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
If you are new to this website read the story so far: viewtopic.php?t=321#p1793
Check out some of the AFR articles, too many to list and check out some of the ABC reports: http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 215-h055ej http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 211-h02x1d http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the ... s,/8626662
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Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

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Brett Stevenson
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Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by Brett Stevenson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:31 pm

Hi all members,

Time for an update as our current board of 5 (plus one ring-in to maintain a quorum) continue on their merry way seemingly oblivious to the fact that they have lost all moral, ethical and arguably legal legitimacy with the membership.

Here is a summary update, and for the more detailed update please read further on.

A SUMMARY UPDATE

CPA Australia - an organisation in crisis and a leadership in disarray.

If I were to ask you ‘why do you think this current board has lost its legitimacy?’, what would you say?
Let me provide three very brief summaries by others which in their own way hit on some of the key area’s (these are in the detailed update further on).

1. Joe Aston from the AFR - 4th July 2017

2. Past State and National Leaders of CPA Australia - 4th July 2017

3. CPA members - Jen Dalitz, Glen Hasselman, Chris Catto, Andrew North - July 2017

What is the strategy now?

I will tell you what I think is the strategy to move ahead.

1. The current board need to go immediately. They have lost all credibility.

Signing the spill motion and reaching the requite 6,000 signatures is critical and the number one priority.

All the current remaining board need to go immediately. I do not trust a word they say or any decisions they make.


2. An interim board needs to be put in place immediately to institute a detailed governance review with the election by the members of a new board at the AGM in April 2018.

This can be achieved by a special resolution at the EGM when the current board is ‘sacked’.
The most obvious question is who is to serve on this Interim Board and how will they be selected?

a. There is already one petition going around suggesting that the state divisional Presidents should be on this board.
Well I disagree strongly with that suggestion.

b. How about some of the more outspoken advocates for change such as myself and others of similar ilk serving on the Interim Board?
I don’t think so either.

c. I suggest that for an Interim Board we need a group of members (and perhaps even a few non-members?) who will be tasked with establishing a governance review, making recommendations for the members to consider at an EGM in February or March 2018 and ensuring the transition to a fully elected new board at the AGM in April 2018. They need to of impeccable character, reputation and expertise and will be readily accepted by the membership.

I suggest these are the 6 criteria for the Interim Board members (see detail below).

How this group is selected is the challenge. Time is not on our side.
We certainly do not want the current board to be in place at the time the Independent Panel Draft Report is delivered, which is 15th September 2017. So the notice to force an EGM needs to be lodged at least 21 working days prior to that which means it must be lodged by 16th August 2017 at the latest. That means we need to get the 6,000 signatures asap to force the EGM by that date.

Can I ask members to consider persons who may ‘fit the bill’ for this Interim Board. They will need to be of the calibre that all members will have no hesitation in saying yes, let’s go with these people. As to who and how this selection of the Interim Board is selected is still a little ‘up in the air’ but I shall come back to you with an answer to that by the end of the week. I would suggest an 8 person Interim Board with a minimum of 6 being members of CPA Australia.


3. Special Resolutions to be passed at the EGM

Clearly the main resolution to be passed at the EGM will be to spill the board. But also other resolutions will need to be submitted and voted on at that meeting
partly to ensure the processes are legal - this is where we shall ensure any resolutions and the steps involved are okay.
partly to focus on a couple of areas where attention needs to be given- such as the reduce the board remunerations (by 50% to 75%), and to lock in 6 year terms (absolute) etc.


4. ASIC and legal action

I believe ASIC need to become proactively involved in many of these matters raised at CPA Australia.
Some of the issues raised are very significant and deal with major issues that the example of CPA Australia would provide great lessons to all. It has been a very public exposure.
Some of the bigger issues, about which I would suggest the directors and officers of CPA Australia both current and recent past should be concerned are
breach of directors duties in s.181- s. 184.
oppression of shareholders.
breach of disclosure requirements esp. re the s202B statement on remuneration.
breach of constitution in relation to appointment of emergency director and remuneration of directors
AGM held in Singapore
I am pushing this aspect both from legal and political side.


5. What about the auditors of CPA Australia?

The auditor of CPA Australia (Deloitte) need to explain why they have not raised attention to some of these matters esp. in relation to the 2.202B statement(s), CPA Australia Advice’s parlous financial situation and the remuneration of directors above the constitutional limits.
The advice I have received would suggest they have some concerns.
Again this is where ASIC need to take a more proactive stance


6. Why does a professional accounting membership organisation exist?

It seems to me that is the central question arising from this whole CPA Australia debacle over the last decade. This is the issue that perhaps the AFR have picked up on in relation to other membership bodies.
Do we exist to become the worlds best service organisation? Is that really what we are on about?
Surely our objects clause (5) in the constitution may need a rejig.


