How do Family Businesses Improve Post Pandemic

How do Family Businesses Improve Post Pandemic

Defining, Measuring, and Rewarding Scholarly Impact: Mind the Level of Analysis

Friday, September 30, 2022, by Enrique Pablo O. Caeg, Founding President of ICSB Philippines and  Founder of the Knowledge Hub retail Academy in the Philippines


My career as an employee took many turns, from doing Marketing related jobs like advertising & promotions, product management, account management. Most of these jobs were spent with Corporate entities that were structured, complemented with systems and procedures that made my role less difficult to function with.


When I worked as an Account Supervisor for Nike Footwear, I had a great experience for five years, achieving the monthly sales quota that blessed me with a financial windfall.


While everything was happening beautifully, I realized one thing: “That it was not about me”. I had good sales achievements not because I was a great salesman, but it was because of my Sales Team assigned to the different stores under me. Weekly, I met with them in the cafeteria and discussed action plans for the week. This motivational method of “making your team feel valued and appreciated” worked well for me. I did not resort to any hard-pressure approach. Everybody was happy even though we all got tired especially during mall-wide sale events. This experience gave birth to my own employee motto in Tagalog: “Hindi na bale kung pagod, huwag lang masama ang loob” (it does not matter that I’m tired, as long as I’m happy with what I’m doing).


As I moved on to different companies, I found myself working for Family Owned & Controlled Corporations (FOCCs). A new set of experiences for me. Mostly, decisions and management were focused on the founder. Professional Employees had a more difficult time blending and working in the most family-based environment because there were departments that had incomplete resources. The “Make your dreams come true” wish of most employees will have to wait due to the lack of a merit system, an unbalanced approach to discipline, and a rewards system. So how can employees of Family Owned Companies achieve their life goals?


Family Businesses should consider:

  • Redefine the way the following words are used: Trust, Loyalty, and Competency
  • Find time to: Organize, Systematize, and Manualized processes and systems
  • Create a roadmap for professional succession
  • Balanced application of the reward and punishment policies
  • Support continuing professional education of employees


It is understandable that not all of the items listed above will transform and be implemented, owner centered mindset will always rely on its decision on return on investment.


Doing my advisory for almost six years now. The success of my engagements was predicated on the involvement and transformation of the Family members who worked in the Companies as well. Ninety percent (90%) of my clients are from various industries (manufacturing, distribution, technology solutions, innovative products like gadgets and computers, athletic wear, shipping, and retail & e-commerce. 


They have different sizes and business volumes/revenues but their concerns were similar: high attrition, low morale, undisciplined personnel, weak sense of values and accountabilities, low productivity, and less efficiency.

In one organization, a manufacturing firm, the Family head once answered, when asked how stressed he was from 0 to 10, he answered 12. It was four years later that same question was invited to the person and he replied that now it’s down to 2. It was fulfilling to hear directly from him, to add, he showed me his contribution article that was being launched that afternoon, all that we did in 4 years of engagement. Narrated all the experiences and outcomes. It was a long, culture transformation, managed well overtime resulted in a 33% increase in productivity, employees became highly charged and made weekly projects, something to improve upon, even by just painting the faded gate premises.

This company did not have a structure, it was flat as designed, this gave the opportunity for the creation of the Leadership Circle, line leaders in the manufacturing area who are in charge of monitoring their daily performance scorecards. The Leadership Circle was a trial and error, having to change the whole team twice, including the most senior employee. The third team was born, and with the lessons from the first batches, this batch lasted until the pandemic came in 2020.

What did the Owner do? He began the transformation from himself, and his working family members, the new policies created were considerate of the employees with a great deal of balance between reprimand and rewards, increase relationships, and better communication style.

With the Pandemic hitting most Family businesses (Micro to Large), Family Businesses must continue to transform themselves starting with the primary origin, the Founders themselves.

Being an Organization Development Consultant for Family Businesses is not easy, but it definitely has a lot of lessons to live and share with others.

