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Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Seems to be a lot of trips overseas by the Directors.
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Brett Stevenson
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Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by Brett Stevenson » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:25 pm

Hi members,
One of the more concerning issues that was not dealt with by the Independent Review Panel was international travel by CPA leadership at various levels (board, management and possibly division/committee level).
This was one of the reasons we asked for a forensic accountant to go through the books at CPA Australia.
I wonder if what is required to prevent issues such as this arising is for greater transparency and openness by the CPA leadership.
After all why would they not want to be?
Two of the most obvious areas where expenditure can be 'taken advantage of' in 'not for profits' especially is remuneration and international travel. We have already seen how the former was milked at CPA Australia, and unfortunately we haven't been able to have the latter assessed or exposed.
What are your thoughts on what needs to be done to prevent international travel being abused at CPA Australia?
We have already heard reports of the current leadership making the most of it - you can just imagine. Oh well we need to visit Europe to see what is going on there, or perhaps the US as opposed to say the 40% of the membership who reside in NSW.

What do you think CPA Australia should disclose to the members in the annual report or in regular updates?
I lean toward a register showing who, when, where, why, how much and what travel class.
I'm sure they will say too costly. I say too costly not to do, and why not?
Already the leadership has significant credibility issues, I would think silence on this one would be tantamount to just continuing on with the ones who went before.
We need to see some dramatic changes at CPA Australia.

What do you think?

JWheldon
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by JWheldon » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:10 pm

You are right Brett. There certainly needs to be changes, not only at CPA Australia, but also with the Not For Profit sector at large. There are other organisations out there with issues, which have not been brought to light, yet.

There is no accountability, either via the AGM, nor with the current audit function at CPA Australia, nor in the Not For Profit Sector. When individuals, attempt to ask questions, they are shut down, the auditor is not interested, as it is not with in their terms of engagement, and those issues can only be investigated, when the media raises concerns, and external authorities start to take a look.

The audit function needs to be replaced, with an Auditor General style review, and report to the members. The audit industry, attempts to work at raising material errors in the accounting function, but issues relevant to members are never looked at, because the old style audits do not cater for this modern change. Thus the problems will continue, until the style of audit is changed, or auditors are sued for issues relating to "True and Fair" set of accounts in the Not For Profit Sector. It would be far easier for those in the responsible positions to engage change in the style of audit, then being dragged kicking and screaming to make a change. CPA Australia, kept telling the general membership, that they were standard makers when it came to producing financial accounts, and always acting in the best interest of the membership. They certainly would have been graded an F in this area. They told the general membership one thing, but basically did what they wanted with no accountability. and simply feathered their own nests.

The AGM is simply a rubber stamp process, with little ability to ask questions, nor ability to put pressure on those in authority to disclose to the general membership. Graeme Wade, after 10 years in a position of authority, blamed the general membership for not attending the AGM at the Senate Committe. Yet the board only in recent times decided to televise the AGM to the whole membership, that lived outside the state of the actual AGM location. It is great to see that Alex Malley was paid a huge salary, but had to get paid an allowance to live in Melbourne, while from his family, yet the general members got no subsidy, nor allowance to attend the AGM. One would say that the board of CPA Australia in years gone by, had no interest in having the general membership attend the AGM. They had no interest in having the general membership, hold the board/Management to account for their non-disclosure, excess spending, nor stopping the board from changing the rules of CPA Australia which favoured them.

You would have thought that with so many examples, like HSU federal, RSL NSW and CPA Australia, being the most prominent that the industry, and the government authorities/boards would encourage change. Yet there are individuals who have come from CPA Australia, for example and placed into key external organisation positions, who have little desire to change a system, which will uncover activities which are clearly not in the best interest of the Not Profit membership. They sound like politicians who retire or moved aside and then get plumb external jobs with rather high remunerations, to simply see them out in their retirement years or shut them up.

You are right Brett, change is required, and better accountability and disclosure is required.

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nakedadmin
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by nakedadmin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:19 pm

Politicians can do it. CPAA Directors should disclose their full cost of all travel paid for by CPAA.
The Naked Webmaster

geoffrt0019
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by geoffrt0019 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:38 pm

This should apply to staff too...i remember a story in the fin review of jillian bowen...malleys minister gor propaganda boasting on facebook witj a photo of first class airline ticket while she was in the platinum lounge and she posted...a little luxe courtesy of cpa australis...the sheer arogance. :twisted:

jbowen
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by jbowen » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:26 am

In the interest of transparency, that photo was from a completely private Facebook account and was from a personal family holiday. Paid for by me. We were flying economy, hence the reference to 'a little luxe' and we were accessing the lounge with my personal Qantas lounge membership - which has NEVER been paid for by CPA Australia. Taken out of context the way it was, I appreciate the misunderstanding but perhaps this is a good opportunity to correct this.

