Accountants end up on both sides of the courtroom

Industry news roundup: week ended 20 Feb 2014:

This week it’s been abundantly clear that accountants are ending up not just on one side of the courtroom but the other as both plaintiffs and defendants.

First up is how one accountancy firm – and one accountant from that firm in particular – have ended up on the losing side of a legal battle with pop singer Rihanna. The What Now singer has successfully claimed £6 million from Peter Gounis, an accountant from Berdon LLP, after it became apparent that Berdon and Gounis gave her absolutely abysmal investment advice that saw her lose the cash in 2009.

While Rihanna might be worth upwards of £50 million today, back then she was having serious financial issues. After Gounis and Berdon advised her to invest in a massive mansion worth somewhere around £4 million, the singer was down to her last million – only to have the property she purchased be in such a poor state of repair that she ended up selling it at a loss of some £2 million. It was this, and other terrible advice, that saw Gounis and Berdon raked over the coals.

Now maybe I’m not terribly compassionate towards Rihanna’s loss – considering she had “only” had £1 million left after the purchase of that white elephant of a property – but these so-called accountancy experts are an embarrassment to the industry as a whole, so I’m glad they were caught and punished. Meanwhile sometimes accountants aren’t the ones perpetrating stupidity and avarice and are actually the victims though; in fact that’s what might have happened to 52 year old Hugh McGinles, former accountant for Michelle Mone, the bra tycoon who lost his job following the deterioration of Mone’s marriage to MJM International’s managing director Michael Mone.

According to statements made at a recent tribunal, Mone forced him out of his job – a position he had held for six years successfully – because of the undue stress and pressure he had been under thanks to the vicious deterioration of Mone’s marriage. Mr McGinles was inundated with work after MJM International’s finance director left, leading him to scramble while Mone hounded him with unreasonable requests day and night.

McGinles is suing for £20,000, and honestly I hope he gets that and much more. The poor bloke sounds like he was wrung out to dry by Mone and her insanity over the marriage break-up, and no one should have to deal with that kind of work environment!

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