Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.
John Stokdyk - In Memoriam | AccountingWEB | Photo of John Stokdyk, former editor at large who has sadly passed away
AccountingWEB

John Stokdyk: In memoriam

by

It is with great sadness we have to report that our editor at large John Stokdyk has passed away suddenly.

26th Jun 2023
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

John was a colossus in the accountancy world, a talented writer, editor and musician who was always generous with his time and expertise, and a great friend and colleague who the AccountingWEB team will miss more than he could possibly know.

Born in California, John moved to the UK at the age of nine. Despite this early emigration, his mellow personality and accent retained more than a hint of the Golden State. 

He began his writing career as a technology correspondent for Building magazine, but it was his move into accountancy journalism that was to spark a lifelong and transformative relationship with the profession. 

How John changed accountancy journalism

For younger readers and those new to the site, it’s difficult to emphasise the influence and impact John’s work had (and continues to have) on accountancy.

John joined AccountingWEB as its first news editor in 1999. Google had just launched, Facebook and LinkedIn weren’t even a twinkle in their founders’ eye and the ability to file an online self assessment tax return direct with HMRC was still more than a year away.  

At that time, the accountancy press was a staid, paper-based affair reacting to breaking news in a manner that today’s social media generation would find almost glacial. 

John’s cut-and-thrust style of web journalism swept this away, expanding the site’s influence to all corners of accounting, holding the government, the Big Four and the tech vendors to account and winning multiple awards along the way. 

He also changed the way people wrote about the profession, bringing much-needed razzmatazz to the world of tax and accounting with sprinkled references to French philosophy, ’70s pop music, the Hogwarts’ sorting hat and the railway line gauge wars of the 1850s.

But it was his focus on community that elevated him and his work. John’s curation and nurturing of the AccountingWEB’s Any Answers forum and seemingly effortless networking skills allowed him to get to the heart of what the profession really cared about, rather than just reflecting the view from accounting’s ivory tower.

The legend

John was a larger-than-life character. Long before everyone was wearing white trainers to accounting exhibitions, John was presenting keynotes in a tie-dye T-shirt. His trademark moustache was so well-known that the must-have swag at one accounting exhibition was an AccountingWEB-branded chocolate version of his facial hair. 

Such was John’s fame in the profession, at conferences he’d sometimes struggle to make it across show floors before the doors closed, and when a new finance director joined AccountingWEB’s parent company, he was overheard whispering: “Is that John Stokdyk?”

Respect for John in the accounting tech community was such that vendors would seek his seal of approval. One well-known name in the accounting software industry recalled feeling like he had hit the big time when John interviewed him. “I couldn’t believe it. He was a real journalist…”

Behind the myth

But behind the myth was the man. John was passionate about his work and unfailingly generous with his time. 

There wasn’t a journalist that’s stepped through the doors of AccountingWEB who didn’t graduate from John's Accounting University. After passing Accounting 101, John expanded their repertoire with follow-up sessions including ‘how to cover an accountancy trade show’ and ‘the accountant’s mindset,’ regaling team members with catchphrases such as “accountancy is a profession, not an industry” and “every story has an accountancy angle, you’ve just got to find it.”

He shared the same passion for helping accountants do their job better and was one of the driving forces behind AccountingWEB’s award programmes. We would often lose John to his “data bat cave”, where he would crunch numbers from the entries and share the latest trends to help practitioners thrive through the ever-changing challenges of the profession.  

Oddball collection of instruments

Away from accountancy, John’s chief passion was for music, compiling and curating what he referred to as his oddball collection of stringed instruments. His most recent band, The Hornblower Brothers, were championed by Radio 6 Music’s Marc Riley and dubbed “charmingly shambolic” by The Guardian.

Perhaps the only fitting way to end such a tribute is to hear from the man himself. Responding to the passing of an HMRC officer back in 2015, John responded in typical style by issuing a rallying call for more generosity of spirit in the profession: “When you want to shout down the phone at someone from HMRC, remember that we're all part of the same industry. Save your bile for the automatic answering system instead.”

So long amigo, thanks for everything. We’ll miss you.

John’s wife has asked for people, if they are able to and would like to, to make a donation to the British Heart Foundation in his memory. In due course, the AccountingWEB team will try and find a way to do justice to John’s memory and will update the community on this. 

If you have any memories of John you’d like to share, please do so in a respectful way below the line.

