Professional conduct

Key Points

  • We are increasing independence and oversight of our Professional Conduct function
  • The enhanced process will ensure that our current practice remains robust, while resolving matters in a more efficient and expedient manner
  • Changes will also focus on maintaining and further fostering the pre-eminence of our profession

Last year, we engaged independent external experts to undertake a review of our professional conduct function in Australia. We did this to ensure that our current practice remains robust and so that we can identify any opportunities for advancement. As a result, a number of changes are being implemented.

Key changes

  • The formation of a Professional Conduct Oversight Committee (PCOC). This committee will have six to seven independent members and an independent chair.
     
  • The PCOC is responsible for the oversight of the professional conduct process within Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (Chartered Accountants ANZ).
     
  • Chartered Accountants ANZ’s board has appointed Nancy Dolan as the chair of the PCOC. Ms. Dolan is an experienced legal professional with experience in dispute resolution and governance reviews. We are currently filling other vacancies on this committee. The formation of the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC).
     
  • The PCC will be responsible for assessing complaints and other matters prepared by Chartered Accountants ANZ staff and for assessing whether or not the matter should progress to the Disciplinary Tribunal. To this end, the PCC will meet frequently during the year. The PCC will also have power under the By-Laws to enter into “consent agreements” with members which may involve financial or other repercussions. The intention is to resolve matters in a more efficient and expedient manner for the benefit of all involved.
     
  • Changes to the operation, process and/or procedure of the Disciplinary Tribunal and Appeal Tribunal (Tribunals). These changes include:
    • Having an experienced external lawyer/firm advocating the matter on behalf of Chartered Accountants ANZ in the Tribunals
    • Having an experienced lawyer/firm available in an advisory capacity to assist the Tribunals’ members with any questions or issues of law or legal process that may arise, when requested to do so by the chair
    • Drawing members of the Tribunals from a national panel of senior, experienced members of Chartered Accountants ANZ (Panel), as well as legal practitioners and the business/professional community more broadly
    • Providing for video and conferencing facilities where appropriate. Implementing an advanced electronic case management system
    • Increased number of hearings to further expedite matters.
    • Paying Tribunal members a sitting fee (in the case of Chartered Accountants ANZ members, once they have participated in more than four Tribunals per year and for those that are not Chartered Accountants ANZ members, for all hearings).

Committee and Panel members are to be appointed following nomination by the Nominations and Governance Committee.

Next steps

We are currently updating our professional compliance framework which includes the Chartered Accountants ANZ By-Laws, Regulations and Policies to enable the above changes. We expect to ask members to vote on the By-Law changes in November 2015.

How can you get involved?

The Tribunals are drawn from a panel of senior experienced members of Chartered Accountants ANZ, the business/professional community more broadly and legal practitioners. We have prepared a document, Ideal skills and competencies, for members of the Panel to share with you the type of person we think is best suited to the Panel. If you would like to nominate yourself or would like to find out more, you can contact General Manager Professional Standards, Quality and Liability Capping, Kristen Wydell, at kristen.wydell@charteredaccountantsanz.com with your expression of interest and include a current curriculum vitae.

 

About Professional Conduct

Professional Conduct is Chartered Accountants ANZ's disciplinary arm, via its complaint and disciplinary process. This process enforces standards and regulates the behaviour of members to ensure compliance with the Chartered Accountants ANZ By-laws, Code of Ethics (the "Code"), Standards and Regulations.

The complaint and disciplinary process involves investigating complaints made against members or other issues concerning their conduct, which come to Chartered Accountants ANZ's attention, e.g. as the result of court action. Where the investigation concludes that there was non-compliance by the member with the By-laws, Code of Ethics, Accounting Standards or Regulations, the sanctions are strictly limited to discipline of the member. This is either through a disciplinary hearing at Chartered Accountants ANZ's Professional Conduct Tribunal or issuing the member with a caution. The disciplinary process cannot provide any form of compensation or restitution to a complainant.

Article last updated 28 August 2015