Leader – 10 December

It may have escaped your attention, but the world has not come to an end just yet. You could have been forgiven for thinking that Armageddon was not due until the millennium, but according to the dire warnings, faithfully reported in these pages over the last 12 months, any one of dozens of events had the potential to end financial and business life as we know it. The fact that we are all still here to enjoy our turkey and stuffing is, of course, a tribute to accountants.

Few people outside the profession realise just how important accountants are to the success of life, the universe and everything. Readers of that indispensable Christmas book, the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, will recall that the answer to the ‘Big Question’ of the meaning of life, etc, was 42, a computational feat performed by an impressive piece of IT kit, no doubt reviewed in our ‘IT File’.

For all the predictions that the merger of Coopers and PW would mean the end of audit as we know it, or that ACCA’s presumptuousness in advocating a merger would destroy the sanity of the profession, the vast majority of accountants just got on with the job in 1998, unmoved by dire warnings.

As a result, contrary to the impression of chaos the doomsters try to foster, accountants have never been more highly regarded. Their contribution to the success of UK plc grows by the day. That’s something to really celebrate. Merry Christmas.

Related reading