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Editor's letter: Trust to trust yourself, before you ask to be trusted

Trust, trust, trust – the word is used and re-used endlessly by the profession these days, as if to convince itself that “yes, accountants can create trust”.

May and June have been packed with events; from the Pan African Federation of Accountants’ Africa Congress of Accountants to the joint World Bank and IFAC conference, Accounting and Accountability for Regional Economic Growth (CReCER), and in between Accountancy Europe’s Tax Days and other organisations’ one-day events.

No matter what the topic at hand – tax, audit, accounting, capacity building, gender balance – in truth, it was all about trust.

There is one hiccup though. I won’t name names, but these events were filled with high-ranking personnel from stakeholder organisations who read pre-written speeches that had blatantly been written by someone else – most probably some PR.

These do nothing to create trust, but rather foster boredom.

And while not all are guilty this practice seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

The speeches might be beautifully written and tick all the right boxes of a communication strategy devised in the shadowy world of PR, but they are for the most part empty sentences that do not hook the audience or generate any passion for reform, or even to resist reform.

This was particularly true and sad at CReCER, a four-day event where the first two days are by invitation-only and the last two days are open. This year’s CReCER took place in Mexico City and for the open event the Mexican Institute of Public Accountants seemed to have invited all its students to join in the debate.

In four years of working for this publication I have never been to an event where panellists are presidents of professional bodies, CEOs of accounting-related organisations, high-ranking officials of international financial organisations and where the audience’s average age is below 35.

It was amazing to see all this youth. They are, after all, the future of the profession. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem very enthusiastic about listening to some (not all) leaden speeches, and who would blame them.

If you have president, CEO or similar in your job title, it is safe to assume that you arrived there by merit and, therefore, should know what you are talking about. So can you please drop the script, trust to trust yourself and speak from the heart? Trust me, then you’ll be trusted.   

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