Replies (141)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Andy North
26th Jun 2023 11:04

John and I spent 20 years working closely on AccountingWEB and I owe a huge amount to his knowledge and patience. I know everyone who met him (and many who just read what he had to say) will take a long time to process this terribly sad passing.

Thank you John - you were a dear friend as well as a colleague.

I miss you mate

Thanks (25)
Replying to Andy North:
Jake Smith, AccountingWEB
By Jake Smith
26th Jun 2023 11:12

Thanks Andy, I wholeheartedly agree with you, he will be much missed by everyone who he came into contact with, not just those who were lucky enough to count him as a friend.

Thanks (8)
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
26th Jun 2023 11:11

Sad news. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on everything, but he was a man that I always respected because he always treated others with respect. I did meet him a couple of times, at AccountingWeb get-togethers, and he seemed like a thoroughly decent chap in person as well.

A loss to the accounting community.

Thanks (11)
Replying to stepurhan:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
26th Jun 2023 12:47

Shocking news - my condolences to immediate family and friends.
Despite taking up opposing positions from time to time, he always put his point of view to me with both clarity and respect ... I will treasure some of his DMs (gentle reprimands and all).
His influence will live on.

Thanks (10)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
avatar
By johnjenkins
28th Jun 2023 10:26

I also didn't see eye to eye with John and we had a few private exchanges of opinion. I met John a couple of times and was impressed with his persona and professionalism. My sincere condolences to his family.

Thanks (2)
avatar
By Andybrighton
26th Jun 2023 11:13

Having worked in the profession since 1994 I am very familiar with his work. Its a loss to us all and I shall miss reading his articles.

Thanks (6)
Heather Townsend - accountant's coach
By Heather Townsend
26th Jun 2023 11:14

I still can't quite believe I am reading this. Surely this can't be correct? But yes, it is.

I'll miss him. And it's a reminder to live life to the fullest each day.

Thanks (11)
By SteveHa
26th Jun 2023 11:17

I only met John once, and he was polite and respectful (and it surprised me that he knew who I was, taking time to introduce me to a new member of the AccountingWeb team).

My condolences go to his loved ones.

Thanks (8)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
26th Jun 2023 11:18

That must have been a really tough column to write for those at Aweb Towers, its beautifully done.

I have a huge amount of respect for his work on here over the past 20 years I have been coming here, and I am sure will be sorely missed by us all.

Thanks (23)
VAT
By Jason Croke
26th Jun 2023 11:19

Sorry to hear of John's passing, such an easy going guy and done so much for the Accounting community, will be missed greatly.

Thanks (8)
Phil Hobden
By Phil Hobden
26th Jun 2023 11:28

This is terribly sad news. I've known John throughout my time in this industry , such an incredible person and someone who wasn't afraid to say things that others wouldn't.

Thank you John for everything you did and for the legacy you leave. You will be missed.

Thanks (7)
avatar
By olliewbrown
26th Jun 2023 11:40

How very sad and shocking to hear. As the article says John was an absolute legend and known by so many in the industry.

I've known John for over 15+ years and would always see him out and about at accountancy events - he was such a lovely bloke to chat to.
Rest in peace John.

Thanks (5)
avatar
By Bensmith82
26th Jun 2023 11:42

What tremendously sad news. Like many others who passed through AccountingWEB Towers, John was a hugely influential figure for me, not just in my career, but my life as a whole. A genuinely unique talent and personality. I'll miss him enormously.

Thanks (9)
John Toon
By John Toon
26th Jun 2023 11:43

Wow, unbelievable news and such a shame. I'd only got to know John in the last couple of years but my calls and interviews with him were always fun and insightful. Lots of love and support to the AWeb team and his family.

Thanks (5)
Gary Turner
By garyturner
26th Jun 2023 11:49

Oh, goodness - what a shock it is to read this news. John was a legend, and I will fondly remember my many conversations and interviews with him.

As a spokesperson, I've had the pleasure of being interviewed and cross-examined by John for over 20 years. He was renowned for his disarming manner, always smiling, always charming, but you'd quickly learn that beneath his softly spoken, vaguely befuddled approach lay a sharp mind that could turn the tables on you with a stinger of a question just when you thought you'd gotten away with it.

What a terrible, terrible loss. Sending my sincere condolences to all.

I'll miss him a great deal.

