On the money with Gavin Hinks

Former pop star Kerry Katona last week proved that an accountant’s working
life needn’t be humdrum with your nose planted in a ledger. Indeed, her actions
show that being an accountant can present a serious risk to your health.

Katona is alleged to have beaten up her accountant after he became concerned
about the dire state of her finances.

But punching out your accountant is not the usual form of attack. If the man
who keeps the accounts is going to be assaulted, its more commonly through the
courts. That’s what professional indemnity insurance is for.

It’s anybody’s guess whether it covers a pasting from highly strung and
disgruntled clients.

The Katona incident is a timely reminder that the delivery of unsettling
financial news has its risks. So does being associated with the wrong kind of

For example, a quick surf of the web revealed the Swedish accountant attacked
by animal rights activists in Malmo for working in a fur shop.

This brought to mind the targeting of Deloitte employees over its audit of
Huntingdon Life Sciences. The attack involved mass emails and phone calls plus
some rather unpleasant picketing of homes.

All very unnerving for employees who, unfortunately, became a soft and
unexpected target. Being an accountant can put you in the line of fire.

All that pales when compared to the fate of the Scottish accountant who was
kidnapped and whose remains were found in the Clyde by trawlermen.

In this case police came to believe the murder was linked with a vast VAT, or
carousel, fraud. A chilling indication of how going off the rails can present
the ultimate risk. That’s a far cry from the Katona allegations, but being the
expert on the money can certainly make you a target.
Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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