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Your accountant may not know maths – but it’s all right

An interview with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ Gavin Aspden has been making the rounds, setting people aflame because Mr Aspden said accountants ‘don’t need maths,’ which is true – but this actually isn’t a bad thing.

Everyone needs chartered accountants, from the biggest global firm to the small-scale freelancer or contractor, but there’s a lot of superstition and misconception about what kind of dark magic accountants actually do with all those figures. Well, the truth is that you don’t need to have a natural aptitude for maths in order to excel in accountancy because of the nature of the position requires on-the-job training.

In fact, there are many accounting firms that are not interested in hiring people that lack any sort of training in the profession in order to keep the industry from becoming too homogenised. You need people with differing thought process in order to bring innovation to accountancy, Mr Aspden said, who then added that firms will take up to 50 per cent of applicants that have degrees that have no relationship to accountancy.

Anyone with a formal accountancy degree may have a bit of a jump on someone who doesn’t, but the training and certification process is identical for everyone [1] a given firm takes on. This means that if your chartered accountant has a degree in music or languages, he or she is just as capable as any other chartered accountant because they’ve all been instructed in the same way – so you don’t need to panic at the idea of your accountant not having a background in maths.

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