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Calculator and cake

From calculator to cakes: Accountants vie for Bake Off crown


This year three accountants enter the first pandemic-proof tent, giving the profession a 25% chance of taking home the 2020 Great British Bake Off crown. Accountants are used to baking in costs, but can they rise to star baker?

2nd Oct 2020
Community Assistant AccountingWEB
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After an incredibly unpredictable year, the return of the reality TV baking competition’s return has brought some crumbs of comfort to a stressed-out nation. The series refused to let coronavirus interfere with the traditional autumn baking binge by whisking the contestants, judges and crew into a bio-sphere bubble to protect them from the outside world. 

For AccountingWEB members, the 11th series of the Great British Bake Off added a bit of professional spice in the shape of three number-crunching contestants, with all our hopes resting on Hermine, Peter Sawkins and Makbul Patel.  

With more accountants in the contest than ever before, the correlation between beancounting and baking seems to be on the rise. Both activities require discipline, attention to detail and a solid grasp of numbers. Practitioners must be organised, disciplined, and able to follow instructions to tight deadlines.

Why accountants make star bakers

The need for clear results is crucial in baking and accountancy – even if the outcomes are more tangible in the kitchen. After a tough day wrestling with tax policy, it can be “quite challenging to see what one has achieved”, commented avid baker and ATT technical officer Helen Thornley.

Thornley has been enjoying watching this year’s crossover of spreadsheets and sweet treats unfold. But with no Bake Off bubble of her own, she has missed sharing her bakes with colleagues while working from home this year.

To offset the stresses of work, Thornley enjoys the discipline of baking what she needs each week. “The requirement to bake the next week’s supply has a pleasing rhythm,” she told AccountingWEB. The physical labour and rhythms of kneading dough also brings respite from hunching over a PC all week.

Meet the contestants

Our first baker in the profession this year is Hermine, a number-wonder pastry chef who lived in Benin before moving to the UK during 2001 to pursue her accounting studies; her time there fuelled her passion for high-quality French Patisserie.

This year’s youngest contestant, 20-year-old Peter Sawkins, is currently studying Accounting and Finance at Edinburgh university. Sawkins buttered up the judges with his 3D edible bust of Sir Chris Hoy during last week’s debut episode, earning him the title of Star Baker.

It’s accrual world for Mak

While Peter was the king of cake week, Bolton-based management accountant Makbul Patel sadly bit the biscuit during the second episode of the contest this week.

The proof was in the pudding with Mak’s Indian Chai Service showstopper, which failed to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Pru Leith; they called his 3D biscuit bake “bendy”, “flat”, and “a little bit clumsy”. Pru praised his flavours, but this was not enough to keep him out of the firing line.

Mak used his detail-orientated accounting skills to make a flat-pack mould of the dinner set. But his meticulous and measured approach created a rigid tea set that resembled a Tardis.

Patel took the taxing news with a pinch of salt, commenting that he “felt it in [his] bones.” The baker gave a heartwarming farewell to his comrades, saying that it was a “privilege to be here meeting new people and making new friends”.

“Although my bakes weren’t too brilliant every time, I tried to view it rationally.  If something was going wrong I would try and get it sorted rather than making a fuss about it,” said Mak, demonstrating his logical accountant demeanour.  

Mak returns to his other hobby of writing and, of course, the day job. “I am writing a novel, and I have been writing it for two years, I collect typewriters, 60s vintage models, so I have been typing it on one of those. I write at the weekend or when I am not baking. I won’t be giving up my accountancy career just yet though!”

Mak’s exit whips up a storm on Twitter

Twitter was not impressed after witnessing the travesty on Channel 4 - one viewer even made a public plea to the Prime Minister.

Another user pledged to boycott GBBO entirely, tweeting that they “won’t be watching Bake Off ever again until Mak is brought back.”

With two accountants left in the races, who are you rooting for to claim a slice of prize pie?

Replies (3)

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By Mr J Andrews
02nd Oct 2020 10:11

All sounds half baked to me

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By Duggimon
02nd Oct 2020 14:11

I did a double take when I thought Marc was Any Answers's own Stepurhan, but it unfortunately turned out to be someone who looks almost nothing like him save the similar hair and beard.

I see he's now changed his profile pic but I remember the old one.

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By BiggPhantom98
02nd Oct 2020 18:45

I love the puns
“Crumbs of Comfort”
Keep it up!

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