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Accountants, planners urged to address ‘image problem’

Accountants, planners urged to address ‘image problem’

Katarina Taurian
15 December 2014

The accounting and financial planning industries have the potential to lose fresh talent to other industries if their “image problem” is not urgently addressed, according to one SMSF technology consultant.

Speaking at an SMSF Professionals' Association of Australia state chapter lunch last week, Smithink 2020’s founding director David Smith pointed to the “image problem” the accounting and financial planning professions have created.

“If you’re a really smart person today, I’d probably [see] you go into bio science or something like that. If we can go back 20 or 30 years ago, I think we were attracting much more talent in both professions and the biggest problem I see is how do we make the profession sexy again?” Mr Smith said.

“Do you really want to go and sit and do BAS and tax returns every day? I think both professions have got an image problem, we’ve got to make it attractive for these young kids.”

Mr Smith noted financial planners in particular are currently facing a “brand problem” which may see their partnerships with “trusted” accountants increase in the coming years.

“The financial planning industry has a brand problem in the sense that the community at large thinks that the financial planning industry flogs product, and we know that true planners don’t, but that’s what the world at large thinks,” Mr Smith said.

“I think there will be much greater convergence on both professions because of the trusted relationship of accountants and the brand problem that financial planners have.”

Quantum Financial principal Claire Mackay said while the “smart” universities are assessing their programs for financial services professionals, there’s a need for the industry to communicate with these institutions.

“I think that we have let ourselves down by not having open dialogue with the institutions that are giving us our future employees, and saying … these are the sorts of skills we actually need,” Ms Mackay said.

Accountants, planners urged to address ‘image problem’
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