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George A. Tanewski

Professor in Accounting, Deakin University

Professor George Tanewski is director and research leader of the IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre and a Professor of Accounting in the Deakin Business School. George’s research interests are focused on SMEs, including ownership structure issues, innovation, productivity, financing and the well-being and sustainability of SMEs.

George’s research via the Centre also plays a key role in influencing government policy in boosting the long-term viability and productivity of Australia’s small business sector. 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 $2billion Australian Business Securitisation Fund, which will provide more access to finance for the nation’s small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Australia is one of the only countries in the developed world without a government-funded loan guarantee scheme for the small business sector and this policy change brings Australia in line with these developed countries. The long-term objective of the Australian Business Securitisation Fund is to enhance the viability and productivity of the small business community by offering these businesses greater access to capital.

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 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.

A major strength of the DISER and NHMRC-funded projects is the interdisciplinary composition of the team undertaking the research. The other Chief Investigators are Professor Andrew Noblet (Management), Professor Michael Berk (School of Medicine), Dr Arlene Walker (School of Psychology), Professor Tony LaMontagne (School of Health & Social Development), Associate Professor Nicola Reavley (Centre for Mental Health, University of Melbourne) & Professor Karina Nielsen (Institute for Work Psychology, University of Sheffield).

The NHMRC project is focused on scientifically evaluating the efficacy of using accountant continuing professional training programs (CPDs) as an intervention strategy to protecting the mental health of both accountants and SME owners. The DISER grant specifically funds the rollout of a sector-wide accountant CPD program that will be delivered online via Australia’s three accounting professional bodies to upskill accountants to provide mental health first aid to their small-medium enterprise (SME) clients. The DISER project also offers an important avenue for the early identification, management or prevention of various mental health conditions.

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 and Small Business Economics. His teaching interests are mainly in the areas of research methods, quantitative methods, financial reporting, and financial statement analysis.


  • –present
    Professor in Accounting, Deakin University


  • 1995 
    Monash University, PhD, Business & Economics