John Palermo FCA outlines the Board’s stewardship and governance foundations as we embark on our refreshed strategic direction. 

At the time of writing this report, almost 95,000 members are in lockdown across Australia and New Zealand. The sporadic nature of the pandemic has meant that over the reporting period, members have needed to be ‘on duty’ ready to tackle the next challenge, the next business facing disruption or the next audit to ensure confidence is maintained in the economy. 

The wellbeing of members was at the heart of our response, with the Board also sustaining its guiding principles to ensure a consistent high-quality of services remained and maintaining the long-term sustainability of the organisation. 

The introduction of our reimagined CA Program and tools such as CA Capability+ epitomises our steadfast determination to achieve our objectives and continue delivering for members as they did for their clients and communities. These developments were made against a backdrop of sustained membership growth to over 130,000 members, increased enrolments securing a future pipeline and sound financial planning that meant we did not require financial assistance from government support packages. We report a breakeven position which also factored in a significant global change in accounting policy. 

"The challenges over the past year tested the resilience of the profession and your professional body, but also created the environment for self-examination, reinvention and reimagined growth." 
– John Palermo FCA, Chair

After extensive member consultation, our refreshed strategy outlines an ambitious path to 2025 which recognises that ambition is seeded on strong foundations. We have developed corporate governance frameworks around assurance and risk management to confidently manage risks and ensure continuous improvement. Milestones include the establishment of an organisation-wide risk register with evolving risk assessments and mitigation plans, a statement aligned with 4TH Edition ASX Corporate Governance Principles for the first time and a modern slavery and human trafficking statement that commits to monitoring modern slavery risk in our supply chains. 

Your professional body is laying a foundation to ensure we are equipped to tackle our vision. Part of this foundation, and a dedicated pillar in our strategy, is an intense focus on digital transformation involving a significant upfront investment for setup, configuration and customisation. It is worth noting here that the impact of international accounting standards, including recent updates in interpretation, will mean that a greater proportion of the investment in our digital transformation will be treated as an operating expense. This coupled with the planned financial investment in our strategic roadmap sees us forecast a financial deficit into the 2023 financial year to ensure we deliver a personalised, digital member experience based on powerful data, insights and capabilities. 

We look forward to taking your professional body to leadership, ensuring members are supported to make a difference in the communities in which they work and live.

John Palermo FCA
Chair