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Behind the numbers – Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones

Why the Big Four should work with other audit firms
Can accountants be Masters of the Universe? The answer is no, and any
accountancy firm that says ‘we can do it all’ is only trying to take all your
money and perhaps not give you all of the best advice. What I’m saying is they
can learn a lot from pulling very specialist knowledge that sometimes comes from
outside their own network. That is where accounting firms can really add value:
there is no conflict of interest then

On audit firms being all things to all men
We should be careful not to let accountants run away with their own thoughts
about the level of value they provide in the community and the jobs they do

On how he uses his auditor, Grant Thornton
For me, the profession isn’t necessarily a consultative business. What I want to
do is phone my accountants and say: ‘I need some specialist advice in this
area’. I like Grant Thornton because it isn’t always about them. I think
accountancy firms have to look at themselves and ask what they are providing of
value and how they scale that value

Why the sluggish return of credit is good
If you open the doors and credit comes too fast, all that’s going to happen is
the businesses that are going to be saved, on occasion, will be businesses that
probably do not deserve to be around. Let’s be honest. Over the past 12 months,
you’ve had businesses that have clearly run on the back of a beautiful crest of
a wave. We got carried away on the self-fulfilling cycle of increased debt

Why the skills gap is more dangerous than the tax regime for

We have to teach our young people and give them the skills to be
entrepreneurial. Our tax system will almost not be relevant because we will
force ourselves into a very positive environment in terms of cash coming into
the economy and investment. Our tax system would still make it very compelling
to stay in this country. Change the skills that are being taught and fill the
skills gap and I promise you, you’ll never ask me again about a question over
tax in this community.

Peter Jones spoke to David Jetuah, a reporter for Accountancy

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