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To suit or not to suit?

To suit or not to suit?

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I have been toying with the idea of being different than all other accountancy practices in my local area and ditching the norm in terms of dress code for myself and my team. In stead of the usual business suit/tie etc, maybe go as far as smart casual for everyone......

Any thoughts on this? Pros and cons?

My client base are all small businesses, self employed persons and small limited companies and no one has any real issues regarding formalities (as far as I can see anyway).

Replies (61)

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By pauld
10th Nov 2011 14:07

When I was employed

in practice 7 years ago, a lot of firms had ditched the suits for smart casual. Where have you been hiding ? 

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Replying to mrme89:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
12th Nov 2011 18:31

@Lancsboy2

Sorry Lancsboy2 I forgot to ask - what do you do with your whippet when you meet clients? That is the question - to take the whippet or not? I'm stuck on that one. Look forward to hearing from you.

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Replying to FirstTab:
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By Lancsboy2
12th Nov 2011 19:05

ah, the written word

red leader ... 

 

is that a joke?  i'm not with you?

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By MissAccounting
10th Nov 2011 14:07

Personally I think accountants need to be dressed smartly however we do allow the gents not to wear ties and just go with a open neck shirt to which we have had a few positive comments, which obviously means clients do pay attention of what people wear.

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By Canary Boy
10th Nov 2011 14:19

Haven't worn

a suit to work since 1999. Our mix of clients sounds very similar to yours. I think a more casual look puts our clients and prospective clients at ease. 

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
10th Nov 2011 14:23

Over ten years ago

the firm I was with decided it wanted to dicth the stuffy suit image as the client focus was younger entrepreneurs. First step was 'dress-down Friday'. Then the whole week. If you were seeing a client who might expect a suit then you should wear one. Otherwise 'smart business casual' was the rule - and there was plenty of guidance as to what was acceptable and what wasn't. Much of the guidance was in response to questions asked by staff. I seem to recall flipflops were not permitted. Nor were shorts (for the guys anyway)!

The system worked better at the beginning than later on and was subsequently all but abandoned.

Lessons learned:

1 - Most blokes only have one day's worth of smart business casual. They found it easier to simply rotate suits and just add a shirt (whether with or without a tie).

2 - Most of the women were already effectively wearing  smart business casual as few of them wore business suits. When they 'dressed down' therefore they looked rather, scruffy shall we say.

Back to the present. I now rarely wear a tie. I prefer button down collars with or without smart jackets or less formal suits. But then I'm not in practice any more.

What do your clients expect and what impact does the clothing worn by an accountant have on prospects, introducers and clients? Can you still project a suitably professional image if not dressed in a suite etc?  Many people can. Others look a mess even if they wear a suit and tie.  What matters most is how you carry yourself, how much confidence you project and whether you make the other person/people feel comfortable or uncomfortable.

Mark

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By Old Greying Accountant
10th Nov 2011 14:48

You could put me an an Armani suit ...

... and I'd still look like a reject from the seamans mission!

Today the dog is in with me as the lawn is being relaid, I am in semi casuals (i.e. shirt and jeans), as I often do if no clients due in. Will frequently be in jeans and t-shirt, especially if hot.

My preference is for comfort over style and I'd rather worry about the job in hand than whether my shirt is creased.

Incidently, don't know what others do but my rule of thumb is tie on shirt in, no tie shirt out and collar unbuttoned (unless wearing a suit - then always in, even if tie off due to heat/fixing copier/unjamming printer etc.)!

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By louise12345
10th Nov 2011 15:06

When I was an auditor at a

When I was an auditor at a Big 4 we were always told to match each individual client's dress code, to put them more at ease.

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Replying to Old Greying Accountant:
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By Lancsboy2
10th Nov 2011 15:40

and another thing ...

office = smart-casual (chino's & smart polo shirt or a nice shirt (not a "nightclub shirt" lol)

 

outside office = good suit, no tie

 

i am always trying to present a professional image of my practice ... in the office, we have decent smart modern furniture ... we all have decent PCs and kit .... smart leather sofas in reception, a proper coffee-maker, big plasma screen on the wall to demo client work (nicer than reading papers) .... all shouts "quality firm". 

