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The Institute of Public Accountants has urged its members to open up mental health conversations in the best interests of their small business clients.
IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said research from its second edition of the Australian Small Business White Paper — set for release early 2018 — has identified the mental health and wellbeing of small business operators as key issues.
“As we travelled around the country on our small business road show, the most profound finding was that of the declining rates of mental health among small business owners,” Mr Conway said.
“Many small businesses and accountants serving them divulged the significant stress and other pressures they were trying to combat on a daily basis.
“We are currently validating these findings through advanced research with the IPA Deakin SME Research Centre.”
Mr Conway’s comments echo Suncorp’s SME vs Me report that found that almost two-thirds of business owners surveyed experienced a personal impact — including financial stress, loss of motivation and relationship strain — as a result of juggling myriad work-related matters.
“We recognise there are high levels of depression, anxiety and other detrimental factors that result from these disorders and we are hopeful that this body of research will shed light on this important subject and in turn, produce further policy recommendations to address these issues,” added Mr Conway.
“Accountants play a pivotal role. By recognising the environmental factors affecting their small business clients, accountants can assist by alleviating certain pressures that may be impacting their lives.”