Date posted: 29/03/2019 5 min read

Meet a CA | David Robjent FCA, ACT Regional Council Chair 2019

Canberra-based David Robjent FCA is a champion for CAs working in Australia’s public sector.

In Brief

  • David Robjent FCA has been elected as the ACT Regional Council Chair for 2019.
  • He says CAs have significant influence in shaping Australian government policy, both as public servants and as consultants to government.
  • He wants a professional development framework for CA ANZ members working in the public sector to help them advance their careers.

Chartered accountants working in the public sector have a champion in David Robjent FCA, the ACT Regional Council Chair for 2019. One of his priorities is building a professional development framework for public sector CA ANZ members to help them advance their careers.

“The ACT economic and political landscape is shaped by Australia’s federal government,” Robjent says. “CA ANZ members are key leaders in government and have significant influence in shaping government policy, whether as public servants or as consultants or advisers to government. Contributing to robust, evidence-based policy development should be a priority for all members of our profession.”

Robjent led EY’s government advisory group before leaving in 2007 to establish Grey Advantage Consulting, an advisory firm staffed entirely by senior consultants with deep experience of government.

“It is important that CA ANZ continues to take a leadership role in its advocacy to government.”
David Robjent FCA

He is very familiar with advising on strategic planning and performance improvements for public sector organisations. So how does he hope to improve CA ANZ’s performance and connection with members in the public sector in the year ahead?

What are your top three priorities as regional council chair?

David Robjent FCADavid Robjent FCA

1. Ensuring that members in the ACT have a meaningful voice in the direction of the profession through improved public sector advocacy by CA ANZ.

2. Establishing a credible social media presence that genuinely engages members in the ACT and encourages them to contribute to the profession. (We will do this by leveraging strategic CA ANZ projects such as My CA to their full potential.)

3. Building a professional development framework for our public sector members that enables them to advance their careers.

What do you think is the most important issue for the future of the accounting profession?

The credibility of our profession is being challenged on multiple fronts. Poor governance and leadership of CPA Australia; failure of financial institutions to act with integrity as highlighted by Australia’s royal commission into the banks; and high-profile fraud (Storm Financial, illegal phoenixing, and international profit shifting as shown with the Panama Papers) has put the professional reputation of accountants at risk. It is important that CA ANZ continues to take a leadership role in its advocacy to government.

What made you stick up your hand to be regional council chair?

I hope to bring the insights and experience gained in my former roles to good effect in supporting our ACT members. I’ve previously been a member of the National Council of CA ANZ and a former board member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. I see the role of regional chair as being of critical importance to the governance of CA ANZ.

What have you learnt about achieving strategic goals?

Always remember the purpose of why you exist and articulate that purpose through lived behaviours.

What makes you proud of the CA community in your region?

We have an outstanding local office that continually provides high-quality events that are specifically tailored and relevant to our ACT members. We have smart, local members that are well networked and a very capable council and committee structure, including a vibrant young CA group.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A chartered accountant! This is not as unusual as it sounds. The older neighbours on each side of the house where I grew up became chartered accountants working for Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Andersen, so I was exposed to CAs from a very young age.

What’s on your reading/viewing list?

I am currently reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and Past Mortem, a detective novel by Ben Elton. My recent viewing highlight has been Bohemian Rhapsody.

What do you like to do for fun or to unwind?

I coach my daughter’s under 10s soccer team, enjoy bushwalking and Thursday night at the pub playing trivia with my family and friends. I am in the process of renovating a weekend home in the Southern Highlands of NSW [he grew up in Moss Vale]. It is good to have hobbies and interests outside of my day job that provide an opportunity to do practical things.

And what’s your top tip for visitors to Canberra?

Enjoy the food and culture of Australia’s national capital, particularly our national institutions.

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