 

outside the office, i drive my wife's car to client meetings, wear a decent suit (people notice the difference), take my T520 Lenovo laptop with all the gizmos, enables me to hook into my network remotely, alwasy impresses clients, decent watch, decent pen, decent briefcase .... i am trying to charge medium/larger firm prices, so have to look the part.  

 

i think the overall image provided to clients is absolutely vital ... the Big 4 know this, with their fancy offices etc ... so i try to copy that in my own small way.  

 

image, while not everything, is still a big deal. 

 

 

 

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
10th Nov 2011 15:40

What is right for you?

I too haven't worn a suite in the office since late 90s but, as others say, if the client's dress code determines otherwise then I make a bit of an effort when visiting them.

All these years later clients know to take us as they find us, so most summers now it's shorts, T shirts & flip flops.  I'm long enough in the tooth now to let a client go elsewhere if their "value system" revolves around clothing.

The real positive is that most of my clients (who also wear what is comfortable) feel far more at ease and this included a chance encouter in a gym changing room a couple of months ago where we discussed his tax, stark naked.  And yes I know this is sexist but I suppose there have to be some limits!

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
10th Nov 2011 15:47

@Lancsboy2

Takes all sorts eh, image , image, image, and, with any luck some substance thrown in, very 2011.  Mind you I think you hit the nail on the head with a decent coffee maker.

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Replying to Flying Scotsman:
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By Lancsboy2
10th Nov 2011 19:48

its the way of the world Paul!

image is important - like it or not.  

 

many small-practice accountants grumble about clients not paying in time, not saying thanks, trouble getting decent fees etc.  IMHO, clients have to look at you and really respect you as a professional adviser ... and some of that comes down to image. 

 

your "image, image, image" remark is way of the mark if you think that projecting the right image necessarily means that the technical know-how isn't there. (I'm sure it was tongue in cheek, and I'm not easily offended anyway!).   i am bold with clients about how good we are at our job, how good i am personally as a professional adviser, that i expect the client to pull his weight in terms of records, providing info, respecting my time, paying bills etc.  i'm able to do that because i position myself personally, and the practice, as a professional outfit.  any client that doens;t toe the line is spoken to, & if there is a problem, booted.  this is business for me - life is too short to deal with difficult clients. 

 

most of my clients are reasonably HNW, bluechip types - they want to be able to talk to a qualified, experienced accountant who knows their business and isn;t a yes-man.  my dress, that of my staff, the office itself, how i present myself, where we meet, the other professionals i refer them to for other services ... etc ... all add to the image of me/us.  to get the respect of these guys, i major on my own Big 4 / FTSE100 background, qualified ACA, blah blah blah.  you, me & Aweb know that doesn't alwasy mean a good accountant - so what? - it helps me build the professional image.  as it happens, i do know my stuff too :)

 

i've got absolutely nothing against the guys that are small, lets say sub-£150k GRF, maybe home-based, or small office, wearing their shorts/flip flops, having the dog in the office .......etc ....... but, for me, i am trying to build a small-ish (£500k GRF) practice that charges premium fees for a premium service, and to get that i need to show clients that we are modern, dynamic, professional, outfit.  it appeals to a certain type of client who generally is prepared to pay the £££ to be serviced by a "proper professional".  

 

no offence to anyone on Aweb that is runnin a lifestyle biz - i respect that - but a strong, credible, professional brand is worth something to us ... i.e. it translates into better margins. 

 

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Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
10th Nov 2011 15:50

Jeans and naked meetings

I wear jeans more than 50% on the time, even for client meetings. I do dress smart casual sometimes, but only sometimes. My staff are the same. It's who we are and if clients don't like that, then we probably aren't the right accountancy firm for them.

Paul, it's not just you - and it doesn't have to be sexist: I was in a sauna at a festival a few years ago. I was shocked to realise I recognised the voice of one of the other (naked) people in there as that of a client. We said hi. As a general rule of thumb, however, clothed meetings with clients are preferable :)

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
10th Nov 2011 17:11

I attended an ACCA West Surrey society lecture this week ...

