If you are a voting CPA Member right now and you do not usually vote at the AGM, then this might be the year you need to make a change. If you ignore this message, you might be putting your membership at risk of a repeat of 2017 so read on. Your proxy could be the difference.
The CPA Australia Board have confirmed their express intention to VOTE AGAINST ALL Member sponsored resolutions without even a word of debate in the name of better representing their best interests.
The irony is not lost, but there is a worse risk that this might bring if it is proven that we are not consultative and the consequences lie with renewed risks for us with bodies such as the Professional Standards Council (PSC) and Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). If so, the reputational consequences could be dire.
Yes, in an unbelievable turn of events, the CPA Board actually opposes Ordinary Resolution 5 which is aimed at holding an openness, transparency & accountability webinar to discuss member resolutions and they are proudly declaring it is unanimously supported. I am not sure the significance of this unilateral denial is fully appreciated as yet, but I suspect it soon will be.
This is why I ask:
“Could an ordinary resolution for a webinar be the undoing of this board?”
Resolution 5 is mentioned on page 7 (Resolution 5), pages 31-32 (Board Response in opposition to Resolution 5) and explanatory memorandum way down at pages 65-67 and you can download the CPA 2018 AGM Transparency Resolution (Excerpt 7 pages) for ease of reference.
ORDINARY RESOLUTION 5 (Requires 50%+ Vote to pass)
Motion to ensure the Board can demonstrate meaningful consultation with members for member resolutions in accordance with clause 5. Objects of the Company. A discussion paper on proposed resolutions should be published in INTHEBLACK and electronically for all members for discussion within 6 months of an AGM. This is to be followed up with an international online webinar to address any matters in addition to any other appropriate feedback mechanism that is open and transparent to the membership.
BOARD DECLARES UNANIMOUS OPPOSITION TO ALL MEMBER RESOLUTIONS
You may very well ask why does the CPA board oppose the above? The board claims it is on account of duplication and cost. This after a global speaking tour that resulted in members taking it upon themselves to fill the accountability gap. Is this true consultation?
Seemingly inert, this is potentially the most explosive miss-step of this new board to date as by unilaterally opposing member resolutions before sharing them for debate calls into the question the validity of the consultative process. Do members really have a say?
ARE OUR PSC AND TAX AGENTS LICENCES AT RISK (AGAIN)?
Effective member consultation is the bedrock of all the privileges we are afforded as a professional membership from government and regulatory bodies, and this might again put our PSC and Tax Agent licenses at risk again. This is nothing to do with the old board and has everything to do with the new board and with these decisions clearly attributable to the new board there is not out clause of blaming the past. Calls for director resignations are beginning, most notably starting with new Chair, Peter Wilson via resolution 14.
Peter Wilson may have admonished the old board for not knowing about Malley but this will not pass the pub test here.
PREEMPTIVE BOARD OPPOSITION TO MEMBER RESOLUTION WITHOUT CONSULTATION IS A BIG MISTAKE
The video below represents the first publicly published group discussion of all the known resolutions and increasingly likely to be the only one of its kind to be held.
WATCH the video to learn what Four voting members of CPA Australia had to say about Resolution 5 in this informal Fireside Chat held shortly after the release of the Notice of General Meeting. You can see the palpable disappointment at the CPA board’s opposition to what amounts to a basic call for openness, transparency and accountability.
Here are some notable comments from within this video for quick reference:
Andrew North CPA – “This [resolution] is the ultimate form of engagement rather than the gobbledygook that we get about engagment and activation of members.”
Lisa Gill CPA – “The first tangible opportunity.. to engage with members … is a lost opportunity.. The very first thing they have said is they are not supporting any member resolutions… in bold and capitals they are against any member resolution!”
Will Camphin FCPA – “It’s not too hard to hold a webinar… I would like to know how much their cost is for that? How can we duplicate something we have never done before?… INTHEBLACK is a sunk cost… publish out to all the members and it wouldn’t cost a single thing further”
Glen Hasselman CPA – “This would not have hurt anybody, this resolution, to have some discussion… you can hear basically how disappointed people are… this is why we are voting for Resolution 5 to force CPA Australia to engage with the members”
This raises concerns as to whether there really is a genuine consultation by the CPA Australia Board with their members notwithstanding the global speaking tour the board recently set out while limiting all discussion to only board sponsored resolutions. Substance over form springs to mind and this is why it is critical that you attend this AGM either by proxy or in person.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO? YOU CAN CONNECT WITH US ON LINKEDIN FOR UPDATES
I am attending this AGM in person because it is just that important. Last year this opportunity was not afforded to us when the AGM was moved to Singapore, and we cannot stand idly by and risk a repeat of 2017. We risk increasing government oversight unless we respect the privileges afforded to us as members in the manner they deserve, and this requires us sending a message to the board on this point without equivocation.
The banking industry is subject to a royal commission right now, are we in the accounting profession to be next? We are responsible to the public for auditing these Banks with all that has been uncovered. This is serious. Vote and be heard.
If you watch the video and it resonates with you, then the only way you can take action is to vote at the Annual General Meeting in Melbourne on the 22nd May 2018. If you cannot attend in person then appoint a proxy and I will be attending in person as will Andrew North, Glen Hasselman and Jen Dalitz and of course the resolution sponsor David Dahm.
“If you assign your proxy to me or any one of the others mentioned then please be sure to let me know once we have connected here on Linkedin.” ~ Will Camphin
WHY WE NEED YOUR PROXY (Appoint online prior to 20th May 2018!)
To our dismay, the board have been explicit in their intentions to unanimously oppose this and all other member resolutions aimed solely at achieving greater openness, transparency and accountability.
Instead, the 4 Board sponsored resolutions focus on director appointment (Resolution 1), director access (Resolution 2), Director numbers and extended terms for president (Resolution 3) and Director Remuneration (Resolution 4).
Where are the member’s interests to be heard in this theme above do I hear you ask?
We have 10 member resolutions that are receiving just 2 minutes of time at the AGM for the member lodging them to make their case after months of member consultation forums and webinars held by the board to advocate their 4 which represent less than 30% of the resolutions up for the vote.
This is not just the 4 members in the video but members in their thousands that united in defence of our profession in 2017. The formal CPA Australia Governance and Strategy Discussion group (now in NSW and Victoria) showcase member views at CPAgas.org where you will find more videos from other members in a similar vein. You will also find the full Fireside Chat video covering ALL 14 resolutions for you to view there too.
For 5 years we have been respectfully asking questions, and AGM 2018 appears to be critical for continuing to right the “management and not membership problem” that came to a head in 2017.
Help us reclaim our membership body before it is too late and the government steps in to takes the ability to self-govern on this out of our hands.