CPA Australia
Integrated Report 2020

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic influenced every aspect of our lives. Accounting and finance professionals are leading the economic recovery effort across the world.

About this report

This annual report covers the activities of CPA Australia Ltd (CPA Australia) and its controlled entities and is inclusive of operations in Australia, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, the Pacific and United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the calendar year 1 January to 31 December 2020.

This report has been prepared in accordance with the fundamental concepts, guiding principles and content elements of the International Integrated Reporting Council’s Integrated Reporting Framework.

This report is structured to provide readers with a comprehensive picture of how CPA Australia has created value through our business model and how we intend to do so for the short, medium and long-term*.

This structure also reflects our strategic goals and related activities for 2020, and our expectations for 2021 and beyond.

The Board acknowledges its responsibility for the Integrated Report and has been involved in its development and direction from the beginning. The Board reviewed, considered and provided feedback on the report at its March 2021 meeting. It is the Board’s collective view that the report has been prepared in accordance with the (IR) Framework and it has received Limited Assurance on this basis.

*Short-term impact is likely to occur in the next one to two years, medium-term within two to five years and long-term in five years or more.

Who we are

CPA Australia is one of the world's largest accounting bodies with a history of more than 134 years.

Our core services to members include advocacy, education, training and technical support. Employees and members work together with local and international bodies to represent the views and concerns of the profession to governments, regulators, standard setters, industries, academia and the general public.

Our sphere of operations covers offices and representative offices in all states and territories of Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, UAE and Vietnam.

Our vision

Partnering with members to prepare for today and tomorrow in a globally connected world.

Our purpose

Advancing trusted and valued accounting and business professionals who enhance their communities.

Governance and organisational structure

The Board of Directors is the governing body of CPA Australia. The Board independently and objectively assesses the organisation's decisions and oversees the performance and activities of management.

Interested in more detail?

For more information on our organisational structure download the pdf.

President's report

Merran Kelsall

President and Chairman of the Board

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic influenced every aspect of our lives. Accounting and finance professionals are leading the economic recovery effort across the world and I am both proud and reassured by the dedication and resolve shown by CPA Australia members, all of whom operated under extreme pressure to provide support to businesses, clients and employees.
The challenges posed to our profession in 2020 highlighted the value of working towards a common objective and the Board is grateful for the leadership and support shown by the Council of Presidents and each of our 13 Divisional Councils. The Council of Presidents, which comprises the President of each of the Divisional Councils, provides advice on issues that arise within the profession and acts as an important link between members and the Board.

Chief Executive Officer’s report

Andrew Hunter


2020 was a year like no other in our lifetimes. One month into the year I could not have predicted the disruption and dramatic impact that COVID-19 would inflict. Fortunately, CPA Australia entered the year with considerable momentum under our strategic plan.
As your professional body, CPA Australia will continue to support members in every way we can. We do so from a position of stability, for which I thank our hard-working Board that has discharged its duties with due care and diligence, ensuring that the interests of members remain central to all our decision making. I also thank the executive management team and all of CPA Australia’s employees for their collegiate approach and their commitment to deliver premium service to members.


In 2020, the organisation focused on key initiatives that support the strategy put in place in 2018, and on initiatives that would support our members through COVID-19 including:

  • CPA Member Connect platform
  • Community campaign to support public practitioners
  • Shifting CPA Congress to a virtual event
  • Launching our first micro-credential in digital finance
  • Moving CPA Program exams online in Semester 1 and to a hybrid model in Semester 2
  • Launching a COVID-19 hub
  • Moving INTHEBLACK to a fully digital production

A dedicated strategy progress page is available on our website and features up-to-date progress reports on the various activities and initiatives being undertaken across the business to realise our strategic objectives and goals. The most significant developments under the strategy are communicated to members via an update from the President after Board meetings and by the CEO in his communications to members.

As announced at the AGM, due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board extended the strategy timeline from the end of 2021 to the end of 2022.