Thanks (20)
Steve Cox
By Steven Cox
26th Jun 2023 11:49

This is really sad news. Like most of you I've known John for many years (around 15 years) and have been on both the sharp end of John's interviews and the fun end, working alongside John in a number of articles and interviews. John is a legend and has been a part of my journey in the accountancy world, he will be dearly missed.

To the AccountingWEB editorial team, well done on the above post, I can only imagine how hard it was to write. Thoughts are with you all and John's family.

Thanks (7)
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
26th Jun 2023 11:51

That is such sad and terrible news to hear. I met John a few times in person and did some great accountingweb articles/podcasts together over the years, which I really enjoyed. He was a great guy to deal with and will be hugely missed by all that met him.

I am still processing this as such a shock, what a great guy sadly gone far too soon.

Thanks (6)
Richard Sergeant
By Richard Sergeant
26th Jun 2023 11:54

It's hard to fathom, and full respect to the AccountingWEB team for bringing the warmth and humanity John brought to everything in this announcement.

Like many others, having worked with and along Stokkers since 2000, it's hard to know how to convey his impact on the profession and those around him.

What a man, what a writer, what a dude.

Will miss ya loads.

Thanks (11)
avatar
By Fran Badenhorst
26th Jun 2023 11:54

Such incredibly sad news. My first 'real' boss, an absolutely sui generis character and a big loss for everyone in the Aweb family.

Thanks (4)
SatinderL
By Satinder Lala
26th Jun 2023 12:01

Such sad news to read today. John was among the first people I spoke to when I joined the industry. He was a very informative and knowledgeable person. He always took time out to say hello. A super
cool and calm person that always had time for you. I always enjoyed talking to John when I had a chance. He was a very kind person who will be missed!

Thank you, John. You taught me a lot! A real loss to the industry today.

#MickJaggerofAccounting

Thanks (7)
Louise Prophet Wolters Kluwer
By LJProphet
26th Jun 2023 12:02

Sad News to read today - RIP John

I will miss you on the circuit. As mentioned, you were known by so many it was like a superstar had arrived at events as you 'tried' to wander round. will also miss your tie dyes in a room full of suits, back in the day before t-shirts were even the norm.

True journalist too - always tried to get the inside track .. had to have every wit about you, beer or no beer ;o)

Love to his family & friends at this awful time x

Thanks (5)
Mark Telford Chartered Accountant
By Mark Telford
26th Jun 2023 12:06

Always greeted you with a smile.

Huge shock to hear this today.

A tough day for all his friends and family.

Thanks (3)
David Winch
By David Winch
26th Jun 2023 12:19

This is shocking and sad news of the loss of a guy so much respected.
Condolences to his family and the AWEB team.
David

Thanks (4)
Karen Bennett
By Karen Bennett
26th Jun 2023 12:19

John was such a gent! It was always a pleasure to chat to him. Can't believe it. So sudden. RIP John, you will be greatly missed.

Thanks (3)
By Charlie Carne
26th Jun 2023 12:30

What dreadfully sad news. I'd known John for many years and always enjoyed catching up at the many conferences and events that we both attended, as well as joining him in numerous webinars and online forums. In 2013, John and I were the only members of the UK contingent invited by Intuit to their 'VIP 40' summit in Mountain View, the precursor to their annual QuickBooks Connect that began in 2014. I shall miss him tremendously. It was a huge joy to have known him.

Thanks (2)
Rebecca Benneyworth profile image
By Rebecca Benneyworth
26th Jun 2023 12:31

John recruited me as Tax Editor in the mid 2000’s and we worked pretty closely together for around 5 years. John was always one of the first to contact me at difficult times, and was a massive support through my cancer treatment and at other times in my life when I dearly needed what he could always provide - kind and supportive words.

I shall miss him terribly, but will smile at the memory of meeting him and Wendy at my local for dinner last summer. We talked through dinner far into the night until being politely asked to leave so that the landlord could lock up for the night.

Goodnight, sweet man; you were a blessing to all who met you x

Thanks (28)
avatar
By hostedaccountant
26th Jun 2023 12:32

This is a hefty blow. I've worked with John throughout my career. He was curious, empathetic, disarmingly dishevelled and always insightful.

I remember the times when my former MD, Jerry Rihll and the then Iris Chairman, Martin Leuw would have [***]-for-tat matches, fully instigated and only in good humour, in a cheeky and friendly way by John. This was at a time when people's views on their competitors were perhaps a little less supportive than they are now.

