FDs back self-promotion

An overwhelming number of finance directors believe the profession is not doing enough to counter the bad publicity generated by Andersen’s involvement in the Enron scandal.

Just a week after revealed the ideas from three of the country’s top advertising agencies showing how the profession’s reputation could be salvaged, our survey shows two thirds of FDs believe more needs to be done.

The latest Accountancy Age/ Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question survey shows a huge 64% did not believe the profession had done enough to promote itself in the wake of Enron.

Only 15% of the 292 FDs questioned said enough had been done.

CCMR FD Paul Chapman said: ‘Given all that the accounting community does for business and the world at large, the profession has been astonishingly mute in its own defence during recent events.’

‘Accountants study long and hard to get into the profession and it is disgusting that more isn’t being done to smooth things out and promote the profession,’ said an anonymous FD.

John Buckley, FD at Sauter Automation, blamed a fragmented profession. ‘If there was one unified body, the profession would be in a much better position to speak with one voice on matters such as this,’ he said.

One finance director said that there was no need for ‘self promotion’ as it was the US practice of Andersens and it was ‘surely best for the UK accountancy profession to distance itself from the whole thing.’

One anonymous FD among the 21% who remained neutral said: ‘Have accountants ever had a positive image?’

Advertising agency Euro RSCG WNEK Gosper recently took part in an experiment for Accountancy Age in which it attempted to counter the attack on accountancy’s reputation.

A statement from the agency said: ‘Accountants are no longer perceived as scrupulously honest or reassuringly boring. They are increasingly seen as “untrustworthy, worryingly credulous or worse still, corrupt”.’

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