But these pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears. Accountants are at the heart of UK industry, and in their capacity as FDs and chief executives, chairman and boardroom directors, they can ensure its health through the 21st century.
Gordon Brown tells us Labour policy since 1997 has created a new culture of investment, but DTI future and innovation figures show the picture is not quite so rosy.
The harsh truth is that despite the UK’s success in areas such as pharmaceuticals and aerospace – think new multinational giants GlaxoSmithKline and BAe Systems – the investment gap widens between UK plc and the six other leading industrial powers.
UK industry’s accumulated capital investment per employee averages only 53% of international competitors. And the manufacturing sectors whose capital expenditure is at a much lower level than other major international economies.
Accountants now rightly see their role in business as that of strategists and not the backroom beancounter of old. They are uniquely positioned to influence whether UK industry goes forward soundly investing in its future or falls ever more behind its competitors because of a corporate culture that lacks the foresight to put its money where its future will be.