CPA Australia Strategy


Partnering with members to prepare for today and tomorrow in a globally connected world


Advancing trusted and valued accounting and business professionals who enhance their communities


Protect, promote and enhance the integrity of the designation

Lead the future of the accounting profession

Provide members with personalised and engaging experiences

Provide relevant learning and development content, resources and tools

Attract and develop the next generation of CPAs

Impact policy globally and be active in community advocacy

Value for members, support for the community

Performance against strategy

CPA Australia has developed a set of external targets to measure performance against each of the strategic goals, as well as a group target that measures financial performance. Additionally, there are further internal metrics that are also used to measure performance that feed into how our people are remunerated. A selection of these internal metrics are used throughout this report to further illustrate performance against strategy.

The KPIs put in place to measure progress have brought about better business alignment and focus on the strategy. This focus has seen strong performance across the KPIs with achievement of the majority of targets and a number of metrics from member engagement research improving beyond original 2020 targets.

Interested in more detail?

Further information on our financial performance can be found in our governance and financial report.

External environment

The external environment impacts our business model and strategy and is a source of the risks and opportunities that we are facing. Key external trends that have the potential to impact the organisation and its members include:

  • Economic/geopolitical – Changes in the economic/political environment in key markets in which CPA Australia operates.
  • Pandemic or natural disaster – An epidemic that becomes very widespread and affects a whole region, a continent, or the world due to a susceptible population and/or a major adverse event of nature.
  • Climate change – Failure to effectively manage the impact of climate change, both directly and indirectly, on CPA Australia’s operations.
  • Technology – Improvements in accounting software are changing the way accountants use and interact with technology. New processes and systems are shifting the critical skill sets required by accountants. Organisations are outsourcing and automating manual and repetitive tasks to free up employee time to complete more complex tasks.
  • Accountants as strategic advisors – Organisations are becoming more reliant on skilled accountants to provide them with consultation and advice on strategic matters.
  • Trust and transparency – Trust and transparency are increasingly important to organisations.

Business model

Our business model reflects the environment that both our members and the organisation operates in, and the strategy in place to 2022 and beyond. It includes consideration of the six capitals under the (IR) Framework; financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, natural, social and relationship.

Interested in more detail?

For more information on our external environment and business model download the PDF.

Protect, promote and enhance the integrity of the designation

Lead the future of the accounting profession

Provide members with personalised and engaging experiences

Supporting platform for achieving the strategic goals

Sustainable annual financial performance

Provide relevant learning and development content, resources and tools

Attract and develop the next generation of CPAs

Impact policy globally and be active in community advocacy


As part of the development of this report, we worked with independent consultancy Materiality Counts to undertake a materiality determination process.

Our material issues are those that are defined as having the most impact on our ability to create value for our members, the organisation and the broader community. Under this definition we acknowledge that there are some trade-offs between material issues. As an example, a material issue may negatively impact value creation for the organisation, but create value for our members, i.e. high-quality professional development and knowledge for members has a negative impact on financial capital for the organisation but creates value for members in terms of increasing their knowledge and skills.

In looking at our material issues, consideration is given to the order of priority of the issue, its definition, the horizon over which it will impact value creation, and the level of control CPA Australia has over the issue.

Interested in more detail?

For more information on our materiality process download our supplementary materiality report.


Wellbeing of our members

The wellbeing of our members and our people is of great importance, this is particularly the case during a global pandemic. We offered practical tools and tips for our members to deal with the various regulations and restrictions introduced by governments around the world, but also focused on how we could support the mental and physical wellbeing of our members.

Support of our First Nation’s people

In 2019, we announced our first ever Reconciliation Action Plan. To account for the impacts of COVID-19, Reconciliation Australia have granted an extension of our current Reconciliation Action Plan to now run until February 2021.

Bushfire support

In January 2020 as part of our response to the bushfires in Australia, CPA Australia updated our Disaster Recovery Toolkit. The Toolkit provides guidance to businesses impacted by disaster and can assist members and their clients with the steps to recovery. It includes information and useful links for members to access support from Australian government agencies.

Climate change

In February 2020, CPA Australia was one of 14 of the world’s largest accounting organisations, together representing 2.5 million accountants worldwide, to jointly call for action on climate change.