7. CPA Australia needs a total refresh

I believe the whole culture at CPA Australia, in particular at Head Office, needs to be totally changed. I’m sure there are lots of hard working and good CPA staff. But what has transpired over the last decade needs to be stopped and reversed.

In my opinion, the exposure of these matters over the last 6 months has been very public, and we need to make sure the public are very clearly told that a major change is being made.


8. Interim CEO

I do not think it appropriate that Adam Awty is the interim CEO.
I suggest that this matter be dealt with by the new Interim Board along the lines of a new Interim CEO be appointed (preferably from an external applicant) asap.


9. Scandalous remuneration levels at CPA Australia


In view of that I suggest that we pass special resolution at the EGM to reduce board fees by 75%, not the 50% as last believed. Given that we now now directors were being paid close to $100,000 p.a., I should think a reduction to $25,000 (or roughly $3,500 per meeting) is reasonable. They need to set some standards for the rest of the organisation to follow.


10. Bullying and intimidation

It seems to me this is one area where the Independent Panel Reviewing these matters needs to dig a bit deeper and ask some serious questions as to whether any sort of follow up action needs to be taken.
I shall leave that there and trust the Panel will be thorough.


11. The Independent Panel Review

What can I say. I have heard nothing.
Have they started?
Have they asked any other members for their feedback of thoughts?


12. Fighting Fund

This has reached $33,385. Most of this will be spent on legal costs, travel, and communication costs. There is no payment for my or any other members time. It is all just used for direct costs incurred.
We did not reach the $50,000 target we will be much more selective and careful with legal costs which we anticipate will use more strategically to assist ASIC rather than pursue legal action ourselves for obvious reasons. The moneys will be closely audited by two senior members, and a detailed report of expenses, and summary report of income, will be provided to all members.
If members still wish to contribute the details are as follows
Name of Account: Brett Stevenson
BSB: 732 505
Account Number: 626440


13. Website for members

Please keep referring to and contributing to the website.
www.cpamembers.org
There are some great insights and comments by members there.


14. Correspondence from 16 Past Leaders of CPA Australia

I hope you have all had a chance to read their letter to the board, and the boards response. Two things to note.
i. It’s worth noting that the whole privacy argument Jim Dickson uses as a reason not to provide the email addresses is really just an excuse to not allow communication on these matters with the members. The CPA board could easily control the email addresses by allowing me to email out to

ii. All these past leaders gave of their time voluntarily to further CPA, the profession and the membership. That is in stark contrast to the remuneration milking train that has characterised the CPA leadership over the past decade.
I can tell you who I would be listening to, and who has the credibility and integrity that deserves our respect.


Cheers

Brett

Brett Stevenson CPA BComm MDiv
bstevenson100@gmail.com


A MORE DETAILED UPDATE

CPA Australia - an organisation in crisis and a leadership in disarray.

If I were to ask you ‘why do you think this current board has lost its legitimacy?’, what would you say?
Let me provide three very brief summaries by others which in their own way hit on some of the key area’s

1. Joe Aston from the AFR - 4th July 2017

"At the end of the day, we've had a fantastic business, successful, and it just resembled a tall poppy and it was time to chop [it] off," Malley insisted. "My only crime is that I took a public profile."
No Alex, your crimes are myriad.
The first is spending tens of millions of your members' money taking a public profile.
Another was fudging CPA's membership numbers, while cloaking their particulars in secrecy.
And other crimes include:
refusing for months to disclose your pay;
moving the AGM to Singapore;
wiping CPA's website of critical information and tools for members in order to protect your own sinecure;
denigrating those members (who paid your $1.8 million salary and $4.9 million severance and flew you around the world in the nose cone) unhappy with your performance and CPA's direction; 
allegedly bullying staff;
setting up a subsidiary that has generated just $46,000 in revenue yet has burned through $12 million of a $20 million loan from members while paying out nearly $5 million in (additional) board and executive pay;
and losing CPAs their professional indemnity insurance from October 7.
And that's just a highlights package.
And here he goes again, disparaging his (former) members. "If you look at some of the protagonists in our member base, all I would say is: have a look at who they are, look at their careers, and have a look at whether they have the credibility that they claim to, just look at their background, look at their lives. A lot of unhappy people out here in this world."
Simply disgusting.”
2. Past State and National Leaders of CPA Australia - 4th July 2017
“We, the undersigned are a group of past State presidents and prior National leaders
of CPA Australia.

Over the last 12 months many of us both individually and collectively have written to
the CPA Board in the hope of changing the policies of the Board. The matters of
concern that we raised over 12 months ago have now been well aired by others via
the media. The media has raised issues of
transparency,
conflicts of interest,
good governance,
board appointment processes,
remuneration, and
strategy.
We have been strongly opposed to the current Board’s policies on:
remuneration,
CEO personal self-promotion,
marketing strategies,
the initiation of CPA Advice with its consequent ramifications for CPA public practice members,
the lack of transparency and flawed processes for election of Board members.
We also have deep concerns about conflicts of interest of Board and management.

