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Promoting and enhancing our brand and influence is critical to the profession. Our advocacy, professional standing and marketing teams in particular are focused on building trust in the profession, delivering bold and visible advocacy and showcasing the profession’s contributions to society.

Elevating the CA difference 

The launch of our Difference Makers brand campaign in 2021 is a very visible part of a coordinated effort to build the CA brand into a strategic asset of value, pride and influence. The concept of Difference Maker shapes our purpose and strategy. 

“Brand and influence is the heartbeat that keeps the designation of Chartered Accountants, and the membership body, top of mind – relevant and able to make a difference. We have an opportunity to not only preserve the trust in the accounting profession, but to also strengthen it.”
– Chelsea Wymer, Chief Marketing Officer

The Difference Makers campaign underscores our members’ reputations as reliable, trusted voices and catalysts for positive change. It showcases how CAs transform businesses, the positive impact they have on their communities, positions CAs as game-changing hires for organisations and highlights how CAs make a difference due to their depth and breadth of expertise across business and finance. 

The campaign had two elements targeting business decision makers: 

  • The “Difference Makers Heartbeat Editorial Series” which delivered over 341,000 article page views between September and October of 2020. Twelve members across several industries and regions were featured in paid editorial across leading Australian and New Zealand media outlets. These features were supported by a comprehensive social media campaign driving reach and viewership 
  • The “Difference Makers Signature Campaign” ran between March and May of 2021 featuring New Zealand member Trudi Ballantyne FCA and Australian member Roy Wilkinson CA. The target audience was decision makers of small-to-medium sized businesses, on both sides of the Tasman, who were looking for a professional accountant to work in or on their business. We used a multi-channel story telling approach to demonstrate the impact of our members 

The campaign reached more than 4.4 million business decision makers, with over 50,000 people visiting the campaign landing page to learn more about why to engage with a CA.

The “Difference Makers” brand idea, created by Chartered Accountants ANZ and introduced within the membership body in 2019, has now been scaled up across the global CA network through Chartered Accountants Worldwide with local iterations now live in England and Wales (through the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales), South Africa (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) and Ireland (Chartered Accountants Ireland).

Chartered Accountants ANZ will continue to celebrate and amplify Difference Maker stories to further demonstrate the breadth of member stories, reflecting the diverse nature of our members and highlighting the positive impact they have on business, communities and economies.

Online channels grow

Traffic across all our websites continues to increase year-on-year. During this reporting year, total unique visitors rose 6.2% to 2,291,990 with 27% of this traffic visiting the eStore. 

The most visited section of the Chartered Accountants ANZ main site continues to be “Become a member” which received 705,734 visits followed by “Member services” with 420,552.

30,229

complementary products were transacted on the eStore for the reporting year.

The popularity of our social channels continues to rise. Our LinkedIn following increased by nearly 20%, and our LinkedIn Showcase pages, which highlight our events and initiatives for members grew 56%. Our Instagram showed another healthy increase of 36% this year following a 20% rise last year. On Facebook, our reach rose by 36%. 

Spreading the word

Our Acuity magazine and acuitymag.com represents the Chartered Accountants ANZ brand, relevant insights and is a showcase of members and their contributions to society. A member survey showed 73% believe the magazine adds value to their membership.

Acuity was a finalist in the 2021 Mumbrella Publish Awards in four categories after being Highly Commended in the Business Publication of the Year category of the 2020 awards and winning Columnist of the Year with Donal Curtain. 

Acuity is distributed in printed and digital form and is shared with members in more than 100 countries. We have commenced a transition to digital delivery in support of sustainability goals and member preferences. 

Acuitymag.com contains material from the magazine plus 11 original, digital-only stories per month. Some of these stories contain additional video content for a richer experience. Through these means, over 312 articles can be created per year for print and digital channels, providing a range of information and material for members. 

Content also pays tribute every year to our young leaders and regional champions, is aligned to our quarterly themes, and highlights key advocacy research. 

Bold visible advocacy

This year presented further opportunities for Chartered Accountants ANZ to lead with bold principled advocacy in the public good and support the profession’s frontline role in continuing to respond to the challenges of COVID-19. 

We helped members understand the rapid and frequent policy changes and announcements made by governments, providing practical guidance on how to access government assistance and operate productively during pandemic restrictions.

