About Counting on UCounting on U is an Australian and New Zealand workplace mental health and relationship-building training program, that aims to upskill business advisors (e.g. accountants, bookkeepers, financial planners, coaches, mentors) to better support the needs of their clients.
Michael Rowe, CA ANZ Member
Watch Michael’s experience of the Counting on U research program
Introducing our partner member associations
Click on each association below to access their member page for Counting on U or to find out more about them
Chartered Accountants ANZ
The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
Financial Planning Association
International Coaching Federation
The Institute of Public Accountants
Association of Financial Advisers
New Zealand Qualified Bookkeepers Association
Who We Are
Our Team & Leadership
The genesis of the Counting on U Project stems from the CEO of the IPA, Andrew Conway – who said “The biggest issue facing public practice accountants today is the mental health of their SME owner clients. The second biggest issue is their own mental health” or similar words.
· What we discovered in our investigations is that Accountants and other business finance professionals are unsure about what to say to small to medium business owners they suspect are struggling to cope, especially those facing heightened financial pressures. Their biggest fear is that they’ll say something that makes matters worse and ‘tips clients over the edge’ (a senior member of CPA)
· Counting on U is designed to give accountants, financial planners and other business finance professionals the competencies (knowledge, skills, confidence) to ask the tough questions, to better understand the specific sources of the distress, especially financial distress, to encourage help-seeking where they see the signs of anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions, and to generate the insights required to provide accurate and timely business-related advice, especially financial guidance.
· Our program is about saving lives and livelihoods. Blending Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) skills with broader client relationship building program is how we equip business advisers with the ability to deal with client distress in a safe and appropriate manner while at the same time, enhancing trainees’ capacity to better understand the financial needs of the business and the business owner.
Ms Carol Leow-Taylor
Deakin Business School
Carol is a registered psychologist with a master in Industrial/Organisational Psychology. She has over 14 years’ experience in the field working in both public and private sector organisations. Practical research work she has conducted whilst working in industry include the design, implementation, analyses and reporting of multiple employee engagement, leadership development, organisational culture, and workplace bullying surveys. During her time with Deakin Business School, she has contributed towards research projects involving integrated approaches to workplace mental health interventions. As an experienced organisational development and strategic HR professional, she has worked both as an internal specialist in organisations like Australia Post, Victorian State Department of Education & Training, ME Bank, HESTA; and as an external HR consultant at organisations like Evaluation Solutions and Right Management Consultants. She has a Project Management certification from the Australian Institute of Management, and combines lean and agile principles in managing projects. She is a Mental Health First Aid practitioner and accredited in the Mayer-Sallovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).
Dr Leanne Saxon
Deakin Business School
Dr Leanne Saxon is a senior research fellow at the Deakin University School of Business.
Leanne’s interests include improving access to physical and mental health care in developed and developing economies. With a background in public health that spans working in three continents, her work includes investigating ways Georgian refugee’s cope with their lack of access to healthcare and developing evidence-based (National Institute of Care and Excellence, NICE) guidelines for health care workers in the UK.
Leanne has published over 35 papers and has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research. She was recently a part of a collaboration between the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, that led to her using hospital administrative data to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of health care.
With a career path that has led her back to Deakin University, she is now working with a hard-core team on an exciting public health intervention that aims to help the small-business owners (SMEs) who are struggling in response to the pandemic. She is working with business advisors to upskill them so they can better alleviate the SMEs financial burden and identify the signs of mental health problems.
If she is not on zoom or working on spreadsheets, you will find Leanne trekking across the countryside with her son and dreaming of mountains to climb abroad.
Professor Michael Berk
Deakin Business School
Michael Berk is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, and is Alfred Deakin Chair of Psychiatry at Deakin University and Barwon Health, where he heads the IMPACT Strategic Research Centre. He also is an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health and Orygen Youth Health at the University of Melbourne, as well as in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He is past president of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders and the Australasian Society for Bipolar and Depressive Disorders. Michael’s major interests are in the discovery and implementation of novel therapies, and risk factors and prevention of psychiatric disorders.
Associate Professor Nicola Reavley
University of Melbourne
Nicola leads a research program that focuses on improving public knowledge and beliefs about mental illnesses and particularly on interventions that focus on prevention and on improving support for people with mental disorders. She is a Chief Investigator on five NHMRC-funded projects, four of which aim to improve mental health literacy in members of the public. She has also been the lead investigator on a number of projects that aim to assist workplaces to better manage mental health issues, including two Beyond Blue-funded projects.
