Comment – Left in the kitchen at parties?

According to a recent survey conducted by Accountancy Age, many accountants prefer not to reveal their profession at social gatherings.

Some fear being asked for advice. My husband’s father, a doctor, dealt with this problem swiftly. When people at a party sought his opinion about medical conditions, he responded by asking them to take their clothes off for an examination. They usually hurried away.

What is the equivalent in our world? Perhaps we could ask loudly for a list of their assets or enquire when they were thinking of mounting a hostile bid for their employer’s company. If those fail, we could try quoting a charging rate, looking at our watch and noting the time.

Some accountants fear being thought of as dull. The myth about us being boring is perpetuated in ever-repeated stories. There was Jackie Mason’s question: ‘Did you ever hear of a kid playing accountant?’ This was echoed in an advertisement for the Royal Air Force.

Also you’ll remember the man in a hot air balloon asking a man on the ground where he was and being told he was 100 metres up in a balloon.

The balloonist surmised the man on the ground was an accountant because his information was 100% accurate and totally useless. (I’ve always liked the longer story where the accountant responds: ‘And you must be a managing director’. ‘Yes’, says the man in the balloon. ‘How did you know?’ The accountant replies: ‘Because your head is in the clouds and you have no idea where you are.’)

So when asked about one’s job at a party, what response would go down well? I can’t believe that marketing manager, pathologist, lawyer, mercenary, train spotter, software writer or anti-capitalist campaigner are more attractive. But I can imagine doctor, detective, organic farmer, counsellor, civil rights campaigner, fire fighter, lifestyle coach and anything with ‘creative’ in the title would attract a group of admirers.

If the name is the problem, why don’t we change it in the same way that a dustman has become a waste disposal officer, a ticket inspector is now a senior train manager and the unemployed are job seekers?

What shall we call ourselves? Company doctor has been a glitzy title for some time. How about personal wealth counsellor, financial protector or defender, financial detective, business creator, organic business growth adviser, dealmaker, poverty fighter, money mentor, tax strategist or financial rights expert?

They sound exciting as well as being true. So with a little rebranding our problem is solved. It’s time to party.

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