Accountants lament 2017 industry scandals

Members of the accounting industry have reflected on some of the scandals that have rocked their profession in 2017, with the CPA Australia Advice saga chief among them.

ifa sister title Accountants Daily has reported that the CPA Australia leadership fiasco – which partly related to the performance of its troubled dealer group arm – dominated headlines in 2017 and has threatened the accounting profession’s standing.

Ralph Martin, national technical director at mid-tier accounting firm RSM, said is hard to argue against the impact of the issue, as professional associations are now held to a deeper level of accountability.

“It’s difficult to look past the implosion of CPA Australia, which resulted in the departure of the CEO and the entire board,” said Mr Martin.


“Whatever your view of the conduct of the board and of Alex Malley - and the size and nature of his termination payment appears indefensible - the impact on CPA Australia and the wider profession is unarguable.

“It is likely to be used in textbooks for years to come as an example of corporate governance failure.”

Likewise, David Boyar, chief executive of outsourced financial management provider Sequel CFO, said the saga will linger on the minds of the community as it heads into the new year but saw a silver lining in CPA rebel leader Brett Stevenson’s efforts in standing up to the association.

“It’s hard to see the CPA leadership and member service crisis not being the worst of accounting for 2017 but the direction by a handful of members to step up also showed the best of us,” said Mr Boyar.

The publication also reflected on the scandal involving former ATO official Michael Cranston, who resigned following allegations he abused his position to access information for his alleged fraudster son.

Brown Wright Stein Lawyers partner Geoff Stein said the whole scenario cast the tax office in a poor light and further strained the relationship within the community, who were plagued by system outages at the start of 2017.

“The Cranston scandal undermined the confidence many members of the community in the ATO,” said Mr Stein.

Accountants lament 2017 industry scandals
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