You will be missed John. Thank you for all of the support you've given.

Thanks (3)
Kirsty image
By Kirsty McGregor
26th Jun 2023 12:41

Shocked and so saddened to hear this today. A gentleman, humorous and kind and so knowledgeable. Enjoyed every opportunity to chat with him in person and on podcasts (both interviewing and being interviewed by him). Sending all my thoughts and prayers to the Aweb team and his family and friends and will of course make a donation to his wife's chosen charity. We've lost an accounting icon.

Thanks (7)
avatar
By taxdigital
26th Jun 2023 12:43

This is a sad and shocking news. John had a whole lot more to contribute to this online community. AWeb will miss him greatly.

Thanks (4)
Head of woman
By Rebecca Cave
26th Jun 2023 12:50

John and I both worked on the news desk of Accountancy Age in the late 1990s, but I'd quit to return to Accountancy practice before he joined The Age in 1997.
John edited my contributions to AccountingWEB from 2000 onwards, and he eventually recruited me as tax editor in 2014.
We will all miss dearly him here at Aweb.

Thanks (9)
avatar
By Rachael White
26th Jun 2023 12:50

Worked with John back when I was Rachael Power. He was my first editor, and I owe a *lot* of lessons learned in my career (and some great general life advice thrown in there as well) to John. So many great, funny and very happy memories of working with John, including all the daily morning editorial phone calls between he, Rob and I. Will be very sadly missed. x

Thanks (7)
Paul Lodder
By Paul Lodder
26th Jun 2023 12:53

Incredibly sad to hear this news. John was a true gent and always a pleasure to see and catch-up with.

John's contributions to the accounting community will be hugely missed.

Lots of love and support at this extremely difficult time to the AWEB team and John's family.

Thanks (3)
Alex Falcon Huerta
By Alex Falcon Huerta FCCA
26th Jun 2023 12:57

John was an amazing guy and he will be missed so much. He would come to my sessions at the events and I can see him write things down in ready for the next article. So many fond memories . Sending love to the family at this sad time x

Thanks (4)
avatar
By fozia
26th Jun 2023 13:07

Very sad and unexpected news. Although we had never met, he has been a constant in accountingweb for as long as I can remember and the accounting community is poorer without him.
My condolences to his family, colleagues and all those that had the good fortune to know him personally, may he rest in peace.

Thanks (5)
Samantha Mitcham
By Samantha Mitcham
26th Jun 2023 13:11

John was the true definition of a legend in the accounting industry although I feel a better description is 'an absolute dude!'

John played a fundamental part in my accounting career from the very start, his publications always showcased such character behind the literature. His personality shone through everything he wrote. Someone to truly look up to as an apprentice; it’s awesome characters like John who prove that the accounting industry is far from boring.

Fast forward many years from the apprentice days and I have been very lucky in my career to date when it comes to meeting, and working alongside, the 'big names', but John was one of very few people I was truly starstruck to have the pleasure of meeting, and subsequently being lucky enough to speak alongside many times.

One of those sweaty palm moments for me, the first time we shook hands, and a true how did I get here, pinch me, moment the first time I was invited onto the AW podcast to speak with John.

John was a fantastic host, always putting a comical and uplifting spin on serious topics and forever ensuring any interviewees were relaxed and ready for the session. Above all, something I take note of in every walk of life, John would always say 'thank you' several times and show his appreciation whenever we had a chat about an accounting subject whether it be on, or offline. That says a lot about a person.

Sometimes we see characters on screen who are not the same in person. John was NOT one of those people. What you saw was what you got and his 'larger than life' character was in no way an act for media.

My deepest condolences go out to all of John’s family, friends, and coworkers. An ‘absolute dude’ taken far too soon!

Thanks (6)
Routemaster image
By tom123
26th Jun 2023 13:12

That is such sad news. Like many others on Aweb, I think I have been using the site for over twenty years - and John has always been a key part of that.

I have spoken to John several times in that period, and my thoughts are both with his family and his Aweb colleagues - some of whom I met in person when visiting Bristol a few years back,

Thanks (3)
avatar
By paulwakefield1
26th Jun 2023 13:12

As others have said, this is shocking and sad news.

I never met John but always appreciated his contribution to the site as well as his handling of different views.

