Accountancy - A spiteful profession?
Constantly, I'm amazed by the high levels of malice, envy, jealously and sheer hatred for their clients displayed by the accountants who post comments on these pages.
Reports of tribunals finding against HMRC in favour of a tax payer often provoke a flurry of " I'm sure he probably was guilty" statements, or else bitterly jealous comments on the individual's wealth or class. You can also see this corrosive loathing of clients emerge during debates on the morality of tax avoidance ( perfectly legal by the way), and the plethora of calls for yet higher taxes be levied on rich and successful business people often for no other reason than " That'll teach 'em"
It is also clear from these comments that many accountants - far too many - regard themselves as vigilante gauleiters for HMRC, although I recognise that this may be due to an abnormally high level of petty minded individuals in the profession lusting after a semblance of power.
This is all very well, except for one thing: clients pay your fees. Despite token statements about " helping our business succeed" companies and wealthy individuals only employ accountants for one thing - to reduce their tax liability.Otherwise, we'd all simply hand our books over to HMRC and let them asses our liability - turfing all accountants onto the unemployment register.
So, my question is: instead of tying itself into knots while spouting pompous and pious nonsense, trying to find an imaginary line where tax avoidance becomes immoral, isn't it about time that the accountancy profession took a long hard look at its own culture ? Where is this toxic loathing for clients coming from ? What sort of people is the profession now attracting ? And most importantly of all, are these embittered and warped individuals damaging the reputation - and the earning potential - of the profession as a whole ?