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Five reasons why PR people and the accounts department will never get on

9th July 2013


There are some things in life that we all have to put up with. Necessary evils. So far today these have included 1) Late night mails which demand immediate action, 2) Traffic and Rain and 3) having to pay a small fortune for a cup of boiling coffee.

The necessary evil that I am focusing on today, though, is the accounts department.

Now PR is, intrinsically, a creative profession but like all business concerns, the bottom line is the bottom line. Which means that some people in the organisation need to do the accounts. The problem is that these people tend to sit uncomfortably within innovative industries as PR, as their business is so out of tune with ours.

So are accounts departments rude, or just misunderstood?

Here are five reasons why people in PR jobs and accounts departments will never get on:

1. A sense of humour: I don't pretend to be the next Johnny Lever but I do have my moments. Whenever I find myself in the accounts basement, there is this sense of joyless monotony.

2. Please stop talking about Excel. And no I've never used Tally. No I don't want you to show me.

3. The corrupt finance director. I was at one agency that despite my inept performance was pretty successful. It would have had made impressive profits if its chief financial officer hadn’t embezzled so many of them. And because the agency didn’t want the negative publicity, it didn’t prosecute. The problem is that CFOs have a lot of potential to be corrupt in creative organisations, as no one understands what they do.

4. Late payers. I think many people must be attracted to work in accounts because they love money. The problem is they love it so much they hate to part with it. If I had a rupee for each hour I’ve spent on the phone chasing overdue invoices, I could afford to do all my food shopping at Le Marche or Nature’s Basket. And why do these people have to be so rude? Some organisations have all their hard-built reputations ruined by the people who work in their accounts departments.

5. Payroll clerks that can’t count. You would think that an ability to add up would be an advantage in a career that involves numbers, but not so. You really should check your payslip, as I have found plenty of errors in mine over the years, and I would be thousands of rupees out of pocket if I hadn’t noticed them. And did I ever get an apology when I pointed out these mistakes? People who work in accounts never say “sorry”, but then their people skills are not what they’re employed for.

Editor's note: To put PR Grouch's theory to the test - do we have any PR/accountant couples out there?


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