The call to action acknowledged the significant role the accountancy profession can play in achieving climate change mitigation and helping businesses and industries adapt as economies transition to renewable energy and sustainable practices.


Board response

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a devastating impact on communities and economies where CPAs live and work. It also affected many of the Board’s activities and influenced changes to the Board’s strategic plans. The Board monitored the changing situation closely and heeded the advice of governments and health authorities in each region where CPA Australia operates. As the pandemic evolved and took hold in different countries and regions, the Board’s priority was to ensure that appropriate action was taken to protect the safety and well-being of members and employees. A key focus for the Board throughout 2020 was to continue to deliver services to support members and help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the main initiatives implemented by the Board to ensure ongoing support to members was to approve upgrades to our technology and systems capability to enable all employees to work remotely, and to improve the delivery of online services to members, including webinars and the ability for Associate members to sit exams online.

Supporting members and the community

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 had significant impact on individuals, businesses and communities. Accountants have played a vital role during each phase of the economic response. To assist members and their clients in dealing with the economic repercussions of COVID-19, CPA Australia established a dedicated COVID-19 resources hub on the website. The hub was updated regularly with the latest information and featured a range of material for our members across the globe.

Supporting our people

With offices around the globe, the pandemic impacted our people at different times and in different ways. We have focused on supporting our people’s emotional and physical wellbeing. We implemented technology and solutions so that our people could continue to support members from their homes and launched new ways of working to manage the environment our people were working in.

Protect, promote and enhance the integrity of the designation

  • Continue to invest in building the CPA Australia brand, so that the designation continues to inspire trust, confidence and respect
  • Strengthen internal quality assurance and risk frameworks to ensure integrity and transparency
  • Strengthen CPA Australia’s position as an international designation

A trustworthy brand ▲ 7.27/10
Board communications ▲ 6.49/10
Public practitioner satisfaction ▲ 6.73/10


The Board met on 13 occasions in 2020 and wrote regularly to members with a summary of the topics discussed by the Board.

During 2020, the impacts of COVID-19 were at the forefront of the Board’s discussions, more information on the Board’s response to the pandemic can be found in the full integrated report.

Value created
  • A strong governance framework demonstrating a commitment to meeting the organisation’s obligations and best practice
  • Overseeing the strategic direction of the organisation over the short, medium and long-term
  • Appointing new Directors with the requisite skill sets and electing a new President and two Deputy Presidents
  • Supporting Divisional Councils who play a role in supporting our members at the local level and promote the integrity of the CPA designation by strengthening relationships with community stakeholders.
Moving forward

The Board will continue to focus on its governance duties and key elements of CPA Australia’s strategy including:

  • Education strategy
  • Brand strategy
  • Culture
  • Member outreach.

Risks and risk management

CPA Australia has a Board approved risk appetite statement that is reviewed and updated annually or when significant events occur. The statement articulates the amount of risk we are prepared to accept or avoid in pursuit of strategy and the approach taken to meet its risk appetite.

The risk appetite statement enables the Board and management of CPA Australia to be aligned on risk management and to identify, assess and treat risks related to the achievement of objectives whilst remaining within the Board’s approved appetite for these risks. This includes:

  • Making decisions that reflect the taking of appropriate risk for appropriate reward, leveraging the right controls
  • Providing timely monitoring and reporting on risks to all stakeholders
  • Creating a sound risk culture that is embedded throughout the organisation
  • Continually improve and mature the management of risk
  • Satisfying corporate governance and regulatory requirements at all times

CPA Australia follows the three lines of defence model in its approach to risk management:

  • Management and internal controls
  • Risk management and compliance monitoring and reporting
  • Internal audit

CPA Australia’s internal auditors are RSM. A yearly internal audit plan is approved by the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee and the internal auditor reports to the Committee five times per year. Internal audit reports to the Company Secretary for day-to-day matters, but organisationally, reports directly to the CEO. Internal audit has access to the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee at any time.

