Promoting wellbeing in small business, accounting and bookkeeping

Finalist at the 2021 AFR Higher Education Awards for Industry Engagement

Deakin Business School’s Counting on U (CoU) team comprises a multi-disciplinary group of organisational psychologists, public health, accounting and workplace wellbeing pracademics. CoU strives to be a centre of excellence in the research, design and delivery of integrated mental health initiatives, for the accounting, bookkeeping and small-to-medium business (SME) sectors. We use up-to-date evidence to inform our work approach in supporting these sectors to create work environments with wellbeing and trust at its core.

What We Do

Research Hub

We are your go-to team for the latest research insights and practical solutions to support the mental health and wellbeing of accountants, bookkeepers and small-to-medium business owners and employees. Our mission is to pave the way for a mentally healthier, more balanced finance and business industry by bridging research with actionable strategies. We research and consult on topics including:

  • Accountants, bookkeepers and other business advisers as trusted key intermediaries in supporting SME owner-client mental health
  • Facilitators and barriers to accountant, bookkeeper and SME wellbeing
  • Measures of accountant, bookkeeper and SME wellbeing
  • Integrated approaches to workplace mental health strategies
  • The role of leadership in creating and sustaining a culture of wellbeing and psychological safety in the workplace
  • Managing psychosocial hazards specific to the accounting, professional services, and SME industries
  • Job stress prevention
  • Bullying and safety culture

Industry Advocacy

We are an advocacy platform dedicated to championing positive change in the accounting, bookkeeping and SME landscape

  • Advocating for the integration of mental health literacy and relationship-building training into the formal education of accountants and bookkeepers: Recognising their pivotal role as trusted advisers to SMEs, we have used our research to show how our transformative education empowers accountants and bookkeepers to act as key intermediaries in nurturing the mental wellbeing of small-to-medium business owners
  • Promoting better work design across finance, professional services, and SME sectors. We advocate for practices that emphasises wellbeing, urging a shift away from excessive work hours towards a culture that fosters a balance between profitability and psychological health and safety
  • Lobbying for regulatory changes that prioritise workplace cultures defined by professionalism, psychological safety, and ethical conduct – by fostering leadership practices that create environments where organisations thrive and individuals flourish

Commercial Services & Knowledge Translation

We work with accounting, bookkeeping and SME industry stakeholders to design industry-wide mental health interventions that follow the integrated approach of preventing harm, promoting the positive, and responding to problems. This involves custom-designed, evidence-based solutions that identify and treat underlying causes of ill-health at work.

We also offer training modules that combine primary prevention strategies with early intervention/response approaches. These include training on client relationship building to mitigate financial stress, and supportive leadership skills to develop team psychological safety and control for psychosocial hazards, in tandem with mental health literacy and distress response training.

Join us in shaping accounting, bookkeeping and SME workplaces that prioritise mental health, value work-life harmony, and define the path forward through supportive leadership.