Date posted: 04/07/2023

An update on CA ANZ Professional Conduct Committee investigation into TPB order against PwC

4 July, 2023

Further to our update to Members yesterday morning (03/07/2023), we note that PwC Australia has since announced that it has concluded its investigation into ‘the handling of confidential Treasury information and past failures in professional, ethical or leadership responsibilities.’

The announcement confirms that the firm has exited, or is in the process of exiting, eight partners. These departures are in addition to the four former partners the firm previously named as being involved in the conduct described by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) in its order against the firm.

The TPB order against the firm is a serious matter. As communicated earlier this week, the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) investigation into that matter, which commenced in January 2023, is well-progressed.

The firm’s latest announcement names individuals who are CA ANZ Members or former Members as persons involved in the conduct described in the TPB orders or responsible for failure to exercise governance and leadership. The PCC investigations of these individuals and others are in progress and at this stage are expected to continue in parallel with other agencies’ inquiries and investigations. In this regard, CA ANZ also notes that the PwC matter has now been referred to the new National Anti-Corruption Commission.

We are very aware of the potential impact of this matter on the standing of the CA designation and the wider profession. The matter is troubling and does not represent the vast majority of our Members who work tirelessly for their community and clients, exemplifying the principles of integrity, confidentiality, objectivity, professional care and skill, and professional behaviour for which Chartered Accountants are known.

Ethics Hub

With ethics and the behaviour of accountants in focus, CA ANZ is encouraging Members to ensure their training and knowledge is up to date. CA ANZ and the community expects nothing less so we ask that all Members visit our Ethics Hub.

Members can register for an upcoming complimentary webinar on Code Essentials for Members in Business here. A deep understanding of, and commitment to, the Code of Ethics, is a fundamental requirement of Members’ ongoing membership.

There is never an excuse for unethical behaviour. Actions from just a few have the potential to cast a shadow over the profession.

Please also take the time to read over Monday’s update, and our recently released Professional Conduct Framework Review recommendations which are aimed at ensuring our Conduct and Disciplinary Framework remains robust and in line with current global best practice.

3 July 2023

Ethics and trust are the cornerstone of our profession and CA ANZ shares members’ concerns about the impact that unacceptable conduct has on our entire profession.

As previously communicated, in January 2023, CA ANZ’s independent Professional Conduct Committee commenced its own investigation into the Tax Practitioners Board order against PwC. That investigation, and related investigations, are progressing.

CA ANZ remains committed to pursuing any violations of the By-Laws or APES 110 Code of Ethics (the Code). At the same time, it is vital that all investigations, including our own, are allowed due process.

Member communication and support

CA ANZ appreciates the importance of providing regular updates to our members on this important matter and is committed to providing timely updates in a way that will not interfere with the ongoing investigations.

The vast majority of our members, whether in small or large firms, act with integrity and proudly abide by our Code of Ethics. We understand that for some, this is a troubling time, and remind members of CA ANZ’s CA Advisory Group which can provide counselling and support for CAs facing ethical dilemmas or weighing career decisions.

Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are also available to all members. This confidential program supports you and members of your family through counselling services and can be accessed 24 hours, seven days a week. Members can access up to three sessions free of charge.

Professional Conduct Framework Review

While separate, the Professional Conduct Framework Review provides an important backdrop to this matter.

Members are reminded that the recommendations of the Professional Conduct Framework Review were communicated via email on 7 June. This included a link to a comprehensive area on our website CA ANZ Professional Conduct Framework Review.

More information regarding the vote on amendments to the By-Laws and Rules will be issued in coming months and we will be encouraging all members to engage in this important process.