The world has changed forever
At the time of writing this report, Australia is still amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of the IPA board and the IPA family, I want to wish our members well, while together we combat this virus which has impacted the world and devastated many people and economies.
Australia has done very well in terms of minimising the impact, but we cannot become complacent. We must continue to minimise the risk and heed the messages being delivered by federal and state governments and the health authorities.
The IPA team has continued to keep members up to date with information on the COVID-19 measures that the government has introduced. This has not been an easy task, with conditions changing almost daily, but the IPA staff, who are working from their homes, have not taken their eyes off the ball.
The IPA team has been extremely active in responding to member enquiries, and lobbying the government, the Treasury and the regulators on improvements to various aspects of the stimulus packages.
We are grateful to our members who have provided feedback into this process, reflecting the fact that accountants are at the front line of navigating the stimulus measures for the benefit of their clients and employers.
This advocacy work has been conducted in collaboration with the other two professional accounting bodies and other professional associations.
There is no doubt that this lobbying work has achieved numerous wins for the profession. Details of these are contained in the IPA’s newsletters and other communications.
Importantly, ASIC has given the green light for registered tax agents to give financial product advice with respect to the early access to superannuation measure.
Accountants working in this space should be reminded, it is a temporary measure and one our members need to be accountable for. Being a trusted adviser in the current environment means being truly diligent in the advice provided to clients.
The world has changed. Whether it be to our universal detriment or betterment, time will tell. I believe in the latter. It is now more important than at any other time in our history for accountants to realise their value with their clients and employers.
Ensuring the intended benefits from the government’s stimulus packages flow through to the economy means the public and businesses must be well informed by their public accountant.
Yes, our world has changed. We will be more conscious of our own health and wellbeing. While measures such as social distancing will be relaxed once we are on top of this pandemic, we need to be mindful of the lessons learnt throughout the ordeal.
So, please be diligent when it comes to your health and wellbeing, and take care of each other.
Damien Moore, president at Institute of Public Accountants