and 1000 consumers and SMEs, it explores the factors reshaping the accounting profession and presents four key themes that will help members build a sustainable firm for the future: Leverage Technology, Incorporate Advisory, Look to Specialise, and Do Better Business.

4. Professional Standards Scheme

On 21 June 2019, the Professional Standards Councils approved CPA Australia’s application for a five-year Professional Standards Scheme (Scheme) for gazettal. The Scheme has been authorised by New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. We are awaiting formal authorisation in the remaining states and territories and anticipate a universal commencement date of 23 December 2019.

5. Centres of Excellence

CPA Australia’s Centres of Excellence (COEs) draw on the expertise of members and industry specialists to help us develop policy positions on issues affecting the profession. During the year, we called for expressions of interest from members interested in participating. We received a significant number of nominations which not only reflects the high level of expertise among members, but also their strong engagement and dedication. The Board thanks all members who expressed interest.

We have completed the nomination process to appoint new members to our existing COEs – Environmental, Social and Governance, External Reporting, Retirement Savings, and Taxation – and, additionally, have set up two new COEs in the areas of Digital Transformation and Ethics and Professional Standards. We’ll be announcing the members of the respective COEs in the new year.

6. CPA Congress 2019

The Board was delighted to see an increase of more than 20 per cent in attendance at this year’s CPA Congress, our flagship networking and thought leadership event. CPA Congress 2019 explored ‘business as unusual’, and was delivered in 13 locations and seven countries, opening in Fiji on 19 September and wrapping up in London on 9 November. A thematic approach led this year’s Congress, with the two key themes of ‘accounting for the robots’ and ‘the future of digital money’ providing a consistent and engaging experience across all locations.

7. Public commentary

Media monitoring by the independent Isentia group, which measures nationwide media sentiment for industries and organisations, shows that CPA Australia’s ranking has moved into positive territory, alongside some of Australia’s top universities. The 2019 media coverage citing CPA Australia focused primarily on major business, accounting, finance, tax and superannuation issues. This marks a critical move from our bottom level score of two years ago.

8. Member engagement survey

The Board is encouraged by the provisional results of our 2019 member engagement survey, which demonstrates that there has been material and positive improvements to the engagement and satisfaction of members across all of the major key performance indicators. This builds further on the initial recovery in our 2018 member sentiment survey scores. The full results will be released to members in the new year.

CPA Australia is committed to investing in programs, technology and digital solutions that will improve the member experience. There is, of course, much more to do and 2020 will see us continue to invest in the underlying frameworks and functions that will enable us to deliver value and service to members.

On behalf of the Board, I wish you and your families all the best for the festive season and a safe and happy New Year.

Peter Wilson AM FCPA
President and Chair
On behalf of CPA Australia’s Board of Directors


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