There were more than 11,000 unique visitors to our online COVID-19 Resources Hub which provides up-to-date information from our experts and other sources as well as support for mental health and wellbeing. 

Read more here >

We successfully engaged with regulators in Australia and New Zealand to identify what relief was needed and how this could be provided in a practical and timely way, particularly to assist smaller practices and businesses. For example, tax regulators on both sides of the Tasman announced a range of support measures in response to our representations. We also advocated effectively with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for a 30-day lodgement deadline extension for audited financial reports for year ends up to 7 July 2021. We worked with New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority to secure a one month filing extension for certain reporting entities with balance dates between 31 March and 31 December 2021.

During the year we developed quarterly themes as a Strategic Initiative. These themes help us focus, integrate and align our activities, not only to increase the visibility and impact of our advocacy work, but also to help build our brand awareness and increase member engagement and value. 

Our first theme was ‘reset’ which explored the opportunity for individuals, businesses, communities and economies to not only respond and recover from the pandemic, but also reimagine and rebuild a better, more prosperous and sustainable future. In March, we hosted an exclusive online member event with the Australian Federal Treasurer, Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, and New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon Grant Robertson. Over 6,700 guests registered and 4,000 attended. More than 6,000 members also submitted questions and poll responses which helped shape the panel discussion. 

Our second theme was ‘talent’ which addressed the agile, technical and behavioural skills required of individuals and organisations as well as the flexible, diverse and inclusive environments needed to enable talent to thrive. More than 1,800 people joined us for an interactive live webinar in June 2021 where expert panellists delved into the mega trends and disruptions shaping the talent landscape and identified successful strategies to address market challenges.

A feature of this reporting year was increased collaboration on advocacy with government, industry and other professional bodies. 

Read more here >

Our advocacy and professional standing teams also assisted members by responding to 4,302 queries on ethics, professional standards, membership obligations, tax, financial planning, superannuation, auditing and assurance, financial reporting and business reform. 

Small-and-medium sized business focus 

A key focus of our advocacy was helping small-and-medium sized businesses through their COVID-19 recovery, particularly with cash flow and business planning, reducing complexity and regulatory burdens. Alleviating workloads on CAs practising in tax was front of mind in representations to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Inland Revenue.

Other priorities included the future and sustainability of the tax base, developing a strategic advice registration model for financial advisers, audit, assurance and risk, financial reporting, non-financial risks, climate change, insolvency, data/technology and anti-money laundering.

Audit regulation and auditor shortages

The final report of the Australian Parliament’s inquiry into the Regulation of Audit adopted key recommendations put forward by Chartered Accountants ANZ, including promoting digital reporting and assurance around internal controls. 

As part of our ongoing advocacy work and engagement with members on the future of audit, we hosted a roundtable in New Zealand bringing together audit firms, investors, directors, regulators and standard setters. 

Following Chartered Accountants ANZ surveys of Australian and New Zealand audit firms that found a critical shortage of skilled auditors, we also advocated with governments on both sides of the Tasman on the challenges faced by the audit profession. In response to Chartered Accountants ANZ’s advocacy, the Australian Federal Government announced in June 2021 it would place accounting and audit professionals on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. Work on obtaining a border class exception for auditors in New Zealand is ongoing. 

“This was a welcomed decision from the Australian Government who recognised the need for experienced accountants and auditors to maintain trust and confidence in financial reporting and in the economy.”
– Simon Grant FCA, Chartered Accountants ANZ Group Executive, Advocacy and International

Financial advice 

Concerned by the compliance burden placed on CAs offering financial advice in Australia under a full or limited licence we urged Federal ministers, government agencies and the Australian Law Reform Commission to address over-regulation. There is also further need for CAs to be able to provide basic superannuation advice at a crucial time for everyday Australians and the wider economy. 

The cost of providing financial advice has become prohibitive and, as a result, large numbers of CAs are leaving the advice sector at the time when more clients need high-quality affordable advice. Our advocacy on this in Australia is continuing. 

Superannuation

Chartered Accountants ANZ was heavily involved in consultations that led to the introduction of measures such as making it easier to compare funds, publicly identifying underperforming funds and ‘stapling’ workers to a super account that follows them into a new job. Our pre-budget submission contributed to some welcome measures in the 2021 Federal Budget, such as abolishing the work test for certain types of contributions, relaxed SMSF change of residency rules and allowing so-called ‘legacy pensions’ to be dismantled and modernised. 

