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The Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board (APESB) is an independent national body that sets the code of ethics and professional standards with which accounting professionals who are members of CPA Australia, CA ANZ or IPA must comply.

CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) established the APESB in February 2006. The Institute of Public Accountants (formerly the National Institute of Accountants) became the third member of the APESB later that year. The APESB is equally funded by the three Australian accounting professional bodies: CPA Australia, CA ANZ and IPA.

Ms Nancy Milne OAM brings over 30-years' experience as a lawyer working on large commercial cases involving risk and compliance, to her role as Chairman at APESB.

As a partner at Clayton Utz, her accounting and indemnity work established her strength in stakeholder management, dispute resolution and governance. She has also developed an in-depth knowledge of the regulatory environment within the financial services sector. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Nancy was a recipient of an Order of Australia Medal in 2008 for services to the legal sector and the community.

Since 2003, Nancy has taken up a variety of governance roles, focussing on improving business performance. She is Chair at the Securities Exchanges Guarantee Corporation, Deputy Chair at the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, a non-Executive Director at FBR Limited, a Director at Pacific Opera and a Director at the Benevolent Society. She is a Council Member for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Council.

There are seven directors of the APESB. Six directors are drawn from across the three professional accounting bodies. The seventh director is the chairperson. The APESB constitution requires the chairperson be an independent person who is not a member of one of the professional accounting bodies.

APESB Directors.

The APESB chairperson, Nancy Milne OAM, is the spokesperson for all media enquires. Enquires should be directed in the first instance to Channa Wijesinghe, Chief Executive Officer, 03 9642 4372 / 0418 175 758 or email channa.wijesinghe@apesb.org.au.

A standard outlines the fundamental responsibilities of professional accountants when they are performing their role. Each standard contains information on the scope and application of the standard, definitions and the date the standard takes effect. Failure to comply with standards issued by the APESB may lead to disciplinary proceedings being initiated by the professional accounting body to which the member belongs.

Guidance notes provide additional explanatory information on the mandatory requirements established by the standard to which they refer. Guidance notes do not establish new requirements or alter the requirements of an existing standard.

An APESB pronouncement is a general term, and can be either an APESB standard or APESB guidance note.

The Code establishes a ‘principles based’ standard of professional ethics for members of the professional accounting bodies and provides a framework for applying these principles.

The Code is based on the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA).

Professional and ethical standards are fundamental to the reputation of the accountancy profession and to ensuring consistency of practice and confidence in Australia’s capital markets.

All Australian professional accountants have a responsibility to act in the public interest and are expected to act with objectivity and integrity by a range of different audiences such as investors, governments, clients, employers and employees when undertaking work or providing advice.

The APESB standard setting process is rigorous and transparent. The typical process for developing or reviewing an APESB standard or guidance note is:

Yes. All submissions are a matter of public record and are placed on the APESB website when the exposure draft period has closed. Submissions remain on the website until the final pronouncement is issued.

No. APESB is the independent body that sets the professional and ethical standards for members of the three major professional accounting bodies in Australia (CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CA ANZ) and the Institute Public Accountants (IPA)). As a standard-setter, we can answer a query relating to our Standards, but we do not provide professional advice on the application of the Standards.

APESB does not have a complaints handling process, monitoring, investigatory or disciplinary functions. Any enquiries relating to complaints, should be raised with the appropriate Professional Accounting Body or ASIC, as they are responsible for all disciplinary matters. If the matter relates to the conduct of a tax or BAS agent, the matter could also be raised with the Tax Practitioners Board.

APESB standards are applicable to all members of the Australian professional accounting bodies. Failure to comply with standards issued by the APESB may lead to disciplinary proceedings being initiated by the professional accounting body to which the member belongs.

There are also a number of APESB standards that carry the force of law by virtue of being referenced in auditing standards that are legally enforceable. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for monitoring compliance with auditing standards.

Working in today’s globalised economy, the APESB understands the importance of developing Australian standards that are consistent with those issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Relevant professional and ethical standards issued by IFAC are used as the basis for the development of APESB standards and tailored where required to the Australian business environment.

The APESB also contributes to international standard setting by developing submissions to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA), a board of the IFAC, and to other relevant international standard setting boards.

For more information about IFAC visit www.ifac.org.

The APESB issues media releases on important changes in standards and other topics of interest to the accounting and wider business community. If you would like to be added to the media list, please contact Channa Wijesinghe, Chief Executive Officer, 03 9642 4372 / 0418 175 758 or email channa.wijesinghe@apesb.org.au.

Highlights of the APESB meetings are published on the APESB website approximately two weeks after the meeting - https://apesb.org.au/meetings/

The APESB posts information about new or amended standards and those under review on its website – www.apesb.org.au/meetings.

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