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Practitioner engagement key to less red tape

Accountants have been encouraged to voice their bold ideas to influence and drive legislative change in the industry, as well as ensuring the profession’s prosperity.

“The accounting profession has a unique position – we know that,” Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) chief executive Andrew Conway told the IPA 2016 National Congress in Melbourne last week.

“It’s not up to government to come up with the answers.

“The issue for us is that we’ve put too much emphasis on government – we blame government for all the issues and ills we have, and then we say ‘by the way, we want government to fix it’.

“But government can’t change and fix things without producing new law.”

Conway said when practitioners called on a minister to intervene, the mechanisms for change were generally going to be by way of drafting legislative amendments or through regulation.

“That requires a minister to sign off on something. That’s new law,” he said.

“So we have this notion that we want to deregulate, but to deregulate you have to introduce new law. It’s a counterproductive discussion.

“There’s a huge challenge for us all to be part of that conversation [to ensure our profession’s prosperity].

“If we all want bold reform, we have to be collectively, not just in our own profession but in our communities, bold in our ideas and bold in wanting to embrace forward-thinking attitudes.

“We’re shifting our focus from thinking about the here and now to what is the long-term gain?”

Board of Taxation chief executive Karen Payne added: “People who are here in this room are probably in the best position to know the priorities for tax system improvement and red tape reduction that will assist small business.

“If you have those ideas, use the IPA as your conduit to make sure that those ideas are voiced and that there’s a clear priority around those ideas so that organisations can champion them to get those changes through.”

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