Article by:  Enrique Pablo O. Caeg, Founding President of ICSB Philippines and  Founder of the Knowledge Hub retail Academy in the Philippines



Defining, Measuring, and Rewarding Scholarly Impact: Mind the Level of Analysis

Defining, Measuring, and Rewarding Scholarly Impact: Mind the Level of Analysis

Defining, Measuring, and Rewarding Scholarly Impact: Mind the Level of Analysis

Friday, September 30, 2022, by Ravi S. Ramani, Herman Aguinis and Jacqueline A-M. Coyle-Shapiro

We address the grossly incorrect inferences that result from using journal impact factor (JIF) as a proxy to assess individual researcher and article scholarly impact. This invalid practice occurs because of confusion about the definition and measurement of impact at different levels of analysis. Specifically, JIF is a journal-level measure of impact, computed by aggregating citations of individual articles (i.e., upward effect), and is therefore inappropriate when measuring impact at lower levels of analysis, such as that of individual researchers, or of individual articles published in a particular journal (i.e., downward effect). We illustrate the severity of the errors that occur when using JIF to evaluate individual scholarly impact, and advocate for an immediate moratorium on the exclusive use of JIF and other journal-level (i.e., higher level of analysis) measures when assessing the impact of individual researchers and individual articles (i.e., lower level of analysis). Given the importance and interest in assessing the scholarly impact of researchers and articles, we delineate level-appropriate and readily available measures. We discuss implications for the careers of researchers and educators, the administration and future of business schools, and provide recommendations regarding the assessment of scholarly impact.


Clearly, the evaluation of individual articles and individual researchers based on JIF is far from a mere labeling exercise. For researchers, evaluating their impact based on JIF and JIF-influenced metrics affects critical career outcomes including securing a tenure-track job, enjoying a teaching reduction to devote more time to research, obtaining additional funding (e.g., summer support, research accounts, cash bonuses), receiving a positive or negative P&T review decision, and attaining a chaired position (Abritis, McCook, & Watch, 2017Edwards & Roy, 2017). For business schools, using JIF and JIF-influenced metrics to classify articles published by their faculty influences important outcomes such as business school rankings, fundraising, media attention, faculty recruitment efforts, and student enrollment (Aguinis, Cummings, Ramani, & Cummings, 2020Morgeson & Nahrgang, 2008Ryazanova, McNamara, & Aguinis, 2017).


Our article therefore is about JIF, and the grossly incorrect inferential leap that occurs when JIF is used to assess the impact of individual articles published in that journal, and the impact of the individual researchers who have published articles in that journal. This mistaken practice is due to confusion about the definition and measurement of impact at different levels of analysis. Specifically, JIF is a journal-level measure of impact computed by aggregating citations of individual articles (i.e., upward effect), and is therefore not appropriate for measuring impact at lower levels of analysis, such as that of individual researchers and of individual articles published in a particular journal (i.e., downward effect). Accordingly, we advocate for an immediate moratorium on the exclusive use of JIF and other journal-level (i.e., higher level of analysis) measures to assess the impact of individual researchers and individual articles (i.e., lower level of analysis). Furthermore, we propose that this moratorium apply to other journal-level measures also incorrectly used to assess the impact of individual researchers and individual articles, such as: (a) Scimago Journal Rank (SJR; based on Scopus data, it counts citations in a given year to publications in the previous three-year publication window, weighing citations such that they are assigned a greater or lesser value based on the SJR of the journal giving the citation); (b) Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP; based on Scopus data, it measures contextual citation impact by weighing citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field); (c) Article Influence Score (AIS; based on WoS data, it measures the average number of citations received by a journal’s articles in the first five years after publication, and weighs citation by the quality of the journal providing the citation, normalized as a fraction of all articles in all publications); and (d) the newly released Journal Citation Indicator (JCI; based on WoS data, it is a field-normalized metric representing the average category-normalized citation impact for papers published in the prior three-year period).


