Date posted: 14/05/2018 4 min read

Connections are my focus

In a new column, Chartered Accountants ANZ President Jane Stanton outlines her main areas of focus for 2018.

In Brief

  • Connections within CA ANZ are a priority for 2018, as these combat isolation, which can have an impact on mental health.
  • Jane Stanton aims to raise awareness of mental illness in the accounting profession and resources available for treatment.
  • The World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) in November will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate and showcase CA ANZ diversity and community

At the beginning of each year, the office bearers decide on the areas of focus for the year under the overarching theme “professionally connected for the public good”. My area of focus for 2018 is “connections” within CA ANZ. I hope to raise awareness of what it means to be part of a community of chartered accountants and more broadly, the global accounting profession. 

There are numerous reasons I selected “connections”, with the most important being that the incidence of mental illness in our profession is very high. Mental illness can lead to isolation, and a lack of connection can be a factor in stress, anxiety and depression. Our profession is particularly vulnerable because many members not only manage practices and are responsible for the wellbeing of staff, but also operate in an environment that is subject to significant disruption as their roles are redefined.

I live with chronic depression and anxiety. Although it is manageable, there have been times in my professional life where I have needed the support and advice of my fellow chartered accountants and to use the wellbeing resources provided by CA ANZ.

So my focus for the year is twofold: to raise members’ awareness of these resources, and to address some of the stigmas and misconceptions associated with mental illness. 

Related: CA Wellbeing

CA Wellbeing provides resources and information to support mental health and wellbeing for our members. 

The role of the president is multi-faceted. There are governance responsibilities as a member of the CA ANZ Board, chair of CA ANZ Council and member of the Nominations and Governance Committee, which is a sub-committee of the CA ANZ Council. This is complemented by a member engagement component that includes awarding service certificates recognising 25, 40, 50, 60, 70, and … 80 years of membership, fellowships to those who have made significant contributions to the profession, and certificates of membership to our newest members. New CAs are read the member declaration. It concludes with the words: “As a recipient of the best from the past to give your best in aiding and sharing the profession of tomorrow.” This will mean different things to each member but most importantly, the connection is formed, and will always be there.

In November this year, Australia will welcome the global accounting community for the World Congress of Accountants. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase our CA ANZ community and the Australian accounting profession to the world. Information on speakers, conference events and ticketing is available on the website and I encourage you to come and celebrate the diversity and commonalties of the global accounting community.

It is a privilege to be your president and humbling to represent my fellow professionally-connected members who all actively contribute to the prosperity of the economies in which they serve globally. Chartered accountants are storytellers – we use both words and numbers. I look forward to sharing the stories of some of my fellow members and in my own small way, using the role of president to create and enhance connections within the CA ANZ community.