Counting on U

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Counting on U is a program designed by leading Professors at Deakin University Business School.

During the COVID-19 era, research conducted by the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre recognised that business advisors were uniquely placed to recognise and respond to changes in the mental health and wellbeing of their clients, particularly their small business clients.

What is Counting on U?

Over the past two years, the IPA has been strongly involved in the research, development, and rollout of Counting on U - a program developed to give business advisors the skills and knowledge they need when providing business advice to their clients during times of stress, and to navigate conversations involving financial and mental wellbeing.

  • Through the IPA's Small Business White Paper, we identified that the mental health and wellbeing of small business operators were key issues facing the accounting community.
  • A 2020 study commissioned by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources (DISER) found that nearly one in three small to medium enterprise (SME) owners had experienced stress, depression, or anxiety in the previous 12 months.
  • Funding was awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and DISER to the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre to roll out this training to 5000 accountants across the course of 2021-22 and help train the accounting community to recognise and respond to the changes in mental health of their clients.
  • Since the beginning of 2021, eligible IPA members have been invited to complete the Counting on U Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) and Relationship Building Training (RBT), completely free of charge

"By upskilling accountants, we believe there will be tremendous positive outcomes in supporting SME owners and ensuring they get the professional help as required. They are not there to play the role of professional health clinician, but they can be better equipped to point their SME client in that direction,"

- IPA Group CEO Andrew Conway

What do our members get out of it?

  • Claim up to 15 CPD hours for successful completion of the program.
  • Receive accreditation as a mental health first aider.
  • Learn to apply advanced communication skills and confidently deliver difficult advice.
  • Understand components of self-awareness and communication barriers, and how to overcome them.
  • Learn to develop a long-term, trusting business relationship with SME clients.
  • Learn how to help someone in a mental health crisis.
  • Learn to recognise and respond to signs of distress.
  • Be part of a large research cohort and help make a difference within the accounting industry to better support your SME clients.

All of this is offered complimentary to our eligible members.


Want to know more?

Read our previous media releases relating to the program:

To learn more about how we work to support the mental health of our members and their clients, please visit here.

More information about Counting on U can be found on the Deakin University Counting on U website.

If you want to chat to a member of our team about the Counting on U program, please email