Accounting Profession and Practice

You are studying accountancy at university and, at the end of your first year, you are fortunate enough to obtain a summer job with an accountancy firm. Whilst you are working with the firm one of the partners asks you to go to her office as she has a task for you to do.

It turns out that the partner has been asked to make a presentation later in the month to a local business association. The topic of her talk is linked to the disclosure in 2014 that Tesco supermarkets may have misstated its profits by 250m. At the time of this disclosure a member of the public wrote a letter to the Guardian newspaper suggesting that the public should not be surprised by events at Tesco because:

Accountancy is 50% low-grade arithmetic and 50% guesswork.

Richard Lewis, Letters, The Guardian, Wednesday 1st October 2014.

The partner has been asked to prepare a talk addressing the issue of whether accountancy is only 50% low-grade arithmetic and 50% guesswork. The partner is slightly concerned about this topic as she fears that if the local business community believes that the statement is correct, then they might start to question the level of the fees that her firm is charging for the preparation of her clients accounting statements.


The partner has asked you to write an essay for her discussing whether there is any truth in the above statement about accountancy made by Richard Lewis or whether there is more to accountancy than is suggested by Mr Lewis.

The partner is intending to use the material in your essay to prepare her talk. The partner is a very busy person and does not have time to read a long and rambling analysis so she wishes you to prepare a concise essay of no more than 1,000 words.

She has made it very clear to you that she expects to receive an essay that is logical, well-reasoned and adequately supported by appropriate evidence and suitable references. She also wants the essay to include some brief practical examples, drawn from your knowledge of basic accounts preparation, to illustrate and support your answer.
NOTE: Bibliography is required