The IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre

The mission of the SME Research Centre is to generate robust research and knowledge on small-medium size enterprises to inform diverse policy change and to support better SME practice.

About us

The IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre began when the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and the former School of Accounting, Economics and Finance at Deakin University commenced the IPA-Deakin SME Research Partnership in 2013. This partnership resulted in a highly successful three-year research, policy and engagement work that targets a range of non-academic beneficiaries. Since then, the partnership has continued to grow and the IPA has extended its agreement with the Deakin Business School until 2025.

The centre is affiliated with leading international SME researchers and research centres, such as Professor Robert Blackburn, University of Liverpool Management School, UK, Professor Marc Cowling, University of Derby, UK and the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University, UK.

Our research

The IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre uses its host of multi-disciplinary experts to broadly examine issues related to regulation, trade and sustainability of SME firms.

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Research team

Professor George Tanewski

Professor George Tanewski is the Director and Research Leader of the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre and a Professor of Accounting within Deakin Business School. His passion and research focus on the SME ecosystem have played a key role in influencing government policy in boosting the long-term viability and productivity of Australia’s small business sector.

His teaching interests are mainly in the areas of research methods, quantitative methods, financial reporting, and financial statement analysis. George is often called upon to advise policy makers on accounting standards and on issues related to private/SME firms.

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Learn more about Professor George Tanewski

As a direct result of the applied research undertaken by the centre, particularly through recommendations made in the 2015 and 2018 Australian Small Business White Papers, the Australian federal government announced in November 2018 the creation of a $2 billion Australian Business Securitisation Fund, which will provide more access to finance small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).

In addition to George’s interest in boosting the long-term viability and productivity of Australia’s SMEs, his research on accounting disclosure matters related to large private firms’ financial reporting has played a key role in influencing accounting standard-setting policy and regulation with respect to Australia’s differential reporting regime. As a direct consequence of this research showing that the quality of financial statements provided by large proprietary companies in the form of Special Purpose Financial Reports (SPFRs) is low, thereby highlighting an alarming lack of transparency in SPFRs produced by private entities, the AASB is removing the option of preparing SPFRs by large proprietary companies from July 2021.

In partnership with other Deakin University researchers, George received a $2.24 million grant from the Department of Innovation, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) in October 2020 and a $1.137 million grant from the prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in December 2019 to evaluate a potentially high-impact intervention strategy to help upskill accountants to deliver mental health first aid to their small-medium enterprise (SME) clients, who are particularly vulnerable to mental health and financial stress issues. The DISER funded project primarily builds on the NHMRC project, which is partnered with Beyond Blue, WorkSafe Victoria, the Institute for Public Accountants (IPA) and MHFA Australia.

George has published research in a number of leading academic journals including:

  • Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, Abacus
  • The Australian Journal of Management
  • Pacific-Basin Finance Journal
  • Accounting and Finance
  • The Journal of Business, Finance and Accounting
  • The British Accounting Review
  • Journal of Business Venturing
  • Family Business Review
  • Journal of Small Business Management
  • Small Business Economics.

Dr James Kavourakis

Dr James Kavourakis is a Research Fellow in the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre. He completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2020, which was focused on a variety of issues related to the investor relations activity of listed companies. James continues his research on investor relations, in addition to furthering research on a range of issues affecting small businesses and innovation. He also holds both a CPA and a CFA Chartership and maintains his position as Investment Manager at the Cannon Group. James has extensive teaching experience across a range of accounting topics and he worked as a researcher at the Melbourne Centre for Corporate Governance and Regulation in 2016–17.

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Dr Miethy Zaman

Miethy joined the IPA-SME Research Centre as a Research Fellow in April 2021. She is currently engaging in policy work and research related to the portfolio of work that is ongoing in the SME Centre. She completed her PhD in Economics from Monash University in 2020, which involved using historical data and alternative sources to create novel datasets from high dimensional methods to answer key socioeconomic issues. Miethy was awarded the Australian Government RTP scholarship, the Dean's Excellence Award, and the Donald Cochrane Scholarship for her PhD work. Her research focus is mostly empirical, focusing on several different areas such as productivity, education, and innovation. Prior to her PhD, Miethy worked as a lecturer at the Department of Economics at North South University, Bangladesh for three years. She also completed her MSc in Economics and Econometrics from University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

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Advisory board

Our centre is governed by our industry advisory board, a group of dedicated individuals noted for their expertise, experience and significant contributions to the SME community, and to Australian business generally.

