Every CA’s secret weapon
The CA Library is an underutilised CA ANZ member benefit, and its many resources go far beyond books.
- CA Library can assist with research on specialist topics.
- CA ANZ members have free access to the Library’s ebooks, audiobooks, business and finance publications.
- Library staff compile subject-specific reading lists and a monthly email, What’s New in the CA Library, to highlight new resources.
Auckland-based sole practitioner Diane Robinson CA was recently looking for statistics on export volumes and other information about an industry that was new to her.
“I am sure I would have wasted hours on the internet if I’d tried to do it myself,” she says.
Instead, she called upon the CA Library, which was able to find exactly what she needed.
“Over the years, I’ve used the library for various purposes, from requesting a book reviewed in Acuity to getting unbiased information on a particular industry,” says Robinson, an auditor in the not-for-profit sector and an author herself (last year she self-published her first crime novel, Hive of Lies).
“I have always found the library staff to be helpful, prompt and not easily fazed, no matter how esoteric the query. I really can’t recommend them highly enough,” she says.
Constant Laubscher CA is a senior consultant with FTI Consulting in Sydney. His role includes forensic accounting, accounting standard compliance, financial analysis and business valuations. Laubscher says he often taps into the library’s ebook collection, but when he was recently conducting research to resolve a final query on a valuation engagement, he decided to contact the library for assistance.
“The staff were easy to deal with, asked good and focused questions to confirm the detail related to the research query, and responded in a timely manner,” he says.
Laubscher reviewed the first set of articles the librarians provided then refined the search parameters with the library staff. “Based on their findings, we were able to include further documentation supporting the valuation opinions we provided to our client,” he explains.
“The staff are experienced and professional in their response. The research service is a valuable resource you can draw on to conduct an initial survey, pointed research on a specialist topic, or a supplementary sense check to confirm your own independent research.”
A resource for all members
The CA Library was established in 2015, when the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) merged with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA). The library operates from both CA ANZ head offices (Sydney and Wellington), with three librarians working in each.
In addition to the complimentary research service, the library offers an extensive range of free resources members all over the world can tap into at any time. These include ebooks, audiobooks and access to a vast range of business, accounting and finance journals and newspapers, such as the Harvard Business Review and The Australian Financial Review.
While the library offers a huge collection of technical resources – the most used are the Australian and New Zealand Master Tax Guides – some of the most popular topics include career development, soft skills and personal wellness.
The library’s curated, subject-specific reading lists are also hugely enjoyed by members, as is the monthly email, What’s New in the CA Library, which highlights new resources and helps members keep abreast of business and accounting trends.
Tom Fletcher, who joined the library team in 2021, says he very much enjoys helping chartered accountants access accurate and current information. “I think one of the reasons librarians enter the profession is because we have an underlying trait of being curious,” he says.
“We want to sniff out the answer to the question and there’s a high level of satisfaction when you find that one missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.”
Fletcher says there’s a common saying among librarians that no two days are the same.
“That is definitely true with the research requests we receive in the CA Library,” he says. “We receive anything from quick engagement letter template requests to in-depth technical questions on testamentary trusts and fringe benefits tax.”
Picture: Tom Fletcher. Image credit: Paul Howell.
“We receive anything from quick engagement letter template requests to in-depth technical questions on testamentary trusts and fringe benefits tax.”
When answering research queries, the librarians provide members why all with a list of relevant resources from the library catalogue, relevant databases and the open web.
“The library has a vast array of resources, such as CCH ebooks, including the Master Tax Guides, and the EBSCO Business Source Corporate Plus database, which holds thousands of journals related to the world of accounting and business,” says Fletcher.
He adds that the librarians can also refer to the Checkpoint and Intelliconnect databases to track down commentary or legislation on issues.
The team on the ground
Michael Hagglund CA, customer success manager at LeaseAccelerator, a cloud-based SaaS platform, speaks highly of the CA Library team. He recently sought assistance on how to construct business plans for a business venture he was approached about.
“Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, I contacted the library service to see what resources were available, as I felt it would be quicker and more efficient than doing the research myself,” he says.
“The response I received from Tom was fantastic. It was on the same day, very comprehensive, and not only did he provide examples of business-plan templates, he also provided links to relevant books and marketing information.”
Carolyn White, who was appointed as library manager at the end of 2021, joined CA ANZ after working in a variety of library and research roles, including stints at King & Wood Mallesons, Deloitte and the University of New South Wales.
“Because business and legal research is a key part of my history, I appreciate the enormous value it offers working professionals,” she says. “I’m looking forward to developing the CA Library collections and services – in particular the research service – to ensure the CA Library continues to support the professional and business development ambitions of all our members.”
Picture: Carolyn White, CA Library Manager.
“I’m looking forward to developing the CA Library collections and services – in particular the research service.”
Fletcher says CAs who use the research service report high satisfaction rates, but laments that not many members are aware of the resource. “The team wants to extend this service to reach all our CA ANZ members,” he says.
“We aim to provide CAs with a world-class library service. In this volatile business environment, it is important our members are kept up to date with the latest and most relevant information from resources they can trust.”
Access from anywhere
The CA Library’s resources can be accessed by all CA ANZ members no matter where they’re based. Carla Sawyer CA recently set up as a sole practitioner with her Blue Wren Audit and Accounting service in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
“I have been a member of CA ANZ since 2001 and have used the library on a number of occasions during my membership, including the research service,” she says.
Pre-pandemic, Sawyer would borrow comprehensive texts such as the XYZ Model Financial Statements and the Australian Audit Guide. Recently, with the hardcopy book collection unavailable due to COVID-19, Sawyer has begun tapping into the research service.
“I contacted the library for some assistance with some financial reporting tasks and I can’t thank Tom enough for his prompt and detailed reply,” she says.
“My email was answered on the same day and he compiled a comprehensive list of online resources, including reporting checklists. He also took the time to research other publications and emailed copies of journals and articles of relevant content.”
Sawyer says the research service is a fantastic part of her CA ANZ membership.
“By using the library and the research service, sole practitioners and small practices can help keep costs down, get access to current information and save time by getting them to do the research for you.”
Plus, as Robinson adds: “A professional librarian is obviously a much better researcher than Google.”
What are CAs requesting?
Three unique research requests
- The New Zealand whisky export industry, including quantity and recipients
- The valuation of infrastructure for a not-for- profit organisation and how to apply the depreciated replacement cost method under AASB 116 and AASB 13
- Materials relating to salary packaging for charities, including when it is beneficial for a charity to salary package due to fringe benefits tax concessions
Three common research requests
- Climate change and finance, including sustainability bonds, green loans, ESG reporting and climate-related standards
- Market research, benchmarking and industry profiles
- Tools and templates, including engagement letters, remuneration survey results and quality control documents
CA Library has resources on a range of topics that members can access at any time. Go to bit.ly/ca-library or contact the librarians for research support at bit.ly/ca-library-research
To subscribe to the monthly email, What’s New in the CA Library, visit the communications preference centre on your My CA account and opt into the library newsletter.
Want to know what your fellow CAs are reading? Check out the monthly Top Hits at CA Library at bit.ly/ca-top-hits