Value created
  • Our risk management framework and approach ensures consideration of risks across our activities including those risks most likely to impact our strategy, business model and ability to create value over time
  • Three lines of defence model to ensure appropriate oversight.
Moving forward
Progressively embed and consolidate risk monitoring and reporting processes across CPA Australia including:
  • Regular discussion and review of business unit risk registers
  • Continuous improvement of risk management reporting including the implementation of an automated governance, risk and compliance system
  • Enhanced assessment and validation of key controls and development of formal risk treatment plans
  • Improved communication and awareness of CPA Australia’s risk exposure
  • Improved monitoring and reporting of CPA Australia’s compliance obligations through continued implementation of the Board approved compliance management framework
  • Enhanced business continuity planning and awareness and the actioning of any weaknesses identified
  • Development of an expanded incident management framework, incorporating related incident management policies, ensuring all incidents meeting the prescribed thresholds are managed and reported consistently
  • Review and enhancement of emergency and crisis management capability.

Public interest and professional standards

CPA Australia members have a responsibility to act in the public interest and are required to comply with the obligations detailed in CPA Australia’s Constitution and By-Laws, Code of Professional Conduct and applicable industry standards and regulations. We support the work of many international standard setting boards, including the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA).

Value created

New Public Practice Program – a more flexible pathway for members to achieve their Public Practice Certificate (PPC) including moving the traditional face-to-face workshop to a webinar series allowing members to continue on their pathway to a PPC without interruption.

The Value of Advice research report – demonstrated the value of advice and provides a further platform to continue to advocate for reform to ensure advice remains affordable and accessible.

MY FIRM. MY FUTURE. suite provided tools and resources supporting members running their own business, as well as providing business advisory services to their clients.

Professional Indemnity Insurance Portal – delivered an intuitive and easy to use product allowing members to provide their insurance and claims data more efficiently.

Moving forward
  • Launch of the CPA Best Practice Program and development of learning tools and resources aligned to CPA Best Practice Program outcomes
  • Launch of peer consultation, a two-hour virtual consultation offering for new public practitioners, setting them and their business up for success
  • Launch of a self-assessment diagnostic tool that allows members to assess their business needs and connects them to tailored tools and resources
  • Launch of a new technical queries escalation model that ensures our in-house team of technical staff are responding to queries from members within an agreed timeframe, and adopting a consistent approach to responding.

Brand and reputation

A trustworthy brand
▲ >7.27/10
(2019: 6.88/10 - 2018: 6.34/10 - 2017: 5.53/10)

The value of the CPA designation is generated by the technical expertise and reputation of our members. We enhance this reputation by building our brand profile through a range of activities including bringing together members with employer and industry sector groups, building relationships with international accounting bodies and organisations, engaging with students and educational institutions, utilising various communication and social media channels to connect with our stakeholders.

Value created
  • Support for small businesses and public practitioners through our community campaign
  • Promotion of the designation that benefits our members in their careers.
Moving forward
  • Launch the evolution of the brand strategy and identity via the CPA Australia website, demonstrating further progress with a digitally durable identity across the member experience
  • Deliver the visual and verbal identity to support the strategy, and enable us to compete more effectively for the next generation of talent
  • Protect our reputation by showing we are leading through change, ready for the future, not stuck in the past with the launch of a new benefit offer for our members.

Interested in more detail?

For more information about our performance in this area download the PDF.

Lead the future of the accounting profession

  • Understand the emerging changes in the accounting profession and the implications for members in the future
  • Develop strategies, training and tools to support members through the future changes to the accounting profession
  • Provide opportunities and pathways for business professionals wanting to develop their skills and employment options while ensuring high professional standards

Thought leadership ▲ 7/10

Lead the future of the accounting profession

A key to the sustainability of our members and CPA Australia lies in meeting the changing expectations of the community and the landscape organisations operate in. We look to do this by conducting research into issues facing the profession both by ourselves and with partners, supporting the development of the profession in under-represented areas and partnering with other professional accounting bodies to advance the future of the profession. We continue to increase our thought leadership activity, with members rating our activity higher than in previous years.