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Brett Stevenson
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by Brett Stevenson » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:12 pm

I hear what you say Jillian but can I say that some of the stories we have heard of the use/abuse of international travel at CPA Australia with no accountability to the members is why I suggest a good forensic accountant needs to get in there at Head Office and clear the whole matter up.
If it is as you say then nothing to be concerned about.
But our experience over the last year with the aggressive and non-transparent responses from the leadership (at both board and management levels) at CPA Australia on fully disclosing expenses (with scandalous 'hidden' remuneration and millions of dollars wasted on self promoting marketing being the standout performers) makes me very skeptical.
The fact that the IRP and the new board have not even considered this amazes me.
If everything is kosher, why the resistance?

We have already heard reports of considerable international travel by the CPA leadership of late.
All we are trying to do is to encourage them to be open and transparent.
It is when they become aggressively defensive, impugn anyone who asks questions as being a rogue or troublemaker, and most of all refuse to be open and transparent, then it is hardly surprising that concerns become legitimate.

You yourself are possibly well aware of this Jillian as someone at CPA had a crack at me merely because I wrote emails exposing these matters. A sort of shoot the messenger type of response.
I trust you were not one of those involved.
I would like to know if any of the current new board have travelled overseas since they began in October with all the associated questions as to why, cost, class of travel etc.
This is very standard practice is many nfp's and we as the standard bearing organisation should be setting an exemplary example.

The feeling I get is that this new board is just a continuation of the old.
They really need to make some firm statements, and make firm changes, to show that they are different.
Thus a forensic accountants review of CPA (of international travel and third part contracts especially)over the last five years would be an easy task but I suggest the mere fact that they won't is evidence of a cover-up.
They will say it will cost too much but you and I well know that is an excuse that comes from the bottom drawer. In effect it is crap.

So Jillian I would encourage you to mention to the other managers and the board at CPA that the best way to 'clear up' any misunderstandings of your own travel such as you described above (and to be honest I would like that if I were in your position) that a forensic accountants audit would be a good way to refresh it all.
Why didn't you come out and say all this before?
It's okay you don't need to answer that one. I can surmise the answer.
Little wonder we have needed changes at CPA Australia eh?

jbowen
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by jbowen » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:06 pm

Brett thank you so much for responding. And for your open mind regarding my comments. It is something I appreciate and completely understand you do so with the caution of wanting proof to back up what I say.

I will pass along your suggestions to those in the management team. That is the extent of my authority, but I would rather call that out clearly and honestly than sidestep the points you have made.

I posted here today in the only way I ever have or would – in my own name. With fully accountability for my comments. I would not, and have not, communicated or participated in communications in any other way. I would not disrespect or disparage a member, or frankly any other person, in any form of communication.

Posting in public forums is something I do with great hesitation, for obvious reasons. But ultimately the only person who is responsible for the perception of my reputation and integrity is me. I’m not a spokesperson on any other issue, which is why I sincerely appreciate being able to address this specific issue today.

Thank you again for your consideration of my comments.

Magnet
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by Magnet » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:28 pm

jbowen wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:26 am
Taken out of context the way it was, I appreciate the misunderstanding but perhaps this is a good opportunity to correct this.
Do you think it may have been a better opportunity to clear it up when the article was written 11 months ago??

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.afr ... 223-gujfd5

JWheldon
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by JWheldon » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:40 pm

Maybe CPA Australia will remember that CPA Australia is an accounting organisation and not an CEO business school, not a network marketing business, and certainly not a financial planning business, because the Naked CEO was certainly no business guru and neither were the previous board members. Well, some may have been, but really didn't act in the best interest of the organisation, especially when they were appointed to act in the best interest of the membership of CPA Australia. They only managed to display everything terrible about the corporate world, especially in the Not For Profit sector.

Alex Malley, must have secretly want to be Gordon Gekko, after watching Wall Street too many times, because he must have been thinking GREEED IS GOOD, and take as much as you can get out of a Not For Profit.

CPA Australia, is certainly not a good example to the young accountant. So many lost years and lost opportunities.

CPA Australia board couldn't even follow their own marketing spin. "Be Heard, Be Recognised".

Maybe Jill its time for the many, many, PR and Marketing gurus at CPA Australia to say, lets start a fresh and dump the "Be Heard, Be Recognised" rubbish. Given that the previous board and management team didn't really believe it, and basically did the opposite to their own membership.

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nakedadmin
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Re: Greater Transparency on International Travel at CPA

Post by nakedadmin » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:16 am

Hi Jillian,

Good to see you commenting on here. The greatest ever forum for CPA members! Hopefully you'll continue to post constructively particularly in the lead up to the AGM.
The Naked Webmaster

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