Merry Christmas to Peter Wilson. When it was suggested that Peter Wilson should be independent of the old board so that we can have a fresh start Peter responded with "That's your issue". Summary of the meeting here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=594
A good summary of where we are up to by Joe Aston of the AFR, linked to from here: viewtopic.php?f=5&p=4137#p4137
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Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

A weekly round up of the issues and progress
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Brett Stevenson
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Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:43 am

Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by Brett Stevenson » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:08 am

Member update from Brett Stevenson

Hi all,

I am in Canada currently attending a family member's wedding, so am only just catching up to the news of Alex Malleys sacking. First let me say thank you to all the members who have given to the fighting fund and all your emails of support. It is greatly appreciated.

Our mailing list has increased to over 1500. Here is the sign up link, please continue to share it:

http://eepurl.com/cNpQ05

Let me make a few brief comments:

1. The announcement itself reveals much of the boards intent . I shall leave members to makeup their own minds on whether they see the terminating of Mr Malley's employment as the start of a major change of heart at CPA Australia, or whether they are hoping this will be just a step to prevent further matters from being publicly exposed and acted upon. My comments below will perhaps give you an idea of what I think.

2 . The termination payment of $4.9 million is unacceptable and those responsible for the approval and payment need to be held to account.
I have no idea who set the contract, what the terms of the contract were, and perhaps. more importantly what date the latest contract was signed and agreed by the board. But the people on the board who oversaw and recommended and presumably locked us in to this outrageous contract need in some way to be able to give account to the membership for that.
Already some members have raised good questions about the legal legitimacy of such a payout and the boards decision. These questions need to be answered and not covered up.

3. The remuneration at CPA Australia of the board, the senior executive and the middle management need to be reduced by at least 50% effective immediately. I hardly think I am being unreasonable in this request. I encourage all members to refer to the memo from the board on 31st May when they were forced to fully disclose remuneration. Even at 50% of current remuneration levels all these people would be more than handsomely rewarded. The Board need to set the example here. We do not want tinkering around the edges and a response of 'this would be unfair'. The Remuneration levels have been way over the top for too long and radical action is need to reduce them to a realistic and more reasonable level. In some situations greater than 50% reductions would be appropriate.
Here is my quick Remuneration guide
Board members $40,000 tops p.a.
President/Chairman $100,000 tops p.a.
Vice Presidents - serious look at whether the increase above the directors fees are required at all.
CEO - any remuneration above $700,000 would be excessive. Flat remuneration, no bonuses and top-ups. The Board need to review the person and their job constantly.
COO's - any remuneration above $350,000 would be excessive. Again flat rate, no bonuses.
Middle management - as detailed in the memo. Reduce the lot by 50% flat with a view to perhaps some being reduced further.
We need to keep in mind that CPA Australia is a very low risk 'business operation'. Most revenue is guaranteed each year though membership fees, professional development and education.
Clearly we, as members can only act (by special resolution) to reduce the boards fees, and it's is up to the board to establish realistic remuneration levels for the staff. This would be one of the pre-requisites for any new board members to get my vote - to reduce the above remuneration levels by at least 50%.
The culture at CPA Australia needs urgent attention, and is would be a good place to start the process. Many of the persons in the above positions have reaped enormous financial benefits over the last decade. I say it is time for some radical surgery.