We also worked with the ATO on a range of matters including self-managed super fund auditor independence and its ruling concerning ‘non-arm’s length income’ for super funds. 

Tax Australia

We engaged in regular dialogue with Treasury and ATO officials as they shifted back to “business as usual” tax policy and administration matters. Chartered Accountants ANZ took a keen interest in ATO debt collection activity, working with the Inspector-General of Taxation on a landmark report which highlighted increased aged, undisputed tax debt. The NSW proposal to switch from stamp duty on conveyances to annual property taxation was supported, but Chartered Accountants ANZ raised concerns about transitional issues and State budget impacts.

Tax New Zealand

Chartered Accountants ANZ called on the New Zealand Government to account for the consequences of the 39% tax rate increase and advocated strongly for a change in the new flat Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) rate. 

“Our NZ tax team raised public awareness and made strong representations to Government on the main changes to the bright-line test, achieving significant media coverage across New Zealand.” 
– Peter Vial, NZ Country Head

Sustainability and climate change

In this reporting year our focus was on global consistency of reporting and standards and the role of accountants in preparing and assuring disclosures. We made submissions on New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission’s draft advice to the Government on achieving emissions targets, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation Trustees’ Consultation Paper assessing the demand for global sustainability standards and the Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Bill in New Zealand which mandates climate-related financial disclosures for particular entities.

In August 2020, Chartered Accountants ANZ CEO, Ainslie van Onselen signed an open letter, alongside other CEOs, to the Australian Prime Minister calling for a sustainable recovery for Australia in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

During the year we established a Sustainability Management Advisory Committee for Chartered Accountants ANZ to engage with a cross-section of members on relevant sustainability matters. 

Other key advocacy efforts included: 

Australia

  • The design and implementation of COVID-19 relief measures and SMSF auditor independence 
  • Draft ATO guidelines on the way in which professional firms allocate profits 
  • An ATO draft ruling on s100A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, impacting the way in which discretionary trust distributions are made 
  • The Insolvency reforms for small businesses including a new class of registered liquidator for small business restructuring 
  • Commentary and media on two Federal Budgets and twelve State and Territory Budgets 

New Zealand

  • Tax submissions and providing input into major tax legislation in the absence of full public consultation 
  • A legal challenge to the Department of Internal Affairs interpretation of the anti-money laundering legislation and the Ministry of Justice’s decision not to grant an exemption from the AML legislation for tax transfers undertaken by tax agents 
  • Commentary and media on the New Zealand General Election and Budget 

Number of policy submissions for Australia and New Zealand

201

Relevant thought leadership 

During the year we developed 12 thought leadership papers, guides and surveys to help inform our advocacy and stakeholder engagement on behalf of members and the profession. 

The inaugural 2020 Chartered Accountants IFRS survey gauged member views on the impact of the recently implemented new accounting standards and How long is the piece of string? presented a deep dive into intangibles, goodwill, and impairment. Chartered Accountants ANZ has used this research to engage with the International Accounting Standards Board and local standards setters to underline the critical need for greater simplicity in accounting standards. 

For a second year, our Investor Confidence Survey captured the views of over 1,500 retail investors in Australia and New Zealand, revealing solid confidence in audited financial reports and important signals on what investors expected from reporting during the pandemic.

We published a Guide to non-financial risks to help members identify and manage non-financial risks, highlighted by the pandemic, and maximise the opportunities, while our playbook Talking Talent was a conversation starter about attracting and retaining the most important ingredient for audit quality – people.

Our paper Give it a nudge – behavioural insights into an ethical workplace, provided rich insights into practical approaches to overcome bias, improve ethical decision making and achieve transformative results. 

In partnership with Asialink Business, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and The Sid and Fiona Myer Family Foundation, we also launched a thought leadership project, Winning in Asia: Creating long-term value. This report focused on unpacking some of the commonly held misconceptions associated with doing business in the region and to ultimately shift the thinking of corporate Australia towards greater internationalisation. 

Our joint report with ACCA, Analytics in Finance and Accountancy examined how finance and accounting teams can use forward-looking analytics to achieve greater insights and provide better business value.  

