CPA celebrates EOFY with ‘Own Goals’

No-one likes it when their team kicks its own goal. Indeed, journalists and commentators often engage in hot debate about which is the worst ‘own goal’ across the many sports codes. However, there is little doubt that as we approach the end of the financial year, that CPA Australia has taken the prize for the most own goals scored in the shortest period of time in corporate history. 
To give a quick update since my previous item for the WOB newsletter for those who have not kept up with the life and times of CPA Australia being lived out on the back pages of the AFR:
  • Four more board members have resigned from the CPA Australia board, putting it below quorum.
  • Another hastily (possibly illegally) appointed director and an independent review have also been announced.
  • CEO Alex Malley is still in place; with evidence that he is pulling the strings.
Which brings me to just a few of the ‘own goals’ scored by CPA Australia in recent weeks…
  1. Waited too long to announce the independent review of governance. This reduced the board to a rump with diminished authority and increased reputational damage being done in the public arena.
  2. Choice of independent members for the review was instantly challenged as both had given endorsement of Alex Malley’s book and /or appeared on his television program. The two chosen are distinguished Australians but the question of perceived conflict lingers.
  3. The President says the CEO will not be involved in the review but if Alex Malley had a hand in the selection, the question lingers as to how much he will pull the strings behind the scenes. 
  4. Continual criticism of same media used by Alex Malley to promote himself, his book and the CPA – enabling him to get to where he is today. With exposure comes scrutiny – or ‘what goes around comes around!’  
  5. CPA spokesperson has been caught out spreading untruths.  This together with the generally poor behaviour of CPA in restricting access to member information is creating a cancer that is spreading within the organisation.
What else can go wrong?
  • The terms of reference for the ‘independent’ inquiry are yet to be released. The Australian newspaper reported then independent director Richard Alston’s list of issues to be included in the review. He subsequently resigned. The bar has been set. The market and the media will compare what terms of reference are announced with Richard Alston’s (and many others) list. ‘Alston’s list’ includes inquiry into the probity of Alex Malley.
  • Will the board (what is left of it) continue to support Alex Malley or will it stand him down – at least while the investigation proceeds. How long can it hold out against members, the market and the media?
What can you do?

There is an ever-increasing cohort of well-meaning senior CPA members who are doing their best to get a speedy resolution to what is fast becoming a train wreck. We all realise that this is not good for the accounting profession and business in general. Robust and well-regulated professions (lawyers, accountants, surveyors, medicos etc) are vital for consumer confidence and economic stability.  

A group of CPA members has set up “CPAs for Change”. A number of WOBers (including myself) are involved. You are invited to register at to support our profession.
Happy end of financial year!

Addendum: The Board of CPA Australia notified the termination of the servcies of CEO Alex Malley late on Friday June 23rd 2017.  The payout is $4,9m 
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