Has The Apprentice damaged accountancy's reputation?

by Kevin Reed

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11 May 2011

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Ed Hunter

ED HUNTER made himself look a bit silly on The Apprentice last night.

The PwC/ICAEW qualified accountant was the first of the 16 bluff business bombasts  unceremoniously booted off the show.

There is certainly an argument that he did the image of the profession no favours in terms of his attitude to his qualification (wants to move away from accountancy as quickly and as far as possible).

He also talked of being a businessman, entrepreneur, which was nothing to do with being an accountant. Again, not great PR for an industry that should play a vital role in steering the course of businesses through stormy waters to great riches.

Hunter also let himself down by failing to realise that a big market for his orange juice would be the breakfast pre-work market...

But we're talking about Hunter here, rather than the show in general.

The most interesting thing to come out of last night's show was Lord Sugar's defence of the profession.

Hunter had failed to use his accounting skills in the task, said Sir Alan. He pointed out that the majority of senior businesspeople and executives come from an accounting background. Even the ICAEW was moved this morning to point out that it remains the most popular breeding ground for future CEOs with 14 of the FTSE 100 chief execs qualifying with ICAEW, compared with 11 last year.

If anything, it felt to me as if Sir Alan was making an effort to convince the TV audience that he was most let down by Ed because he had a great skillset at his disposal, tools that should have given him a head-start on the others.

Overall, I thought The Apprentice was a good advert for the profession - albeit a net gain.

Picture credit: BBC/Talkback Thames

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