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Professional Standards Research

Relevance and Professional Associations in 2026

Following on from a CA ANZ thought leadership forum attended by more than 100 participants at RMIT Melbourne, the presenters, including PSA CEO Dr Deen Sanders, expanded their presentations by contributing papers to the publication Relevance and Professional Associations in 2026

The publication focusses on themes that are of increasing relevance to professional associations in Australia, and currently the subject of concern and debate among professional associations and professionals, including:

  • Digital disruption 
  • Deregulation of professional services
  • Globalisation
  • The interdisciplinary nature of workplaces 

Some of the authors also identify ways in which professional associations can respond to such challenges and maintain their relevance, for example:

  • Professor Geoffrey Stokes argues that professional associations are natural thought leaders and should broaden their social and public role to remain relevant.
  • George Beaton and Ben Farrow, in the context of the legal profession, suggest that the profession must take the lead in responding to changes in service delivery brought about by new technologies and deregulation. And by leading the way, the profession can have a part in shaping the future and ensure that they remain relevant.
  • Dr Sanders asks associations to take this as an opportunity to rediscover their core purpose in promoting professional standards in the interests of their members and the public.
  • Jason Dale, Head of Education, CA ANZ, states that the current challenges facing professions make the need for education and accreditation of education more important as professionals look to expand their skills; and that professional associations can have a crucial role in providing and assuring these services.

As the publication demonstrates, professional associations are confronting challenges and changing in an attempt to maintain relevance, this may have long term implications for how they are regulated.