Proudly upholding professional standards and trust 

During the year, trust has underpinned many of our activities and initiatives, recognising that preserving trust in the profession is more important than ever. Challenges to professional trust are on the rise and there are increasing community and consumer expectations for greater transparency and ethical purpose among professionals. 

The reimagined CA Program and refreshed CPD requirements maintain and enhance our high standards and trusted reputation by making ethics front and centre. 

We have further improved the quality and reputation of our professional standards and conduct programs, including delivered and planned technology advances in Professional Conduct and Quality Practice Reviews. 

We have also invested to ensure communities, businesses and organisations are aware of our trustworthiness. Our Difference Makers campaign encourages businesses to put their trust in highly ethical CAs to work with them, or in their business. Our advocacy and thought leadership are also underpinned by our commitment to ethics and trust in the profession. 

Practice review flexibility 

Our 2020–21 practice reviews, which help maintain the trust and pre-eminence of the CA designation, showed an overall improvement in results. During the year we also introduced greater flexibility in how we conduct reviews in response to COVID-19 restrictions. In response to travel restrictions and social distancing rules we introduced more flexibility into the Practice review process, including remote and desktop reviews. 

The practice review program is a leading part of our compliance framework. Each year we review a selection of members who offer services to the public to determine whether their quality controls meet professional, technical and legislative requirements. 

Reviews help members achieve and maintain quality, understand where they need additional guidance and satisfy regulatory and professional obligations. If our review finds a practice’s policies and procedures do not meet relevant requirements, the practice is asked to develop a plan to address the issues raised. 

If necessary, a reviewer will revisit the practice to ensure issues have been addressed. We also work with these practices, approving mentors, providing tools and education and closely monitoring remediation plans. We use our learnings from this process to promote continuous improvement among all members in public practice. 

In this reporting year, the majority of re-reviews were as a result of inadequate quality control, or insufficient documentation of evidence on audit and insolvency files, or a combination of these. 

Four hundred and two reviews were completed in Australia and New Zealand in the year, compared to 337 in the previous years. 

Practice review results

Satisfactory
Re-review required in 12 months
Unsatisfactory
“When someone asks me ‘Are you a CA?’ I can instantly see that they associate this with integrity.” 
– Christopher Chan, CA

Protecting the designation 

Our Professional Conduct team protects the reputation of the CA designation and ensures members continue to comply with our high professional and ethical standards. 

The number of complaints against members can vary significantly from year to year. This year the number of complaints received was slightly higher than recent years’ averages. 

The Professional Conduct team investigates complaints against members and maintains a robust process to deal with poor conduct, where it is established. 

All decisions in the complaints process are made by independent entities: the Professional Conduct Committee, the Disciplinary Tribunal and the Appeals Tribunal. Complaints are considered by the Professional Conduct Committee. If the alleged conduct is serious, it can be referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal to determine if there is a breach of the By-Laws or NZICA Rules and, if so, the appropriate sanction. The principles of procedural fairness underpin all the disciplinary body processes. 

The Professional Conduct Oversight Committee and the New Zealand Regulatory Board respectively provide independent oversight of the integrity, timeliness and effectiveness of the disciplinary programs carried out by the Professional Conduct Committee, the Disciplinary Tribunal and the Appeals Tribunal. 

Complaints against members 2020-21 (Previous year in brackets) 

Complaints received
347 (297)
Total complaints resolved
376 (314)

Resolutions

# Complaints received follow a process to resolve that takes a varying amount of time. Some complaints received in one financial year may, due to a number of factors including time to investigate, not be resolved until a subsequent year. 

Professional conduct investigation outcomes (% resolved) 

# Complaints received follow a process to resolve that takes a varying amount of time. Some complaints received in one financial year may, due to a number of factors including time to investigate, not be resolved until a subsequent year. 

Breaches 

Sanctions ordered by disciplinary and appeals tribunals 

Members supporting each other

Chartered Accountants Advisory Groups (CAAG) provide confidential peer support for members facing ethical dilemmas or working through career decisions. The regional groups consist of experienced, senior CAs offering guidance for fellow members. 

During the reporting year, the groups provided assistance to 98 members. Key themes underlying this assistance were disciplinary and potential fraud matters, career discussions and partnership disputes. 

“We’ve seen many members who have been transformed by being able to make decisions and to go through difficulties in a way that they have peace about.” 
– Bob Grice FCA, Founding Member of CAAG 
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