Click to read the full article


Article by: by Ravi S. Ramani, Herman Aguinis and Jacqueline A-M. Coyle-Shapiro



Women 2030 Sustainable Career Development

Women 2030 Sustainable Career Development

Women2030: Sustainable Career Development

Thursday, September 29, 2022, by Analia Pastran, Member in the Steering Committee of WUC-UN-Habitat and CEO of Smarlty and Evangelina Colli, Director of Localizing the SDGs of Smartly, Social Entrepreneurship on the SDGs

When you are a woman, it becomes complex to define the professional development you would like to achieve since, in some way, the family, traditions, and customs prepare us mainly for family assistance tasks. In these times, we are experiencing a global paradigm shift in which the proposal that is promoted is to abandon that role for another, which puts the core of beliefs in tension.


In this context, being able to see yourself as an economically independent professional woman who can express her own thoughts but at the same time strengthen the foundations of society by thinking in community, it requires an effort that you must be willing to make, but also of a boldness that is achieved through alliances.


From the observation and experience of the Urban Thinkers Campus (UTCs)  in Mexico and Ecuador carried out since 2019 to date, we can point out that when innovating and advancing in issues that concern humanity, such as life in cities, women have been the most tenacious allies. Women face challenges that are replicated regardless of the region, country, culture or belief, and whose solutions are global given that local problems are global.


The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) model is an initiative of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign, conceived as an open space that includes a series of plenary sessions with debates at the level of international experts, to bring together governments, civil society, researchers, and personalities from academia, local authorities, professional organizations, and youth groups, to propose solutions to urban challenges and achieve green, productive and more inclusive cities.


From this logical framework, we can analyze the natural and effective possibilities that women have to access knowledge and power, apply technology to personal and community development, and generate alliances during and after these urban thought encounters.


On the other hand, we observe that the generation and escalation of alliances represent a significant challenge to be addressed since there is a vocation and intention to carry them out, but the routines of the organizations and personal objectives make them difficult and harsh to specify and to hold.


Women 2030, a Smartly initiative, proposes a scheme of alliances between women to achieve sustainable career development. During the campuses, we emphasize the importance of Women Promoting Women, aware that the model of women that we propose is resisted by society and by the women who are already in decision-making positions.


The analysis postulated so far will be under the scrutiny of the social, economic, and environmental model that the region’s political systems propose for our democracies.


In this sense, Smartly promotes Parliament SDGs, a unique initiative dedicated to bringing an International Agenda to the legislative level of cities, where usually a Global Agenda hardly reaches.



Smartly unites different topics: urban legislation, women, sustainable entrepreneurs. For instance, we developed an ordinance on beekeeping and SDGs that promotes and protects this economic activity, highlighting its relevance to producing healthy and accessible food for the population and showcasing bees as an indicator of a healthy environment. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates that beekeeping can help alleviate poverty, protect biodiversity, and ensure food security.



In that context, we focused on the role of women as crucial players in this activity, and we included a specific article about Women and SDG 5 in the ordinance. When analyzing beekeeping, in the social imaginary, the activity is usually represented by men beekeepers. At the same time, plenty of women attend to the hive and develop the action with their husbands. Consequently, these men’s visibility in the activity has impacted the absence of womenpreneurs and businesswomen doing beekeeping.


Also, we have observed that beekeeping has not had enough inter-generational transmission. It is a lucrative activity in multiple aspects that can be carried out by female-headed households, single women, or any women that want to leave poverty and be included in the economy.


In the context of three global crises like Climate Change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global security crisis and latent nuclear risk that affects human life and impacts all communities, we emphasize the preponderant role of the Governments in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda for the good living.


This article is based on the experience of the Smartly #Women2030 program, and the conclusions published in the UTC online Reports: Vibrant and Inclusive Urban Life First and Second Edition.


