Two Auckland chartered accounts have been disciplined by the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants after pleading guilty to charges of unbecoming conduct, negligence or incompetence in a professional capacity and breaching the Institute's code of ethics.
Auckland accountant Shane Matthew Browning was charged and pleaded guilty to four charges of unbecoming conduct, negligence or incompetence in a professional capacity that brings the profession into disrepute, breaching the Institute's code of ethics, and one of failing to comply with the requirements of the Auditor Regulation Act 2011.
Outlined in the Institute's determination, Browning was found to have performed a compliance audit for his former employer, being a contributory mortgage broker, despite not being a licensed auditor and therefore permitted to do so.
The Tribunal found evidence of negligent and incompetent behaviour.
This was also his second offence relating to audits, the Professional Conduct Committee noted.
"An aggravating factor in this case is that the audits took place around the time that the Member was involved in a disciplinary process involving shortcomings on other audits. It appears that the Member did not learn sufficiently from that process," the Tribunal said.
Browning was censured, ordered to pay a $6000 penalty to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and is not able to undertake any audits as the Audit Engagement Partner or the Engagement Quality Control Reviewer for a period of two years.
He must also pay $13,500 in hearing costs to the Professional Conduct Committee.
Undisclosed outsourced work
Auckland man Vaughan Wain Bayer was charged with unbecoming conduct by an accountant, negligence or incompetence in a professional capacity and breaching the Institute's code of ethics.
He pleaded guilty to all three charges but was later found not guilty of unbecoming conduct by an accountant and negligence or incompetence in a professional capacity.
Bayer failed to file the 2017 income tax return for a client in a timely manner. He also engaged a tax agent to undertake work for a client without the client's consent and acted in an unprofessional manner in dealing with the client about it; including threatening the complainant with defamation action and sending unprofessional and/or inflammatory text messages the complainant.
The Tribunal ruled that Bayer had fallen short in his professional obligations but "at the low end of the scale of seriousness".
"The Member's conduct involved a considerable and unnecessary delay in filing the required taxation returns and aspects of the Member's communications were unprofessional. However, the Tribunal also noted that the conduct was a single occurrence and coincided with the breakdown of a personal relationship, and that during much of the relevant period the Member suffered from the debilitating effects of an illness," the determination outlined.
Bayer was censured and ordered to pay $12,145 to the Professional Conduct Committee.
The names of all three of the chartered accountants' former employers and clients have been suppressed.