Topic was "Achieving Personal Impact for Professional Success"

Apparently, studies show that of the most successful people (we weren't told what "success" was measured by, pay grade I assume!) when measured as slices of PIE (Performance, Image, Exposure), the results were that achievement was made 10% on performance (being able to do the job?); 30%on image (wearing a nice suit and neat hair?); and 60% on exposure (jumping up and and down with your hand in the air going me me me?) 

I had trouble resisting the urge to say "may be if that was reversed we would not be in a world recession"!

Unfortunately it is true, but that is not the sort of world I want!

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
11th Nov 2011 09:19

Nothing Nicer than a well cut suit for Men and Women

Hi 

I have to say as a woman .  It is just an opinion but I really do not like meeting a man with the open shirt and without a tie.  It reminds me of all the marketing Gurus who thought it was the thing to do.

I am not saying , that when you are not meeting a client and working all day you should sit there all day in a shirt and tie.

When you do go to a meeting though there is nothing nicer then a really lovely shirt and tie, well tailored suit it makes a man look very handsome young or old.  Never have too much aftershave or perfume if your women. Just enough to be tasteful.   This does not make you come across as stuffy, it is usually your personality that does that.  

For example if I go to see a lawyer I do not want to see him with an open shirt.  That puts be right off and I don,t know whether to trust someone as it is well know that marketing types advice sales people that this puts clients at ease. 

I also think for women a lovely cut suit looks really beautiful and it flatters women.  Again it does not have to be all the time but certainly when meeting a client.  

 

The suit shirt without the tie is nowhere land neither smart or smart casual . 

 

 

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By petersaxton
10th Nov 2011 23:02

Inside or outside?

I have a lifestyle practice under £150k GRF.

I wear jeans if I am dressing up. 

I can't understand how anybody can be more impressed by somebody based on what they wear. If I need a lawyer (a professional) I would judge them by what they said or wrote not how they dressed.

If somebody wants to judge me by what I wear rather than my ability then they are welcome to it. I've had people come to me from accountants that wear suits and their standard of accounting has been shocking.

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
11th Nov 2011 09:14

Of Course wearing a suit does not make you qualified

Hi Peter

I don,t for a second think wearing a suit makes you qualified.   Just as if you wearing jeans I don,t think you are not qualified.  I just happen to think a man looks well in a suit.

Peter to be honest, it is more the shirt without a tie look with a semi casual jacket that bothers me.  I have been at business clubs for networking were of course they always insist on having a marketing expert speak, whom allways tend to be on the annoying side.   More and more I hear them going on, that this look relaxes the customer.

So having had very bad experience with these sort of brats ( Having a rant) and yes for the sake of discussion I am generalising .   I really dislike the open shirt ,casual jacket look.  It really is neither one or the other and that is what I do not trust. 

 

 

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David Winch
By David Winch
10th Nov 2011 23:26

Different occasions

For me it depends very much upon  the occasion.  When I am acting as an expert witness in the criminal courts (which is a routine part of my job) I need to look like what the judge / jury expect an experienced credible honest professional chartered accountant would look like.

So the fact that I am fairly bald, with some grey hair, wear glasses, am clean shaven, wear a dark but pin-striped business suit with a striped shirt and a plain (but coloured) tie and black shoes - and when I give evidence I speak clearly and I do not fidget or sway from side to side - means that the judge / jury see me as a man of integrity - an honest credible knowledgeable and persuasive witness.

When I am just on the phone though I may look like something the cat dragged in!

OK, in theory what I look like shouldn't affect the credibility of my evidence - but I reckon it does!

David

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By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 06:34

Exceptions

I think it's a little different when you are standing up in front of a group of people for a short time and you will never see any of them again. You are not forging a proper relationship with the jury.

I have my preferences about looks in a woman but I would never let that impinge on my opinion in a business relationship.

 

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By Steve Holloway
11th Nov 2011 08:38

Everyone is right for a change!!

If you run a lifestyle business then you will dress in a way that pleases you .... the clue is in the lifestyle bit. If like Lancs boy you are are pitching at a particular image, client base (and fee) then getting the details right is all part of the package being marketed. Anyone who thinks image is not important in business branding has clearly never flown Virgin compared to Easyjet! When I visit clients I would say that I am marginally smarter than most of them but not in a way that would not make them feel comfortable that they can have a laugh and chat over the accounts  ... the latter being my USP.

