Stop trying to be more than just an accountant!

If you didn’t see last night’s apprentice caused a bit of a stir with accountants who are keen to respond that Edward isn’t representative of all accountants. Of course he isn’t. The apprentice as we know is exaggerated behaviour and makes great telly but usually there is an essence of reality there.  If you didn’t catch the show you can view on iplayer here.

In this episode Edward the accountant led the team to failure. Despite his background in training by one of top 4 firms, he sat in the back of one of the Apprentice black cabs saying “He wasn’t interested in margins”.

He also went on to squeal “I’m more than just an accountant” in the boardroom.

Lord Sugar shared his views in no uncertain terms that nobody should be ashamed of being an accountant and basically Edward should have used his accounting strengths rather than pretend or strive to be something different in tasks where the accountancy strengths would surely have led them to a win.

So I’m writing this article as increasingly we get approached for telemarketing for accountants where there is additional service being offered by accountants. More commonly these are services such as web design, email marketing, IT software, Business Mentoring, Marketing services, and also Social Media advice and consulting.

The feedback that we get day in day out is that people want their accountant to be relied upon for accountancy and to be the best choice in that specifically for them.

What’s important to people is that they feel safe and reassured that they have the right accountant for them to save money, maximise profits, steer and support financial decisions, and solid compliance. They want accountants to communicate well and have a good level of customer service.

They may be vaguely interested in their accountants views on things such as software, HR, internet marketing, social media, websites etc but mostly if they want a supplier of those services they will find one that does that for a living. The main view that people share is that they do not want their accountant to be distracted from their core service as they want to trust their accountancy supplier completely to do the job.

Accountants who forget to file annual returns for clients but who can recommend brilliant pay-per-click strategies really ought to be shot!

So thanks Lord Sugar for bringing that point home. That accountants should not be ashamed of being accountants and understanding their strengths, and to be relied upon when those skills are called upon.

Edward can be quoted as saying “I don’t need to show off that I can work out margins as I’m an accountant” but really it’s not about working out margins is knowing why they are important to a business and how to use that knowledge to drive decisions. No wonder so many accountants are face-palming this morning!


  • Jane – CPA Professional

    Most of us who want a higher salary and better way of life, usually go out there and study hard to achieve….I know I do, so it is nice seeing info on some websites to inspire us….thx a lot…

    However, the guy shouldn’t deny or be ashamed of being an Accountant, how dreadful….we make or break companies.

  • Maxine

    Great comments – thanks :)

  • Ben, cpa tax accountant

    I agree with Martyn I couldn’t answer better myself.

  • marketing quotes

    Indeed a good point – I did chuchle when he said that accountants do not run businesses (only to be told by AS that many major companies are run by accountants) – his response ‘oh, I did not know that’.

    An informative and interesting website Maxxy.

  • Martyn Hodgson

    I’d founded an online business then moved too far into online marketing.
    A colleague was working at Avis & hating it to fund her AAT qualification and said in passing I was stupid to be wasting my qualification.
    It was true – I’d spent 6 years Uni & professional training and wasn’t building on it.
    Now I offer outsourced financial management with marketing as an add on and it feels a lot more natural.
    Martyn Hodgson recently posted..4 Best Practices For A Business Blogger

  • Jonathan Lamptey

    Both you and Martyn are right in suggesting that accountants should build upon their core skills.

    However, I think the blog title can be interpreted to suggest that accountants should stick to doing one thing and that sentiment is swimming against the tide.
    The Big Four have been relying on non audit services to boost their income for years and from what you’ve said about your client feedback, Ed isn’t alone in wanting to be more than an accountant.

    Accountants are slowly but surely getting smarter at making money from their commercial knowledge because they know that as number crunching becomes cheaper through outsourcing, adding value to clients is the future of growth for their businesses

  • Maxine

    Absolutely agree Martyn with your comment about building on these skills and not throwing them away :) When was the point that you realised the value in your qualification in a commercial sense?

  • Martyn Hodgson

    There are many people busting a gut to get even an AAT qualification and better their lives. They must feel sick that Ed is disowning his qualification.
    In time he’ll realise how valuable being FCA is. Only recently have I realised that.
    But for now I can understand how he wants to be viewed as more than just a beancounter. At his age I was the same, feeling I had to move into a more commercial role rather than continue doing financial accounts.
    Deep down he’s a trained professional and will realise that his grounding will knock spots off flaky people who can only talk a good game but lack the depth to deliver.
    But he should be building out from these core skills not throwing them away.
    Pity he was fired. He was a character.
    Martyn Hodgson recently posted..4 Best Practices For A Business Blogger

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