One of Australia’s peak accounting bodies is seeking to broaden the information resources available to accountants in both Australia and the UK, for the benefit of not just accountants but also their business clients in both countries.
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), in partnership with Momentum Connect, has launched a multi-jurisdictional content platform, bringing together its local arm and its UK-based peer the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA), which it acquired in 2015.
The combined entity, IPA Group, is said to have become “the largest SME-focused accountancy organisation in the world”.
“We wanted a modular digital content platform that can stand the test of time, delivering a vast content range while enhancing user engagement,” IPA Group chief executive officer Andrew Conway (pictured) said.
“The new site will deliver features from the IPA and IFA print magazines, local content and shared global content, on the basis of where a person is geographically located.”
“When making content-related decisions, we will consider the needs and interests of our audiences. Our research shows that this goes beyond the day-to-day accounting profession,” Mr Conway said.
“For example, we will put a special emphasis on articles exploring health and wellbeing, which we have previously recognised as a top priority for our readers in the small business community.”
Momentum Connect director Phillip Tarrant said that the new platform is fresh, exciting and in tune with the latest technological developments.
“The news industry is constantly evolving and we are following the trends. When it comes to content that is both engaging and interactive, you cannot ignore the digital space,” he said.
“While the initial focus of the new platform is on Australia and the UK, we have designed and constructed it to grow with the addition of other jurisdictions that the IPA Group may expand to in the future.
“Besides keeping members and prospective members up to date on the latest news from the accounting industry, it will also offer engaging weekly blogs, features and a monthly podcast with industry professionals.”
According to IPA Group’s Mr Conway, accountants are increasingly seen as a central point of advice by their business clients, beyond basic tax and accounting points, which is why the new platform looks at arming accountants with information on other areas too, such as wellbeing.
“We want people to be thinking of their own wellbeing, because in order to provide good advice to clients, you first have to have the right mindset yourself and it is perfectly fine and OK for a professional to stick their hand up and say ‘I’m struggling a bit here’, and actually seeking resources and tools to achieve that,” he said.
“What we are trying to do with the platform is raise the awareness of the plight of members in practice and the unique challenges they face in providing services to clients.”
Mr Conway added: “When you’ve had a really rough day and back-to-back client engagements — and that could range from deceased estates right through to matrimonial disputes to businesses facing hardship — who does the accountant speak to? We want to provide, through this platform, a window into some of the tools and resources available to members to seek assistance when they need it.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.