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Only half London accountants regularly pick up a newspaper

At a recent LSCA accountancy journalism event, members heard how shifting reading habits have affected how the profession is reported in the press, while younger members looked as much for lifestyle articles as technical information, writes LSCA President Helen Brennan.

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Helen Brennan

January 2019

A show of hands revealed that only 50% of London ICAEW members regularly pick up a newspaper and read more than one article. At the same time, younger members are looking for lifestyle advice as much as, if not more than, technical content, while there’s room for more distinctive, individual voices from the profession in reporting of accountancy and finance. These views and more were aired at the London Society of Chartered Accountants’ panel on journalism and accountancy on 18 December 2018.

The panel comprised Kevin Reed, former editor of Accountancy Age and now a freelance writer and consultant advising firms on social media management and content strategy, Philip Smith, editor of London Accountant since 2012, and Holly Thompson, chair of Younger Members London.

The discussion was broad, including:

  • the distinction between thought leadership and content marketing;
  • whether reporting of accountancy and finance is reflecting the increasing diversity of the profession; and
  • how accountants can work with the press to improve public understanding of audit and tax.

It provided insight into how younger members are using content. They still want and need to read technical detail, but are likely to diarise time to do that, and seek out reliable, accurate sources. When scrolling and clicking, for example reading on the move, they are more likely to choose lifestyle and wellbeing content providing tips on how to live professional life to the full.

It also revealed that journalists are as likely to face commercial pressures as accountants are and to have to make ethical choices about what, when and how to report if they are to be able to hold the profession to account.

Lively discussion continued over refreshments in the recently opened members’ club at One Moorgate Place.

The event was sponsored by CABA. Tom Ford, Relationship Development Officer for Firms & Businesses and Chris Arnold, Senior Digital Marketing Officer gave a short presentation and CABA president (and former LSCA president) Sue Field attended.

Do you have something to say about working as an accountant in London? Could you write an article for London Accountant on relevant topics? Would you like to join the debate with 35,000 other LSCA members? Then let us know at londonaccountant@icaew.com

CABA is available 24 hours a day over the Christmas and New Year period through its free UK counselling helpline on 0800 107 6163.

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