Date posted: 28/11/2018 8 mins min read

Do CA ethics and values produce better leaders?

Outgoing CA ANZ President Jane Stanton FCA says the ethics and values that guide chartered accountants are precious commodities in a world needing leaders.

In brief

  • In December 2018, Jane Stanton FCA finishes her year as president of CA ANZ.
  • She says leadership can be challenging but, more than ever, CAs are being called on to lead.
  • As members of CA ANZ, chartered accountants are part of a trusted community, and can easily access advice and support when they need it.

Ross Jackson, a past president of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, had just taken me to the end of the earth … a road trip from Invercargill to Bluff. He asked me, “Is this the best year of your professional life?” My answer was an emphatic “Yes”.

I am humbled every day to meet members who make such a valuable contribution to their clients, colleagues and communities. I have met members from Darwin to Invercargill, from Perth to Gisborne. I have welcomed the newest members to our profession and celebrated longevity of service with others. I have met members who are politicians, CEOs or lead partners, and CAs who service their communities as sole practitioners or are working to build sustainable enterprises within Indigenous communities.

There is absolutely no limit to what a CA does. It is therefore impossible to define our profession by what we do; yet easy to do so based on who we are. This is because we are a profession, and all held to the same standard of ethics, behaviour and currency of knowledge. We support each other to maintain these standards and expect our professional organisation to serve and enable us to do so.

Our members volunteer on governance committees, participate in discussion groups, provide guidance through the Chartered Accountants Advisory Group, share experiences through Mentor Exchange and support candidates to complete the CA Program. We are a profession but, more importantly, we are a community.

Some say as the way we work continues to change – as relationships with employers become shorter and work becomes more contract based – that membership of a profession will become less relevant. My view is the opposite.

We all need our tribe… our community and connections. A place to seek guidance and be guided, be supported and be educated. A place built on a foundation of ethics and values. A safe place.

“We all need our tribe… our community and connections.”
Jane Stanton FCA

I am privileged every day to see evidence of this, particularly at member celebrations. I often wish I could bottle the tangible sense of pride, comradeship and commitment when welcoming a new member to the profession or to Fellowship.

Our profession, more than ever, is being called on to lead. These days, as what is defined as acceptable behaviour changes, business leaders must now ask themselves not “can I?” but “should I?”

Leadership can be challenging, yet as CAs we need never feel isolated. Each of us has the support of our profession. It has been an honour and privilege to serve as President of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in 2018.

Watch out for our thought-provoking interview on ethics with Clare Payne, EY Oceania's Fellow for Trust and Ethics, in our new-look Acuity magazine, in postboxes from 3 December 2018. Have a read and let us know what you think at [email protected].