Value created
  • The digital finance offer provides verifiable evidence of specific skill and knowledge acquisition. Being digital in form, the micro-credentials can easily be added to social media, email signatures, electronic CVs and shared via messaging and data transfer apps
  • Agreements with other professional bodies benefit members through the sharing of common and strong interests in the advancement of the profession
  • MY FIRM. MY FUTURE. suite provided tools and resources supporting members running their own business, as well as providing business advisory services to their clients.
Moving forward
  • The new professional development subject of digital finance will be offered to Associate members on the CPA Program as a complete elective subject from Semester 2 onwards. The course will be assessed at the post-graduate level equivalent to all other Certification courses. In addition, members will be able to take a capstone exam (upon completion of all six micro-credentials) at the same post-graduate level and receive a digital certificate at the mastery level in digital finance
  • Continued rollout of the MY FIRM. MY FUTURE. suite to support members including complimentary eLearning modules, practical resources, webinars and workshops.

Interested in more detail?

For more information about our performance in this area download the PDF.

Provide members with personalised and engaging experiences

  • Improve member experience and tailored communications based on individual member needs and feedback, enabled by data, technology and digital solutions
  • Create a more effective local support model for members through divisions, branches and committees
  • Develop a culture that enables a personalised and engaging member experience

Members ▲ 168,736
Member satisfaction ▲ 6.89/10
Member retention ▲ 98.3%

Member engagement and satisfaction

Member engagement research is a key way in which we track the quality of the relationships we have with our members. The current study was undertaken in all years since 2017 through a third-party provider (Forethought). In 2020, this consisted of a 20-minute online survey which received a 10.7 per cent (n=10,208) response rate.

Key themes from the research included:

  • Members acknowledged that there had been efforts by CPA Australia over the past year to improve. This was reflected in ratings of key metrics which continued to trend up in 2020
  • Reputation and future career development were still the most important drivers for member satisfaction. Members continue to want to see more work done on products and services that will help them in their careers.

Member demographics

168,736 members in more than 100 countries

CPA Australia has a strong and diverse membership representing numerous business and industry sectors in more than 100 countries and regions around the world. Our members occupy a broad spectrum of the accounting and finance profession, from public practitioners working with clients, accountants working in small business and members working in not-for-profit organisations and large corporate entities. This strength and diversity allows CPA Australia through its members to make a positive contribution to business, organisations, the accounting profession and the broader community.




ASA 22%
CPA 70%


Female 49.8%
Male 50.2%

Member trust and engagement

One of the key goals in CPA Australia’s strategy is to provide members with personalised and engaging experiences that add value to their membership and bolster career opportunities. Our member experience team works across the organisation to ensure that we offer members efficient and professional service in every interaction: be it via direct service through our contact centre or local offices, providing easy access to information and resources on the website or by hosting a range of engaging member events.

Value created
  • CPA Member Connect enables our members to form valuable networks and share information no matter where they are located
  • Continued service to members duringthe pandemic
  • Increasing manufactured capital through the upgrades to our offices.
Moving forward
  • Delivering an enhanced website
  • Updating and enhancing our core systems to enable us to provide greater service to members
  • Providing members with more choice and flexibility through a mix of face-to-face and online training and events
  • Launching our SME strategy to support members working in this sector.

Our people

CPA Australia aims to foster an engaged and motivated workforce that is empowered to deliver on our strategy and organisational objectives. To achieve this, we have contemporary policies and workplace practices that are centred around attracting, developing and retaining talent. Naturally, our people have been a focus throughout 2020 as we transitioned many of our people to work from home.

We implemented technology and infrastructure changes that enabled our people to set up home offices, with equipment being delivered to their homes so that they could work in a safe and productive way, including our contact centre agents who continued to provide service to members.

Value created
  • Supporting our people to deliver continued service to members during the pandemic
  • Increasing social and relationship capital through strengthening our culture.
Moving forward
  • Welcoming our people back to our offices in a safe manner, in a way that works for them and retains member focus
  • Transitioning staff to a permanent hybrid workplace model, with the ability to work from home as appropriate
  • Maintaining a focus on wellbeing
  • Continued focus on development of collaboration and engagement tools
  • Development of clear organisational values and behaviours that support our people and our members.

Interested in more detail?

For more information about our performance in this area download the PDF.

