The Australian of the Year awards have been going for 60 years and like many Australians I watched the announcement of the winners on the ABC TV on the 25th of January. If you are curious about the process go to the website to learn more:

To quote the website:

The selection criteria are:

  • Significant contribution to the Australian community and nation
  • An inspirational role model for the Australian community
  • Demonstrated excellence in their field
  • The Local Hero award acknowledges a significant contribution at local community level

Like some others watching the awards I shed a tear more than once but also felt great elation from the stories being shared by nominees and winners. What a truly inspiring group of people.

The Australian of the Year winner, Grace Tame, demonstrated great emotion and passion on receiving the award. She is an advocate of survivors of sexual assault and it is impossible not to be in awe of her strength of character, courage and commitment to helping others after her own horrible experience.  The selflessness she shows also shines through in the other winners – Aboriginal activist, educator and artist Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann (Senior Australian of the Year), Social entrepreneur Isobell Marshall (Young Australian of the Year) and advocate for migrant and refugee women Rosemary Kariuki (Local Hero).

In a world where it can sometimes seem that self interest is driving the behaviour of so many people (often in roles where we expect better, but are regularly disappointed) how great would it be if each and every one of us paused occasionally to think ”how can I be just a little bit like Grace Tame and her fellow winners?”

So why am I writing about this? Well it struck me that the criteria above could well describe a good accountant.

  • How are you contributing to your local community?
  • Are you a role model for others around you?
  • What are you doing to demonstrate your excellence as an accountant?

I think we have seen during the pandemic accountants making a significant contribution to support their clients and community. Many accountants’ contribution to the community goes on year in year out in ways such as serving as Treasurer or on the board of community organisations and not for profit groups, or providing advice for those who cannot afford it.

As proud Australians let us all strive to be the best version of ourselves we can possibly be and to contribute to the community we live in and the nation we are proud to call home. We might not win an award but we just might make the world a better place.