4. We still need to continue with the fighting fund to take 'legal action'.
To date the balance of the fighting fund, after just two days, is $12,415, with more that has been given but yet to 'hit the account' because of bank transfer delays.
I shall provide a weekly update on the balance.
If enough of us give $100 each we should be able to raise the required amount without much effort. So can I ask members to seriously consider this as this is the chance to really change things at CPA Australia.
With many of the past and current decisions at CPA Australia needing a legal overview I suggest we continue to pressure them to ensure that action ensues. I have no confidence in many of the current board and management at CPA Australia as many of them have been actively involved in what has led to where we are today. I believe they need to be held to account.
The major issues and problems still exist, and the current board and management at CPA are a big part of that.
Just think of the enormous effort and exposures we have had to make to force the board to face up to the problems and issues. We have had to use the Corporations Law to force them to provide full disclosure and to release the Members Register. I would encourage all members to re-read the emails from Jeff Hughes on 2nd March, and from the board on 16th March, ( both on our website) and to see the way they have tried to justify and defend what we have exposed. Quite apart from the way they downplayed us a a rogue group, and me in particular as a member who cannot be trusted (refer their warning letter about the Members Register to appreciate this).
They have cast aspersions on us, they have hinted at legal action against the AFR for reporting on these issues, have virtually regarded one their reporters (Joe Aston) as pursuing a personal campaign against them.
Yet all along the fundamental problems exposed and reported on are true and correct. They have played the victim card just a few too many times in my mind.
We still need to force their hand. And hopefully ASIC will get involved. If not we shall do what we can. But either way we need to make sure they are held accountable and that if legal action or redress is required, then it should be taken.

6. For Adam Awty to be appointed interim CEO is just not on. It may satisfy the board but it just exacerbates the problems. The Board are just avoiding the obvious weakness and conflict of interest in appointing Adam Awty as interim CEO.

7. There is no way having the current board in place while major decisions on a new CEO, and new board members, are appointed is just not on. A completely new board, democratically elected directly by the members based on geographic/population regions, with no more special groups and no representative council, needs to be immediately implemented so that the major decisions required to be made in the short terms are done so by a truly representative board. For any of the current board members to be involved in selecting a new CEO, or be involved in the selecting of new board members, would be counterproductive at best, and a possible sham at worst.

8. CPA Australia needs a major 'root and branch' refresh, and having this 'non-independent' review by Angus Houston and Ian McPhee might assuage the boards poor leadership but it does nothing to satisfy the members that the issues will be dealt with properly.
Much of this will need to be done by the new board with no involvement whatsoever by the current board and minimal involvement of the senior and middle management at CPA Australia.

9. My personal suggestions on the almost 'radical surgery' that is required at CPA Australia to overcome all the negative publicity of the last four months and restore it to being a pre-eminent professional accounting membership organisation. If the approach of the current board is any indication then I suggest our organisation will be reduced to a 'rump'.

a. Appoint a good (and truly independent) forensic accountant to review all the income and especially expenditure at CPA Australia for the last 7 years with a view to providing recommendations on further courses of action in relation thereto.

Reduce Remuneration of Board and management by at least 50% immediately

c . Establish an immediate and completely independent governance review of CPA Australia to ensure members directly elect directors, and that the directors represent members based on geographic/member population boundaries and not special groups. That the role of the Representative Council be abolished. And that appropriate checks and balances are put in place to prevent any sort of 'gerrymandering'.

d. Review all positions on international accounting and other committees and boards with a view to refreshing and reflecting the changing focus of CPA Australia. Refer the annual reports just before the financial report to see many of these listed. I believe the current CPA representatives need to be replaced as a matter of urgency.

(e. Establish a working relationship with ASIC to review and consider what legal action may (if at all) be taken against past directors and officers of CPA Australia, and in relation to CPA Australia Advice, with regard to their duties and responsibilities in the Corporations Act and in common law.

f.
g.
h.
etc.

Cheers
Brett

Contact:
Brett Stevenson
bstevenson100@gmail.com
N
Last edited by Brett Stevenson on Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cpasteve
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 9:24 am

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by cpasteve » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:02 am

Without dragging this too off topic, but anyone willing to comment on the tax deductibility of contributions to the fighting fund? Not as a donation, but as a genuine work related/business expense to continue to maintain our incomes as professional accountants. Coming up to the end of June this might make contributing a little more attractive to the stereotypical thrifty accountants among us...

deaneus
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:09 pm

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by deaneus » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:16 am

cpasteve wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:02 am
Not as a donation, but as a genuine work related/business expense to continue to maintain our incomes as professional accountants.
that's what I'm calling it ;)

chuck_meister
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:58 am

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by chuck_meister » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:40 am

cpasteve wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:02 am
Without dragging this too off topic, but anyone willing to comment on the tax deductibility of contributions to the fighting fund? Not as a donation, but as a genuine work related/business expense to continue to maintain our incomes as professional accountants. Coming up to the end of June this might make contributing a little more attractive to the stereotypical thrifty accountants among us...
Hi cpasteve,

Whilst this probably possible, it is very burdensome administratively.
I'd rather save any unnecessary paperwork for Brett so he can focus
on the main issues.

