When I started my year as President in January 2020, my eyes were to the future of the profession, to navigating digital disruption and with a priority focus on supporting the next generation of younger and upcoming Chartered Accountants.

While I could have never predicted the disruption that would come, even after the challenges of drought and bushfires as we entered the New Year, 2020 has presented new opportunities to engage with our members on various online platforms including My CA. It has made us focus on how we can become better equipped digitally to ensure that we are providing the right tools and resources for members at every stage of their careers.

It was humbling to see the generosity of our membership during the Australian bushfires earlier this year. As your professional body focused on providing relevant resources, support and guidance, our members offered to volunteer their time and skills to make a difference as part of our new programme to help impacted regional and rural businesses.  

This compassion was a constant theme for our members throughout the year, as I frequently heard them recount how they were on the frontline advising, managing and guiding businesses, their local communities and economies. Your professional body shaped its response on members’ input – from channelling feedback on the practical implementation of measures to Government and regulators, to publishing tailored guides on the areas members said they were struggling with. Topics such as the digital transformation of their practices, financial and tax reporting, and personal wellness and resilience were covered.

"I am passionate that the next generation of Chartered Accountants be part of the shaping of their own future."
– Peter Rupp FCA, President

Members often found clever and creative ways to respond to their situation with some young Chartered Accountants building a chatbot on their practice’s website within 48 hours specifically to handle COVID-19-related enquiries. We, in turn, are finding imaginative ways to respond including exploring ways to hold a global member ceremony in late 2020. We are committed to recognising the class of 2020 achieving their designation which is a great accomplishment at the best of times and a special feat amid the upheavals of 2020.

Technology has enabled me to attend a range of Regional Council and Young Chartered Accountant panels and meetings throughout the year, providing me with insight into the challenges we are facing now and into the future. I was fortunate to be able to showcase to the rest of the profession the enormous contribution and enthusiastic ambition our younger Chartered Accountants have through the #GenCA podcast series. This was great fun to produce and has provided a platform to showcase the differences being made by these members.

I am passionate that the next generation of Chartered Accountants be part of the shaping of their own future. Now more than ever, as we commence the long journey of recovery, we need to amplify their voice within our governance structure. This is one of the many reasons why going forward, we are progressing with the inclusion of a Young Chartered Accountant on our Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Council. Around 40 per cent of our membership are provisional or young members who have varying goals and needs to other demographics. Their collective voice will only get stronger, and I am extremely hopeful their future will too.

Peter Rupp FCA