Traditional accountants ‘dead’

The finance director of one leading high-street electrical retailer declared the death of the traditional accountant in industry, as companies increasingly demand more versatile commercial managers.

Ian Livingston, FD of the Dixons Group, said he was no longer concerned with recruiting graduates to train as traditional accountants but wanted them to become corporate all-rounders after qualifying.

‘We’re not about recruiting and training accountants,’ he said. ‘The business we’re in is about training commercial business managers. They may be in the finance department but they may also be in the marketing or commercial services departments and move around every six months,’ he said.

Livingston was speaking at a CIMA conference to celebrate the 1,000th employer to take part in Training Through Partnership, an international industry training scheme for graduates studying with CIMA. The two-year-old initiative provides benchmarks for financial management training. Companies can be awarded either a CIMA ‘quality approval’ Kite mark or the higher level of ‘recognised status’.

CIMA director of student affairs David Bills said: ‘The scheme is globally portable and respected by employers. It is also considered to be a life-long learning vehicle for financial managers throughout their careers.’

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