PracticeAccounting FirmsOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

Who hasn’t watched the Apprentice and thought ‘I could have done that better

gavin hinks, editor accountancy age

’But my jaw really dropped when the winner was chosen this series. Using ‘gut
instinct’, Sir Alan picked Yasmina Siadatan, a 27-year-old restaurateur from
Reading, over Kate Walsh, a licensing development manager for a major coffee
chain.

I couldn’t help but feel Sir Alan went for Siadatan for being a ‘risk taker’
while he fixated on the idea that Walsh was ‘robotic’ because she seemed
unflappable (working in a news room, give me unflappable any day).

Now entrepreneurial types may disagree but two things turned me against
Siadatan. Firstly, in the final task she had to produce a box of chocolates.
Great branding, everyone agreed, but they tasted rubbish. Quality control is
important.

Then there was the interview stage the previous week. Claude Littner, former
CEO of Amstrad, unearthed the accounts for Siadatan’s restaurant. When
challenged she revealed she didn’t know the accounts were a public document. His
questions soon revealed she wasn’t even sure of the difference between gross and
net profit.

Young as Siadatan is, surely to be on the show as being among the cream of
the UK’s young business people, and working in a restaurant of all places, she
should have known that quality product is paramount and that you will never know
where your performance is if you don’t know what gross and net profits are. In
these difficult times, when everyone is strapped for cash, knowing the
difference between those two things could be the difference between survival and
calling in the administrators to explain it to you when it’s, er. . . too late.

Sir Alan must have his reasons, but the choice may reveal as much about him
as it does about Siadatan. Oh, and he’s working with the government. Terrific.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age
Watch the final episode at
bbc.co.uk/apprentice

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