Speaking to New Accountant, the Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway said feedback from members have helped shape the way the professional body approaches its initiatives and development for members.
“We have a lot of engagement with new members coming into the profession straight out of their formal education but also those who are coming into the profession from other careers,” Mr Conway said.
“A lot of the feedback is consistent, and that is, people coming into the profession today want to know that their work has social value.
“That informs our approach in understanding that accountants are engaged for a range of reasons from the technical side of accounting, but also importantly, accountants play a life guidance role as well and a broader adviser role.”
The feedback has seen the IPA dive in exploring the role an accountant plays in the life of a business client, one of which includes supporting the mental health of SME owners.
During a national roadshow, the IPA surveyed upwards of 200 SME owners, and found that over 90 per cent said engaging with an accountant significantly lowers their anxiety.
“The realisation is that we haven’t traditionally prepared accountants well for those conversations with clients when they leave their formal education, and that helps inform our strategy around certainly the mental health of small business owners and clients and what we need to do to support that,” Mr Conway said.
For Mr Conway, his best advice to accountants coming into the profession today is to focus on three main points that will help them find meaning to their work.
“When a new accountant is coming into a profession, they need to be thinking of how they are building their product knowledge, their technical knowledge; how they are supporting their own productivity and the productivity of their clients; and how they are promoting their services beyond the traditional accounting services into broader business and personal advisory services,” he said.