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January 27, 2023

The KPMG Australia Cheaters Have Been Disciplined, Much Slapping of Wrists All Around

Back in May Australian Financial Review reported that 12 of the 422 KPMGers who took part in systemic exam cheating would be put through the Chartered Accountants ANZ individual disciplinary process. That process has now concluded.

Here’s the update from CA ANZ:

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) takes all allegations of academic misconduct, including cheating, seriously, and all instances that come to our attention are reported to the Professional Conduct Committee.

The Professional Conduct Committee of CA ANZ has concluded its investigation into the remaining 12 members involved in the KPMG Australia internal training misconduct matter.

Four cases have been closed, and eight members have received a caution, which is noted on the member’s record, as well as a costs sanction.

Details regarding the individuals, sanctions and other outcomes remain confidential in line with CA ANZ’s By-Laws.

ICYMI: the PCAOB fined KPMG Australia $450,000 last September for training-related misconduct from 2016 until early 2020. Same old crap, sharing answers on mandatory training classes on independence blah blah…if that sounds familiar it should, KPMG US got in trouble in June 2019 for the same cheating, with a side of trying to cheat the PCAOB inspection process by using confidential information provided to the firm by a PCAOB insider which is just a slightly bigger deal than some overworked auditors sharing answers on internal training modules to save some time. Anyway, after the PCAOB situation, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand opened their own investigation into the cheating and identified 422 CA ANZ members who engaged, to some degree, in the KPMG Training Misconduct. CA ANZ decided the activities undertaken by 410 of those 422 people did not meet the threshold for further action under the Code of Ethics and CA ANZ By-laws, and the sanctions and remedial actions already applied by KPMG Australia in response to the PCAOB findings were sufficient.

That leaves the 12 mentioned above, eight of whom have been disciplined. CA ANZ will not be releasing details on who they are. According to Australian Financial Review CA ANZ member Tony Alizzi said the findings took “far too long” and were too soft, building on complaints from members that it allowed KPMG to get away with systemic exam cheating because of the firm’s size and influence. “If this was a university there would be mass expulsions,” he said. “KPMG’s case is much worse – clients are paying for assurance services under the misguided belief all of the audit staff are not cheaters.”

Update on investigation into internal training misconduct at KPMG Australia [Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand]
KPMG accountants cautioned over systemic exam cheating [Australian Financial Review]

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