WOB members support CPA reform

The trials and tribulations at CPA Australia continue apace, with fresh revelations today that this week the NSW Government is threatening to deregister it as a professional standards body. This is principally because the loss-making business championed by CEO Alex Malley, CPA Australia Advice, competes with the members of CPA Australia.

Coupled with the resignations of Kerry Ryan and Richard Alston from the board and the very public renouncing of membership by David Murray, it’s been a tough week.  
As a member of some 35 years standing and an FCPA I have been advocating for a broad organisational review and governance reform. It seems that many WOB members agree.

Our small survey on the matter of CPA governance attracted 350 responses in less than 24 hours. The interim findings are as follows.

Would you support changes to the CPA Australia Constitution to enable CPA Australia members to vote for the 10 members of the national board that are currently appointed by the Representative Council (made up of divisional councillors + one other)?
  • Yes – 89 %
  • No - 3%
  • Unsure - 11%

In theory their model should work but it requires high trust. Trust has rightly gone and they need to go back to member voting method to restore trust.

All organisations should have a transparent and open appointment process. When looking at other organisations which have only a few members responsible for appointing board members this can lead to conflicts of interest by appointed members.

The current board does not appear to represent its members' views or be capable of managing the CEO. It appears to be breaching its own constitution in director tenure and remuneration.

Having been a board member of a professional body I understand the challenges of an entirely open member voting system in terms of achieving the right mix of skills on the board and operating effectively. However the totally closed process as exists in CPA has demonstrated its problems. I favour a democratic process in which there is some skills evaluation and suitability assessment of nominated members, who are then voted on by members is preferable.

Yes. I am on the board of a member based organisation. All directors need to be voted for/approved by members - as is Rem. Rem as a whole is made opaque to members but, in light of the CPA's situation, the board has moved that in the next Annual Report, the full rem packages of the Board, CEO and the execs be disclosed. It's member's money; they have a right to know what is being spent and, therefore, having a say in who is elected as Directors.

Do you support a broad and independent review of CPA Australia?

  • Yes – 89 %
  • No - 5%
  • Unsure - 6%
Comments (240 received)

CPA Australia should be the first to submit itself to scrutiny regarding it's governance for it to be a credible provider of Ethics and Governance program/course. It should be able to prove itself as compliant with ALL the requirements of good governance and ethics.

Firstly, the Board (although not all Board members) have displayed an appalling disregard for the governance of the organisation and membership as a whole by firstly refusing to disclose remuneration details of the CEO, Board and key personnel. Secondly, the reticence to disclose becomes apparent when salaries are disclosed. The rates of remuneration for all personnel including directors extreme and not warranted and hard to justify on a value basis. Thirdly, money spent by the CEO in promoting himself and his book in the US and Australia illustrates an abuse of his position and CPA funds. In my experience this is probably only the tip of the iceberg and a review would almost certainly uncover more abuses, not just by the CEO. Some directors have already called for an independent review and these must occur.

The allegations against Alex Malley and the Board are serious and have been on-going for far too long. If there is nothing to hide, the truth will prevail with the independent review and Alex Malley and the Board will be given opportunity to be vindicated.

The unethical behaviour has caused not only the CPA brand to be tarnished, but also the accounting profession in general. Now the PSC are involved. It does not get much worse. In other words, the PSC have decided that CPAA do not uphold professional standards.

I would encourage a review by a person/panel not in any way connected to Alex, the current Board or management team. It is my thoughts that the current governance practices are flawed and the current leadership are operating for themselves and not in the interests of the CPA and its members. The outrageous salaries and directors fees being paid to the leadership of CPA require review, as are the actions of this group and some of the recent decisions made. The decision to hold the AGM of CPA Australia in Singapore is one of these. Was this a ploy to avoid members having a 'real' voice at the AGM, with only having the opportunity to send a proxy and not be part of any discussion or be heard.

Do you support an independent review of the CEO, Alex Malley?
  • Yes – 76 %
  • No - 9%
  • Unsure - 15%
Comments (230 received)

He is the face of CPA Australia, and has had continuous exposure in the media through some programs which may be quite expensive to run. He should come out clean under scrutiny.

I think he has achieved some huge positive milestones for the organisation, but this may have come at a cost. I think his remuneration is fair however his book deal and TV show may have overstretched the boundaries.

He has been only working for Alex Malley, not us members. I questioned his motives years ago. Regardless, I am embarrassed as an accountant now. How can someone be this selfish and get away with it. The members need more voice to oust an employee acting this way.

I've read opinion articles by other members about Alex Malley's perceived personal agenda. I question why my membership fees are supporting such things as the TV interviews he conducts as well as the choice of advertising the CPA brand (eg the tennis etc). As the leader of CPA, a review would likely settle the concerns of many members about his Leadership. However, an independent review sounds like just another big spend of membership fees on something that may well not benefit members at all!

I was concerned with his appointment and continue to remain unhappy with his appointing others with whom he has a previous relationship. The immense increase in salaries for Alex and the Board and the seemingly self promotion of Alex by himself in all media channels. It seems to be the Alex Malley Association, not the CPA.
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