Dr Angela Martin
University of Tasmania
Dr Angela Martin is the founder and Principal Consultant of Pracademia. She holds current part-time and honorary Professorial appointments with the Menzies Institute for Medical Research and the College of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania. Angela has an academic career spanning 20 years, including positions with a number of Australian Universities, strong national and international collaborations and progression through leadership roles such as Graduate Research Co-ordinator, Discipline Leader and Associate Dean Research. She is known internationally for her research on the relationships between work and mental health and has received a national teaching award for her work on the development of psychological wellbeing management capabilities via executive education. Having been engaged in knowledge translation, research co-production and research impact strategy development, Angela has developed insight into the processes and outcomes of knowledge mobilisation and exchange that are key to Pracademia’s mission.
Professor Andrew Noblet
Deakin Business School
Andrew Noblet is a Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Deakin Business School (Deakin University). He has established a strong track-record as a job stress and employee wellbeing researcher and has published over 60 journal papers, book chapters and commissioned research reports on these and related topics. He has also been a Chief Investigator on 17 externally funded research projects and has collaborated with a range public, private and not-for-profit organisations when undertaking this work. Much of Andrew’s recent research has focused on workplace mental health interventions, particularly those that can simultaneously address the work-based sources of health (or ill-health) while also equipping employees with the skills and knowledge to better cope within increasingly complex and challenging working environments.
Professor George Tanewski
Deakin Business School
Dr Sophie Bromfield
Deakin Business School
Sophie obtained a PhD in Psychology in 2020. She has a background in social and organisational psychology, having worked on research projects focusing on workplace wellbeing and influence processes in organisational contexts. She has extensive research experience and skills in mixed-methods design. Projects that she has been involved with have covered topics such as gender differences in the use of influence tactics, small business owner wellbeing, bullying and incivility interventions in workplace settings, relationship between media reports and suicidal behaviour, and stressful life events and coping in adults with autism spectrum disorders.
Dr Arlene Walker
Dr Arlene Walker obtained her PhD in 2008 in the field of organisational psychology. Arlene is a Senior Lecturer and chairs several units in the postgraduate organisational psychology program at Deakin University. Over the last five years, Arlene has consolidated her research expertise in graduate transition experiences, graduate work readiness and employee wellbeing and receives regular requests to review articles for scholarly journals relating to these topics. In 2011, Arlene and colleagues developed and validated the only known measure of work readiness in an Australian context with graduates from the commerce, finance and science industries. An updated, revised version of the work readiness scale for graduates in the health sector was published in 2015. More recently Arlene has developed a new research profile in family and domestic violence (FDV), with a focus on how FDV impacts the workplace, the nature of support/resources available to victims of FDV in the workplace and victim experience accessing these supports/resources.
Professor Tony LaMontagne
Tony’s broad research interest is in developing the scientific and public understanding of work as a social determinant of health, and contributing to improvements in policy and practice aimed at protecting people from the harmful effects of work as well as optimising work’s health-promoting aspects. He leads a small Work, Health & Wellbeing research unit in the Centre for Population Health Research in the School of Health & Social Development at Deakin University, and is also the overall Director of that Centre. He was previously an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health (2011–2014).
Professor Karina Nielsen
Sheffield University School of Management
Karina was awarded a PhD in applied psychology in 2003. Karina has more than 20 years of experience leading major national and international organisational and individual training interventions. She has developed multiple evaluation frameworks that focus on how the processes and context influence the implementation of interventions. In recognition of her pioneering role in developing a more in-depth understanding of intervention processes, she has won multiple awards and is a frequent keynote speaker at major international conferences. Karina has developed and tested leadership training which is of particular relevance to the current project as the main target of improving outcomes are not trainees themselves but people that trainees interact with as part of their job role. This poses particular challenges for the actual transfer of learning from training to the work context and improvements for business owners. These training interventions have had positive effects on both leaders themselves and their employees.
Get In Touch
Here are our contact details if you would like to get in contact with us or your member body about Counting on U.
CPA: [email protected]
IPA: [email protected]
ICB: [email protected]
FPA: [email protected]
AFA: [email protected]
ICF Australasia Charter Chapter: [email protected]
NZQBA: [email protected]
Deakin Research Team: [email protected]