Friday, December 14, 2012

And the INABA award this week goes to...a goth accountant

This is the first in what I hope will be regular (virtual) awards ‘presented’ to accountants who operate in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional’.. . More on the awards here:

J. ‘Psyche’ Coderre MAAT, is a 20-year veteran of the goth/alternative scene. She created her website, Death and Taxes in 2009. When she says she's focused on keeping clients in the 'black' she means it literally! Not only is her website different. She is obviously deserving of an INABA (it stands for 'I'm Not A Boring Accountant').

Psyche (sy-kee) tells me that:
Most alternative types, as they progress through life, are faced with a choice: Change your appearance, or accept that your career choices may be somewhat limited. Many of us fear experiencing the fate of Richmond from "The IT Crowd", whose adoption of goth fashion saw him banished to the office basement. However, I quite like my hair purple.
When I completed my AAT qualification in 2009, I wasn't looking forward to removing my piercings, dyeing my hair a normal colour, suiting up and joining a City firm. The option of going into practice -- where, as the boss, I could set my own dress code -- seemed far more appealing. As did the prospect of working with other alternative types like myself, who were running their own micro-businesses and seeking to earn a living outside of the corporate culture. 
Death and Taxes was the obvious name for a goth accountancy firm. The logo of the Grim Reaper with a calculator immediately suggested itself, and I commissioned the design from an artist who had previously created flyers for the club night I used to run in Washington, D.C. 
I wasn't sure how well it would go over; whether, in spite of the humorous branding, I'd be seen as someone people would want to bring business to. But due to the nature of accountancy selling itself mainly through word-of-mouth, this wasn't an issue I experienced. And word-of-mouth travels very well within the close-knit alternative scene. 
Once word got around that "one of us" was offering accountancy services, people from across the scene started contacting me. 
It's not just goths who have responded well to Death and Taxes. I'm often greeted by "I love that name!" when ringing HMRC with a query. 
People don't expect a stereotypically "dull" accountant to have a sense of humour. 
It's also aided my practice by making it memorable. It's easy to forget whether the accountants your friend recommended six months ago were Smith and Jones Accountants or Jones and Smith Accountants, but everyone remembers Death and Taxes! 
Another advantage is that when meeting a client for the first time, I am very easy to spot. 
I'm also probably one of the very few accountancy firms to be selling its own branded merchandise. 
I love watching new people I meet do double takes when they ask what I do, and I tell them I'm an accountant. I love subverting the "boring accountant" stereotype!
If you know someone who may qualify for an INABA, please check the (very simple) criteria here and then let me know via my website: www.BookMarkLee.co.uk
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