We applaud the appointment of the Independent Review Panel, its terms of
reference and the calibre of its members but do not support the proposal because:
• the members will not have an opportunity to express its views on Board
composition or direction until the 2018 AGM. This would be 2 years since our
concerns were first raised.
• the remaining 5 of the 12 directors will have an undue interest as Board
members in accepting or rejecting the recommendations of the Review. This
is an unacceptable conflict of interest.
We propose immediate action is taken to:
(i) Enable CPA members to call for an extraordinary meeting at which
resolutions can be considered about the composition of the Board
(ii) Overhauling the governance system to place members back in control
of their organisation; and
(iii) Have the CPA Board facilitate the calling of an extraordinary meeting
by enabling members to be contacted through their email address.

It is proposed that these actions occur within the next 4 weeks and is supportive and
not in conflict with the proposed review.”
3. CPA members - Jen Dalitz, Glen Hasselman, Chris Catto, Andrew North
“It’s time for members to act and move a spill motion against this board. These are the reasons why:

• 7 Directors have resigned within 3 weeks, and yet none were prepared to work together or separately to move a vote of no confidence in the Board;
• The Board is arguably inquorate, the Board’s own disarray and inability to govern failing to satisfy the common law definition of an “emergency” under which Director Youngberry’s appointment could be validated;
• The Board announced an ‘independent review’ and should have stood down the CEO on full pay pending the outcome of that review; instead they’ve parachuted him out of the organisation with their full endorsement;
• The Board has paid themselves in excess of Constitutional remuneration limits;
• The Board has approved spending excess and executive salaries well over the market rate for comparable not-for-profit associations;
• The CPA brand and the reputation of our professional body is in tatters, thanks to the decisions made by this Board;
• The Board have signed off on the CPA Advice strategy that is now threatening the very core of our professional standing;
• The remnants of this same Board are now seeking to hire a new CEO as well as 8 new directors in their own mould;
• CPA Australia is in crisis and only when the remains of the Board have been spilled will we be able to move forward in confidence.

Members need to act now to stop the rot, and take back control of our organisation.”

What is the strategy now?

I will tell you what I think is the strategy to move ahead.
I’m sure many members have their own views of the way forward, and I think they should pursue whatever they think will work.
One of the big positives that has come out of this is at least an awakened membership. But the goal, as I see it, was not just to awaken the membership but rather to expose these issues at CPA with a view to correcting them, reforming the organisation and re-establishing CPA Australia as a quality professional accounting organisation.
If earning professional development hours while watching Alex Malley interview Henry (the Fonz) Winkler was the nadir, then a public burning or shredding of the remaining copies of The Naked CEO on the Southbank Promenade in Melbourne might be the sign of a turning for the better.

This recent ‘campaign’ started with a desire to be as upfront and honest with the members, so let’s continue in that way as well look at the way forward from here.


1. The current board need to go immediately. They have lost all credibility.


Thus the number one priority at the moment is to sign the Spill Motion.
This will require 5% of the voting members to force an EGM. This means approximately 6,000 members need to sign. Already 2,700 have, so that is 45% of what is needed.
Here is the link to the latest Spill Motion email and also the actual Spill Motion to sign.

Please sign and pass on to as many members asap.
This really is critical.
There is another spill motion circulating from WA which I daresay will be combined with the above Spill Motion in order to maximise the chance of achieving the 6,000 members asap.
There may be some slight differences with the groups advocating for change, as indicated by the above two Spill Motions, but we are all on the same page to remove the current board, instal an Interim Board, establish a new governance framework to enable a full board to be elected directly by the members at the AGM in April 2018.

Can I just give you a recent example of why I am ashamed to belong to an organisation with the poor calibre of leaders we have, and why this spill motion is critical.
Jim Dickson's response to the recent letter from 16 past presidents and leaders of CPA (and it is worth adding their years serving CPA Australia were voluntary which earns them lots of kudos in my view compared to the largesse paid to the current crop of CPA leaders) included a note that he was unaware of concerns raised by this same group some two years earlier.
I would suggest that is either a porky pie Mr Dickson because I have seen the letter sent to the board via Graeme Wade as President of CPA Australia at the time as well as his relatively rude and dismissive response, or else communication with the board is not actually being shared with the board.
However you want to look at it, as seemingly small and insignificant as it might appear, it indicates a calibre of leadership that does not warrant respect. I would like to presume that this recent letter to the board was provided to the whole board before you responded.
Thus when Mr Dickson concludes his response with the beautiful “I am confident that the concerns raised will be fully addressed and that our Organisation will regain the trust and confidence of our members and other stakeholders’, I feel like going outside and throwing up. That is the sort of claptrap that reeks of the hypocrisy and cant that characterises our current leadership.
All the current remaining board need to go immediately. I do not trust a word they say or any decisions they make.