Our partners

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is one of the three professional accounting bodies in Australia, representing over 42,000 accountants, business advisers, academics and students throughout Australia and in over 80 countries worldwide. The IPA Group is the largest accounting body representing the small business/SME sectors in the world.

The IPA takes an active role in the promotion of policies to assist the small business and SME sectors, reflecting the fact that approximately three-quarters of our members work in these sectors or are trusted advisers to small business and SMEs. The IPA pursues fundamental reforms which will result in boosting productivity growth and in easing the disproportionate regulatory compliance burden placed on small business.

Andrew Conway

Chief Executive Officer of the IPA, Co-director of the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre, Adjunct Professor (Deakin Business School) and Professor of Accounting (honoris causa) - Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

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Vicky Stylianou

Group Executive Advocacy & Policy, IPA

Learn more about Vicky

Tony Greco

General Manager, Technical Policy (Tax), IPA


Centre Director Prof George Tanewski was interviewed by The Australian newspaper in July 2018 on how Australian small-to-­medium-sized enterprises are tapping into the massive economic opportunity in Australia's trade relationship with China.



Reigniting the Australian economy

The IPA Deakin SME Research Centre hosted a successful Small Business Big Vision conference on 4–5 September. International and Australian thought leaders and policy makers spoke on ways to reignite economic growth.

Speakers included:

  • The Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer
  • Ms Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
  • Mr Eugene Cornelius Jnr, Senior Adviser to the Office of International Trade, Small Business Administration, USA
  • Dr Winslow Sargeant, ICSB President Elect, Managing Director and S&T and former Chief Counsel for Advocacy appointed by and reporting direct to President Obama, USA
  • Professor Charles Matthews, University of Cincinnati; 2017–2018 Fulbright US Scholar, USA
  • Ms Diah Yusuf, Entrepreneur, business consultant, Vice President ICSB, Indonesia


Enhancing the Future for Small Business in Australia (2014)

This SME conference sponsored by the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) in conjunction with the School of Accounting Economics and Finance and the Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisations (CSaRO) at Deakin University, 20 October 2014, Deakin Prime, Level 3, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

This practitioner-focused conference had high impact-high reputation practitioner and academic presenters. Keynote speakers included Professor Marc Cowling, Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, UK, Professor Scott Holmes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, University of Western Sydney, and Lucio Dana, Managing Director of Creativity In Business Pty. Ltd. (trading as Family Business Dynamics).

Other prominent industry and academic presenters were Chris Aylmer, Reserve Bank of Australia, Professor Michael Schaper, the ACCC, John Emerson, Chair Board of Taxation, Australian Small Business Commissioner, Robin Buckham, CEO of Family Business Australia, Professor Deborah Ralston, Executive Director of Australian Centre for Financial Studies and Professor of Finance, Monash University, Adele Levinge, Dennis Corporation, Dr Craig Latham, Small Business Commissioner, and Ben Dolman Treasury.


Regulation, competition and taxation: Challenges for small business and accountants (2013)

This SME conference sponsored by the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) in conjunction with the School of Accounting Economics and Finance and the Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisations (CSaRO) at Deakin University, 14–15 October 2013, Deakin Prime, Level 3, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

This practitioner-focused conference had high impact-high reputation practitioner and academic presenters. For example, keynote speakers were Dr Warren Mundy, Australian Productivity Commissioner, and Professor Robert Blackburn, Director SME Centre, University of Kingston (UK) and Editor in Chief of the International Small Business Journal. Other prominent industry and academic presenters were Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA), Brett Bassett from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and Professor Beth Walker, Curtin University.


Contact us

Professor George Tanewski
+61 3 9251 7230
Email Professor George Tanewski