The cornerstone of the accounting profession is the obligation of the accountant to act in the public interest.

A distinguishing characteristic of a profession from other vocations is an ethics-based Code applicable to all members and aspiring members of that profession. In the accounting profession, the ethics framework is contained in the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. Integral to the accounting profession is trust, this trust is built via the principles on which the Code is based; integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, professional behaviour and professional competence and due care. Extending the principles contained in the Code are the professional standards which provide specific guidance to members practicing in various accounting disciplines. Adherence to the Code and the professional standards build trust in the accounting profession.

Members of the three professional accountancy organisations in Australia are obligated by their professional membership of these bodies to abide by professional standards issued by the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (APESB). The APESB is an independent standard setter which issues standards in the public interest.

CPA Australia’s Ethics and Professional Standards Centre of Excellence represents the interests of our members and the public by contributing to CPA Australia’s policy positions with respect to the development of standards. The combined experience and expertise of the Centre of Excellence guides CPA Australia’s approach to navigating evolving expectations of stakeholders with respect to the behaviour and conduct of professional accountants.


The Ethics and Professional Standards Centre of Excellence role is to primarily act in an advisory capacity to:

  • Provide guidance on policy and issues relating to its topic area
  • Identify current and emerging issues relevant to the profession in a timely and effective way
  • Provide commentary and feedback on relevant legislation or exposure drafts
  • Provide input and feedback on appropriate policy responses
  • Provide thought leadership
  • Address issues which impact across the profession, focusing on changes in the wider economic environment including globalisation and e-business
  • Be a strategic sounding board for management
  • Provide input on possible CPA Australia products and assist development of outputs


  • Brendan O'Connell FCPA, Chair
  • Mahesh Balakrishnan CPA
  • Anju De Alwis CPA
  • Andy Lai CPA
  • John Halliday FCPA
  • Dr Gerard Ilott FCPA
  • Andy Lai CPA
  • Leonie Navara CPA
  • Alex Ooi Thiam Poh FCPA
  • Peter Pontikis FCPA
  • Kimberly Singh CPA



  • The Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and other related professional standards
  • Ethical codes and frameworks
  • Regulatory environment and the symbiosis which exists between ethics, law and regulation
  • Governance frameworks and the relationship between corporate and organisational culture, behaviour and ethics