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
11th Nov 2011 09:12

Peter in reality what a women wears to an interview or to work is judged quite a lot , probably even more so my women themselves.  I believe this has always been the case, and still is .  That does not mean you are better at the job but it leaves an impression on the client. 

Most of my clients do make comments if they think what you wearing is really nice, so it is noticed. Rightly or wrongly .

I actually think most women dress to impress other women, so especially when I am around women as clients I probably make more of an effort.

 

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
11th Nov 2011 08:46

I agree with you Sarah ...

... if you are wearing a suit, wear it properly, if you don't want to casual trousers and polo or casual shirt, but business suit with no tie looks frankly, as you say, salesman, which to me does not inspire trust or integrity.

I would also wager that a one man band sub £150k practice has higher margins than a @ £500k one!

 

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By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 09:20

Notice and margins

"Most of my clients do make comments if they think what you wearing is really nice, so it is noticed. Rightly or wrongly"

I'm not saying it isn't noticed. I'm saying that it doesn't make a difference on how good you are at your job.

"I would also wager that a one man band sub £150k practice has higher margins than a @ £500k one!"

The bigger small practice tends to employ lower quality staff whereas the medium size firms tend to employ staff who could be potential partners. 

Once you start employing people your margins come down greatly!

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Replying to Locutus:
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By Lancsboy2
11th Nov 2011 11:00

why can't bigger be better?

peter, 

 

there are plenty of good accountants who run small, often 1-man band, practices, and wear jeans / PJs day to day.  thats fine, and not in dispute. i'm guessing that you are "full" in terms of clients / fees ... i.e. you don't want any more.  in which case, you can wear your undies on your head if you like, and your clients can like it or lump it!  i get that, totally. you can run your practice on your own terms. 

 

but, the world judges people on how they look ... fair? ... no ... but it's "how it is".  there are plenty of people who are rubbish but look the part, plenty who are polished and useless ... I get that, pretty sure everyone here agrees.  

 

BUT!  a lot of my prospects and  clients, all things being equal, will be turned off by my shorts-and-flip-flop wearing competitor, and gravitate more to me, because of my appearance i.e. suited and booted.  

 

if my client base were hairy-arsed builders (can i say "arse[***]" on Aweb lol), and they respond better to a scruffy accountant, it would be a simple business decision for me to dress according to how they want.  

 

as for margins .... profits skyrocket when you employ staff!  i am aiming for each £25k accountant to service at least £80-90k of business ... i dont do any technical day to day work, just present the accounts to the client, review work etc.  each bod makes me a £50-60k contribution ...if i can get 4-5 of them doing that i should be able to manage a 250k income off 500k GRF.  plus, the practice is worth a lot more.  it all depends on whether you factor in the true value of your own time - i do, and at £130k per year, as that was my pre-practice wage - so for me to make this thing worthwhile i want to earn double that but without the drudgery (well, to me!) of ct600s, sa100, vat100s ....etc.  

 

each to their own of course .... 

 

 

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By zarathustra
11th Nov 2011 11:39

Lancsboy - why the wifes car?

I'm intrigued why Lancsboy goes to see clients in his missus's wheels.

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Replying to Tom Hartopp:
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By Old Greying Accountant
11th Nov 2011 11:49

May be because ...

zarathustra wrote:

I'm intrigued why Lancsboy goes to see clients in his missus's wheels.

... he would look silly rolling up in a yellow three-wheeler!

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By Old Greying Accountant
11th Nov 2011 11:54

I wouldn't want an accountant who ...

... doesn't know the difference between a margin and a profit.

You are looking at around a 50% margin, I would expect your sort of practice to be between 40 - 60 % so that is a good plan. A OMB sub £150k practice will be looking for a 60 - 80% margin!

 

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By fanciefella
11th Nov 2011 11:57

suits are for weddings, funerals & interviews

I gave up wearing suits because the jackets were only worn on the walks between car park & office and back again.  The rest of the time they resided either on the back seat of the car of the back of the office chair.

I ended up with lots of worn out trousers & lots of pristine suit jackets.

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Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
11th Nov 2011 12:06

Chuckles Lancsboy2

Blimey I've returned to a whole book.

