Accountants to learn mental health first aid | The Canberra Times

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Five thousand accountants will receive mental health first aid training under a project supported by three professional accounting bodies and the Australian government. The Department of Innovation, Science, Energy and Resources awarded a $2.24 million grant to a project run by Deakin University and the Institute of Public Accountants to roll out the training over the next two years. A recent study by the department found that nearly one in three owners of small to medium enterprises had experienced stress, depression or anxiety in the past 12 months. The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia have joined forces to deliver the program. CPA Australia’s Jane Rennie said members had been seeing clients who were in desperate and traumatic situations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Throughout the pandemic accountants have played a critical front line role in ensuring that government supports reached people and businesses who need them,” Dr Rennie said. READ MORE: Dr Rennie said accountants were seeing thousands of small and medium enterprise owners and so were well-placed to have a broad public impact in helping them access mental health support. “They’re not doctors and we’re not training people up to be medical practitioners, but it’s like being a sort of first aid first responder with mental health.” IPA’s Wayne Debernardi said mental health was an emerging theme in the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre’s work over the past few years and it was good to see government funding going into the initiative. “It’s probably true to say that accountants are in a fairly unique position where basically when they’re dealing with their small business clients, they will actually see those first cracks, those first signs where some of their clients need assistance,” Mr Deberardi said.

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Anti-money laundering laws must cover lawyers and accountants

Westpac Banking Corporation and Crown Resorts’ failures to prevent money laundering have caused both companies huge reputational and financial damage.

Yet The Age’s reporting this week on global tax evasion schemes suggests these two examples are the tip of the iceberg. While national regulators such as the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) appear to be tackling the problems, the federal government needs to do more to regulate the lawyers, accountants and other professional enablers who lawfully facilitate the global flow of black cash.


The Age revealed relations between Euro Pacific, a bank in the tax haven of Puerto Rico, and about 400 Australians including Simon Anquetil, the Australian businessman jailed for engineering Plutus Payroll, the country’s biggest tax scam, and financial institutions such as the Perth Mint. About 100 of these clients are considered to be dubious.

The bank is the target of Operation Atlantis, a sweeping international tax probe by the “J5”, a taskforce made up of the tax chiefs of Australia, the US, UK, the Netherlands and Canada that was set up after the leak of legal documents known as the Panama Papers.

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