‘Without a doubt, bookkeeping is a profession’: New AAT CEO lays out big plans for member base

‘Without a doubt, bookkeeping is a profession’: New AAT CEO lays out big plans for member base

The new chief executive for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is keen to push the market perception of bookkeeping from an industry to a profession, and has a series of headline priorities in the works to make that happen.

The board of the AAT has appointed bookkeeper and former small business owner Rochelle Park to the position of chief executive as of 8 January this year. Ms Park replaces Janett Egber, who held the position for six months in a part-time, caretaker capacity.

Ms Park told The Bookkeeper that the evolution of bookkeepers into professional business advisers is a key market opportunity she wants to capitalise on for AAT members.

“Without a doubt, I see that the bookkeeping space has become a definite profession since the inception of changes, such as TASA, since 2010,” she said.

“I see a real growth in confidence with bookkeepers about who they are and what they do.”

Ms Park is keen to ensure that members don’t feel scare tactics are being pushed onto them, particularly with technology.

“The evolution of technology supports what it is that we do, and there are so many opportunities attached to that. Some people say it’s a threat, I say it’s an opportunity, especially given the refreshing wave of confidence I see among my peers,” she said.

“But if you choose to use software and systems that you’re comfortable with, which maybe isn’t what your peers are using, there is still a place for you in the market.”

The AAT is also looking to introduce a special designation for bookkeeping firms, ‘Elite Bookkeeping Practice’, to create a mark of status for those firms looking to actively grow and innovate in the Australian market.

“It’s for those who are ready to take their practice to the next level,” Ms Park said.

“There’s a distinct cohort of bookkeepers who have practices and wish to actively grow, and we are looking for ways to facilitate that growth.

“We will offer a series of workshops that develop the skill sets of the individuals ... and help them provide that advisory-type service to their small business clients.”

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‘Without a doubt, bookkeeping is a profession’: New AAT CEO lays out big plans for member base
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