2. An interim board needs to be put in place immediately to institute a detailed governance review with the election by the members of a new board at the AGM in April 2018.

This can be achieved by a special resolution at the EGM when the current board is ‘sacked’. The most obvious question is who is to serve on this Interim Board and how will they be selected?

i. There is already one petition going around suggesting that the state divisional Presidents should be on this board.
Well I disagree strongly with that suggestion. The divisional representatives have been virtually silent on these matters for the last eight year when they should have been the very ones who spoke our clearly as they were more ’in the know’ than the rest of the membership. Their silence gave almost tacit approval to many of the issues that arose during the Alex Malley years of CPA Australia. I say ditto to the Representative Council which makes a mockery of the very term.
I’m sure I am ‘painting with a very broad brush’ in making those statements, and will have unfairly offended some very good divisional councillors and representatives but I’m afraid I do not apologise too readily because what we have uncovered over the last 6 months is nothing short of a disgrace. And it has been going on for almost a decade.
Certainly we all need to take a fair share of the blame as members for being so apathetic and trusting of our leaders. But we know better now.
I am very reticent to regard the current divisional Presidents and councillors as being candidates for any Interim Board. We all saw the example of Mr Brooks at the AGM in Singapore saying how there were no remuneration and governance problems at CPA Australia. If that is an exemplar then I want nothing of it.
I hardly think such divisional councillors will be ‘jumping’ to examine many of the indiscretions and failings of the past decade. What CPA Australia needs is a total refresh not some watered down version of trying to patch over the failings of the past and those responsible.

ii. How about some of the more outspoken advocates for change such as myself and others of similar ilk serving on the Interim Board?
Well I can only speak for myself but I would not think it appropriate for myself to stand. I am only ‘infamous’ and outspoken on these matters because I was prepared to speak openly, publicly and perhaps a wee bit too brutally/frankly which is hardly a criteria to ‘win friends and influence people’ in a professional membership organisation.
As necessary as such an approach may have been, and perhaps still is, I am realistic enough to recognise members with different traits and skillsets are required to take up an Interim Board position.

iii. I suggest that for an Interim Board we need a group of members (and perhaps even a few non-members?) who will be tasked with establishing a governance review, making recommendations for the members to consider at an EGM in February or March 2018 and ensuring the transition to a fully elected new board at the AGM in April 2018. It is somewhat ironic that this past decade of decline of CPA Australia began with a major governance review and change way back in 2006/7.
Governance weaknesses have allowed this ‘gerrymandering’ of power at CPA Australia to go on for too long. It needs to be corrected as a matter of urgency.

I suggest these are the criteria for the Interim Board members

A bit of ‘fire in the belly’ to improve CPA Australia.

No possible conflict of interest

They are not doing it for self interest. This is for the good of CPA Australia. We do not want people who are doing it to build up their network of connections or other ulterior motives. They are doing this because it’s a good thing to do for the profession and the organisation.

Expertise and experience in governance, especially NFP’s.

Widely recognised as a person with a good reputation, high standards and ethical norms.

In effect persons with the willingness, capacity and time to set CPA Australia up with a solid governance foundation.

As brief and perhaps cute as this criteria list may be, it would have weeded out most (if not all) the current and recent past board members of CPA Australia.
In effect we need some really good people like those before the Malley years who served the Society (now CPA Australia) usually voluntarily and for the good of the profession. I’m not too fussed with all these spreadsheet lists and matrices of qualities to be covered. It is only an Interim Board for 6 months but with a critical task.

It would seem to me that the list of qualities required of directors can be broadened when the full board is elected in April 2018, but for now we need a smaller number of persons (perhaps 8 maximum) who will have a very specific task. There are many members I’m sure who are capable of being great directors on a full board but it would seem to me that for the Interim Board the selection will be from a smaller group.

How this group is selected is the challenge. Time is not on our side.
We certainly do not want the current board to be in place at the time the Independent Panel Draft Report is delivered, which is 15th September 2017. So the notice to force an EGM needs to be lodged at least 21 working days prior to that which means it must be lodged by 16th August 2017 at the latest. That means we need to get the 6,000 signatures asap to force the EGM by that date.

Ditto for any special resolutions to be voted on at that EGM. One such resolution will be for the Interim Board to be voted in to replace the ‘sacked’ board. So the time and process to select this Interim Board is short.

Can I ask members to consider persons who may ‘fit the bill’ for this Interim Board. They will need to be of the calibre that all members will have no hesitation in saying yes, let’s go with these people. As to who and how this selection of the Interim Board is selected is still a little ‘up in the air’ but I shall come back to you with an answer to that by the end of the week. I would suggest an 8 person Interim Board with a minimum of 6 being members of CPA Australia.
I also envisage that we will need to approach such persons to see if they have the time and the willingness to carry out this role.
Many members have put in many many hours of work voluntarily for CPA Australia over the years for the betterment of the profession and the organisation. It seems to me that the time spent in the next 6 months will be critical to ensure that the efforts of those people is not wasted. I’ll be frank and say I have no great ‘love’ for CPA Australia per se but it is my organisation (I did my professional training through the Institute but went CPA because I had a boss who was a very good accountant, had enormous integrity and was a big CPA fan) and as such I need to do what I can do. Each to their own.


