PracticeConsultingMaking an exhibition of it all

Making an exhibition of it all

On what accountants' exhibitions should really be about.

No sooner had I written last month about the possible extinction of accountants, when an invitation landed on my desk to ‘The Accountants and Financial Directors Exhibition’ this month.

What a splendid idea. Presumably, here’s the chance to hire a stand and show our abilities; an opportunity for potential employers and clients to see the latest models on the market.

‘Sir, do step up and share a glass of wine with us while I introduce you to Harold, who is totally self-assessment-competent. All his clients’ returns were filed well within time last year, and none rejected. An excellent choice of accountant.’

‘Looking for something a little special? This is Karen, an international consultant (well, she did go to Beijing for a couple of days), full MBA-certified and bags of enthusiasm.’

‘Certainly he understands computer programs; anything you like, as long as it’s Sage.’

Presumably, all the institutes would be represented, desperately trying to run each other down and steal away interested punters. ‘I don’t think after their recent behaviour that that lot is fully conversant with the definitions of integrity and openness. You’d be better advised to look at our members.’

The Big Five might buy acres of stands and chuck a few million pounds into testing their global advertising campaigns.

‘Jeremy is brand new – just off the exam production line. Pick any FRS you like. Negative goodwill? Easy – no problem.’

‘Need a chief executive? Well, here’s a great candidate. This director understands derivatives. You don’t often meet them. Only one small shadow – a little incident about alleged sexual harassment, but after investigation she was cleared.’

No doubt there’ll be glossy brochures, quizzes for the punters to test the accountants’ knowledge, certificates of euro competency and probably even one month’s free trial with money-back guarantee, ‘if not completely satisfied’.

When the exhibition ends and the last weary shopper heads home, the exhibiting accountants and directors should be proud of their initiative. A truly modern approach. Bravo. Well done.

Ann Baldwin, FCA, is a management trainer and conference speaker.

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