Though there is an argument for this expense to be directly tied to the generation of income,
there is an issue with matching expenses to June. At this stage all contributions would be considered
as prepayments. Some small amount could possible be spent in the next few days. You can image
the problem of multiple pro-rata invoices for each contributor. It simply wouldn't be workable.

So better to consider no tax destructibility as part of our contribution to the cause.

(You can still claim up to $300 in work related deductions without the need for documentation,
however given the timing, it will have to be for the next financial year).
Last edited by chuck_meister on Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

passedfc
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 3:14 pm

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by passedfc » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:47 am

Well done again Brett.
I think we all agree with your listed thoughts.
Without your dedication and fortitude we would not be where we are today,and I salute you for your efforts.
This forum has galvanised the CPA members and some outstanding individuals have emerged here to stand beside you, and I commend them also for their tireless efforts.The calibre of many of the contributers here confirm the CPA brand can be restored , but it will take time and effort.Hopefully it teachers us all that we cant be apathetic about CPA in the future.
The AFR today is just full of the exposure on CPA and Mallee, so hopefully bad as it is, the news should be out to all CPAs now.
We need to get all CPAs up to speed with the situation.
I agree that the appointment of Awty as CEO or in any capacity is counter productive.
CPA should undergo complete review and restructure.It is just how this is arranged that is the question.
The AFR have copy of Jen Dalitz's letter to Jim Dixon as well, which was a well crafted letter to Dickson setting out many of the issues.
Dickson and the rest should now resign as should Awty and Hughes.
Hopefully now the support grows and the organisation can rebuild.
Well done again to you and supporters.

Ken Crout
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:10 pm
Location: Victor Harbor SA 5211

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by Ken Crout » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:23 pm

Can we PLEASE!! all stop asking if contributions to the fighting fund are tax deductible?

It makes us sound like bloody accountants (or even worse, tax agents).

Forget the freaking tax deduction angle and contribute NOW!! . . . before CPA Australia sinks further into what appears to be a stomach-churning mire of greed, incompetence and potential criminality.

JUST DO THE MATH :
1.If we can believe Alex (ho! ho!) we have 160,000 members (due only to his own incomparable brilliance, of course).
2.The fighting fund needs a mere $80k.

QUESTION:
How hard can this be?

ADVICE:
If anyone mentions a tax deduction I shall get really cross.
Last edited by Ken Crout on Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cpasteve
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 9:24 am

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by cpasteve » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:30 pm

Sorry, I didn't realise it had been asked and answered already.

Alienating segments of our profession doesn't help though, we're all in this together, even tax agents.

Thank you chuck_meister for clearing that up in a respectful manner. Agreed, the most important thing is that Brett and the others can devote as much time and energy to the cause. I don't think anyone would want to compromise that given how much they've done already, and how far there unfortunately seems to go.

Ken Crout
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:10 pm
Location: Victor Harbor SA 5211

Re: Need to build the fighting fund. 25th June 2017

Post by Ken Crout » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:47 pm

No offence intended Steve . . . I wrote in jest.

Some of my best friends are tax agents . . . sorry . . . another bad joke!

But seriously, we have a long way to go before we hit the $80k target . . . yesterday we had less than $18k.

We all need to get serious about this . . . let us put our money where our mouths are.

I am a feeble old retiree of 75 and had no difficulty scraping together $500 for the cause.

Don't tell Centrelink though!

Cheers,
Ken
ex FCPA, current OAP

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