3. Special Resolutions to be passed at the EGM

Clearly the main resolution to be passed at the EGM will be to spill the board. But also other resolutions will need to be submitted and voted on at that meeting
partly to ensure the processes are legal - this is where we shall ensure any resolutions and the steps involved are okay.
partly to focus on a couple of areas where attention needs to be given- such as the reduce the board remunerations (by 50% to 75%), and to lock in 6 year terms (absolute) etc.

Remember that only 100 signatures are required for a special resolution to be submitted to an EGM, but that plenty of notice needs to be provided (minimum of 21 days) to ensure communication with the wider membership. In this regard CPA Australia need to send to all members a covering note saying why the resolution (must be less than 1,000 words and cannot be defamatory) so that gives a reasonably clear way to communicate with the members.
But this cannot be done without forcing the EGM because special resolutions only need to be raised at the next members meeting, and if we do not force one, then the current board can delay that until the AGM in April 2018.

Thus the sooner the requisite signatures for the spill motion to call an EGM is reached the sooner we can start to communicate with the wider membership (by email via Head Office - they have no choice but to comply).
So members I would encourage anyone who would like a special resolution (which really means a constitutional amendment as most of the other concerns relate to the board and they only have the powers to act on them - such as reducing the salaries of senior and middle management by 50% for starters, or to shut down CPA Australia Advice, or to publicly shred The Naked CEO on the Southbank Promenade in Melbourne etc) to consider that now as the time frame is limited.
But critical to it all is getting the 6,000 signatures to force the EGM.


4. ASIC and legal action

I believe ASIC need to become proactively involved in many of these matters raised at CPA Australia. Various members have lodged written briefs with ASIC and I’m sure they are investigating them. But the constant refrain I hear is that ASIC is very slow (very very slow), and unlikely to act.
I think that would be a pity.
Some of the issues raised are very significant and deal with major issues that the example of CPA Australia would provide great lessons to all. It has been a very public exposure.
Some of the bigger issues, about which I would suggest the directors and officers of CPA Australia both current and recent past should be concerned are
breach of directors duties in s.181- s. 184.
oppression of shareholders.
breach of disclosure requirements esp. re the s202B statement on remuneration.
breach of constitution in relation to appointment of emergency director and remuneration of directors
AGM held in Singapore

Of course it is hard for we members to challenge these matters legally because of the cost involved however ASIC has the powers and the resources to pursue these matters. I daresay Greg Medcraft will be keeping a distance because of his endorsement of Alex Malley book The Naked CEO, proactive support of CPA Australia Advice on its launch, and having Alex Malley as keynote speaker at ASIC dinner. Conflict of interest can be both real and perceived. I would be very disappointed if the above relationship of Alex Malley and Greg Medcraft influenced the decision of ASIC not to act.
I shall certainly be hoping Nick Xenophon shall be raising this at the next Senate hearing.
Also this is the chance for ASIC to establish some pretty firm guidelines and rules on acceptable behaviour within professional membership organisations and the expectations both members and the public can have of those groups.
Corporate governance, financial reporting and accounting standards are not just an internal matter for CPA Australia. These matters go much wider afield and I would suggest this is a great chance for ASIC to ‘put its foot down’, especially when much of the hard work of exposing the failings has been done.
I am currently talking with a legal firm to proactively assist ASIC in pursuing these matters.
My personal view is that we need to both reform and refresh CPA Australia as per above but also we need to pursue and investigate those wrongs and misdemeanours that may have been committed. If legal action ensues then so be it. CPA Australia have the resources financially to pursue such action, and subject to it being warranted, so we should.


5. What about the auditors of CPA Australia?

The auditor of CPA Australia (Deloitte) need to explain why they have not raised attention to some of these matters esp. in relation to the 2.202B statement(s), CPA Australia Advice’s parlous financial situation and the remuneration of directors above the constitutional limits.
The advice I have received would suggest they have some concerns.
Again this is where ASIC need to take a more proactive stance.
If the fact that the fully owned subsidiary CPA Australia Advice can lose over $7 million in a 19 month period with a revenue of just $49,000, a staff of 14 with an average annual salary of $200,000 plus, and an overseeing board reaping fees of close to $500,000, can be not disclosed in the CPA Australia annual report then I think we need to do some major revisions of our accounting and reporting standards. For the auditor to approve this as providing a ‘true and fair view’ just seems to make a mockery of why we have standards and audits.
I’m sure it is all kosher by consolidate accounting rules but I do think we need to take a step back and say wow, this really is not right.
I would think that most of the money wasted on marketing Alex Malley and producing our In The Black Womens Weekly over the past decade should have been spent on funding research and whatever else was required to enhance our accounting standards.
It may be legally compliant (and thats a very quietly spoken maybe and I would like ASIC to check out possibly breaches and failings) but it is not a true and fair view of CPA Australia.
ASIC need to become actively involved to ensure the integrity go of the accounting standards used in the financial marketplace.


