CPA Australia

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CPA Australia
CPA Australia logo 400x175.PNG
CPA Australia's head office
Formation12 April 1886; 135 years ago (1886-04-12)
Legal statusRegistered Body (in Australia)
HeadquartersMelbourne, Australia
Australia and Asia-Pacific
168,736 (2020)
Official language
President and Chairman of the Board
Merran Kelsall[1]
Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Hunter[2]
Decrease AUD $156.14 million (2020)
ExpensesDecrease AUD $149.79 million (2020)

CPA Australia ("Certified Practising Accountant") is a professional accounting body in Australia founded in 1886. As of 31 December 2020, it has 168,736 members working in 150 countries and regions around the world.[4] CPA Australia currently has 19 staffed offices across Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, New Zealand and the UK.[5]


The current form of CPA Australia dates from 1952, when the Commonwealth Institute and Federal Institute merged to create the Australian Society of Accountants. In July 1990 the name changed to the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants, and in April 2000, the name became CPA Australia.[6]

The main predecessor bodies of the Society, with year of formation, were:

  • Incorporated Institute of Accountants, 1886
  • Federal Institute of Accountants, 1894
  • Association of Accountants of Australia, 1910
  • Australasian Institute of Cost Accountants, 1920

CEO controversy[edit]

The CEO of CPA Australia from 2008, Alex Malley, came under significant criticism in the media and from CPA members in 2017 for his A$1.8 million annual salary and for the significant amounts of CPA funds going towards promoting Malley and his personal interests, such as a paid television show and Malley's autobiography.[7] The scandal surrounding Malley, combined with broader member discontent over executive changes that made the board unaccountable and debts accrued from the establishment of a financial planning arm, led to the resignation of the CPA president Tyrone Carlin in May 2017, and then to two board members resigning a week later in June 2017. The resigning board members, Richard Alston and Kerry Ryan, cited the presence of "board allies of chief executive Alex Malley" refusing to "allow a wide-ranging review of Mr Malley and the organisation" as their main reason.[8] The board resignations had also followed former Future Fund Chairman and Commonwealth Bank CEO, David Murray, who resigned his 40-year CPA membership in response to what he saw as poor management within CPA.[8]

On 15 June, a further three directors resigned due to the expanding scandal surrounding Malley and the remaining board initiated an "independent review" of all claims made against CPA and its CEO, to be chaired by former chief of the Australian Defence Force, Sir Angus Houston.[7] However, even the decision to create the review came under criticism when it was revealed that Houston had appeared as guest on Malley's TV program and had written a glowing foreword in Malley's book.[9] Houston later resigned his post in favour of former Commonwealth Auditor-General, Ian McPhee.[7]

Facing a significant swelling of discontent amongst CPA members, in June 2017 it was announced that the CPA board had terminated the contract of Malley, resulting in CPA paying out the remainder of his contract to the sum of A$4.9 million.[10][11] On the developing scandal, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Colin Kruger noted: "Accountancy is meant to be the profession of sober financial clarity. [...] Not the sort of profession for flashy types, accountants are meant to be the score keepers, not the goal scorers. It makes the lack of accountability, and financial clarity, from the top accounting body in Australia – CPA Australia – all the more incongruous."[12]

In August 2017, it was announced that the remaining board members would resign their positions at the end of the year, to make way for an entirely new board.[13] The subsequent review report released in September 2017 found that the "chief executive was overpaid, [CPA Australia] had lost touch with its members and provided questionable value for money for the services it rendered."[14] In addition to CPA's "over-emphasis on marketing and brand building activities that centred on the former CEO", the review in particular noted the excessive CEO's salary, with its many increases over several years not being justified by organisational growth.[15]


Full members of CPA Australia use the designatory letters CPA,[16] while senior members may become Fellows and use the letters FCPA.[17]


Coat of arms of CPA Australia
CPA Australia Arms.svg
The arms of CPA Australia consist of:[18]
On a Wreath of the colors, five books erect proper.
A closed steel helmet
Azure, a Fess enhanced and in base a Pale Argent, over all a representation of the Southern Cross counterchanged.
Other elements
Mantling of azure doubled argent
The T formed by the fess and pale represents a double-sided account, and thus double entry book-keeping.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CPA Australia appoints Directors and Office Bearers" (PDF). CPA Australia. CPA Australia. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  2. ^ Tadros, Edmund (23 March 2018). "CPA Australia appoints ex-Macquarie banker Andrew Hunter as chief executive". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  3. ^ "CPA Australia Integrated Report 2020". Integrated Annual Report. CPA Australia. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  4. ^ "CPA Australia". CPA Australia - About us. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  5. ^ "CPA Australia". Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  6. ^ CPA Australia Handbook, 1995, p11021
  7. ^ a b c Aston, Joe (24 January 2018). "Alex Malley: What a difference a year makes". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b Aston, Joe; Tadros, Edmund; Patrick, Aaron; Durkin, Patrick (7 June 2017). "Richard Alston quits CPA Australia board over governance". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  9. ^ Letts, Stephen (16 June 2017). "CPA chief Alex Malley keeps his job but faces 'fiercely independent' review over ongoing controversy". ABC News. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  10. ^ Hobday, Liz (24 June 2017). "CPA terminates contract with chief executive Alex Malley". ABC News. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  11. ^ Aston, Joe; Tadros, Edmund (23 June 2017). "CPA Australia CEO Alex Malley sacked". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  12. ^ Kruger, Colin (26 June 2017). "Alex Malley, CPA Australia's 'Naked CEO' who walked off with $4.9m". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  13. ^ Tadros, Edmund (7 August 2017). "Inside story of Alex Malley's final days at CPA Australia". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  14. ^ Letts, Stephen (15 September 2017). "CPA review finds CEO overpaid and organisation 'out of touch' with members". ABC News. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  15. ^ Pash, Chris (14 September 2017). "CHARTS: How the salary of CPA Australia's chief executive grew faster than membership". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  16. ^ "What does CPA stand for". Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  17. ^ "About CPA Australia". Archived from the original on 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2011-05-19.
  18. ^ Low, Charles (1971). A Roll of Australian Arms. Adelaide: Rigby Limited. p. 9. ISBN 0-85179-149-2.

External links[edit]