OGA has, I think, made the main point here in that it is a shame that image, these days, is (almost) everything and, using your words, if that's "how it is" then that is because, like fashion, people think that is the way it should be.

If, like me, you believed that allowing image to trump substance is wrong then you would be "bolder" by kicking the trend and playing to your strengths which is being a bloody good accountant.  To just accept things as they are is, again like fashion, being a little sheepish?

My chuckles came at your definitions of lifestyle firms, £s sizing techniques and being a big4 fashion follower.  I felt the way I do today when I worked for one of the Big4 and whan I ran a practice with £500K turnover.

You only "need" to be restricted to your image if you take on clients who believe the same.  Fortunately there are loads of people & businesses out there who feel like me and I act for them.

Following OGAs thread a while back about the cost of image, I have a client in the PR sector where, even though they all wear T shirts & jeans (because that is the fashion in their industry), insists that they have to spend £75K+ pa on putting their image out there, including London office, sponsorships etc etc.  They have blue chip corporations as clients and at conferences & exhibitions compete well against mulit-national firms 100 times their size. We are currently in discussions over how they will make it to the end of the year.

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Replying to jefflcbba:
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By Lancsboy2
11th Nov 2011 12:36

yes but no but ...

OGA ... i do know the difference between margin & profit, thanks!  i'm banging out these posts quick-smart - i'm interested in margin and absolute profit though.  

 

zara - my car is a banger cos i sold my previous "nice" car to spend the cash on marketing.  so, we just retained one "nice" car!  

 

paul - i'm NOT saying above that image trumps substance.  i AM saying that image is important to some practices, including mine.  my "image" is cheap to maintain - my office costs £490+VAT pm - a decent suit/briefcase/watch/pen etc costs peanuts in he scale of things, but people notice them.  maintaining a "quality" image, AND actually running a "quality" outfit, IS actually possible!  

 

it';s not "sheepish" to accept the world for what it is ... i'm not on a crusade ... i just accept that my clients have certain expectations, and I'm more than happy to play up to that if it means my profits (and margins lol) are impacted positively.  you don;t need to spend megabucks to look like a decent firm.  

 

 

 

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Replying to jefflcbba:
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By zarathustra
11th Nov 2011 12:38

I can see where lancsboy is coming from

There is nothing wrong with swish appearance and offices to attract clients.

You just need to know you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk, (is that expression much used in 2011?), otherwise clients will quickly be turned off.

 

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By cathygrimmer
11th Nov 2011 12:24

Freedom!!

The great thing about working for myself and mainly long distance was that when I gave my suits to Oxfam, started to live in (smart) brightly coloured tunics and leggings and had purple streaks put in my hair, no one batted an eyelid!! My son, however, did say I was 'cool' when he saw the hair!

Cathy

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By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 12:45

How it is?

 

"but, the world judges people on how they look ... fair? ... no ... but it's "how it is".  there are plenty of people who are rubbish but look the part, plenty who are polished and useless ... I get that, pretty sure everyone here agrees."

I don't think it's how the world is. More fool me if I go to a rubbish solicitor because they look the part rather than a good solicitor because they wear shorts.

It looks like all the con artists and cowboys know that if they dress the part they will increase the number of mugs they hook in.

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Replying to runningmate:
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By Lancsboy2
11th Nov 2011 13:06

what do you think about this?

peter, 

 

i presented at the national conference of my target client type on wednesday, to a group of 80-100 bods, two sessions.  for that, i wore a navy blue £200 M&S suit, and new black shoes, and smart-ish shirt, no tie.  i had a smart black briefcase, a "business" laptop, my biz cards, was clean-shaven, dash of brut (LOL) etc. 

 

i like to think that my powerpoint presentation, with 10mins Q&A, was well received, and that my appearance was what most peopl in the room would expect of a a credible ACA in practice.  

 

THAT is what i am talking about when i say that appearances matter - i wonder what the conference organisers, and the delegates, would have made of me had i walked in in jeans and t-shirt?  its not "wrong", as such, to wear jeasn and t shirt , but to my mind not appropriate to that occasion. 

