Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) chief executive officer, Andrew Conway has used his opening address at the IPA national congress on the Gold Coast to remind delegates of the important role they play in representing the public interest.

“Beyond designations, we are all accountants and as a profession, we need to be stepping up to the plate putting public interest ahead of personal interest,” said Mr Conway addressing the hundreds of delegates.

“We are a stronger profession and more effective as a profession when we collaborate than when we seek to divide.

“The joint accounting bodies (JAB) need to re-establish a common focus for a more authoritative voice in the best interests of the public.

“We collectively need to focus on the issues that affect the broader economy and community, including bold tax reform and striking a regulatory balance, through the use of informed advocacy based on rigorous research.

“Taxation reform is desperately needed now and we as a profession need to lead this discussion, putting aside political interest and focussing on public interest instead.

“A failure to act on genuine taxation reform is a failure of the present generation to build a stronger future for generations to come.

“Australia is not just facing a productivity crisis, we face a crisis of leadership where national interest makes way for self-preservation and government interest.

“As a profession we need to take stock and challenge the reasons why national interest has been replaced by government self-interest.

“We also need to hold State governments accountable for not scrapping inefficiencies, such as stamp duty and payroll tax, as they had committed to.