Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cameron Lambastes Accountants Again! - ICAS Weighs In

I am pleased to see than Anton Colella (CEO of ICAS) is also less than impressed with Cameron's comments about accountants:
""People want to know that we’re not just a bunch of accountants trying to turn around the British economy as if it were a failing company, but that we’re resolutely on their side as we do,” said Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week. It’s an unhappy irony that, in making an appealing point, Mr Cameron should malign an entire group of hard-working professionals.

ICAS represents over 19,000 world-class business-women and business-men. Now that’s just a – big – bunch of chartered accountants (CAs).

But it’s also a bunch of dedicated and passionate professionals, working to serve clients and investors in the public interest.

It’s a bunch of business leaders, who head up some of the biggest companies in the country, in public practice and in a myriad of business roles, providing employment, innovation and tax revenue.

It’s a bunch of volunteers, who provide their expertise to a range of charities across the UK and abroad with organisations like Accounting for Development, an organisation which matches CAs with organisations in developing nations.

I am sure Mr Cameron didn’t really intend to denigrate accountants. However, the notion of accountants as uncaring bean-counters is at odds with my experience of enthusiastic, hard-working CAs, whose energy and insights and will be key drivers of the UK economy’s recovery.

Prudence is a watch-word for accountants; in reporting, in auditing, in projecting. Prudent phrasing, in this case, might have helped avoid one group of people feeling as though Mr Cameron was not resolutely on their side."
The drip drip of negative comments about accountants, tax efficient schemes, tax avoidance etc, that are coming from Osborne and Cameron, are deliberately designed to play to people's prejudices about the profession and about those involved in the "dark arts" of financial advice.

It undermines the brand value of accountancy as a profession. We should not simply roll over passively, like some pitiful Victorian clerk, and let the politicians use our profession for their own political ends.

As I said a couple of days ago, an open joint letter from the UK's leading accounting bodies is required.

Plus members of the profession should tweet to tell Cameron to stop this nonsense, and make #accountinggate a trending topic.

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