With practitioners faced with constantly increasing regulation and compliance obligations, CPA Australia is seeking a new policy platform to facilitate affordable, independent and quality professional advice.

Ongoing legislative changes, including the implementation of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) industry funding model, is having a profound effect on practitioners and their clients. In response, CPA Australia is seeking to reduce the regulatory burden to enable practitioners to provide independent, quality advice. 

While the majority of reforms aim to ensure robust and effective consumer protections, CPA Australia public practice manager Keddie Waller says a consequence is that securing professional advice and services has not only become more complex and costly but out of reach for many consumers. 

“Concurrently, we know from member feedback that it is forcing many professional accountants to reconsider whether to continue to provide advisory services, while also imposing a barrier to expanding their practice into advisory services,” Waller says. 

“CPA Australia believes it is time to rethink the regulatory framework and create one that enables and encourages the provision of affordable, independent, quality advice and engages and informs, not overwhelms, the consumer in the process.” 

Waller stresses the need to identify how legislative complexity can be reduced and harmonised, while also providing real and effective consumer protections to encourage the broader community to seek professional advisory services. 

“Consideration must also be given to how regulators can be more effective and efficient in their oversight and regulation of the sector, especially when, for example, ASIC’s costs are largely borne by professional service providers and passed on to consumers through the cost of advice,” she adds.

CPA Australia canvasses practitioners

CPA Australia has launched a green paper to canvass the views of members working in public practice on how the regulatory framework can be reconfigured. The survey, Regulatory Burden and Advisory Services – The Impact on Professional Accountants and their Clients, is open until 1 June 2019 and asks:

  • What are the flaws and inefficiencies you see and experience in the current regulatory framework when servicing clients?
  • What works well and what could be improved or even removed?
  • What insights can you provide into how regulation works in practice, as opposed to its strategic or policy intent, and the impact on clients?
  • How can we change the current regulatory environment to build a more efficient, effective and robust system that encourages the provision of affordable, independent, quality advice by professionals and engages, informs and protects clients in the process?

CPA Australia will release its findings by the third quarter this year.

“Your feedback will directly influence the development of new policy ideas that will be assessed and examined with both public practitioners and clients, including small business owners,” Waller explains.

“We are looking to develop a new policy platform outlining changes we can all support and advocate to effect the changes needed to address the growing issues of complexity and inefficiencies in our current regulatory framework.”

If you are a CPA public practitioner and yet to receive your email invitation to complete the survey, please contact [email protected]