IPA calls on members to take action
The IPA, which recently sent its pre-budget submissions to Treasury, has urged its members to participate in advocacy and lobbying.
IPA executive general manager, advocacy and technical, Vicki Stylianou says that while accountants and SME owners may be dissatisfied with certain policies and processes, they often hold back from voicing their concerns because they are either too time-poor, do not believe they can make a difference by taking action or don’t know how to get involved.
“We would love for members to get more involved. We’ve got LinkedIn discussion group, we’ve got physical discussion group, members can write to us at anytime, so [increased involvement] would be really, really great,” Ms Stylianou said.
“Whether you’re a small business operator or an accountant, a client or whatever, even if it’s like ten minutes, write a letter or an email, make a phone call and just say, ‘I really am not happy about this X, Y, Z.’”
Ms Stylianou said a feeling of ‘helplessness’ when wanting to change a policy should not hold people back from voicing their concerns.
She said the IPA listens to all queries and an individual’s concern is often shared by other members.
“A perfect example of this stuff is the ATO tax agent portal outages. Lots of members took the time to say, ‘We’re not happy about this’,” Ms Stylianou said.
“If everybody stood up and said something, then it makes a big difference. So even though people think, ‘I’m only one person, what can I do?’ ... If everyone thought that, we would get nothing done.
“I would be saying to everybody, it’s all of us as individuals together that make the difference, but you’ve got to speak up, get involved [and] tell us what’s on your mind.”
Adding to the discussion, IPA general manager of technical policy Tony Greco said the IPA has a positive track record of lobbying the government based on IPA members’ concerns.
“We have had a lot of success with advisers and ministers in the past on the policy front, so we can say that we’ve had some good successes over the years, where policies have come to fruition,” Mr Greco said.
“At the end of the day, after all the effort, it’s good that you see some results come through, like the concessionary tax rate for small business, finally we got through two budgets ago.
“There are other examples too [that our advocacy] obviously does work and can achieve results, and ultimately that gives us encouragement to keep doing it.”