Date posted: 01/10/2023 5 min read

CA members share their perspectives of the Professional Conduct Framework Review

Voting is now open to further strengthen the Professional Conduct Framework and members are encouraged to vote.

In Brief

  • A yes vote is needed to implement some of the major recommendations of the CA ANZ Professional Conduct Framework Review.
  • Voting is now open until 20 October, the same day as the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
  • CA members from across the world share their perspectives of the Professional Conduct Framework Review. Members are encouraged to have their say to uphold the integrity of CA ANZ and the broader accounting profession.

By now, most members will be familiar with the findings and recommendations of the recent CA ANZ Professional Conduct Framework Review, which was released in June 2023. Nick Deerson, UK-based member of five years, says “it is pleasing to see the review of our current framework meets or exceeds international and peer benchmarks.”

However, a commitment to continuous improvement means taking all the opportunities to enhance our professional standards.

While some recommendations from the review have already been accepted and implemented, the recommendations that require amendments to the CA ANZ By-Laws or NZICA Rules have been put to a member vote which is now open and closes on 20 October.

Maintaining trust

Natasha Harvey FCA, chief financial officer at Feisst Group and a member for 15 years, is a CA ANZ regional councillor for Central North Island, New Zealand. She sees trust as the cornerstone of her profession and believes accountants must hold themselves to account.

“You don’t get the CA designation, you become a CA – part of something bigger than yourself,” she says. “The designation has been around for over 100 years so it’s something to be proud of, and there’s a heritage and legacy to uphold.”

Grant Ellis FCA, formerly chief financial officer of Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited and current New Zealand vice president of CA ANZ, describes regular reviews of the professional conduct framework as a way to “keep the badge shiny”.

“These recommendations will strengthen the powers we need to keep our organisation at the forefront of ethics and preserving its integrity,” he says.

“Conduct can't be static,” says Amanda McIntyre FCA, a partner at EY in Canberra, deputy chair of the CA ANZ regional council and a member for over 20 years. “You don’t know the limitations of regulations until they have been fully tested, which can take a long time. If you find they don’t reflect the needs or don’t manage the harms that you’re trying to protect, they need to be updated.

“Regulations also need to reflect the context in which they’re operating. Societal norms shift and I think that, in the current context of integrity breaches when trust in institutions is at an all-time low, our professional framework needs to reflect society’s changing expectations of trust within the profession.”

“It is a constant challenge the accounting profession faces,” says Deerson. “Especially when being in a heavily regulated industry.”
McIntyre is already seeing the effects of recent events.

“I think the ability of CA ANZ to deal fully and swiftly with breaches of professional conduct by members can reduce the impact of those breaches on the reputation of the broader profession,” she says. “Now more than ever it’s by having strong conduct and disciplinary frameworks that we will ensure the reputation of the profession and, therefore, maintain the benefits of being a member.”

“I think the ability of CA ANZ to deal fully and swiftly with breaches of professional conduct by members can reduce the impact of those breaches on the reputation of the broader profession,” she says. “Now more than ever it’s by having strong conduct and disciplinary frameworks that we will ensure the reputation of the profession and, therefore, maintain the benefits of being a member.”
Amanda McIntyre FCA, EY

Three of the major changes

One of the most significant of the proposed changes concerns how CA ANZ responds to firm events. The review proposes a five-fold increase in maximum fines for firm events of up to A$250,000 at the Disciplinary Tribunal level, and A$100,000 at the Professional Conduct Committee level.

“The fines have traditionally been very, very low,” says Tim Gullifer FCA, a non-executive director, former chair of the CA ANZ board and a member for over 40 years. “I can see why it’s important to increase them. It will put firms on notice that, if you don’t behave appropriately, there’s potential for you to be hit by substantial financial penalties.”

Two other major changes are designed to align some Australian and New Zealand rules.

As things stand, members in Australia can avoid disciplinary action by simply resigning before CA ANZ learns of the alleged conduct. This is not the case in New Zealand, where the disciplinary bodies can investigate complaints against both past and current members.

“The nature of our careers and membership in the profession has changed,” says McIntyre. “These days, people don’t necessarily stay in one job or even in the profession for their whole career, which means there’s an increased likelihood that people won’t maintain their membership continuously. If former members can't be held to account for their actions, indirectly that erodes trust in the broader accounting profession.”

The review also recommends introducing optional firm membership in New Zealand, giving firms an opportunity to take responsibility for their own systemic issues. This would ensure that New Zealand practices have the same membership opportunities as those in Australia.

“I believe that aligning New Zealand and Australia would demonstrate a really strong system,” says Harvey. “From an outside perspective, having two systems in place doesn’t seem fair. You don’t want two people with the same designation to be seen differently from one another.”

Ellis is also keen to see more alignment.

“Historically, Australia and New Zealand have had slightly different approaches but CA ANZ is one organisation, so I think standardisation is timely,” he says.

Why every member should vote

Harvey considers that voting on the recommendations will benefit both the organisation and members themselves.

“We’re a member-led organisation, so the voting turnout reflects on our ability to manage ourselves,” she says. “Voting also brings us back to the key issue of how we maintain trust in our profession. These changes have the potential to set us up for the future and show that, yes, we are behaving in an appropriate way and establishing an ethical baseline.”

For McIntyre, the fact that members vote is more important than the way they vote.

“What matters is that, as a member, you add your voice to the direction the profession takes in terms of addressing misconduct in the future,” she says. “We’re in a trusted position in society and part of maintaining that trust is being actively engaged in the issues of the day.”

Deerson actively encourages members to stay engaged with regulatory changes. “It’s always good to keep a pulse on potential impacts that may affect your day job,” he says.
Gullifer acknowledges that members are busy but urges them to find the time to vote.

“Our professional conduct framework is fundamental to our reputation,” he says. “We now have a clear opportunity to strengthen that framework, clearly demonstrating to the public and the government that we are committed to ethical behaviour.”

“In any organisation, members should be active participants in the democratic process,” Ellis concludes. “Here, it’s part of our pledge to enhance the integrity and trust of our profession.”

How to vote

  • Voting is open from Monday 25 September and closes at 5pm AEDT on 20 October 2023, the day of the AGM
  • Full financial members can vote on nine resolutions related to the CA ANZ By-Laws. New Zealand financial, full members can also vote on an additional five resolutions to change the NZICA Rules
  • You will receive an email from, an independent voting provider. It will provide instructions on how to vote, your unique pin, and details of how to request a paper ballot if that is your preference
  • If you haven’t received an email, please check your spam or junk folder, or email [email protected]. For further information on the platform, please call 1800 859 370 (from Australia) or 0800 666 032 (from New Zealand).

Find more information on the Professional Conduct Framework Review and how your vote will make a difference.

Member Vote 2023

Everything you need to vote can be found at:

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