Long before John Cleese infamously set out to prove that accountancy was not boring, the profession had an image problem. More than 25 years after the Monty Python sketch was first screened, it seems some members of the profession still need convincing.
Our 1999 Careers Survey, published on page 18 of this week’s issue, found a hard core of frustrated professional footballers, not to mention artists, designers and teachers, all still struggling to cope with the fact that they were really accountants after all.
These unwilling recruits may make headlines but they are, thankfully, a minority. Almost two thirds of those questioned said that even if they could start all over again they would still choose accountancy. Almost four fifths of this group would not change their professional qualification either.
Talking to younger accountants, it was clear the profession actually needs no help from those who want to prove it is not boring. The people who represent the future of the profession joined for all the right reasons, recognising the career opportunities and personal recognition that comes with being an accountant.
It is also clear that they recognise the key role that accountants play in the success of British business. More than any other profession, accountancy makes the difference, whether it be to owner-managers or in the boardrooms of the FTSE-100. It is time the public perception caught up with the reality.
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