Road sweepers more respected than accountants

Of the 92 professions mentioned in the survey, accountants came in at a lowly 83, just ahead of company directors at 84 and car dealers at 85. The least respected slot went to MPs while doctors topped the list to take the number one slot.

The results, revealed on this morning’s (Wednesday) programme, will reflect the poor perception of accountants created by the involvement of Andersen’s in the Enron scandal.

Last week Accountancy Age published the ideas of three top advertising agencies in an effort to show how the reputation of the profession could be rebuilt.

Commenting on rebuilding the image of accountancy, J Walter Thompson, the second largest agency in the country, said: ‘We live in a cynical age, where trust is no longer assumed, and where the traditional professions are having to operate in a more litigious and confrontational environment.’

The BBC poll took replies from more than 6,000 people who were asked to list their three most respected professions and their three least respected.

Health and emergency workers dominated the top ten, as might have been expected but their were some surprising workers who demonstrated they are held in high esteem by the general public.

Those professions with more respect than accountants included road sweepers at number 25, social workers at 36, waitresses at 42, pub landlords at 54, hairdressers at 68 and plumbers at 71.

The poll suggests accountants may have some way to go before they re-establish their integrity with the public.

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