CPA members in public practice across Australia have now lost a crucial legal protection due in part to a conflict of interest arising from the establishment of its licensing arm.
From 7 October, the current CPA Australia Professional Standards Scheme, which operates in all mainland jurisdictions, will expire. From that point onwards, all CPA Australia Public Practice Certificate members will lose the protection of that Professional Standards Scheme. The scheme covers 6,963 members, providing an additional layer of security for the firm’s clients, with limitation of liability for the provision of certain services. The PSC had already confirmed in June that CPA members in Victoria had lost the protection of the scheme, and said it was extremely likely that all other Australian states - excluding Tasmania - would follow suit. Central to the problems with the application are conflicts of interest arising from the establishment and structure of CPA Australia Advice. The significant corporate governance and leadership issues that have since surfaced are also informing this process, Dr Deen Sanders, chief executive at the PSC, told sister publication Accountants Daily late last month. It will take a minimum six months from publication approval of a scheme to progress through statutory approvals and receive final establishment. “The Professional Standards Councils are concerned for the CPA Australia public practitioner members and their clients. They have directed the Professional Standards Authority to continue to work with CPA Australia to minimise the effect and the duration of the lapse in coverage,” the PSC said in a statement released this morning. “We understand CPA Australia is working through the resolution of a range of matters with their members and remain hopeful that a new professional standards scheme can be established in a timely fashion,” it said. CPA Australia’s ongoing response to this issue so far has been that their application to the PSC is active. The PSC is advising that members notify their insurers of changed circumstances regarding limitation of liability, and noted members may “potentially be forced to purchase new insurance policies.”
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