UPFRONT Heading into ‘unchartered’ territory

The new branding campaign for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand – now, renamed as the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants – is so flash that it takes while for some people to connect it with the institute at all.
At recent launch of the new brand in Auckland, with video links to Wellington and Christchurch, several guests failed to make the link between the zippy images of gesticulating chef Ferran Adria, Sydney Opera House architect Jorn Utzon or racing driver Greg Murphy and the roomful of chartered accountants.
That is precisely the problem that the new campaign aims to solve. As Minister of Commerce Pete Hodgson told the assembled guests, there is world of difference between accounting as set of skills and accounting as “a profession in which technical competency is merely the base which enables an accountant to offer sound forward-looking advice on all aspects of business”.
Garry Muriwai, the institute’s chief executive, said the new campaign is all about letting people know that institute members have the professional training and ability to add value and help grow business. “The stereotypical view of the chartered accountant focused primarily on compliance,” he said, “is far cry from the demands of the marketplace for high-quality financial reporting essential to business and government decision making.”
Praising the timing of the branding initiative, Hodgson noted that the business environment is evolving in ways that will effectively raise the bar for quality advice.
In his view, several trends are worthy of note. “The first is trans-Tasman harmonisation which is progressively removing the barriers between New Zealand and Australia, with view to creating ‘common citizenship for business’… The second important trend is the growth and increasing sophistication of our capital markets… The third allied trend is the move towards greater internationalisation of accounting standards in the post-Enron world.”
Hodgson warned that New Zealand cannot afford to “retain the illusion that we are an island” and that matching prevailing standards is “vital to retaining the confidence of international capital markets”.
Being accountants, they’ll be watching the ROI on this particular campaign very closely.

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