Article by:Prof. Analia Pastran, Member in the Steering Committee of WUC-UN-Habitat and CEO of Smarlty and Evangelina Colli, Director of Localizing the SDGs of Smartly, Social Entrepreneurship on the SDGs



Arrival of the Entrepreneurial Revolution

Arrival of the Entrepreneurial Revolution

The Arrival of the Entrepreneurial Revolution

Wednesday, September 28, 2022, by Dr. Hartmut-Heinrich Meyer, Senior researcher and lecturer at the FOM

The existing knowledge to promote entrepreneurship has been developed during political and social stability. Since 1975, the world has witnessed a surge in entrepreneurial activities due to international investments, necessity entrepreneurship, and new trade patterns due to opening markets in Russia and China. Consequently, entrepreneurship could develop in conjunction with the success of multinational enterprises in globalized markets. Competitiveness among the enterprises was based on innovation and creativity. Meanwhile, success in entrepreneurship is determined by the ability of the entrepreneurs to optimize a resourced-based view while developing their key competencies and innovations, and the market-based view as the ability to comply with market standards. The combination of both approaches forms the foundation for growth and profitability. Since 2000, the world society has called for a transformation of value chains due to climate change, digitalization, and migration.


Additionally, economic growth rates were jeopardized as the production and consumption of goods needed to be reviewed in light of the three pillars of sustainability. The pandemic forced entrepreneurs to check value chains and working models and accelerated digitalization. Moreover, the actual geopolitical conflicts demonstrate that access to energy and raw materials will determine future competition. Access to markets appears limited and threatens existing models of specialization. Currently, there exists a global threat of a worldwide depression. 


The arrival of a new entrepreneurial revolution calls for a new balance in entrepreneurial thinking between the need for income generation and social responsibility. The traditional method of linear optimization of resources through innovations to create growth and income must be extended to sustainability and resilience. In answering this question, we must combine new creative thinking with innovative ways of production using alternative energy resources and new opportunities in fields such as biochemistry or cyber-based production. In particular, the arrival of the new entrepreneurial revolution requires integrating artificial and human intelligence for new organizational models. Moreover, the latest industrial revolution calls for a new human-machine interface. The digital transformation of value chains focused on creating intelligent factories and called for highly specialized and creative entrepreneurship. Artificial intelligence allows for managing conventional and monotonous tasks more cost-effectively and calls to stimulate human critical and creative thinking. 


In particular, the arrival of the new entrepreneurial revolution requires integrating artificial and human intelligence for new organizational models to comply with future consumer behavior. Sustainable and social values will far drive the next generation of entrepreneurs. The new entrepreneurial mindset calls for rethinking the combination of cyber-physical systems, responsible management of resources, and a human-centered society. The information technology-based products will increase productivity in value chains and alter competition on the ground of labor costs. The strategic advantages of developing threshold countries will be reduced as production needs more highly skilled workers for a new human-machine interaction.


Moreover, the decision of production places will be more influenced by the cost of raw materials and energy. Additionally, algorithms and future self-optimization in the planning and performance of production will reduce entrepreneurial risk. Therefore, future success in entrepreneurship will be based on the ability to react highly agilely in response to market changes and leverage their human creativity and operational effectiveness.


The current global challenges support the arrival of a new entrepreneurial revolution that allows for changes and new entrepreneurial chances. These global challenges require breaking the chains of constant self-optimization on the grounds of creativity and human-centered entrepreneurial thinking. Technical systems must be regarded as a tool to answer the questions of sustainability and economic growth. However, they will remain a tool to challenge human creativity rather than replace the workforce. The new entrepreneurial mindset must be based on the sustainable use of resources in employing technical innovations and the social requirement of resilience. This consumption-oriented management of value chains will reduce the input of resources and geopolitical conflicts.


Nevertheless, the world must rethink how to support and regulate entrepreneurship. The drive for self-determination requires a new entrepreneurial mindset to focus on liberalism and economic freedom to let the necessary changes happen. Moreover, it is necessary to reconsider how to share knowledge to boost creativity and innovation in a new set of relationships between advanced and developing economies to allow for local production and global social welfare. By the end of the day, the arrival of the new entrepreneurial revolution will be a humane entrepreneurial revolution based on new technologies. 


