The economy and the profession

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News that the economy has come out of recession and that we are seeing some surprisingly strong growth is clearly very good news, explains CABA chief executive Kath Haines.

However, looking through all of the media coverage, it did strike me that we do tend to talk about this subject in an abstract way, in almost purely mathematical terms, when the effects of tough economic times have had very clear and direct effects on people.

At CABA, during 2012, we have seen a fairly dramatic increase in the number of people approaching us for help because they are long-term unemployed. Most of them are well qualified chartered accountants, who can boast strong track records in their previous jobs but who have become the victims of economic circumstances.

The impact of unemployment on some of these individuals is not easily expressed in economic percentages. Many have lost confidence and some have developed health problems, alongside more predictable effects such as having to endure reduced living standards.

This year, we have introduced new initiatives to help these people get back on track. There is no magic wand to wave but we take them back to basics, showing them how to adopt a structured approach to getting back into work using all the tools available. It is still early days, but we are hopeful of some good results.

Fingers crossed, the economy has turned the corner and we are on the road to some kind of recovery but it is clear that the problem of unemployment is likely to affect many accountants for some considerable time ahead. If you find yourself in this situation, we are here to help.

Kath Haines is the chief executive of the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA).

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