Don’t expect to be stopped in the street by a grateful passer-by, but thoughtful Britons who are reading the news from Russia ought to realise that they have a lot to thank their accountants for. In the week that Accountancy Age prints the pass lists for the English ICA, ACCA and CIPFA, there is plenty of evidence that having well-qualified accountants is a very good thing indeed.
At the heart of Russia’s financial collapse is the failure, or more accurately, the absence, of financial control. Millions of ordinary Russians have lost their savings because those who kept the books were either powerless or complicit in a system in which accountability meant doing what the boss said and asking no questions.
Some of the happy band of newly qualified UK accountants named in our pages this week will no doubt be working to help resolve the effects of the Russian crisis. But for the business world at large, the events in Russia should prove a lesson for those who accuse accountants of getting in the way of business.
Even the most entrepreneurial of accountants knows that due process and ethical standards are a vital safeguard for all the stakeholders in a business. What has happened in Russia should surely be enough to convince even the most sceptical critic of the profession that, in both public and private enterprises, good accounting is a pre-requisite for financial good health.
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