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Skodas and Accountants: Work in Progress

 

Skoda almost marks a generational milepost. Some hearing the name Skoda will smile, and for good reason. Others will shrug and wonder at this reaction. For the latter group, this is why. In the 1970’s and 1980’s Skodas were considered as cars that you just wouldn’t go near, let alone be seen in one! They were an Eastern European bargain bucket car, lacking in just about every department and notoriously unreliable. Consequently Skodas became the butt of jokes that circulated widely and were regularly included in the routines of stand-up comics. For those who remember, the name still raises a wry smile and fond memories of exchanging the latest Skoda joke with friends, such as:-

 

“Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen?” 
“To keep your hands warm while you’re pushing it!”

“What do you call a Skoda with a sun roof?” 
“A skip!

“How do you double the price of a Skoda?” 
“Fill up the tank!”

“What do you call a Skoda at the top of a hill?” 
“A miracle!”

“What is the difference between a school and a Skoda?” 
“A school breaks up and a Skoda breaks down!”

“Why are a Skoda and a baby similar?” 
“They both never go anywhere without a rattle!”

 

Googling Accountant jokes, try as many searches as I might, the results were broadly the same. Rather than witticisms, like Skoda jokes of old, they run the gamete of humorous but derogatory quips such as:-

 

“What is the definition of an accountant?” 
“Someone who solves a problem you did not know you had 
in a way you don't understand!”

A lost balloonist lands in a random field and asks a man out walking his dog 
"Where am I?" 
The man replies "you are three feet in front of me in the middle of a field"  
"You must be an accountant!" retorts the balloonist  
"How did you know that?" the man asks incredulously 
"Easy. What you just told me is 100% accurate but absolutely useless!"

A businessman tells his friend that his company is looking for 
a new accountant. 
His friend asks, "Didn't your company hire a new accountant
a few weeks ago?"
The businessman replies, "That's the accountant we're looking for."

 

VW bought Skoda in 1990 and set about improving the cars and their image. They also set about advertising and marketing campaigns to extol the virtues of the new Skodas as reliable, affordable and, in the sportier models, exciting to drive. The plan succeeded, Skoda sold to a wider demographic and VW made greater profits. As a by-product, Skoda jokes were eventually consigned to history. When was the last time you heard an accountant joke of the Skoda genre? On the off chance that you or a colleague have recently had such quips from sales, operations, analysts, a client or a comic; don’t despair. Take a leaf out of the VW Skoda book!

As a postscript, observations from 20 plus years in recruitment leads me to believe that accountancy’s reputation is much improved on what it was, and that it has broadly trodden the same path as Skoda to the present day. However as with most things, it is still a work in progress.

 

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