Letters –

Time to change our image

I read about the Maxim survey in ‘Taking Stock’ (7 January 1999) and decided that action was needed. We have to get away from being called ‘accountants’ which is indeed an uncool word. May I suggest the following substitutes:

– Number cruncher

– Number juggler

– Finance fixer

– Money manipulator

– Zero hero

– Tax invader

– Cost cutter

– Shirt sleeve shuffler

– Mega bean counter

and my favourite: Profit centre storm trooper.

If this doesn’t get us above the lawyers I will shoot myself – or my solicitor.

Stephen Webb, Worcestershire

Reverse spin doctoring On reading the 14 January issue, which was published at the same time as the latest unemployment figures, I was surprised to read the words of the minister for disability issues, Margaret Hodge, that seem to imply the majority of unemployed are also disabled. This is yet another example of ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’, but one which comes to light because the minister’s spin doctor has a different agenda from that of most others in the Department of Education and Employment.

Her published briefing states: ‘There are over 2.6 million disabled people out of work and on benefits: over a million of them want to work. However many would not be able to start work straightaway, mainly due to health reasons’. This is about as valid a statement saying that 70% of blind people would like to be able to drive a car.

The briefing also states that 219,000 disabled people ‘would like to work and (are) available to start’. Perhaps the minister had only read the ‘Key facts and figures’ of her briefing before writing to you.

DS Gray FCMA, BA, Beaconsfield, Bucks MPs’ biased viewpoint I agree with Dominic Mathon’s letter (7 January) that both Jim Cousins and Austin Mitchell criticise this profession in every ‘View from the House’ they write.

Why AA continues to pay these two MPs to attack our professionpersistently escapes me. As they seem to be such experts on accountancy and allied matters, it is a pity they could not have instructed their colleague the ex-Secretary for trade and industry on how to correctly complete a simple mortgage application.

Stuart Bell seems to be the only MP in the ‘View’ column who provides information about what is happening in the House of Commons as it affects the accountancy profession, without any political bias.

EA Russell, South Shields

Different treatment I refer to Nigel Eastaway’s reply to my letter about his article (5 November 1998).

Please re-read your own article Mr Eastaway: the second column, top two paragraphs in which you differentiate between the major firms and the small firms/sole practitioner. The article says the treatment should be different for major firms compared to the smaller firms/sole practitioners.

Whether Mr Eastaway is connected or involved, or part of a large firm is not the point: he sees different treatment for the major firms compared to the smaller firms. If Mr Eastaway is not biased, then his article is.

He sees the smaller firms/sole practitioner as liable to a complaint by the Revenue to the disciplinary body, but the larger firms should deal with the matter in-house.

Why should the action be any different? I am curious to learn why there should be different treatment.

Gordon Wood, Bristol

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