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IPA celebrates centenary with gala dinner, appetite for future


“We pride ourselves on our personal connection with our members and our focus on supporting small businesses,” chairperson says.

By Philip King 11 minute read

The youngest of the three main accounting professional bodies celebrates its centenary this week and says it has adopted a “future-ready” approach for an exciting road ahead.

Events in the major capitals over the next few months kick off this Thursday with a gala dinner at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne and IPA Group chairperson Julie Williams said the organisation had plenty to celebrate.

“Our centenary is important because it allows us to celebrate who we are and where we come from,” she said. “We are proud of our heritage and all of our members that have supported us to become the diverse community we are today.

“We’ve been with our members from the Great Depression to the Great Resignation, and from the GST to the GFC. We pride ourselves on our personal connection with our members and our focus on supporting small businesses.”

The IPA was founded by a small group in 1923 as the Institute of Factory and Cost Accountants with fewer than 100 members and has grown to boast more than 49,000 members and students in 100 countries.

“In the past year alone, we have added more than 2,700 new members and more than 1,000 new students,” Ms Williams said. “It’s been a long journey, but we’ve transformed a humble Melbourne-based organisation into a leading professional association for accountants worldwide.”

At various times, the body has been known as the Institute of Taxation and Cost Accountants and the National Institute of Accountants, before adopting its current name in 2011.

Over the past decade it has merged with the UK Institute of Financial Accountants and Association of Accounting Technicians Australia to become the IPA Group.

CEO Andrew Conway said the growth and rebadging was the culmination of its journey and now was the time to acknowledge how far it had come.

“Our organisation is now more recognised, more respected and we speak with the voices of more than 50,000 members and students,” he said. “Put simply we have impact and we are proud of our collective achievements.

“You are trusted advisers and this centenary provides us with an opportunity for us as a community to come together and say thank you.

“We want to show our appreciation for all the unbilled hours, the unpaid overtime, the advice offered in times of need and for the support you give to help improve the quality of life of people around you. Our community is stronger because of your work.”

Ms Williams said many IPA members had done “incredible volunteer work” through the pandemic and the body had trained more than 4,000 accountants and business advisers in mental health first aid.

She said the future for the group looked exciting as the accounting profession underwent change.

“As an International Federation of Accountants member, we have adopted a future-ready approach and there are reasons to be excited about the road ahead.

“The future of accounting will be broad, transdisciplinary, and skillsets will branch into other areas, but accounting will still be the core.

“Accounting isn’t just about numbers anymore, it’s about the social contract that exists between all of us, and our economy is at a crossroads.”

“New business models are using digital technology to promote public value outcomes for their clients, and we will help guide this transition by fostering innovation and embracing the future of the accounting profession.” 

Mr Conway said IPA would retain its focus on members and the community.

“As we look to the next century, we have so many exciting opportunities such as sustainability reporting, technological transformation and building new and exciting educational pathways into our profession.

“We will continue to advocate for a better deal for small business and we will never lose sight of our core: people.

“Putting people at the centre of our work as a professional body is fundamental to building a strong and vibrant professional community that will continue to grow and have influence on the quality of life of our members and those you interact with.”

Following this week’s gala dinner at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne, events continue in Brisbane on 21 September and Perth on 12 October and culminate with a celebration dinner at the Art Gallery of NSW on November 30.

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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