 

today, i am sat in my office in chinos, timberland boots, and a fred perry polo shirt.  i would be happy for any delegate from wednesdy to see me in my office dressed as i am ... but i do think they might have formed an "image" of me had i dressed like this for the presentaiton at a posh hotel - an image not conducive to me charging them the fee i want to!

 

what do you think?

 

Lancs "Gok Wan" Boy2

 

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Replying to runningmate:
Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
11th Nov 2011 13:17

Its a matter of opinion ,

Its a matter of opinion.  Just because you think people look well in suit, or you like wearing a suit and your shoes or tie looks great .  This does not make you a sheep to fashion.  It could be argued the other way around. If you are been asked to dress down for who ever  you maybe meeting. If that is not want you like doing or comfortable with , then it could be argued  you are also been sheepish following the (in) casual crowd. 

I know from my friends when I see them and I am wearing a suit afterwork and not making it home first before I go for a drink.  They have commented that a well cut suit really flatters me better then some  of my casual clothes .  I can only speak for myself but I really do feel better in myself  when I dress up for a night or dress up for work and get out of my jeans.   I can be lazy at times .

You could say I am listening to my Mum or my friends but I no reason to believe they are all telling the same thing for no reason.  I  do wear my casual clothes a lot , but not to a client. 

On an important note , what message do we send to young coming  up about dress sense.  There is an issue that some young and mid twenties are unemployable in the dress attire they turn up in.  Maybe this is a consequence of everyone becoming a little to casual. 

I employ to young students and they can dress casually but if a client is coming we are suited up.   

 

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By lordburnside
11th Nov 2011 12:52

Suits

Plumbers wear overalls, nurses wear uniform, professors wear gowns, judges wear wigs.

There is nothing wrong in accountants wearing suits. I may be suspicious of a plumber wearing a suit so I assume clients might be suspicious if I didn't wear a suit.

Its a lot easier to wear a suit rather than to decide what to wear each day. Its smart and shows that you might be intelligent. Casual clothes might make you look less intelligent or off duty.

I am going to keep wearing mine to work. It turns on the women clients anyway - doesnt it?

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Replying to FirstTab:
By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 13:14

I'd never looked at clothes in that way

 

“Plumbers wear overalls, nurses wear uniform, professors wear gowns, judges wear wigs.”

Are you sure about professors wearing gowns?

“There is nothing wrong in accountants wearing suits.”

Agreed. I wouldn’t want to wear a suit though because I feel it’s less comfortable.

“I may be suspicious of a plumber wearing a suit so I assume clients might be suspicious if I didn't wear a suit.”

Plumbers wouldn’t wear a suit because the work can be dirty not because they are trying to impress you.

I therefore don’t understand why a client may be suspicious of an accountant not wearing a suit.

“Its a lot easier to wear a suit rather than to decide what to wear each day.”

I manage to overcome that problem quite effortlessly.

“Its smart and shows that you might be intelligent.”

I would only think fools would use that analysis.

“Casual clothes might make you look less intelligent or off duty.”

I would only think fools would use that analysis, too.

There is no logical reason why somebody putting on a suit has an increased IQ. There is also no logical reason why taking off a suit would reduce your IQ.

“I am going to keep wearing mine to work. It turns on the women clients anyway - doesnt it?”

I would try all combinations. You can’t beat a bit of empirical research in that field.

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By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 13:21

Judgement

i" like to think that my powerpoint presentation, with 10mins Q&A, was well received, and that my appearance was what most peopl in the room would expect of a a credible ACA in practice."

I'd have judged you on your presentation and Q & A.

Other people can judge you on what they think is important.

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
11th Nov 2011 16:39

Lordburnside

No basis to believe or not to believe, but womens magazines and papers do claim that women are attracted to men with power and rightly or wrongly a suit can be seen as successful if it is a nice suit and tailored correctly. 

On that note there is a shop in Glasgow that is now gone back to selling tailored suits for a younger generation. The shop is not as stuffy as some in the past.  It is really popular.  

Unfortunately good tailors or saw mistresses have become a bit of a  lost trade which is a crying shame.

Peter I understand both Lanc and your  point of view , but people will judge on both.  

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By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 13:25

Clothes or a good education - you decide

"There is an issue that some young and mid twenties are unemployable in the dress attire they turn up in."

I think the general standard of education in schools and universities is what makes them unemployable.