Article by:
Dr. Hartmut-Heinrich Meyer, Senior researcher and lecturer at the FOM, Fachhochschule für Ökonomie and  Management. Board  Director of the German Small Business Consultant Association, ICSB Board Member

Rebuilding the sense of community

Rebuilding the sense of community

Rebuilding the Sense of Community

Tuesday, September 20, 2022, by Matt Cavicchia and Vicki Stylianou

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is one of the three professional accounting associations in Australia, with 75 percent of our members being either advisers to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) or SMEs themselves. The IPA’s reason is to improve small business quality of life, supported by a vision for every small business to have one of our members by their side. 

Following a year memorable for isolation and social distancing, the IPA decided it was appropriate to rejuvenate and restore the sense of community within our membership base for 2021 and beyond. This was signified early in the year when it was decided to redefine one of our strategic themes to reflect this revised direction:  

Build a professional community for the SME and SMP sectors.

The IPA has always been committed to making the small business count. This strategic shift to focus on creating and maintaining a professional community reaffirms the magnitude of the IPA’s passion to enhance the longevity and well-being of MSMEs. In addition, in 2021, the IPA strengthened its strategic focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), selecting the following eight Goals as being the most relevant to our vision, strategy, and stakeholders:

  • SDG 3:   Good Health and Wellbeing
  • SDG 4:   Quality Education
  • SDG 8:   Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities (including a focus on SDG 5 – Gender Equality)
  • SDG 11: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

This report will look closely at our chosen Goals, highlighting how the IPA has contributed to them in 2021 from the perspective of MSMEs and thereby reinforcing and rebuilding our sense of community.  

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

Before the pandemic, mental health was already recognized as a significant issue facing small business people, including professionals and many accountants. The IPA has an existing partnership with a clinical health provider to offer initial clinical support to members with mental health concerns. To do more and help more small business people, including the clients of members and members themselves, the IPA partnered with Deakin University (based in Melbourne, Australia) to research the role played by accountants and other professional advisers in improving the mental well-being of small business people. Preliminary research indicated that using a business professional helped to improve the mental well-being of small business owners and operators. It was decided that it was worthwhile to extend the research and develop a training program that could be scaled for use in other jurisdictions and across various economic sectors. 

The program known as Counting On U was born with a host of partners, including other professional associations, mental health groups, and highly regarded medical professionals from Deakin and other universities. It attracted the attention of the Australian Government, which provided grants of over AU$3 million. At this stage, Counting On U offers mental health training for accountants, financial planners, bookkeepers, and other business advisers, providing tools to identify signs and assist their SME clients with accessing professional support. It has also been designed to help the adviser themselves, as they are often vicariously impacted and can develop anxiety and other mental health concerns.   

While the Covid-19 response in Australia focused on protecting physical health and our hospital system, there is widespread acknowledgment of the challenges that ensued for mental health. This, in addition to the IPA’s existing awareness and promotion of mental health, led us to compile numerous additional resources and tools dedicated to mental health and resilience, including access to a range of Corporate Social Responsibility partners, free education and training, and materials from (amongst others) Australia’s RUOK, an organisation dedicated to asking the simple question – “are you okay?”.  

Mental health is not only a medical issue but also an economic one with broad implications for the whole economy. The IPA has been vocal on many fronts, including advocacy, where we have promoted recommendations to enhance the mental well-being of small business people. The effects of mental health can impact a person’s ability to participate and prosper in the community and workplace. For business owners and operators, it can affect their employees and the ongoing viability of their business (business failure/ exit also has a negative health impact). Reforms must extend across workplaces, education institutions, the judicial system, the health system, and the community.

SDG 4: Quality Education

The IPA is undergoing an ‘education transformation’ by designing future education aligned with a sustainable accounting and finance profession. The rate of change occurring within most sectors of the global economy is unprecedented, significantly outpacing the adaptability of units and courses offered by many higher and vocational education institutions. The outcome of the transformation will be a relevant approach to education that supports lifelong learning and focuses on competency. 

