Go figure why separatism should now be creeping into the accountancy profession

Another example of the urge for separatism among Maori – or rather, some Maori – popped into the news from Radio NZ last night.

We learned (here) that more than 170 people had attended the first day of the National Maori accountants’ network conference in Auckland.

We must suppose the accounting on this occasion was done by a journalist, not by an accountant, because it would be mortifying to learn that a Maori accountant would be satisfied with something as vague as “more than 170…”

But the real point of interest is the theme of the annual event. It was “wealth creation through innovation and leadership.”

Keynote speakers this year included Sir Ralph Norris, Sir John Goulter, Dr Pita Sharples and Neville Jordan.

Dunno why Maori accountants want to learn about wealth creation through innovation and leadership.

Innovating and creating wealth is undertaken somewhere else in a business, surely.

The accountant’s job is to keep tabs on the numbers in the financial accounts, rather than on the activity that generates the revenue.

At least, that’s how it is in the accounting with which Alf is familiar.

An accountant is defined here as

A professional person who performs accounting functions such as audits or financial statement analysis. Accountants can either be employed with an accounting firm, a large company with an internal accounting department, or can set up an individual practice.

Of course, this was a conference of Maori accountants, and (as readers of this blog know) Maori are our special people.

This means they may tackle their accounting duties in a special way, which distinguishes a Maori accountant from all other accountants.

And maybe as Maori accountants, it is entirely fit and proper for them to want to be innovative with their work – creative accounting, as it would be called elsewhere.

Mind you, what distinguishes a Maori accountant from an accountant is not the only puzzle raised by the Radio NZ news item.

It went on to say –

Mr Jordan, who is the winner of this year’s New Zealand Trade and Enterprise outstanding international business leader award says there is a lot of interest in Maori business, especially in Maori science.

Hmm. A Maori business.

What is that, exactly?

Is it a business with 100% Maori shareholding, 100% Maori staff and 100% Maori customers?

Or can those numbers be diluted?

And if they can be diluted, which ones do not require 100% Maori involvement and to what extent can they be watered down before they are no longer a Maori business?

Maybe those are the sorts of issues that require the employment of Maori accountants, to monitor the racial mix in the numbers.

Even more profound questions are raised by “Maori science”.

When can something be categorised as science, and at what point and for what reasons does it become “Maori science”?

One final bit of mystery was raised by the Radio NZ report.

Mr Jordan comes back into the picture at this point.

He spoke about how Maori entrepreneurs can get involved in what he calls commercial hot spots.

And that’s it.

Listeners were told no more.

Maybe he was talking of Maori running hot pools in Rotorua or some such. Or a dry-cleaning business, which is apt to get quite heated. Or a geothermal power-generating business.

What role the Maori accountant is supposed to play – along with other important bits of what Mr Jordan had to say – alas went unreported.

But maybe a hot spot is the kitchen in which some company books are cooked, and maybe these hot spots are best avoided by Maori accountants, no matter their talent for innovation.

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