Date posted: 06/10/2021 2 min read

Key elements of our professional conduct program

Outlining some important elements of our program, its scope and its processes

In brief

  • Decisions in the complaints process are made by independent entities
  • Where possible, it is appropriate that our process, deliberations and decisions do not impact on regulatory actions, civil or criminal law proceedings
  • There are a range of sanctions with the maximum being the termination of membership of CA ANZ

CA ANZ is a professional body that promotes high ethical standards and protects the reputation of the designation by ensuring members comply with a code of ethics, backed by a robust discipline process. We also monitor Chartered Accountants who offer services directly to the public.

Objectives of our program

CA ANZ’s professional conduct program is established by the CA ANZ By-laws or the NZICA Rules.  It comprises the Professional Conduct Committee, Disciplinary Tribunal and Appeals Tribunal/Council (collectively the Entities) established under the By-laws/Rules. The process is fundamentally guided by the overarching objectives of protecting the public, the integrity of the designation and the profession generally.

CA ANZ’s professional conduct program contains several elements which ensure that it meets these guiding principles.  These include:

  • oversight of the program by the Professional Conduct Oversight Committee or the NZICA Regulatory Board
  • the composition of the Entities by CA ANZ members and non-members
  • hearings of the Disciplinary and Appeals Tribunal/Council are generally held in public
  • the decisions of the Entities include reasons
  • publication of the decisions of the Entities is made in accordance with the By-laws/Rules
  • all decision making is made by the Entities and not CA ANZ employees or officers.

Procedural fairness

Decisions in the complaints process are made by independent entities – the Professional Conduct Committee, Disciplinary Tribunal and Appeals Tribunal/Council. Complaints are assessed by the Professional Conduct Committee and can then be referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal, where evidence is presented from the investigation.

The processes and procedures underpinning all of the Entities are aimed at ensuring that procedural fairness is afforded to participants in the process.  In this context, the central tenets of this are:

  • impartiality
  • the member’s right to proper notice as to the subject matter of the investigation, and
  • the opportunity for the member to present the member’s version of events.

Confidentiality is important to our process but in certain circumstances CA ANZ is entitled to publicise the fact that an investigation is or has taken place, the status and/or outcome of that investigation. 

Working alongside other investigations

We seek to conclude all professional conduct matters in a timely manner.  However, where possible, it is appropriate that our process, deliberations and decisions do not impact on regulatory actions, civil or criminal law proceedings and it is our policy that an investigation will be put on hold if it has been referred to a regulator in relation to a matter that is the same as, or substantially similar to, the subject matter of the complaint.  

Reasons for this include:

  • endeavour to limit the possibility that our processes may overlap with or have an impact on a concurrent regulatory, criminal or civil action
  • our processes and proceedings are not subject to the rules of evidence and our usual practice is to endeavour not to compromise a member’s position on legal professional privilege when a matter is subject to current legal proceedings or other investigations
  • it is appropriate that, where possible, all issues be dealt with at the same time and our By-Laws / Rules refer to matters that may not be determined until the conclusion of any other actions
  • an investigation process can be lengthy and costly, CA ANZ may be able to use evidence already provided and assessed from another investigation. 

There is provision for interim suspension of a member but only if the Disciplinary Tribunal is satisfied that it is necessary or desirable to do so, having regard to a number of factors including the urgency of the matter, the interests of the public, the reputation of CA ANZ, or the integrity of the profession of accountancy.

Sanctions 

Civil and criminal sanctions are the preserve of the regulators and the courts, which have wider powers.

The sanctions that are available for a breach of the By-Laws / Rules are related to a member’s membership of CA ANZ and are limited to those prescribed in the By-Laws / Rules.  There are a range of sanctions with the maximum being the termination of membership of CA ANZ.  CA ANZ does not fulfil a registration function for accountants in Australia.

Complaints and disciplinary process

Find out more about making a complaint against a member.

Read more

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