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Boris and Donald for accountants, Part 2

14th Mar 2016
Partner An unnamed firm
Columnist
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Sometimes accountants struggle to grasp some basic realities about life and politics.

The last time I dropped by, I considered the two men who might be the next leaders of the free world and took it for granted that accountants would understand the relevance of the post to their profession.

Without having met either of them, my impression is that they are both supreme egotists who are good with a quip, but get rather confused when it comes to policies. That makes it hard understand the full impact that their respective elections might have.

On a base level, we know some fundamental facts that cannot be ignored.

If Donald Trump is elected as the next president of the United States, any Muslim accountant living outside the country will be banned from entry. That seems a pretty devastating consequence to me.

Those of the same persuasion living within the United States might also expect that life will become less comfortable and may start to wonder whether moving elsewhere might be a better option. Who knows whether other ethnic minorities might also begin to suffer in the same way, once he has his feet under the White House table?

In addition, would-be president Trump is such a quirky character that nothing is certain or predictable. The business community and economy could both suffer drastically.

If that happens, then accountants across the Atlantic will experience changes that could be simultaneously good and bad.

On the plus side, those involved in the recovery and liquidations business might benefit, while change is almost always good news for tax experts. Those in the accounting and audit mainstream might suffer as clients decamp from the country or merely go under.

As we know, when America sneezes the UK catches a cold, so it would only be a matter of time before the shock waves hit our shores too.

This would be intensified by the possible arrival of Boris Johnson as prime minister, which would lead to equal uncertainty.

The one thing we do know about the London mayor is that his arrival will, by definition, herald the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, with the possibility that Scotland might head off into the sunset very soon afterwards.

Whatever your views on this topic, such an outcome will create significant instability and that will lead to the the same kinds of problems described above for the United States.

In particular, while those in the insolvency field might that happy days are here to stay, business confidence would likely to go downwards, taking trade away from accountants.

In addition, if Boris is serious about detaching every aspect of the UK's connection to Europe, approximately 3m workers might leave the country in a hurry, creating a big black hole.

Make no mistake, those checking out of the UK will not all be sweeping the streets and cleaning toilets. Many will be valued members of staff at accounting practices and every other kind of business in the country, particularly hospitals. Who knows what the economic impact would be?

Just to add to the problem, the odds are that at the same time a lot of suntanned, retired Brits might be coming home to claim their pensions.

In summary, while the position will be uncertain for us all if either of these gentlemen rises to the pinnacle, every accountant in this country, the United States and probably everywhere else in the world will find their lives significantly affected.

In many cases there could be tough times ahead so let's make hay while the sun shines under Cameron and Obama in case the days ahead make us yearn for the sweet life that we did not realise we were enjoying while they were in office.

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