And the winner is… resilience and stability
As we prepare for the IPA’s Annual General Meeting next month, I am pleased to report numerous successes that the 2019-20 financial year produced.
Before doing so, I reflect on what has been a traumatic year for Australia and the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is still holding our global economies to ransom and will for some considerable time.
In our homeland, the pandemic was preceded by widespread bushfires from the spring of 2019 through to early autumn 2020. By 9 March 2020, the fi res had consumed an estimated 18.6 million hectares (46 million acres; 186,000 square kilometres), destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) and killed at least 34 people.
As is often the case in Australia, some of these bushfire ravaged areas were then confronted with widespread floods. Yet, as an organisation, we achieved many goals throughout the year, including a 9 per cent increase in member admissions. We see this as ‘glass half-full’ as it is remarkable and a record rate of recruitment considering the pandemic and natural disasters that have taken place.
However, the true celebration is not in the numbers; it is in the human factor that drives and continues to deliver regardless of the adversity we fi nd ourselves facing.
The natural disasters we have experienced in Australia and the pandemic crisis that has impacted all of us, has seen the reservoir of resilience within our members, our organisation, and our profession. This demonstration of resilience in the most adverse times is the true highlight of the year and continues to be so.
Our members continued to support their clients and employers; particularly small businesses that have been impacted the most. Your passion and drive to meet client and employer demand is to be commended, especially when many of you own businesses, which may have also been under the duress of the pandemic; not to forget that approximately 1,100 members reside in the bushfire zones.
Similarly, our IPA team, who have had to work from home for a considerable amount of time due to COVID-19 imposed restrictions, have continued to deliver the services to support our members.
Despite many small businesses being scorched, flooded and sadly, many now closed; this is the time for the strength of the profession to shine.
There will be brighter days ahead and small business, and the accountants advising them and working for them, will be essential to the recovery phase. We must hold on to the optimism borne from the survival period and help drive change for both recovery and resurgence.
Yes, it has been a tough year, but we should all be proud of the contributions and the sacrifices we have made together.