Notepad on Life

December 14, 2009

Just in case you had accountants all wrong

Filed under: business,News — - @ 6:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

I didn’t expect the accountancy giant Deloitte to be thrilled when a joke email from one of their staff went viral.

Undoubtedly, there’s a measure of embarrassment to deal with when one of your young guns emails her colleagues , inviting them to consider figures of a different ilk, in the run-up to Christmas:

“In the email, entitled Deloitte First year analysts Christmas Awards, sent on December 8, [Holly] Leam-Taylor asked her female colleagues to vote on which men in the office they considered most attractive.

…The email was only intended for a small group within her office, but was quickly forwarded outside the building and within hours was being read by millions of internet users as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

Miss Leam-Taylor, who has been employed as a trainee analyst at the international company since August, resigned from her job the following day.”

But did the company’s response, penned by someone who I’m guessing won’t be leading the conga at this year’s office party, have to be quite so po-faced?

“We are very disappointed by this matter. While intended as a joke, this is a stark reminder of the need to exercise careful judgment when using email.”

Now bear in mind this message has probably been signed off by someone paid many thousands of pounds each year to make Deloitte look as good as possible. With that in mind, let’s think outside the box here: would the following have been so bad, in the circumstances…?

“We don’t pretend to be thrilled at seeing company time used in this manner and we’ll be having a chat with Ms Leam-Taylor at some point on the beauty of discretion. That apart, Deloitte is happy to lead the way in shattering the misconception that accountancy and personality are mutually-exclusive concepts”

But no. They take the pomposity option and in doing so reinforce the same old image with which accountants have been saddled for decades, epitomised among professional people everywhere by a familiar joke.

How do you spot an accountant in a crowd?

The crowd stands out.

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