Director Principle Point
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The ghost of accountant’s Christmas past

7th Dec 2018
Director Principle Point
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The Ghost of Christmas Past
istock_Dave Rheaume Artist

"These are the shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me!" Richard Sergeant takes the ghost's hand and flies back over accountants' Christmas past.   

With the usual apologies to Dickens, during the month of December we’ll travel with the ghosts of accountants’ present and future - looking for the clues on how the fate of the profession is being and will be written.

But today we begin the journey with the ghost of accountant’s Christmas past and a reflection upon the concerns, celebrations, and otherwise thoughts of accountants in bygone online times.

On December 15th 2009, Ideas into Action delivered their accountancy inspired version of A Christmas Carol, which included a meditation on the tricky aspects of absorption costing, and to my mind set the benchmark in bringing contemporary debate and the concerns of firms into the yuletide arena.

But, first to our American cousins, who in the chilly cold of winter were turning their mind to giving, and as it would seem 2005 was a vintage year for personalised accounting gifts, not least in recommending the Saint Matthew the Apostle Medal (neatly tying in the religious theme of the season with the sure to gather dust pile of unwanted presents).

Coming closer to both home and the present day, the ever seasonal Mark Lee classic 30  things accountants want for Christmas of Christmas Eve 2014 included some wishful gems such as “fewer spats that go on and on between regular commentators on AccountingWEB discussion threads. You know who you are!”. I wonder if that would still be on his list today?

However, it has always been that the AccountingWEB membership have proved far from humbug.

Was it only in 2014 that Any Answers produced this gem on Christmas presents for accountants, including the glittering bauble “Clients giving presents? Hah! Had a lump of coal from one once…” from Phelan?

Or the vintage 2009 season that gifted us  Why am I the only person to post on Christmas day? Am I a sad git? , and the rather more victorian yuletide bawdiness of Swiss Toni, a sepia image of less PC times? Whatever the times, accountants have been there to enter the spirit.

But, the online world goes further than just that which these humble crinkled web pages can offer. Rawlinsons Accountants is one of many who over the many years has offered the perennial tax advice for Christmas, a cracker that is now as habitual as the proverbial turkey.

And speaking of turkeys, is February too late to post staff in Christmas jumper photos?

Howards Chartered Accountants say not, and I salute them for hanging on to the Christmas spirit for so long.

Homemade gifts are priceless

As times have changed we see the embracing of technology as accountants have always done. Videos such as the high energy Cassons Heroes of 2013 and the nostalgic overload of Lambert Chapman’s 2015 Trumpton inspired visual card, illustrate how firms were at the forefront of meeting the demands of the ‘going digital’ challenge.

But we all love the homespun gifts, and  An accountant’s Christmas from Alexander Accountancy, again from 2015, is a well crafted antidote to the more adventurous digital extravaganzas.

While it was good news for some

And while Christmas has been good news for Big Four bonuses in the past, times are changing and the audit traumas hint at leaner times perhaps?

But it is also worthwhile reflecting on the fact that it’s not always easy for some, as

CABA reminded us in 2010 that Christmas is the toughest time of year for accountants .

And as Scrooge found out, the past informs the present, their message is also repeated again this year.

And so as we return to 2018, what will the ghost of accountants Christmas future have to show us?


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