Scott Morrison held office over the weekend, despite months upon months of public polling indicating that Bill Shorten would be our new prime minister.
Right up until the night before the election, most major national polls had Labor ahead 51-49 on the two-party preferred vote.
However, since March last year, when shadow treasurer Chris Bowen announced contentious changes to the franking credits system, accountants have been telling Accountants Daily it would be a Liberal victory.
Straw poll after straw poll on Accountants Daily, and sister title SMSF Adviser which also represents accountants, indicated a Liberal victory. Conversations with even staunch Labor-voting accountants indicated a swing was coming from the heartland.
What this tells us is accountants have a unique ability to do what the polls don’t: they speak to, and understand intimately, the personal and business needs of their clients. They know what their clients are going to do when it comes time for them to put their money where their mouth is.
Other professionals, like doctors, have this unique ability also. You have to be raw and real with a medical professional, and you’ve generally accepted you will need to be by the time you turn up at their office.
The difference with accountants is they speak to and advise the engine room of the Australian economy: small business. They are often running a small business themselves.
There is an important lesson in this for accountants new to the profession.
Accountants are always told they hold the mantle of the ‘trusted adviser.’ However, results like this tell us accountants are much more - they can boldly predict the big life and business decisions of one of the most powerful segments of the voting public.
This is a powerful platform to lobby for change and challenge higher powers. Accountants in years gone past have done a spectacular job of creating this foundation, and the up and coming generation can go even further to have their and their clients’ voices heard by the people, parties and politicians who need their support.