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Defining our purpose and embracing our ethics

What kind of things would members actually want CPA Australia to focus on vs what are they actually doing
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GenYCPA
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Defining our purpose and embracing our ethics

Post by GenYCPA » Wed May 31, 2017 2:42 am

I have been following this discussion for some time now, not to mention my years of semi-silent contemplation of CPA Australia's strategic direction. As part of my research into CPA Australia, I came across an article written in February 2017 by Alex Malley. I find the article quite interesting given the current discourse and suggest that Alex carefully read his own article.

http://www.theaccountant-online.com/fea ... n-5743053/

One of the defining characteristics of a profession, in his own words, is setting its own code of ethics, and being held accountable to that code.

Alex elaborates further by declaring "it is the commitment to act not only in accordance with the law but also with the Code of Ethics that makes accountants professionals". The current reluctance of the board to go above and beyond minimum disclosures and adopting the highest standards of corporate governance is at odds with the views portrayed in the article.

I am going to read the Code of Ethics again during the week and compare and contracts our standard of ethics to the ethics, values and practices of CPA Australia as they may appear to an external party.

Our Profession's Purpose

More interesting then this discussion on ethics though is the apparent lack of purpose in our profession in AM's point of view - "Purpose is a fundamental question for any practice and is one we have not clearly articulated as a profession."

One would have thought that, as the CEO of one of the largest and oldest professional accounting associations in the world, Alex and our Board would be well placed to articulate this purpose. He correctly states that "It is our purpose that guides our judgements and actions" but I question that without a clearly articulated purpose then what is guiding our Board and executive team.

Perhaps this lack of purpose strikes at the core of our problems and is exemplified through our meaningless visions such as "CPA Australia is known for being the world’s best member service organisation" and equally meaningless goals such as "To maximise the share of people who want a career built on professional accounting skill".

In my humble opinion I would suggest that the executive, the board and perhaps our member body as a whole should dedicate our energies to defining our purpose and letting this guide our visions and goals.

Our good friend Wikipedia defines a professional body as an organisation seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest."

The International Federation of Accountants states it's purpose as "Strengthening the worldwide accountancy profession".

CPA Australia's Purpose

Perhaps if CPA Australia adopted a similar purpose we may have a vision such as "To strengthen the accountancy profession and safeguard the public interest through a commitment to integrity, technical rigour and strategic business thinking". One of our goals could then be "To support our members through professional development, advocacy, research and resources".

If you read pages 4-5 of the 2016 annual report there is a great summary of the CPA Australia business model. I think all the important stuff is in there but the priorities of the executive and the Board are wrong. Aligning our vision and goals to our purpose will ensure the priorities of the executive and the Board are correct.

I welcome the views and opinions of other members.
Robert McDowall CPA | Partner | Arabon Accountants
CPA Australia Queensland Divisional Councillor

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-mcdowall/
Join the conversation on the CPA Members Group on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/groups/103561

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Brett Stevenson
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Re: Defining our purpose and embracing our ethics

Post by Brett Stevenson » Wed May 31, 2017 6:41 am

Great point Genycpa
I would suggest you have a read of the 2nd group email written way back on 26th February.
The second half of it dealt with CPA Australia's Raison d'être, looking a bit more closely at s5 of the constitution which specifies our Onjects, and the way that has been almost completely ignored by the CPA leadership over the last decade.
The accounting profession and the members hardly rank.
Rather it's Alex Malleys self promotion, and global growth that get the guernsey.

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The Nude CPA
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Re: Defining our purpose and embracing our ethics

Post by The Nude CPA » Wed May 31, 2017 11:00 am

GenYCPA for president!

Fantastic research and analysis.

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Better Call Saul
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Re: Defining our purpose and embracing our ethics

Post by Better Call Saul » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:05 pm

I came across this article by Matt Levine in his blog "Money Stuff"

Quote:-

Ethics.

I used to be a lawyer, and lawyers have a code of ethics. Now I am a journalist, and journalists have a code of ethics. One thing that strikes me about these codes is that they are opposites. Oversimplifying massively, the basic rule for a lawyer is that your obligations are to your client, and you have to act in her best interests, even if that is against the interests of accuracy; legal ethics is then mostly a set of exceptions to this principle. Oversimplifying massively, the basic rule for a journalist is that your obligations are to the public, and you should be accurate even if that is against the interests of the people you talk to; journalistic ethics is then mostly a set of exceptions to this principle. In both cases the exceptions are huge and important: You're not supposed to lie to the public as a lawyer, or mislead your sources as a journalist, etc; none of this is meant to be any sort of ethical advice. But if someone says to you "oh yeah I murdered someone," as a lawyer, your baseline expected response would be not to tell anyone; as a journalist, your baseline expected response would be to tell everyone.

Obviously these opposite rules make sense in their respective contexts; the role of a lawyer is different from that of a journalist, and each profession's ethics are well adapted to doing their jobs usefully. Still it is weird to think of them as "ethics." They are both functional systems adapted to the work of their professions, not absolute moral-ethical rules handed down by a higher power. Keeping a murderer's secret is not absolutely ethical for humans, and disclosing that secret is not absolutely ethical for humans; each is ethical or unethical depending on its social context."

Takeaway issues:-
- They are both functional systems adapted to the work of their professions, not absolute moral-ethical rules handed down by a higher power.
- Alex Malley is spot on "defining characteristics of a profession.......is setting its own code of ethics, and being held accountable to that code."
- As "Professional Accountants" we are struggling with our "functional system".
- As "CPA members" we have lost faith in our CPAA leadership to establish and operate our "functional system". It is hard to soar like an eagle (us) when you are surrounded by turkeys (them).
- The role of our CPAA leaders has changed to something we never envisaged.
- Our CPAA leaders see it as acceptable to allow minimal disclosure, zero transparency, member intimidation, conflicted interests and self aggrandisement amongst themselves. No ethical reason why they shouldn't? Because it is the "functional system" they want.
- The regulatory system has changed to something we never envisaged. They don't care if CPAA stuff up their "functional system".
- The client expectations are being ignored.

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