The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is urging its members to join the mental health conversation in the best interests of small business clients.

“The IPA has articulated its purpose for being which is to improve the quality of life of small business,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway, giving the opening address at the IPA national congress being held on the Gold Coast this week.

“We are currently working on the second edition of the Australian Small Business White Paper and we have identified that the mental health and wellbeing of small business operators are key issues.

“As we travelled around the country on our small business roadshow, the most profound finding was that of the declining rates of mental health among small business owners.

“Many small businesses and accountants serving them divulged the significant stress and other pressures they were trying to combat on a daily basis.

“We are currently validating these findings through advanced research with the IPA Deakin SME Research Centre.

 “We recognise there are high levels of depression, anxiety and other detrimental factors that result from these disorders and we are hopeful that this body of research will shed light on this important subject and in turn, produce further policy recommendations to address these issues. 

“Accountants play a pivotal role. By recognising the environmental factors affecting their small business clients, accountants can assist by alleviating certain pressures that may be impacting their lives.