26 October 2023
Chartered Accountants vote to strengthen Professional Conduct Rules
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) Members have voted in favour of resolutions to further strengthen their membership body’s Professional Conduct Framework, including a significant increase in fines for Firm Events.
Nearly 6,500 members took the opportunity to cast their vote for changes to CA ANZ’s By-Laws and the NZICA Rules, with a substantial majority voting in support of stronger conduct rules.
“CA ANZ members have voted to further strengthen their Professional Conduct Framework at a time when the profession’s reputation has never been more important,” said Chief Executive, Ainslie van Onselen.
“At a time when the public needs to see an effective and robust response to some of the contemporary issues we have seen in recent times, this member endorsement is vital to upholding trust in the profession, and the integrity and reputation of the Chartered Accountant designation,” said Ms van Onselen.
“I am pleased members took the opportunity to be involved in this important process,” said CA ANZ Chair, John Palermo FCA.
“In a year in which the accountancy profession’s reputation has been impacted by the unacceptable and unethical conduct of a few, it’s been important to see strong member support for By-Laws/NZICA Rules changes that will enable CA ANZ’s Conduct and Disciplinary Framework to deal more effectively with matters involving firms,” he said.
Following an extensive and independently reviewed Professional Conduct Framework Review, the 2023 Member Vote was required to implement many of the Review’s outcomes.
The Member Vote opened on 25 September 2023 and concluded last Friday, 20 October. All 14 resolutions put to the membership were approved with approval rates ranging between 77.25% to 92.17%.
Among the outcomes from the successful Member Vote:
- The independent Professional Conduct Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal can deal with Practice Entity (firm) events more effectively and maximum fines are increased from $25,000 to $100,000 at the Professional Conduct Committee level, and from $50,000 to $250,000 at the Disciplinary Tribunal Level.
- Enabling the Australian disciplinary bodies to address serious misconduct of former members by aligning Australian By-Laws with the NZICA Rules, which already include a former member jurisdiction.
- Introducing optional firm membership in New Zealand, so firms can take responsibility for systemic issues that lay with the firm, alongside individual partners or employed members of the firm. This aligns the NZICA Rules with the CA ANZ By-Laws.
- Stronger and more efficient investigative powers for the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).
- A more aligned set of conduct and discipline rules that incorporates procedural and efficiency enhancements and additional rights for Members.
The outcomes of the Member Vote are on top of actions and related initiatives from the Review that CA ANZ already has in progress (as they did not require the By Laws or NZICA rules to be amended) including:
- Bolstering existing mandatory ethics training.
- Increasing transparency of CA ANZ monitoring and professional conduct activities.
- More extensive guidance for all Members about their personal self-disclosure obligations.
The amended CA ANZ By-Laws will take effect after receiving Royal Assent of the Governor General in Australia and the amended NZICA Rules will take effect at around the same time, when the CA ANZ Chair countersigns the NZICA Rules resolutions. It is anticipated that this will occur by late this year or early next year. The timeline for this process will be communicated to CA ANZ Members.
About Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand represents more than 136,000 financial professionals, supporting them to make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live. Chartered Accountants are known as Difference Makers. The depth and breadth of their expertise helps them to see the big picture and chart the best course of action.
For more information contact:
Daniel Webster, Public Affairs Manager New Zealand
M +64 27 282 6253
Gillian Bowen, Public Affairs Manager Australia
M +61 411 485 421