IPA CEO reiterates importance of the profession
IPA CEO Andrew Conway has reminded National Congress attendees of the sheer importance and impact of the profession.
Addressing attendees of the 2015 IPA National Congress, Mr Conway highlighted the importance of accountants in improving the financial and personal situations of small business owners.
“Today’s accountants are actively developing business, supporting families and communities. They are driving productivity, trade and economic growth,” he noted.
“As trusted advisers, accountants forge a unique relationship with their small business clients. In many regards they become a part of the small business owner’s family.”
According the Mr Conway, there are a plethora of factors stacked against many small businesses, making it increasingly hard to succeed, with many facing strain or financial ruin.
“Many small businesses throughout the lifespan of the business face financial ruin along with issues of depression, family break-up, and sadly in some cases the ultimate price of their lives,” he added.
Mr Conway referred to research undertaken by Associate Professor Angela Martin for the University of Tasmania, which identified key risk factors for mental illness faced by small business owners:
- financial stress due to unpredictable income
- high levels of uncertainty where you don't know where the next job is coming from
- high job demands and multiple responsibilities in the workplace
- isolation and lack of social support
- high level responsibility to others including employees and family
- presenteeism where you continue to work even if you aren't well, because if you are away the business doesn't happen
- long hours which may be even a bigger problem than in the corporate world
- blurring of boundaries between home and work, finding it difficult to separate yourself from your work and not taking time out for yourself
- business failure, which also carries a suicide risk.
Mr Conway added that the accountant plays a vital role in lessening the impact of these factors, and contributing to the successful mental and financial wellbeing of small business owners.
“The role of the accountant is to work with small businesses, understand the socioeconomic environment in which their clients are working and where possible, provide the necessary advice that ultimately helps the wellbeing of the business and their owners.
“I cannot stress enough, the social and community impact that the accountant has in these circumstances. As I have said, it is not about a tax return, but the significant contribution that accountants make on everyday lives, that I believe warrants hero status. It is the reason I am so proud to be a part of the profession,” Mr Conway concluded.