Date posted: 08/10/2019 5 min read

A big win for chartered accountants in public practice

CA ANZ’s latest Professional Standards Scheme covers all Australian CAs in public practice, even those giving financial advice.

In Brief

  • CA ANZ’s new Professional Standards Scheme will come into force on 8 October 2019.
  • The Scheme caps the damages a member is required to pay if a court upholds a claim against them.
  • CA ANZ is one of a few professional bodies to have a Scheme approved without needing an extension.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s new Professional Standards Scheme (Scheme) comes into force on 8 October 2019. In my career as a CA I’ve had many highlights, but being told in April that our Scheme had been approved by Australia’s Professional Standards Councils (PSC) was probably the biggest.

Why? Because this is the PSC recognising the high standards of CA ANZ members in public practice, and reflects the commitment of our small professional standards team to tell that compelling story.

The approved Scheme is a legal instrument that has the effect of capping the damages a member may be required to pay if a court upholds a claim against them.

But it’s not an insurance product. The caps only apply if a member can prove they have enough professional indemnity insurance and/or business assets to cover the potential damages awarded by a court.

When I joined the CA ANZ team in July 2014, we had just had our current Scheme approved and the approval process had been difficult. I took a long-term view and immediately set about building relationships between the staff at the PSC and CAANZ’s leaders including two CEOs, two heads of professional standing and advocacy and three scheme compliance managers.

Over the next four years, we had hours of meetings to help the PSC understand our members’ activities and how CA ANZ keeps our badge bright and shiny.

We took the time to understand what was important for the PSC and its staff. We workshopped ways to make our Scheme more inclusive, while continuing to provide the best level of protection to clients of chartered accountants.

“…we had hours of meetings to help the PSC understand our members’ activities and how CA ANZ keeps our badge bright and shiny.”
Kristen Wydell FCA

I also kept challenging how CA ANZ could improve our risk management and monitoring activities, so the PSC knew we were serious about continually improving the professional standards of our members and, in doing so, providing protection for consumers.

What did CA ANZ achieve?

Kristen Wydell FCAPicture: Kristen Wydell FCA.

CA ANZ is one of only a few professional associations to have a Professional Standards Scheme approved without needing to seek an extension. We also obtained approval for the maximum period of five years.

Finally, and most importantly, our new Scheme includes all members in public practice. Previously the Scheme had limitations for members who held, or were an authorised representative of, an Australian Financial Services Licence other than a limited licence.

The categories and bands for professional indemnity insurance and liability caps are unchanged from our current Scheme (see table). This result would not have been achieved without the dedication, commitment, patience and determination of the CA ANZ Australian Professional Standards team.

More information

For any CA ANZ Professional Standards Scheme application queries, email [email protected]