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CA ANZ opens voting on revised conduct code

Regulation

As the body’s AGM looms, its annual report shows losses widened to almost $9 million last year.

By Philip King 11 minute read

CA ANZ has opened the voting on changes to its professional conduct rules following a review earlier this year.

Members can vote from today until 5pm AEDT on 20 October, 2023 following the conclusion of the AGM scheduled for that date.

CA ANZ chair John Palermo said a successful vote would bolster the body’s focus on upholding integrity and trust in the CA designation.

“Members want to see an effective and robust response to the contemporary issues we see today,” he said.

“Implementing the review recommendations will deliver that if our members vote to approve the by-law changes required to bring them to life.”

“As well as delivering procedural and efficiency improvements to ensure our Professional Conduct Framework remains effective and robust, a successful vote will also strengthen our ability to respond to events involving firms – including a fivefold increase in maximum fines.

“By voting yes, our members can help us safeguard the integrity and reputation of the chartered accountant designation at a time when the poor actions of a few have cast a shadow over our profession.”

The votes come in the wake of revelations that PwC partners used confidential Treasury tax plans to help multinational clients restructure and the widespread reputational harm that followed as the scandal was exposed to parliamentary scrutiny.

However, the conduct review was prompted by criticism of CA ANZ’s handling of the KPMG exam cheating affair last year, when hundreds of members were implicated but the body sanctioned just eight unnamed culprits.

As well as the fine increase, the review recommended strengthening its response to firm events, closing a gap relating to investigating former members, and enabling voluntary firm membership in New Zealand.

CA ANZ said nine resolutions, all endorsed by the board, were required to make the changes to its by-laws and further five regulatory resolutions were needed to amend the NZICA Rules.

In-depth explanations of the 14 resolutions and the marked-up by-laws and NZICA Rules were available on the CA ANZ website.

CA ANZ also released its 2023 Annual Report, which reveals the body continues to run at a loss widening to $8.78 million from $7.78 million last year.

With a sole exception, remuneration for key executives rose with chief executive Ainslie van Onselen the top earner on $940,000, including an incentive bonus and superannuation, up from $877,500 last year.

Other winners included marketing chief Simon Hann, whose pay rose 9 per cent to $540,360, and general counsel Vanessa Chapman, whose combined salary, incentive and super rose 8 per cent to $463,572.

The report shows CA ANZ fell short of its membership target by almost 1,500, adding 2,310 during the year for a rise of 1.7 per cent. Of the 136,730 total, all bar about 10,000 are in Australia or New Zealand.

Ms van Onselen said the body was on track to deliver a surplus this financial year.

“This year we saw CA program enrolments decline due to the pandemic, a reduction in international students entering our universities and an overall decline in management and commerce bachelor degrees in Australia and New Zealand,” she said.

“This pressure, in addition to cost inflation, required a strong management response to preserve our capital. With good financial prudence and decision-making across the organisation we were able to maintain this vital investment and remain on track to reach a net surplus before tax in FY24.”

She said CA ANZ had responded to member requests in its five-pillar strategy to 2025.

“In FY23 we saw the launch of our new ‘digital front door’ powered by a data hub that enables more tailored support and resources depending on the nature of a member’s role,” she said.

“We also achieved important steps toward fortifying the profession’s talent pipeline, including the introduction of new sustainability and advanced reporting electives in the CA Program, the design of a Flexible Pathways Program and becoming the only accounting body in Australia approved to offer the government study assistance loan scheme FEE-HELP.”

“Landing these strategic initiatives, alongside a renewed campaign aimed at secondary and tertiary students supported by a High School Toolkit and Career Cards, means that we are not waiting and hoping – we are moving to improve the attractiveness of the profession and secure the next generation of talent.”

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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