Davos and the accountants

Davos, the annual jamboree of world business leaders and politicians, has just finished and seems to have ended with most commentators saying it produced little that was constructive.
Perhaps though its importance lay not in what it may have produced by way of policy contribution (incidentally Accountancy Age budgets sadly do not run to a junket to the ski resort, so I wasn’t there) but it terms of the mood it produces among attendees.
I recently met a very senior partner from one of the Big Four who confessed that the whole thing seemed to be more upbeat than it was last year. And in mentioning this his own tone was certainly without the sombre shades it had throughout last year. Last year’s event, as I recall, was riven with concern that regulators were about to put the kibosh on anything that smacked remotely of capitalist activity. This year, apparently, there was still talk of regulatory fears, but they less intense and the talk was about progress.
The value then, in Davos, this year may not have been in substantive ideas, but in simply giving a morale boost to international business leaders.
Which is a good thing. Because if they’re feeling optimistic they tend to turn to a different set of strategic decisions. They can return to a mode of building something rather than damage limitation.
Which seems to be a good thing for accountancy. Cautiously, my contact suggested though expectations for this year were flat, they might in the end turn out better. Consultancy has the potential to do well (it’s certainly hiring a lot of people at the moment, if the job ads are anything to go by) and people are tentatively allowing themselves to think that transactions might make something of a come back. Though the key word here though is “tentatively.”

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