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CPA president looks forward

TAX changes and the increase in e-commerce are the two major issues which CPA Australia and its new WA president Colin Murphy will have to deal with in the coming year.

“Its going to be a challenging time for our members,” Mr Murphy said.

Mr Murphy takes on the position after fifteen years of active involvement with the society and a career in the profession spanning thirty years.

He was employed by the Commonwealth Department of Finance in Perth and Washington DC for some fifteen years before joining the WA public sector to work in senior financial positions in Treasury, the Department of Land Administration and the then Building Management Authority (now known as Contracts and Management Services).

Most recently, Mr Murphy was business manager at Murdoch University for six years.

For the past twelve months, Mr Murphy has worked in the Office of the Auditor General for WA as executive director of the Assurance Services Division.

The Assurance Services division has responsibility for conducting and managing the external audit of around 300 WA Government entities.

The division has a staff of fifty and contracts around $2 million a year in audit assignments to professional accounting firms.

“2000 promises to be a really good year for both CPA Australia and the profession in general,” Mr Murphy said.

“CPA Australia is going through a number of changes and initiatives in 2000 and, at the same time, the accounting profession is facing a number of challenges in 2000, the most noticeable being tax reform which is already having an impact on our members.

“I think its fair to say that the society at the time of the (tax reform) debate was very active in putting forward a case for simplicity,” he said.

“The end result is certainly more complex and different to the concept we proposed but we’ve accepted the change and we are now just getting on with it.”

Mr Murphy said there had been a suggestion that the accounting profession will benefit from the tax changes because it makes their role more indispensable.

He dismisses such suggestions.

“At the moment it is not a windfall or a bonus for accountants,” Mr Murphy said.

“There is a fair bit of work to be done and there is concern about the capacity of the profession to service its client base.

“There’s a huge amount of effort going into the preparation of the GST, let alone what will happen once it is implemented.

General trends of internationalisation are also leaving their mark although Mr Murphy sees these more as an opportunity rather than a challenge for the society.

CPA Australia now has a significant Asian membership accounting for almost 20 per cent of the membership base.

“Rather than competing with other accounting bodies we work with them. There is a move toward the harmonisation of accounting standards,” he said.

Mr Murphy sees his role as being a representative for members’ concerns.

“I see my role as to understand what the members are saying, what they are needing and trying to make a contribution to address these needs,” he said.

Mr Murphy said the recent CPA Australia conference held in Perth was a resounding success with some excellent speakers.

“Lots of our members set time aside to attend some sessions to keep up with development and to catch up with their peers.”

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