There is less rigorous analysis in schools nowadays. I doubt that getting them wearing suits will make up for the fundamental problems.

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Replying to SteveOH:
Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
11th Nov 2011 16:41

Hi Peter 

Hi Peter 

Of course Education is a major part of it, but some employers would view if they can not be bothered at a early age to make an effort for interview . Then do they want to employ them and introduce them to clients.

I actually believe you can train someone to be good.  I know for a fact from listening to my clients about taking youngsters on that if they are  not going to bother making an effort then why should they bother employing them.

 I think it is always better to go smart until the employer or client hints that they don,t mind.   I do not know anyone who would penalise a youngster for been smartly dress but I know plenty who would penalise the other way around. 

 

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By chatman
11th Nov 2011 13:38

I would probably do better to wear a suit

but I couldn't face it.

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Replying to Red Leader:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
11th Nov 2011 14:27

now then now then

Here's my twopenn'orth.

I hate "having" to wear particular clothes because somebody tells me to. Some sort of throwback to my childhood. So I am probably happiest the more threadbare the better. Most of my jumpers have holes in but they're comfortable and warm, so f**k it, I'll keep wearing them.

Most of my meetings are at my home office. For those I "dress up" just for the meeting. Black leather shoes, smart grey trousers, business shirt but no suit jacket or tie. Sometimes I'll wear a tie but only if I'm a bit cold! I'm not putting the heating on for anyone, d'you hear? No aftershave, can't stand it. I could go on but I'm starting to bore myself now.

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By RogerNeale
11th Nov 2011 14:12

You can't change a "First impression"

I'm not an accountant but for my first meeting with a potential client I always dress smartly with trousers, shirt jacket, tie and polished shoes. A "suit" isn't always necessery but first impressions are important. You can never change a first impression.

During that first meeting I always assess what the client is wearing and then dress appropriately next time.

Of course, it isn't just about how you look. Mostly people will buy services from people and if a potential client doesn't feel comfortable with you as a person, they won't buy your services.

Whatever you choose, don't get stressed about it! Life's not worth the high blood pressure.

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By petersaxton
11th Nov 2011 14:33

Minimalist

I have NEVER worn aftershave.

I'll brush my teeth, get a shower. Shave.

But that's about it.

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Replying to Sheepy306:
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By chatman
11th Nov 2011 14:44

Washing

petersaxton wrote:
I'll brush my teeth, get a shower. Shave.

Sounds like OCD to me.

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By justinelaws
11th Nov 2011 14:42

The firm who come to audit us are sticklers for the more 'traditional' approach, even going so far as to tell their male employees to get their hair cut - that I think is going too far.  It would not bother me if they came not wearing a suit perhaps, but it WOULD bother me if they turned up in jeans.  It's a respect thing perhaps, as well as our business requiring a certain image to our customers (independent school) which might make them raise their eyebrows if they came into the office (as they often do) while the auditors were in to find them wearing jeans.  I think the main problem with stipulating smart casual is that (as can be seen by the many and varied posts above) everyone's opinion of what that actually means is different.

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7om
By Tom 7000
11th Nov 2011 15:20

You just can't tell

Wow what a lot of comments

 

The answer is you make it easy for the clients to buy from you

 

Off auditing at a posh client who all wear suits, so do you

Sitting in the office with the builders turning up...tee shirt and jeans

 

10% on performance (being able to do the job?); 30%on image (wearing a nice suit and neat hair?); and 60% marketing

 

I would disagree - 80% marketing - if you can get them in the office you probably have them signed up . Image 1% ....because..the clients turn up and see you in jeans and think who is this scruffy oik, but when you start explaining a few tax rules to them, you can just see their facial expression change to one of wonderment. ie 29%

Oh yeah and you pay the staff  40 and make the target 80....otherwise you dont get good enough ones and they have dysfunctional behavior as targets are too high

But then....what do I know.... 

 

www.ttca.co.uk/team

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By carnmores
11th Nov 2011 15:27

i always dress down so that i am underestimated

especially when it comes to dealing with magic circle lawyers and their ilk

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By julianansell.hotmail
11th Nov 2011 15:39

To suit or not

Just remember:-

First impressions last

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