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Third of accountants are 'frustrated entrepreneurs'

11th Apr 2007
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Almost a third of accountants dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur before beginning their training, new research claims.

Running their own business was the most popular pre-qualification career dream among accountants polled by recruitment specialists Careers in Audit, ahead of being a lawyer cited by 22% of respondents.

Another 14% wanted to be a sports star, while 3% had visions of taking to the skies as a pilot. One respondent even had ambitions to become an atomic physicist.

When it came to inspiration most were motivated by the achievements of public figures such as Nelson Mandela and Sir Richard Branson. Only 3% cited their boss as the figure who most inspires them, while just one in 20 opted for prime minister Tony Blair.

Max Williamson, chief executive of Careers in Audit, said: "Many accountants in practice today will still have the chance to turn their dreams into reality. Indeed some accountants go into the profession purely as a stepping stone.

"Entrepreneurs such as Karan Bilimoria of Cobra Beers and Sir Martin Sorrell are just several of many high profile names who trained as accountants before taking the risk to go it alone.

"An accountancy training can certainly give you a clearer analysis and assessment of risk. However, to be a successful entrepreneur means taking risks not just calculating them, together with having business acumen and a go-getting spirit."


Replies (6)

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By User deleted
11th Apr 2007 13:18

I am still a frustrated entrepreneur
I am one of those who has always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and set up my accountancy practice 8 years ago (at 27) as a way to achive it.

The profession however beats entrepreneurship out of you!

At all levels I have operated at (and I have been at a final four, a top 50 and a regional independent) the procedural nonsence that must be followed and adhered to really does not foster a spirt of "lets get things done"

Indeed, so fed up have I become with the mind set of accountancy that I am about to leave it completely (with a big cheque for the practice I have sold tucked away in my bank account) to look for something new.

What I am going to do I do not know, but there has to be something more than what I have seen within accountancy for this frustrated entrepreneur

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By User deleted
11th Apr 2007 17:14

It could be worse!
Thank God the country is not run by accountants. However, lawyers are just as bad - they take instructions rather than make decisions.

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By dan06
11th Apr 2007 13:36

Entrepreneurial advice
E-Myth, BusinessZone, AccountingWEB's sister website for start-ups and small businesses, may be able to help you. Log onto

Among the features available is BusinessZone Grant Watch, which provides a round-up of the funding available for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a small business. The service launches on 13 April.

Dan Martin

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Dennis Howlett
By dahowlett
17th Apr 2007 16:27

The original article is a great puff piece but whomever they've spoken t gets that kind of dream knocked out of them within 5 years of qualifying, for which see:

There's a world of a difference between running a steady state service business and wrestling with the complexities of modern business. I know very few professionals who have successfully made the transition.

You could always argue that Mike Rake is a shining example but he's in a different league to most others.

There is very little in professional training or practice that equips the accountant to succeed in business. How many for example can help a clietn beyind telling them how to manage cash flow. Do we for example have any concept of value - as in value pricing?

Just a few thoughts.

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By Taxi
17th Apr 2007 12:23

Surely setting up your own practice is entrepreneurial?
Or did I miss something there?

I think the article is just referring to accountants who work for big firms in audit by the sounds of it.

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By iamcubs
22nd Jul 2015 03:08

Good Article

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