Summary of Decision re: Catherine Fisher, CPA

Summary of Complaint and Investigation

Catherine Fisher, a member of CPA Nova Scotia, was a controller for the Complainant’s company. The complaint alleged that she stopped completing routine bank reconciliations and the payables were not being monitored, managed or maintained, and that she failed to properly supervise an assistant, all of which had a significant negative financial outcome for the company.

The investigation found evidence that the Respondent delegated work to an assistant without considering internal controls, that an assistant was able to process EFTS without a second approval, that the bank deposit process was changed by the Respondent whereby deposits of cash were not made daily which caused losses for the company. Evidence was found that that bank reconciliations were not routinely completed or differences followed up appropriately or in a timely manner.

The Respondent admitted that as controller of the company she failed to appropriately consider how several changes she made respecting the company’s financial procedures detrimentally affected the company’s internal controls.

Disposition

The Investigation Panel determined that it is in the public interest to resolve the matter through a consensual Reprimand and a Resolution Agreement with the Respondent. The workload, staffing shortages, and Covid-related issues were mitigating factors in reaching this decision.

Sanctions

The Resolution Agreement between the Investigation Panel and Ms. Fisher includes the following terms:

  1. Ms. Fisher accepts a Reprimand for the failure to maintain appropriate internal controls and sufficient supervision of her subordinate;
  2. Ms. Fisher will enrol in and successfully complete a course on internal controls, approved by CPA Nova Scotia in advance of registration to ensure it is appropriate;
  3. Ms. Fisher will enrol in and successfully complete a course in controller skills, approved by CPA Nova Scotia in advance of registration to ensure it is appropriate; and
  4. Ms. Fisher will pay $2,000 as a contribution to the costs of the investigation.

 

The Reprimand and Resolution Agreement became effective on August 15, 2022.