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Finance Investment, Government ACT

CA ANZ STATEMENT ON SENATE INQUIRY INTO THE MANAGEMENT AND ASSURANCE OF INTEGRITY BY CONSULTING SERVICES

Chartered Accountants ANZ 3 mins read

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) notes yesterday’s recommendations from the Senate inquiry into the management and assurance of integrity by consulting services. 

CA ANZ CEO, Ainslie van Onselen, said the close relationship between professionals who are ‘consultants’ and ‘accountants’ is why CA ANZ played an active role in this inquiry. 

Ms van Onselen said the accounting body is pleased to see a call for the Department of Finance Supplier Code of Conduct to incorporate elements of APES 110 - the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Recommendation 5). 

“The accountancy profession is the world's only profession subscribing to a global Code of Ethics set by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, upon which APES 110 is based. The Code establishes fundamental ethics principles for our members and recognises our public interest responsibility,” she said. 

CA ANZ also welcomed the recommendation (Recommendation 9) that any changes to the structures of partnerships would first be subject to a review by the Australian Law Reform Commission, or other appropriate bodies.  

“CA ANZ supports sound regulation that creates certainty for business investment and a productivity-friendly business environment. A stable policy environment is particularly critical at this time given the nation’s skills shortage crisis, which continues to be the number one issue facing the accounting profession,” Ms van Onselen said.

“With respect to Recommendation 10, CA ANZ values the privileged role we play in upholding the integrity of our profession and as such does not shy away from scrutiny, however, we need to ensure we have well-funded regulators including ASIC and ensure the right bodies are answering to authorities with appropriate knowledge and expertise. 

CA ANZ’s Professional Standards Annual Report, provides the outcomes of CA ANZ’s education, monitoring and disciplinary functions and last year we concluded our own review of our conduct and disciplinary framework, including an independent assessment from the Hon. Dennis Cowdroy AO KC. 

“Our members voted strongly in favour of changes to the CA ANZ By-Laws to implement the recommendations of this review, including a five-fold increase in fines for Firm Events and the power to investigate Australian members who have since left the profession.”  

Ms van Onselen also responded to additional comments from the Australian Greens regarding CA ANZ’s ability to impose fines equal to that of the US accounting regulator – the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which recently fined KPMG Netherlands $38 million for the offence of exam cheating.   

“As I said in my opening statement to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, there is a misconception that CA ANZ is a front-line regulator in Australia. We are not. We are a private membership body. We are not a government regulator. Nor are we a court of law.  

“The ability to impose significant fines, like we have seen from the PCAOB, requires statutory powers under legislation. During recent appearances at both the Senate and Parliamentary Joint Committees, CA ANZ said that we would gladly accept the ability to do the same, should the government choose to go down that path. 

“These inquiries, alongside others underway at a Federal level, have provided an important opportunity to clarify the role CA ANZ plays as a membership body and the work we are doing to make the profession even stronger. 

“Last year we 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.”  

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

  

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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