Provide relevant learning and development content, resources and tools

  • Improve value for money, relevance and flexibility of CPD
  • Develop and deliver high quality products and services to build careers of specific member groups

Value for money CPD ▲ 5.77/10
Participation of eligible members in CPD ▲ 31.6%

Provide relevant learning and development content, resources and tools

The value of the CPA designation stems not only from the technical expertise and understanding of business strategy gained through completing the CPA Program, but also through the ongoing learning that our members undertake to ensure their knowledge remains relevant.

The majority of our face-to-face events and conferences were cancelled during the pandemic with events moving online so we could still continue to support our members.

In July 2020, INTHEBLACK transitioned to a more sustainable and interactive flipbook version, an acceleration of our long-term strategy, to deliver greater value to our members and partners.

Value created
  • Without the traditional limitations of a print production process INTHEBLACK allows us more ways to profile members to share insights and experiences and reduces our impact on natural capital
  • Continuing to deliver professional development to our members to increase their skills and knowledge.
Moving forward
  • Further micro-credentials will be developed in the areas of leadership, strategic management accounting, financial reporting and integrity
  • The 2020 Finance and Accounting Capability Framework and Competency Matrix will underpin a new ‘My Capability Plan’ providing members with a self-assessment tool that identifies skill gaps and professional development opportunities
  • The full suite of public practice self-paced courses will be micro-credentialed, beginning with a credential in practice management
  • Continued development of a business advisory credential for public practitioners with a digital certificate for successful completion of the course
  • INTHEBLACK will continue to focus on content that builds brand reputation and supports members future career development.

Interested in more detail?

For more information about our performance in this area download the PDF.

Attract and develop the next generation of CPAs

  • Maintain the high standards and relevance of the CPA Program for the global digital future
  • Improve the support model for CPA Program students to attain full membership
  • Attract high calibre Associates globally through a compelling content offer and experience for prospective members

ASA satisfaction ▲ 7.13/10
Exams delivered ▲ >42,000
New members ▲ 10,052

Attract and develop the next generation of CPAs

Attracting new members is key to the sustainability of the organisation as older members retire and leave the profession. Our expectations had been that new member growth would remain at a drop from previous years as competition from local and global bodies increases and the changing higher education landscape leads to lower numbers of accounting graduates. However, in 2020, we saw an increase and attracted 10,052 new members. Previous global crises (i.e. GFC) have often resulted in an increase in those seeking further professional qualifications to further employability and career prospects.

In response to the economic uncertainty in 2020, CPA Australia adapted new member activity to reflect changing market sentiment. Key campaign themes and creative were updated including a new core message of ‘Be Ready’. The campaign messaging was designed to provide reassurance for new members to start their study now and prepare for the future.

Value created
  • Enrolment campaigns supported by Become a CPA webinars to attract high calibre associates globally through a compelling content offer and experience for prospective members
  • ‘How to Apply’ support video resource to support prospective members with their program applications
  • New member stories content hub to continue building the CPA Australia brand, so that the designation continues to inspire trust, confidence and respect.
Moving forward
  • In 2021 CPA Australia will launch the first iteration of an account based marketing and employer engagement model, allowing us to deliver personalised content and experiences to employers that solve their specific business problems.

CPA Program and certification

Exams delivered
▼ >42,000
(2019: >44,000, 2018: 46,000, 2017: >51,000)
ASAs progressed to CPA status
▼ 4588
(2019: 5653, 2018: 5901, 2017: 5693)

The CPA Program is a comprehensive postgraduate education program designed to provide candidates with a thorough grounding in accountancy, finance and business knowledge. In addition to technical accounting skills, it focuses on strategy, leadership, ethics and governance with a view to developing agile and adaptable accounting professionals who are ready to meet the challenges of a changing business world.

The impacts of COVID-19 have further reduced the already declining number of students choosing to study an accounting degree. CPA Australia is looking to address both the direct impacts of the pandemic and the systemic changes in members’ and potential members’ career aspirations. We will continue to evolve the CPA Program to ensure that it addresses the future needs of members and their employers.