6. Why does a professional accounting membership organisation exist?

It seems to me that is the central question arising from this whole CPA Australia debacle over the last decade. This is the issue that perhaps the AFR have picked up on in relation to other membership bodies.
Do we exist to become the worlds best service organisation? Is that really what we are on about?
Surely our objects clause (5) in the constitution may need a rejig.
I would have thought central concerns of an accounting membership body such as CPA Australia would be things such as
the development and fostering of high professional standards and practices by members.
the establishment of relevant and cost effective ongoing professional development for members.
establishing and developing accounting standards and practices to serve our society and the marketplace
the provision and development of appropriate educational and professional standards for members. Central surely to CPA Australia raison d’etre is the profession of accounting and the members who belong to that group.
I’ve had a quick glance at the objects of many other professional membership organisations in law, medicine, finance, engineering etc., and there are lots of great examples but central to them is the notion of the enhancement of the profession and the members. And with the accounting profession, as with others hopefully, there is the centrality of our obligations to the society in which we live.
Now I don't want to go over the top with philosophising about this, but surely there is a major conflict between us wanting to be the worlds best service organisation and aiming for global growth (which are two of the main thrusts of what the Malley acolytes heaped on us) and the development of the profession and the members. I guess quality versus quantity is a very rough way of summarising what I should think needs to be central.
Global growth and best in the world reeks to me of delusions of grandeur, and the price paid for pursuing such a strategy is what we have now got at CPA Australia. It seems this approach has become infectious with many membership bodies. Perhaps reflection of the decline of what we traditionally have regarded as professionalism. I don't know but what we have experienced at CPA Australia over the last decade leaves me cold and it has been a blot on the whole profession.

And to think that many of these leaders of CPA Australia recently have served (and many still do) on the international professional accounting bodies. Alex Malley, Richard Petty, Penny Egan, Jim Dickson, etc. To think that the recent and current CPA Australia leaders who have pursued strategies and goals which have made us the laughing stock of the accounting profession are also our representatives internationally makes me cringe with shame.


7. CPA Australia needs a total refresh

Let me say a few things which I’m sure will not be appreciated by many but I believe need to be said publicly.
I believe the whole culture at CPA Australia, in particular at Head Office, needs to be totally changed. I’m sure there are lots of hard working and good CPA staff. But what has transpired over the last decade needs to be stopped and reversed.
Most of us can understand the challenges of working in an environment where we do not ‘call the shots’ and where we have significant issues with the leadership. In those situations it behoves those who do have any management responsibilities to stand firm and to stand up.
From someone on the outside looking in, it would seem to me that senior and middle management at CPA Australia have been rewarded excessively handsomely (at scandalous levels) with very little to show in terms of standing up to some of these issues.
Members can express that in perhaps more polite or more impolite terms but either way there needs to be a major shakeup at management levels at CPA Australia.
My tip or advice to many of the management at CPA Australia is that you might want to start to look elsewhere to further your careers. The money might not be as good, or perhaps as easy, but it seems to me that we cannot attribute all the faults at CPA Australia to the board and three senior managers.
I subscribe to the view of Winston Smith (1984) or Alexander Solzhenitsyn that wherever we are in an organisation (or society) we have an obligation not to live the lie. We do not to necessarily stand on the soap box or protest in public but we do need to make a stand in our own small way when wrongs are done. We are not powerless. It may be costly (can I recommend a great movie The Lives of Others if you want to see this illustrated clearly in the Eastern European setting) but its worth it. I can recommend to members a great short article by Solzhenitsyn titles ‘Live Not By Lies’ to appreciate this in a society with more serious consequences for those who do make a stand.

In my opinion, the exposure of these matters over the last 6 months has been very public, and we need to make sure the public are very clearly told that a major change is being made. A whitewash or superficial changes just will not cut it if we wish to restore CPA Australia. I am of the view that some of the life memberships awarded in the last decade perhaps need to be reviewed, as with much of the very public marketing campaign centred o Alex Malley. I do not subscribe to the view that Alex Malley is to CPA Australia what Colonel Sanders was to Kentucky Fried Chicken, which was very specifically stated in one of our past CEO’s presentation just this year.
How the board could have ever allowed such a foolish personal branding strategy in the first place defies me.


8. Interim CEO

I do not think it appropriate that Adam Awty is the interim CEO.
I suggest that this matter be dealt with by the new Interim Board along the lines of a new Interim CEO be appointed (preferably from an external applicant) asap.
I would think that the higher the level of management then the higher the level of responsibility. Need I say anymore.


