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CA ANZ Media Statement – Response to NSW Inquiry Report

Chartered Accountants ANZ 4 mins read

29 May 2024 
 

MEDIA STATEMENT

 

STATEMENT ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY AND WORKS COMMITTEE REPORT 

 

 NSW Government’s use and management of consulting services 

 

 

Please attribute the following quotes to Ainslie van Onselen, CEO Chartered Accountants ANZ: 

 

“Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Public Accountability and Works Committee’s inquiry into the NSW Government’s use and management of consulting services 

 

CA ANZ made a submission, gave in-person evidence on Friday 28 July, 2023, and responded to Questions on Notice (1,2) as it was important to represent our members and reassure the community of our work to maintain and improve the standing of the profession. 

 

“It is pleasing to see this committee provide recommendations to the NSW Government that look to embed ethical behaviours into its Supplier Code, especially when it comes to the identification, declaration, and management of conflicts of interest. 

 

“The people of NSW need to be able to trust that the Government is spending public money responsibly. Measures to ensure greater levels of transparency and accountability in work being carried out by consultants to restore that trust is welcomed. 

 

“The committee also acknowledged the work of CA ANZ in attempting to ensure the ethical behaviour of our members and our efforts of continuous improvement. 

 

“In 2023, our members voted strongly in favour of changes to our By-Laws to enable the recommendations from the Professional Conduct Framework Review to be implemented in full, including a five-fold increase in fines for Firm Events and the power to investigate Australian members who have since left the profession. 

 

“Last year we also asked our members, Board and representative Council how we could go further. The result was Going Further – A roadmap to enhanced trust and accountability articulating 14 actions – some of which CA ANZ can implement, and others that require support from government and stakeholders. 

 

Among the 14 actions: 

  • introducing a new CA ANZ program for ‘affiliate’ members (including within large firms), so they are clear on their ethical obligations as members of CA ANZ specifically, which has now launched; 
  • making it mandatory for all our members to annually and formally reaffirm their commitment to the “Chartered Accountant’s commitment”, which articulates the standards we expect from our community – or they can no longer be a part of our profession, which has now commenced this month; 
  • requesting the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board to undertake consultation on the merits of amending the Code of Ethics to include a positive duty for members to report wrongdoing by other members; 
  • publishing the Professional Standards Annual Report for Australia, with information regarding reviews, conduct, discipline and other relevant information. This report is proactively provided to all key stakeholders; and 
  • requiring members to undertake 120 hours total continuing professional development (CPD) per triennium. Of this total, CA ANZ members must complete specific training according to their specialisation in addition to ethics. CA ANZ has increased three-fold the mandatory ethics CPD to six hours per triennium and has invested in complimentary and paid ethics training resources for members. 

 

“CA ANZ notes the committee’s recommendation in relation to giving public agencies a greater range of escalating sanctions for consultants who behave unethically. CA ANZ supports any improvements to Government processes that would ensure a member accused of any wrongdoing is referred to our disciplinary bodies for investigation, and if warranted, appropriately sanctioned,” Ms van Onselen said. 

 

CA ANZ Senior Tax Advocate, Susan Franks, said it was important to note that Taxation was not included as part of the inquiry’s Terms of Reference and that CA ANZ does not support the recommendations regarding company and payroll tax. 

 

“Arbitrarily imposing payroll tax on accounting partnership profits needlessly adds increased complexity to a tax that is already difficult to apply. It is also inequitable and may increase costs for businesses who need accounting services. 

 

“The committee’s recommendation would change the nature of payroll tax from a tax on labour to a tax on profits. Partnership distributions are a return on a multitude of inputs – capital, goodwill, intellectual property as well as labour. This recommendation, if implemented by the Government, could hinder business investment and innovation,” Ms Franks said. 

 

Ms van Onselen noted that the NSW Government has three months to consider its response to these recommendations and that CA ANZ would pay close attention to any developments. 

 

“The good standing of Chartered Accountants in the community must never be taken for granted. 

 

“This, and other inquiries and processes currently underway at the federal level, have provided an important opportunity to clarify the important role we play as a membership body and make our profession even stronger. 

 

“There’s an opportunity here as well for government to improve its processes and procedures. 

 

“We will continue our work to further strengthen the regulatory framework and reinforce trust in multi-disciplinary firms and our profession, but we also want to avoid punishing all the hardworking accountants that are doing the right thing,” Ms van Onselen said. 

 

 

ENDS 

Media Contact 

Gillian Bowen  
M +61 (0)411 485 421            E:
gillian.bowen@charteredaccountantsanz.com   

   

About Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand 

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand represents more than 138,000 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.  

www.charteredaccountantsanz.com  

 

 

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