My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By VP
26th Jun 2023 13:48

Shocking and sad to hear this! Although i never knew him he was always present on Aweb Any Anwers and around the other areas too. His input and presence will be missed.
Condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

Thanks (2)
avatar
By SimonfromNook
26th Jun 2023 13:49

So sorry to read this. Thoughts are with John's family and all the AWEB crew at this difficult time.

Thanks (3)
paddle steamer
By DJKL
26th Jun 2023 13:56

Whilst never having that much direct communication with John I always respected the way he steered Any Answers through its various ups and downs, dealing with the sometimes overdemanding denizens likely needed far greater patience than I, for one, could ever have exercised. My thoughts go out to his family.

Thanks (5)
Jessica Pillow
By Jessica Pillow
26th Jun 2023 14:12

What a shock! Thank you John for everything you did in such a kind way. Thank Accountingweb for this lovely article to tell us the news.

Thanks (4)
avatar
By [email protected]
26th Jun 2023 14:20

This is such terrible and sad news, our condolences at TR to his family and all those at Aweb at this difficult time. I too was interviewed by John on a few occasions and respected his deep industry knowledge. This is a great lost to Aweb and the whole profession.

Thanks (3)
Headshot
By Stuart Miller
26th Jun 2023 14:24

Such shocking and sad news and my thoughts are with John's friends and family at this time.

John has always been such a force for good for the industry and I've had so many great conversations with him straddling both my practice and software career. John's passion for what he did was contagious and he will not be forgotten for his contributions to the profession.

Thanks (2)
Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
26th Jun 2023 14:30

John was a exceptional kind and good man, and second to none when it came to IT knowledge. I know John really loved Scotland and I will always remember a lovely lunch dinner he made for me in Glasgow Westend when he stayed with his wife for a holiday. I knew John a long time through the industry meeting him many times at the ICB Luca awards as well.

This is a massive lost to IT journalism and my thoughts are with his Wife, family, close friends and collegues he will be sorely missed. I really sad to hear this. Rest in Peace

Thanks (3)
Richard Murphy
By Richard Murphy
26th Jun 2023 14:31

I am genuinely shocked and saddened by John's untimely death.

I knew John from the early 90s, I think, when he was my editor at Accountancy Age. The relationship moved over to AccountingWEB, seemingly seamlessly, and I worked with him on many projects from about 2003 to 2010, and thereafter more occasionally.

John always looked for the merit in any idea. He also pulled out the best in any piece of work. And he was always encouraging. We never disagreed - because we never needed to do so. It was always very easy to find ways to just get on with John. He was, quite simply, a decent man.

I will miss his easy and laid-back style. Commiserations to his wife and all who knew him. He did genuinely do what the tribute says of him. RIP.

Thanks (6)
Della Hudson FCA
By Della Hudson
26th Jun 2023 14:53

Such sad news.

John was always kind and supportive while interrogating/interviewing you with great intelligence. I personally owe him so much for his support of my writing, both on Accountingweb and my books.

It was always a pleasure to bump into John and the accounting world will miss his humour and kindness

Thanks (5)
avatar
By Sionlewis
26th Jun 2023 14:58

This is really sad. What a legend. Everyone knew the importance of John's viewpoint. As a spokesperson for IRIS, I was interviewed by him on several occassions and I always treated each interaction with the upmost respect - I dont mind admitting that I coveted his opinion but also knew that every encounter was going to be challenged as to why the news/strategy/product/feature was good for the accountant. He was THE voice everyone listented to, argued with but always respected.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By Charlie_Elise
26th Jun 2023 15:22

Very sad to hear about this. I worked alongside John when I edited HRzone. I just dug out some photos from a Christmas party and you can see from those that he was just so much fun.
He told me once that I must go to San Francisco. But then he added that I should be careful, as he thought if I went, I would love it so much, I'd never come back. I still haven't been. But if I go, I'll be sure to raise a glass to him.
My thoughts are very much with his family and friends. RIP John.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By Catherine Newman
26th Jun 2023 15:39

This is extremely sad news and a great shock. My thought are with everybody.

Thanks (4)
By Democratus
26th Jun 2023 15:50

Even though i don't hang around the site like i used to, this is a shock. AWEB may have changed over the tears but the reassuring presence of John helped many of us stick with it. His craft was obvious when reading his work. My condolences to his family and to the colleagues who were fortunate to work with him.

Thanks (2)

Pages