9. Scandalous remuneration levels at CPA Australia

We cannot pass any resolutions on this apart from the board remuneration as it is ‘not our proper business’.
In view of that I suggest that we pass special resolution at the EGM to reduce board fees by 75%, not the 50% as last believed. Given that we now now directors were being paid close to $100,000 p.a., I should think a reduction to $25,000 (or roughly $3,500 per meeting) is reasonable. They need to set some standards for the rest of the organisation to follow.
I have said before that I believe all the senior and middle management salaries need to be reduced by at least 50% but that is not for us to determine by resolution so we shall leave that to the new board.

One thing that needs to be done when all this is settled is for the new board to produce a detailed report of the remuneration received by all directors since the changes in 2007. I have done that based on the maximum provided in the constitution, which we now know as pretty close to the mark for 2016. But I think it will be a very clear way to show what sort of money some of these directors have been receiving over the last decade when you refer to the directors who served prior to this received virtually nothing. That to me would be the clearest exhibit of the difference.


10. Bullying and intimidation

It seems to me this is one area where the Independent Panel Reviewing these matters needs to dig a bit deeper and ask some serious questions as to whether any sort of follow up action needs to be taken.
I shall leave that there and trust the Panel will be thorough.


11. The Independent Panel Review

What can I say. I have heard nothing.
Have they started?
Have they asked any other members for their feedback of thoughts?
Not a good start, now nearly a month on from the announcement of the new Panel.
In the meantime we shall press on, and I trust the Panel will vey quickly realise that when members find out about these matters they are very supportive of getting rid of the current board and making a fresh start.
I would advise the Panel to remember that sales talk might be appropriate and carry a lot of weight in the Used Car Yard, but not in a professional membership organisation. We have had a decade of it and are absolutely sick of it. So please make sure you develop some quick litmus tests to sort out the crap from the meat.


12. Fighting Fund

This has reached $33,385. Most of this will be spent on legal costs, travel, and communication costs. There is no payment for my or any other members time. It is all just used for direct costs incurred.
We did not reach the $50,000 target we will be much more selective and careful with legal costs which we anticipate will use more strategically to assist ASIC rather than pursue legal action ourselves for obvious reasons. The moneys will be closely audited by two senior members, and a detailed report of expenses, and summary report of income, will be provided to all members.
If members still wish to contribute the details are as follows
Name of Account: Brett Stevenson
BSB: 732 505
Account Number: 626440


13. Website for members

Please keep referring to and contributing to the website.
www.cpamembers.org
There are some great insights and comments by members there.


14. Correspondence from 16 Past Leaders of CPA Australia

I hope you have all had a chance to read their letter to the board, and the boards response. Two things to note.
i. It’s worth noting that the whole privacy argument Jim Dickson uses as a reason not to provide the email addresses is really just an excuse to not allow communication on these matters with the members. The CPA board could easily control the email addresses by allowing me to email out to members via CPA. That is how many public companies handle this issue.
But no, that is just not considered by Jim Dickson or this current board.
Why?
Because the issue is not privacy, rather it is that the Board do not want these issues aired with the whole membership.
This is why I believe ASIC need to look very closely at just what this board is doing. Are these directors ore concerned for themselves or are they thinking of the organisation? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. Just as the taking down of the Find A CPA function from the website was to hinder member communication, so with this approach of privacy to prevent members email addresses from being used for communication. Oppression is the more intimidating legal word for it, and I trust the current Board are aware of what that means for them.

ii. All these past leaders gave of their time voluntarily to further CPA, the profession and the membership. That is in stark contrast to the remuneration milking train that has characterised the CPA leadership over the past decade.
I can tell you who I would be listening to, and who has the credibility and integrity that deserves our respect.



Cheers

Brett

Brett Stevenson CPA BComm MDiv
bstevenson100@gmail.com

IDK
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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by IDK » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:17 pm

Long time reader...first time poster. I am sure I will get censored/moderated/deleted for this post (the irony) but I am just struggling to grasp exactly what you as a group are asking for. Honestly. I am well aware of all the news in the media and have read every word of this forum trying to understand your motivation and what you expect as a succesful result and I just don't get it. There is too much emotion and so many half truths in the majority of posts and articles that all I hear is white noise. The few times a poster has come on hear and legitimately questioned or challenged a poster they have been moderated and/or shut down (the irony). I can't help but think this campaign would have been much more successful if more clearly thought out and planned with a documented and defined mission statement, plan, process, agenda, roles, outcomes etc. I will not be donating money to a wild goose chase. Please don't label me as being pro-Malley or anything like that...I am not. I am just a person who is process driven and likes to understand the why, how, who, what, when of things.

If this post does stay then I am sure I will be bombarded with more random rumblings and rhetoric that has already been repeated on here ten times over and that's fine.

