A few weeks ago, during our usual coffee break cum ranting session, a good friend of mine remarked that accountants are the most boring people. This she said, was according to a book she’d been wanting to read – Belle du Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, which was a true to life account of a high class prostitute’s life (by the way, many years ago, this same friend and I were fans of the Belle du Jour planner – but after we learned of how this planner came to be, we immediately thought, hell no, we don’t want that planner).
Naturally, I was curious to read the book. She didn’t want to buy it, worried what some people might think if they catch her buying it – same thoughts ran through my mind but curiosity got the better of me and the same week of our conversation, I was happily browsing through the book at home.
And there it was, right on the first page where Belle explains and justifies why she became a prostitute, instead of say, an accountant, that single sentence that generalized and dismissed an entire profession as nothing but a triviality in life: “Accountancy trumps even academia inthe unsexiness stakes.”
A doctor, who hears such an insult to his profession, might take up arms and feel hurt. I, on the other hand, could not help but agree with her.
Ask any accountant why they decided to be one, and most likely, they will respond with either “I don’t know” or “coz it’s the most practical course.” Both true. In any given university in the country, accountancy is the most applied for course (although Nursing and Education might be on its heels).
Why? We can answer the why with the two responses together – Accountants are needed in any field or industry. A restaurant may not need a nurse or a doctor, but they will always have an accountant. Always. And so, for any undecided youth going into college, accountancy is a normal fallback. The subjects are mostly general and easy enough to understand. As for the practical aspect of it – well, how can you argue with a course that virtually guarantees you with a job after graduation? Plus, if you work abroad, you’re bound to rake in the dough – accountants/auditors are one of the highest paid professionals (anywhere but in here actually).
But very few, if any at all, will tell you they took up Accountancy because they love it or because it’s exciting.
Now, going back to my main point which is basically that accountants are boring – yes, I agree. Accountants spend their days poring over things that have happened, things they cannot change anymore. Accountants can usually accomplish their work by themselves, holed up in their cubicles poring over pages and pages of transactions done. The only encounters accountants would have are with their fellow accountants when they consult together, or if they do ask questions around the office, it would be invariably related to some boring fact that someone has missed.
It’s different with say, a doctor. Every patient has his own drama, his own sickness, and you get to meet various characters. And in most medical situations, emotions run high and you got yourself the best recipe for a soap opera.
If there’s any drama at all with an accountant’s work, it would be probably over some mistakes made in booking an expense, or some other mundane thing that doesn’t really affect a living individual, just the company. Drama would be the staying late during audits, or during fiscal closing (or whatever closing) or budget period. Drama would be when you can’t reconcile balances, and you can’t figure out what treatment to use. Drama would be figuring out the IFRS and connecting this to your local GAAP requirements.
I can state a number of reasons and justify why accountants are boring. But really, one thing I can ask you to lay the matter to rest: Just about every profession has been portrayed in movies or in television series – doctors, journalists, lawyers, nurses, teachers, engineers, restaurateurs, cooks, flight attendants, soldiers. Heck, even housewives. But can you honestly name one series or movie about accountants or auditors? (No, that John Lloyd-Bea Alonzo movie doesn’t count; Lloydie’s being an accountant was not the focus of the movie).
No? I thought so.
Loved the book by the way.