Date posted: 28/09/2023

Watch now Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members share their voice

Catch-up on an enlightening discussion with indigenous members Kedeisha Kartinyeri, Deanne Firth FCA and CA ANZ Vice President Tinashe Kamangira FCA

In brief

  • Just 0.5% of CA ANZ Australian members identify as First Nations.
  • “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Increasing visibility of indigenous accountants is key.
  • Traineeships, mentoring for indigenous high school students will help attract them to profession.

In case you missed it, this broadcast explores how we can encourage more indigenous participation and inclusion in the accountancy profession at a time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise just 0.5% of CA ANZ’s Australian membership. Watch the video below and hear from:

  • Young indigenous accountant Kedeisha Kartinyeri
  • Director of Tactical Super, best-selling author and CA ANZ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Member Panellist, Deanne Firth FCA
  • CA ANZ Vice President (Australia), Tinashe Kamangira FCA
  • Constitutional expert and former High Court Justice, The Hon. Kenneth Hayne AC KC

You can watch the conversation below and earn up to one hour of Continuous Professional Development (CPD). 

Discussion highlights

“We can’t be what we can’t see.” 

Both Deanne and Kedeisha highlight how important it is for young indigenous kids to see and hear the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander accountants doing interesting things – including their work to support vibrant, entrepreneurial Aboriginal-run businesses. 

Says Deanne: “We need to show what our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members are doing for their businesses and communities – go to schools and show kids – get them inspired about the different kinds of career trajectories demonstrated by our current members … then kids will consider accounting when they haven’t before.”

Mentoring matters - and traineeships help encourage participation.

Kedeisha, a recipient of a CA ANZ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship, who is also mentored by current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Member Panel Chair, Josh Duke CA, speaks about her own excitement to give back and mentor her first trainee, a high school student. She’s looking forward to taking her to meet thriving Aboriginal-owned businesses and see how being an accountant supports them to make important and informed decisions. “My hope is that she’ll fall in love with the profession like I have.” 

She also explains the importance of breaking down myths like ‘you need to be good at maths’ to show students that accounting is far more about building trusted relationships to make clients feel comfortable and confident with their financials.  

“We need to show what our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members are doing for their businesses and communities – go to schools and show kids – get them inspired about the different kinds of career trajectories demonstrated by our current members … then kids will consider accounting when they haven’t before.”
Deanne Firth FCA

Deanne also highlights the importance of traineeships. “We need to address the numbers of best and brightest First Nations students choosing university subjects other than accounting.” She says traineeships are a great way for indigenous kids to both see the purpose of the profession and help them complete an accounting degree.

CA ANZ’s support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart   

Tinashe explains the considered approach taken by the CA ANZ board to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, building on our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan and consultation with CA ANZ people and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Member Panel. He explains the profession is a very broad church but that the number one issue for members he meets is talent acquisition. With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the profession so low, he highlights the importance of the member panel’s great advice, which he says the board listens to – similar in operation to the proposed Voice. 

Widening the pool of talent available to the profession is essential.

At approximately 22 mins and 30 seconds into the broadcast, Gill Bowen interviews eminent former High Court Justice, Kenneth Hayne, about the Voice referendum proposal and how it could support greater inclusion. He says professions must protect and enhance their reputation by attracting and retaining the best practitioners. “The wider the field from which the profession recruits, the easier that will be. The Voice provides an opportunity to widen the field of participation for First Nations people.”