A somewhat frustrated IDK.

Ken Crout
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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by Ken Crout » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:38 pm

Welcome aboard IDK.

Nagh! You won't be deleted or censored or whatever . . . .

You make a valid point. A little more logic and a lot less frothing at the mouth would be good for us all.

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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by nakedadmin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:30 am

Brett Stevenson wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:31 pm
They need to of impeccable character, reputation and expertise and will be readily accepted by the membership.
An excellent update Brett. Just want to add that given the choice between the current board and anything else I'd choose anything else. This is one of the problems we face. But let's basically build a bridge and get over it. It is impossible to select a more self interested bunch. The current bunch are just trying to manage their own exist in a way that does not cause them so much harm.
IDK wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:17 pm
I am sure I will get censored/moderated/deleted for this post (the irony)
Gee whiz IDK, you know I am just a normal CPA who set up this website for members. So far "2 users" have been moderated and they were the same person (same IP address). He/she simply engaged in increasingly personal attacks until I basically got to the point of why the hell do I bother and I moderated them. I hope you don't make personal attacks on anyone here.

I kind of think it's strange though that someone claims to have read all the posts on this website. I have done that and I can tell you that is a statement of claim to some serious ambition. There has been a hell of a lot of posts on this discussion board to read them all is a freaking serious undertaking.

To also claim that you have read all the news as well and yet not understand the motivation and what we want is a little strange. We want all the Directors gone, the 3 execs (2 left gone) a full investigation. I can't add any more.
The Naked Webmaster

Ken Crout
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Location: Victor Harbor SA 5211

Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by Ken Crout » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:46 am

Good morning, Naked Webmaster.

Please show some restraint . . . you are simply reinforcing IDK's point.

A little more logic and a lot less frothing at the mouth would be helpful.

CanuckCPA
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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by CanuckCPA » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:43 am

Ken, in defence of Brett - he's not 'frothing at the mouth'. IDK essentially criticizes Brett's work with a generic plain vanilla textbook argument:

"I can't help but think this campaign would have been much more successful if more clearly thought out and planned with a documented and defined mission statement, plan, process, agenda, roles, outcomes"

Oh my.

Well, ladies and gentlemen: Brett's and AFR's work got us to where we are. They did the work. Seems all very effective to me. It is somewhat insulting to see a person who says he 'read all the posts' saying that he is still unclear about the goals (while Brett's periodic updated summaries are excellent), or even go so far to throw a retroactive 'you needed to have process, agenda, roles bla-di-bla' statement at Brett.

Brett is doing excellent work in the service of all CPA members. My respect for that.

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Brett Stevenson
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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by Brett Stevenson » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:56 am

Good morning, Naked Webmaster.

Please show some restraint . . . you are simply reinforcing IDK's point.

A little more logic and a lot less frothing at the mouth would be helpful.
C'mon Ken, you have to be kidding.

And perhaps IDK might like to spend a bit of time developing a mission goal, strategic plan, etc etc as well as doing your ordinary work, and perhaps adding some contribution to not only exposing but resolving these matters.
It's easy to make such nonsense statements from the backroom.
Maybe you might like to give some practical suggestions on ways to move this forward. Maybe a comment or two on what you think should happen.
Shooting the messenger is easy but where's the contribution and involvement to improve the situation.
If you don't know what we are asking then I think you are either being intentionally obtuse or just plain blind.
It strikes me that your post is more along the lines of wanting to get a reaction with your suggestion of wanting to be censored without really contributing anything at all.

ConcernedCPA
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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by ConcernedCPA » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:24 pm

Before we get too carried away in this thread ...

There has been a lot going on at CPA Australia that we as members are not happy about, which is why there is so much "frothing". We have learnt in a very hard and public way that not everyone is focused on our interest. While we may have some recourse against certain people or entities, we cannot change what has already happened.

We need to be realistic, and focus on the future.

What we should be looking at is what OUR organisation does on OUR behalf. Whether this be CPA Australia, or perhaps another body.

I think the main focus should be on the points under Brett's item "Why does a professional accounting membership organisation exist?".

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Re: Brett's 'Weekly' Update 18th July 2017

Post by Stomper » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:51 am

IDK wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:17 pm
.....and I just don't get it.

I can't help but think this campaign would have been much more successful if more clearly thought out and planned with a documented and defined mission statement, plan, process, agenda, roles, outcomes etc. I will not be donating money to a wild goose chase. Please don't label me as being pro-Malley or anything like that...I am not. I am just a person who is process driven and likes to understand the why, how, who, what, when of things.

A somewhat frustrated IDK.
IDK

It's pretty simple.

The governance and structure of CPAA is broken (some would say corrupt) and needs to be cleaned out.

The current board wont do it so we need to force it through with and EGM.

The reasons why are compelling.

If you aren't part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

SIMPLE

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