CPA looks ahead
THE Western Australian division of CPA Australia has adopted a youth policy with the appointment of 31-year-old Ian Watt as its new State chief.
What may concern some of the organisation’s more traditional members, however, is that Mr Watt is not an accountant. Rather, he is from the management and marketing side of business – something he feels CPA needs at the moment.
He said CPA Australia was no longer an accounting body.
“We’re a finance, accounting and business organisation,” Mr Watt said.
By most calculations the organisation had a stellar 2003, reaching 100,000 members worldwide and playing a major role in some of the major debates on financial reporting issues.
However, Mr Watt said the strong growth in membership and the recognition of the CPA brand was no reason to become complacent.
“If we want to be relevant in a few years’ time we have to make sure all CPAs benefit now. It’s all about their careers,” he said. “The CPA designation has to be the most sought after.
“Our objective is to be leaders in finance, accounting and business.”
The keen surfer is interested in helping CPAs to ride the waves of commerce to get the most out of their careers.
“Accounting is a very good first step into business,” Mr Watt said.
“We’re aiming to take them to a leadership position in business.”
While the organisation is currently in the process of reviewing its business plan, and the WA divisional objectives aren’t set, Mr Watt already has some ideas about what he would like to do.
“My objective for this division is to strengthen our ties with the business community,” he said.
“I’m particularly interested in the lobbying. A lot of the power for that comes from the size of the organisation.
“Justin [Walawski, Mr Watt’s predecessor] has done a good job in positioning us there. Now we need to take it to the next step.”
Mr Watt has had a six-year association with CPA Australia, firstly as a consultant and then in various business development and marketing roles.
Before taking over in WA he was the organisation’s national CBD marketing manager and his team was spread around the country.