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Member engagement 'changed forever,' says IPA chief

As the dust begins to settle on the leadership crisis at CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants' (IPA) chief executive believes the expectations of members of professional bodies, and their engagement with its leaders, has permanently shifted.

Professional Development Katarina Taurian 25 September 2017
— 1 minute read

The corporate governance and disclosure issues at CPA Australia which have ultimately seen the removal of its CEO Alex Malley and a total refresh of the board of directors prompted the IPA to “run a ruler” over its own corporate governance processes.


For CEO Andrew Conway, ensuring the association remains member centric is key to its survival and to member satisfaction, he told Accountants Daily.

“The whole member engagement piece — I think that has changed, probably forever,” Mr Conway said.

“We recognise that sometimes technical accounting standards move on from community standards or vice versa, and you've got to move and adapt. That's what we've done and we'll continue to do,” he said.

The accountability of CEOs, in particular, will remain in the spotlight, Mr Conway said. Barriers to communicating with key management personnel will ultimately lead to an undoing, he said.

“Engagement in whatever process in the governance of your organisation is really important. Now, that does bring with it some challenges, but you're in a particular role for a particular reason. CEOs are required to communicate. That's what you do,” he said.

The IPA and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) alike have reaped the benefits of the CPA Australia saga fallout, noting an increase in membership enquiries, particularly following the expiration of the limited liability scheme protecting practising CPAs.

However, overall, Mr Conway said it’s been a difficult time for the profession as a whole.

“It's in the profession's best interests for there to be a strong CPA Australia. So I think you can park issues of competition at the door and really say, "Well, the profession's best served when CPA Australia is at its strongest." It hasn't been a particularly pleasing period of time,” he said.

To hear the full interview, tune into the Accountants Daily podcast. 

Member engagement 'changed forever,' says IPA chief
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Professional Development