The first thing the trainee accountant used to need back in the 1970s, after a smart suit, was a briefcase. Then you found when you went out on audit you also needed a couple of ring binders, plus last year's files, not to mention the Yellow and Orange tax handbooks, your calculator, sandwiches, folding umbrella, and your Walkman. The typical accountant has often needed to carry around quite a bit of baggage.
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Fast forward to 2010 and not a lot has changed. The files have been replaced with a laptop, but you still need room for your iPod, phone charger, calculator, sandwiches, umbrella (and maybe your choice of contraceptive). Different contents, same problem – how do you cart this lot around and still look professional? Or do you stuff all the smaller stuff in your suit pockets and turn up at the client's premises looking like the Michelin man?
Back in the old days, of course, you had the audit junior to carry all the files. With graduate-only recruitment and higher charge-out rates that's a luxury few can afford these days. What you need is a decent bag!
I have tried them all – the leather briefcase, the trendier attaché case, the bulky pilot's case, a funky back pack and a messenger bag. All have their strengths, but which one gets the AccountingWEB readers' vote?
Here are a few suggestions courtesy of “Men's product of the year 2009-10” Web site www.blokesbags.co.uk, the brainchild of David Gledhill whose mission in life is to make us all look a little neater.
To start with you could consider a versatile leather briefcase – lots of pockets, and features both a shoulder strap and carry handles. If you want to make a fashion statement, you could even go for the top of the range Italian leather briefcase.
Not into leather? Blokesbags has a great range of vegan bags, such as this one in pebbled faux leather finish with a cool lining made from 45 recycled plastic bottles.
Backpacks are popular these days, being particularly practical for lugging around heavy laptops. They come in a range of materials, from simple hemp up to luxury natural leather.
Shoulder bags are handy if you need lots of bits and pieces rather than big, heavy files – a nice distressed leather one looks the business on the train and in the board room. A larger format is the messenger bag, most have room for an A4 file plus all your bits and pieces.
So we're throwing down the gauntlet to AccountingWEB readers – what does your perfect bag look like? What features must it have? Do you need lots of small pockets or just one big one? Is leather better than plastic or fabric, or don't you care? Tell us in the Comment section below.
Nigel Harris reported on this article, which originally appeared on our sister Web site, AccountingWEB.co.uk.