One of the pre-sessions of the World Congress of Accountants in Sydney yesterday included an expert panel to discuss professional accountancy organisations’ (PAOs) relevance to society.

Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) chief executive officer told the audience that there is not one part of society or the economy where accountants do not have a positive impact.

“Simply, the world does not function without accountants,” said Prof Conway.

“Accounting is so much more than audit and compliance; the accounting ecosystem places much greater emphasis on a much broader spectrum.

“The question for all PAOs is whether they understand this broad role and whether they put it into practice?

“The IPA focuses on being practical, relevant and responsive in everything it does with its members.

“As a PAO, we must also focus on member knowledge, which encompasses product, particularly technical resources and information; productivity which is delivered through technology; and, promotion.

“As a profession, we don’t do enough to sell the fundamental value we deliver to the economy.

“We must collectively also recognise the social value contribution of accountants. While there is a continued focus on technology and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), we must not forget that AI cannot replace emotional intelligence; that human interaction is the point of difference for the profession.

“As a profession, we must own and respect the position of trust invested in us.

“For this reason, PAOs must step up, lead, embrace change, remain open-minded, train the next generation of accountants, and ensure the profession is well resourced for the future challenges ahead.

“Simply put, there is too much at stake. Our trust position requires us all to step up,” said Prof Conway.