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Governance statement model simplifies ASX reporting

  • 29 October, 2003 14:18

<p>Following an extensive review of senior executives, Chartered Secretaries Australia (CSA) and Ernst &amp; Young have enhanced their proprietary web-based Corporate Governance compliance system Compass, adding a model corporate governance statement and a complete set of draft charters and templates to help organisations overcome difficulties they are experiencing in developing their own governance statement.</p>
<p>What emerged in the review process is that compliance with the guidelines has placed tremendous pressure on organisations, with one of the most difficult areas being developing the governance statement. There is also concern that some smaller companies will find it almost impossible to comply and that superannuation funds will not have sufficient time or resources to properly assess every company.</p>
<p>“The review found that the ASX guidelines have placed a significantly greater burden on organisations than originally anticipated,” CSA’s national president Mr Frank Bush said.</p>
<p>Compass not only eases the burden of preparing the corporate governance statement it also provides another critical service. It enables organisations to conduct an audit of their current position and track and substantiate the audit trail of corporate governance compliance to the board and shareholders. Boards will find this a most useful tool. It helps them identify areas which either require greater attention or alternatively that require an explanation as to why they will not meet the guidelines and this may all be housed in one place.</p>
<p>“Corporate Australia is becoming increasingly concerned at the cost, complexity and challenge of meeting corporate governance compliance expectations. Developing the corporate governance statement and addressing the nuances particular to each organisation have created great stress.</p>
<p>The traditional company secretary would have completed their assessment in a labour intensive fashion. Feedback has indicated that Compass not only saves time and money, it keeps all compliance documentation in one place.”</p>
<p>A survey of CSA members conducted late last year (and before the release of the guidelines) found that 87 per cent of company secretaries believed that there were deficiencies in their organisation’s governance compliance systems.</p>
<p>78 per cent believed that there were shortcomings in their organisation’s compliance support framework and 90 per cent believed there is a deficiency in compliance monitoring in their organisation.</p>
<p>Mr. Bush said that while organisations have no option but to get their systems and resources up to scratch, they are under extraordinary pressure to do so cost efficiently.</p>
<p>As a result CSA partnered with Ernst &amp; Young to develop an innovative, cost efficient, web-based solution that has been thoroughly tested and which can meet the needs of any organisation.</p>
<p>"We have designed and refined this tool after extensive consultation with corporate Australia,” says Mr. Mark Runnalls, Partner, Business Innovation Online, whose team has collaborated with CSA on this project. “The result is a unique blend of expertise and technology that is of real, immediate and practical value to those charged with managing compliance with the governance guidelines".</p>
<p>According to Mr Bush there is a sense of trepidation at the moment - organisations are daunted at the breadth and depth of the best practice guidelines. “Compass will overcome these obstacles by fast tracking the assessment stage and by providing real guidance in communicating corporate governance compliance to the market,” Mr. Bush said.</p>
<p>For further information visit</p>
<p>For further information please contact:
Mr Frank Bush on 0419 168 602
Mark Runnalls on (02) 9248 4650 or 0411 643 958
Viv Hardy or at Interaction on (02) 9261 4102

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