I started this blog site in 2015. I’ve started and stopped and started again. I wanted a platform to comment politely on the many issues we faced within the business community and the accounting profession, mainly to help me reach my own understanding of events. I find writing helps my thoughts, and I find publishing what I write makes me think more carefully. Yet I have found it increasingly difficult to be honest, without risking offence. Nowadays, opinions and comments are often taken as destructive criticism and social media provides many platforms for hate and despise. As government departments mobilise to cancel cancel-culture, we can observe quite clearly that we are in the middle of a crisis of truth. Governments are no more associated with honesty than anyone else, because they are formed of people, and, in case we have forgotten our childhood lessons, truth is often a matter of perspective, and history is written by those in power.

Five years after starting this blog, wondering if what I observe in society, business and the accountancy profession is coloured more by my age than by any wisdom, I have concluded that the tone of this blog should change. A pandemic, Brexit, disfunctional leadership all around the world, changes in the balance of power and above all the impact of climate change unite to form an unholy coalition against which our best defence is honest and strong business ethics.

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Living as we do, in a complex world, anyone who thinks that they have all the answers is likely to have missed the point. Few things are ever what they seem. Success often leads to failure, and failure to success. The meaning of success itself is nowadays being called into question. Financial success at the cost of a sustainable world, once lauded, is now despised. We are, and I think it is for the better, on the brink of a whole new way of thinking and of evaluating good and bad, profit and loss.

Yet simply re-inventing goals and measures is not always right. Creating a sustainable world economy will be unsustainable if we fail to include those who do not yet have anything worth sustaining. Just as unsustainable economic success is bound to fail, so must sustainability without economic viability. Our leaders wrestle with this conundrum, but seem to find that their own economic situations lead them invariably to failure.

“Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact, the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom”

Bob Dylan, Idiot Wind (1974).

This blog is about personal observation, analysis and comment. Just like everyone else, I want to know what it is all about. This blog is an exploration, because I accept that I do not have all of the answers, or maybe any of them, though it is biased towards the areas in which I or my colleagues hold some expertise.  It attempts to put an alternative analysis on matters of current interest, in short writings.  I hope to avoid causing offence, but if someone tries hard enough, they will always be able to take offence where none is intended – and if that happens, I apologise and will do my best to rectify.

I need to stress one thing. I am proud to be a Principal in Hillier Hopkins, and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). However, the views that I express in this blog are entirely personal, and do not reflect or represent in any way the views of Hillier Hopkins or of its Principals or Staff, nor of the ICAEW nor of its Members. I am also obliged to state that no person reading this blog or being told of its contents should place any reliance on its content, nor make any decision based on what is writen in this blog without seeking suitable professional advice. Nothing in this blog is intended to be advice, financial advice, tax advice or in any other way suitable material to be relied on for any purpose whatsoever, except perhaps for amusement. And the fact that I have to say these things, rather says it all, doesn’t it?

Thank-you for taking the time to read.

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