Identifying the role of short courses and micro-credentials in the future of education, the IPA released its first digital short course in 2021: Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Accountants. The course introduces the principles and ethical considerations underpinning AI and machine learning, focusing on the challenges and opportunities for small-to-medium practitioners and SMEs. 

The course is delivered online with live workshops, promoting engagement and a sense of community between peers and educators. This is one example of the IPA’s investment in new learning platforms and systems which promote sharing and questioning. This has been enabled by partnering with progressive and experienced educators and encouraging more involvement by members and other professionals in the learning experience.    

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

This Goal is directly linked to the IPA’s advocacy, policy, and research work, which is heavily centred on economic policy.  Underpinning this effort is the work of the IPA Deakin SME Research Centre, a joint venture between the IPA and Deakin University. The Centre produces a diverse range of research exploring issues that impact small businesses and SMEs. 

The recent and current work program covering impactful research and academic papers includes: 

  • Productivity: Small Business White Paper 3.0 focuses on innovation policy, including the most effective levers to boost Research & Development (R&D) (see below under SDG 11).
  • Sustainability: Looking at the SDGs with a focus on defining and measuring outputs and capturing intangibles; and how these apply to SMEs. 
  • Innovation: This project focuses on patents filed by SMEs and small businesses as a measure of innovation. The outcomes can be used in several ways to promote small business innovation, including matching the different players in the innovation/ patent ecosystem, such as patent attorneys, investors, government, and others.  
  • Exporting: The Research Centre has explored the linkages between innovation, exports, and productivity, including the role of intangible resources in SME export performance. The research report notes:

“Results suggest SME firms that innovate and have the required technical [or] managerial ability skills have a greater propensity to export. Indeed, technical skills are relatively more important for propensity to export than business skills. Furthermore, when SMEs are incentivized to innovate by using either government support or R&D collaboration, the propensity to export by SMEs increases significantly. Results also show that Australian small business exports and innovation are significantly reliant on five industry sectors. At the same time, SMEs with foreign ownership have a higher propensity to export compared to SMEs with no foreign ownership.”

These five industry sectors are:

  • Mining
  • Manufacturing 
  • Wholesale trade
  • Information media and telecommunications
  • Public administration and safety.


  • Funding: Research has been undertaken based on an international comparison of small business agencies, focusing on the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the United States. The objective is to identify and apply the most compelling features and elements worldwide to design an appropriate model for Australia. The centralised capital access assistance programs are of particular interest given the lack of this feature in the Australian landscape. This research has translated into policy recommendations that the office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) should evolve into a centralised small business hub comparable to the SBA.   

The ASBFEO is an independent government agency that advocates in the best interests of the small business community. However, limitations of the model have been identified by the Research Centre as follows: 

“Indeed, the Ombudsman is unable to “… duplicate the operations of other agencies … [, and] must transfer a request for assistance to another Commonwealth, State or Territory agency, if that agency could deal with the request” (ASBFEO Act 2015, Division 2, Sections 66-70).  These limitations mean that the Ombudsman’s office can only advocate for the small business sector. Still, it is unable to administer and thereby provide centralised and widespread support to the small business sector in Australia.”

  • Alternative funding: Other avenues for funding, both public and private are being examined, including their efficacy with small business performance. Developing a viable venture capital sector is a particular focus of the research.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Various research and commentary over many years have focused on the systemic socio-economic challenges and institutional barriers which limit opportunities and pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia to build sustainable businesses or to enter professions. Recognizing the problems that exist, the IPA began its ‘Reconciliation’ journey through the compilation of our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). A RAP is a corporate document that marks a commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Within our sphere of influence as a professional accounting body, we have identified the following as the key objectives of our RAP:

  • Conduct cultural awareness training and other education to address unconscious biases within our organisation and membership. 
  • Increase awareness of the inequality faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and explore ways to create opportunities to increase equality. 
  • Review perspectives on Australia’s history, including the barriers that prevent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from establishing a sustainable business or pursuing a career in the professions. 

SDG 11: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

This Goal is linked to SDG 8, and the work and outputs which we have noted above are also relevant to the achievement of SDG 11. This is especially concerning industry and innovation, which are critical to achieving decent work and economic growth. 

