From XU Magazine, 
Issue 19

The Future Of Accounting Mission Ignition: Multiplying Inclusivity

When you’re a startup and you decide to spend tens of thousands of dollars sponsoring the front cover of a magazine with a readership of 73,000+, you really want to make it count. You need to decide what message you’re sending to the world, and the kind of impact you want to make.

After deliberating with our team and reviewing so many great campaigns to find the most authentic message for Practice Ignition, we decided that our money was best spent promoting a cause we truly feel is the future of accounting.

Our “Top 50 Women in Accounting” project…

What a privilege and joy it has been this year to celebrate the outstanding impact women are having in our industry.

In April, we saw Accountex run the most diverse accounting conference we’ve ever seen – highlighting and showcasing a new age of female thought leaders in our industry, in front of 8000 delegates. Ideas are well and good, but practically seeing this in action is what this cause is all about. To the Accountex organisers, hats off to you for leading by example.

Our Top 50 Women in Accounting project, launched in 2016, was started by a team at Practice Ignition who wanted to introduce a community focus to our brand.

Feedback from the industry showed that we are widely considered a catalyst for change, due to the way our proposal and payment platform works. Our product challenges a lot of accountants and bookkeepers to rethink their entire business model, especially around billing and client onboarding. So, we decided that we could also leverage our ‘catalyst’ brand to create important conversations amongst our global community.

This is how our search for the Top 50 Women in Accounting was born. From the outset, it was important to us that this project didn’t turn into a popularity contest. The judges made their decisions based on merit, impact in the community and authenticity. Also, the nominees’ names were kept anonymous throughout. Even I didn’t know their names.

In the two years of running this project, we’ve seen over 600 amazing women from across the world, nominated in this initiative. Our event and community manager, Brooke, shared an inspiring new email or message daily in the lead up to International Women’s Day. These messages were filled with so much joy, shock and surprise: they simply couldn’t believe they’d been nominated by a peer!

I think we all have moments in our lives where we realise our yearning ambition to do something. For me, it all started at Allan Hall Business Advisors in 2002. I was an undergraduate accountant, wet behind the ears, but keen to work hard and progress myself within the firm. This is where I first witnessed the kind of impact I could have, not just with small business owners, but with people as individuals. Real people, with real families, that were contributing to their local communities and creating their own sense of impact in their own circles.

It’s amazing to think that this all began when I (selfishly) set out to solve a problem within my accounting practice. The solution was a little onboarding tool called Practice Ignition, that now enables 2,500 accountants to engage with over 110,000 small business owners. But more importantly, we’re able to create awareness around such an important issue, and the Practice Ignition team are drivers of this change movement.

We believe diversity is an important topic, but also that it does not become gratuitous diversity or just another buzzword. Accountex leading the way is the first step, but this is just the beginning.

It will be the small steps of firms towards inclusion, diversity and work life balance that will ultimately multiply the positivity that we’ve witnessed as a result of this project.

Our Top 50 Women campaign is important to our whole business. We believe in the mission of supporting women with better representation within the accounting community, and we’re committed to continue highlighting and celebrating this every International Women’s Day to come. We invite you to join us on the mission, and do your part by nominating the inspiring women in your workplace when our campaign launches again in February 2020.

Like us, if you feel that February is too long to wait, tell them today. Tweet them, encourage them, seriously – let them know. Let’s not wait for one day of the year to celebrate women in the workplace. We can have this conversation every single week. Practice Ignition is on a mission to ignite the conversation in the lead up and on International Women’s Day #IWD2020, but it’s up to you (and me) to keep the conversation alive for the other 364 days of the year.

Finally, on a personal note, when I think about the people who have been mentors to me in life and in business, I think of a select few people. My early mentors at Allan Hall Pam and Jeanette; my senior at my second job, Tammy; my current CFO, Ros; my first hire as a firm owner and former business partner, Lisa; current GM at Interactive, Charlotte; and my mum. They’ve all played an integral role in my personal and professional development over the years and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the support, guidance and friendship I have with all of them. On behalf of Practice Ignition, I want to thank you for your involvement in this project as part of our wider community. Every nomination, every tweet, every mention and every conversation is all part of the journey towards the future of accounting: gender equality.

Why leave it there?

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