Value created
  • Moving to online exams allowed our Associate members to continue their studies without interruption during the pandemic
  • Implementing a new and sustainable online exam from Semester 2 2020, which is equivalent to those offered at test centres globally, enabled Associate members to choose an exam modality that best suited their situation.
Moving forward
  • We will enhance our online delivery of exams following the feedback we’ve received from Associate. With a particular focus on providing more support for technical issues and improving member experience with the new technology
  • Embedding the micro-credential framework across the CPA Program
  • The Digital Finance CPA Program elective subject will be launched in Semester 2 2021, and will provide a deep understanding of the technological changes and digital aptitude that members will need to possess
  • The mentoring program will be extended to our international members in 2021.

Interested in more detail?

For more information about our performance in this area download the PDF.

Impact policy globally and be active in community advocacy

  • Enhance and extend the amount of policy work that CPA Australia undertakes for the benefit of members and the community they serve, to build recognition of the CPA Australia brand
  • Advocate for member and public interests through local and international policy work

Media impact score ▲ 2.9
Policy and advocacy member rating ▲ 6.80/10

Policy and advocacy

Media impact score in Australian media
▲ 2.9
(2019: 2.7, 2018: 1.4, 2017: -0.7)

CPA Australia looks to impact policy globally and be active in community advocacy on issues that matter to members, advance the profession and are in the public interest.

Our Policy and Advocacy team actively engages with governments, regulators, government agencies and standard setters to promote public policies that stimulate sustainable economic growth and have positive business and social outcomes. Our broad membership base allows us to seek a variety of views and provide an array of industry perspectives. We represent the views of members across the spectrum of accounting, finance and business disciplines.

CPA Australia also seeks to influence policy by maintaining a strong and active voice in the media. Engaging with media helps us generate support for our positions and can shape legislative and regulatory outcomes, on behalf of members and for the public interest. We use a range of data analytics to assess the effectiveness of our media engagement. One such measure is the Media Impact Score (MIS), calculated by independent media monitor. The MIS is a comparative benchmark which ranks over 400 Australian organisations across 18 sectors based on audience reach, key messages and tone.

Value created

CPA Australia reviews and shapes policy, legislation and regulation on behalf of members and in the public interest. In 2020, our thought leadership influenced key decisions by government and standard setting bodies, including:

  • The decision not to ban cash transactions over $10,000
  • Allowing registered tax agents to advise clients on early access to superannuation
  • The design of the decline in turnover certificate for COVID-affected businesses
  • Amendments to JobKeeper eligibility rules and tests.
Moving forward

In 2021, governments and regulators will begin to return to matters that were on the agenda previous to COVID-19 and will also need to continue to deal with the economic and other impacts of the pandemic. CPA Australia will continue to engage with a range of key stakeholders and advance its policy and advocacy activities to address these matters in the public interest, and in the interest of the profession and our members. We expect our major policy and advocacy activities in 2021 will focus around:

  • Superannuation systems and the need for professional accounting services and advice
  • Guidance and tools for the profession on economic recovery, assisting business, dealing with increased bankruptcies and insolvencies, and lowering unemployment
  • Issues such as advancing broader corporate reporting reforms, climate change and sustainability risks.

Interested in more detail?

For more information about our performance in this area download the PDF.

Board of Directors

As at 31 December 2020

Merran H Kelsall

President and Chairman of the Board

Professor Dale Pinto

Deputy President

Enrico De Santi

Deputy President

Michaela Browning


Louise Cox


Robyn Erskine


Helen Lorigan


Rosemary Sinclair


Peter Wilson

Director and Immediate Past President

Su-Yen Wong


Financial report

In 2020, CPA Australia continued to invest in key initiatives that support the strategy put in place in 2018, and on initiatives that would support members through COVID-19. This included: the introduction of the first micro-credential course in digital finance, further investment in guided learning and online tuition options to support candidates through the CPA Program, a community campaign to support public practitioners, the introduction of a virtual CPA Congress and investment in our website, member management and finance systems. Additionally, the CPA Member Connect platform was launched to enable members to build networks in a secure environment. CPA Australia also continued to enhance our thought leadership in advocating for our members and the public interest.

Interested in more detail?

Further information on our financial performance can be found in our governance and financial report.