The year 2021 marked the release of the IPA’s third Small Business White Paper, titled Post COVID Policy Options to Enhance Australia’s Innovation Capabilities. As stated in the executive summary:

“…the White Paper presents a series of recommendations on how some judicious fine-tuning of government policies and regulations aimed at encouraging world-class innovation and R&D – particularly in the lagging small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector – could unlock this potentially rich future source of growth and prosperity, and ultimately help to secure the Australian economy against over-reliance on its currently narrow and potentially unstable foundations.” 

The eight recommendations of this flagship thought leadership project informed various policy positions of the IPA in 2021 and leading up to the Federal Election in May 2022. The main focus has been increasing productivity growth through boosting innovation by changing tax levers; promoting more effective collaboration between SMEs and universities, including more significant investment in Co-operative Research Centres; increased data availability, policy experimentation; and regulatory reform. Australia lags comparable OECD economies on private sector innovation and research by most metrics. It is imperative to turn this around if Australia is to build a sustainable and diversified economy and maintain its living standards.  

SDG 13: Climate Action

The urgency around climate action reached an all-time high in 2021, driven by the delayed COP 26 conference and updated science, as released in the Fifth Assessment Report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

The accounting profession has been responding accordingly, and in 2021, the work of various organisations over the past decade culminated into the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). Housed within the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation (based in London, UK), the ISSB aims to create a standardised, consistent, and comparable global baseline for sustainability reporting that is held to the same rigour as financial reporting. Given the momentum around climate change, climate risk has been identified as the first topic of focus for the ISSB. The IPA has contributed to the consultations, expressing support for the ISSB, with a specific interest in scaling reporting developments designed for large companies into the MSME context.  

To demonstrate a commitment to action on climate, the IPA has signed as a supporter of the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter (PBCAC). This Charter acknowledges that no single profession has the resources and expertise to deliver an adequate response to climate change. Therefore, the PBCAC creates a collaborative forum for aspirational professional associations to innovate and support members with Paris-aligned and SDG-focused business models and strategies. 

In addition, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) (based in New York, USA), and representing over 3 million accountants worldwide, has anchored its strategy in the SDGs and has encouraged all accounting bodies to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. The IPA strongly supports the role of accountants, business advisers and businesses in general in contributing to achieving the SDGs. 

On a more localised level, the IPA has introduced bespoke ESG courses and discussion groups for all business advisers, to raise their own awareness and capability to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, with a specific focus on small business and SMEs.

SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

While creating and delivering value for members is our crucial responsibility and vital for continuity, the IPA’s central reason for being is to improve the life of small business. Accordingly, the IPA’s advocacy and policy platform aim to serve the needs of our members, the profession, and the best interests of the small business community and the public interest. This can only be achieved in the presence of strong institutions. 

The IPA takes a collaborative and consultative approach to its advocacy; however, more recently, the IPA has adopted an approach of ‘net positive advocacy.’ This is described by Polman and Winston (2021) as “a natural step” for a business with a clear understanding of its purpose and how this interlinks with its values. 

“Companies have long viewed ‘government relations’ as a way to resist regulation or fight for tax breaks and other special treatment. We propose, instead, that businesses approach governments openly and transparently, to improve the rules, help policy makers reach their goals, and solve larger problems for the benefit of all. We call this approach net positive advocacy.”

  • Paul Polman & Andrew Winston (2021)

We believe that this concept and approach suits the governance (especially transparency and accountability) aspect of ESG and is, therefore, vital to building strong institutions. The IPA’s work in partnership with other organisations, described below concerning SDG 17, has contributed to building strong institutions in other countries in our region.  

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

The IPA strongly believes that the achievement of the SDGs relies on partnerships, as reflected in our activities and outcomes discussed throughout this report. In addition to our advocacy work, we have also undertaken practical activities to put these policies into practice, both domestically and internationally. One example is our work which contributes to capacity building in the Pacific, including the development and implementation of education programs over the last 12 months in the Solomon Islands and Fiji. The Australian Government is partnering in some of this work. The objective is to make the education programs scalable for implementation in other Pacific nations. 

Specifically, we have entered into a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between the IPA and the Fiji Institute of Accountants. The main objective is to ensure the transfer of skills and knowledge between the bodies and other support and development opportunities. This reflects that the accounting profession plays a pivotal role in achieving solid institutions such as those governing the financial sector.   

We should also mention the IPA’s partnership with ICSB, which has grown over several years. This includes the establishment of a Knowledge Hub and the exchange of ideas and information, as well as participation in a range of ICSB activities. This recently culminated in co-hosting the virtual thought leadership event entitled, Why do we measure economic success through unicorns? This event brought together global experts to examine: Our social, economic, and natural environments have all changed, but our thinking about measuring success has not kept pace. How will we conduct and measure financial success to ensure our impact on nature and economic development becomes more realistic, responsible, and sustainable? Will it be possible to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation in line with the United Nations’ 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production.  

Concluding Remarks

While 2021 introduced the IPA’s strategic intent to foster a professional community for MSMEs, the work is certainly not over. The IPA hopes to enhance member engagement and community spirit by aspiring to increase member value. By leveraging this spirit, we also hope to contribute to achieving the SDGs by 2030. As we continue to learn and celebrate the diversity of our member base, inclusion and well-being initiatives are being prioritised in 2022 and beyond. MSMEs will always remain central to the IPA’s advocacy and activities, supporting our ultimate reason for being – to improve the quality of life of small businesses.

Article by:
Matt Cavicchia and Vicki Stylianou, 
Institute of Public Accountants

One-Year Remembrance

One-Year Remembrance

One-Year Remembrance

Saturday March 13, 2021, by Ayman El Tarabishy, President & CEO, ICSB

Dear ICSB Family, 

Anniversaries are a moment for self-reflection, for remembrance, and occasionally, a moment for change. Today as we pass the one-year mark of COVID-19 lockdown in the United States and the corresponding global fallout, we believe that this specific moment creates space for us to reflect, to remember, and to change. 

At ICSB, we believe strongly in creating a more humane and sustainable world. This past year has shown just how enormous and difficult this task can be. But at the same time, the overwhelming resilience, strength, and love that people have shown as they navigate this enormously traumatic year, has been wondrous and humbling to experience. The spirit of the people is clearly and demonstrably behind these core concepts of human-ness and sustainability, and there seems to be change in the air. So, where do we go from here?

One year ago, the rapidly changing world forced us to reflect on what we believe in and what services and opportunities we offer. Pre-COVID, ICSB worked with more traditional forms of communication, emphasizing in-person conferences. We quickly realized flexibility and adaptability were the two main paths forwards, after we ensured the well-being of our employees and community. Over the past year, we’ve completely re-worked our operations by building out journals and other academic resources, and by prioritizing new digital infrastructure, including social media and a re-designed website. We transitioned away from focusing mainly on in-person collaborative conferences to a more decentralized and accessible approach, which created new and unique opportunities for traditionally marginalized actors to participate and grow within spaces that have traditionally been closed off to them. We look forward to continuing to grow and innovate as we meet and adapt to the challenges ahead.

There would be no opportunity for growth or innovation without you, our family, engaging with and challenging the material and resources we provide. This entire process is a collaborative effort, and we sincerely appreciate the support you have shown us as we iron the details out and begin to solidify a long-term approach towards business education and collaboration. In that spirit, this summer will mark the 2021 ICSB World Congress, where we will focus on and emphasize Humane Entrepreneurship as a foundational part of our future in the business ecosystem. This will mark the first major conference since the beginning of the pandemic and we look forward to incorporating the lessons we have learned throughout this past year, as we begin a new chapter in the fight for a more humane and sustainable world. We look forward to collaborating with you, both this summer and beyond. 

In solidarity, 
Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
ICSB President & CEO


Ayman El Tarabishy

Ayman El Tarabishy

President & CEO, ICSB