• Author of “Alan the Accountant” Wants Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Offshore Tax Havens

    By | August 18, 2010

    Last week we told you about the most important contribution to children’s literature since Mother Goose, “Alan the Accountant” (download it here).

    Alan the Accountant may not be the most traditional book in the “turn the page” sense but it will no doubt get the kids thinking about double-entry at an early age and you can never get the kids started on the career path too early, amiright?

    After downloading this gem and reading it a dozen times or so, we felt prepared to discuss it seriously.

    We had the distinct pleasure of tossing a few questions at the book’s author, Jinky Fox, to see what sort of plans he has for Alan, how he managed to skip out on his accounting career and why it’s never too early to talk to your kids about offshore tax havens.


    So you planned to become an accountant but got “sidetracked into fine art.” A couple of questions related to this: 1) By “planned” does that mean you enrolled in a class, walked in and saw the people, turned right around and walked out? 2) Does getting “sidetracked into fine art” have anything to do with a) your pursuit of a sexy art student b) drugs c) walking into the wrong classroom d) all of the above.

    I started an accountancy class and walked out after a year. Not because of the nightlife which was everything I subsequently found at art school and more. Accountants definitely know how to party. Rather I hadn’t been introduced to creative accounting. Now I see those figures differently. They can tell a tale as exciting as a six volume 19th century novel or a four hour black and white Swedish epic. There is an art in the numbers.

    We’re still of the opinion that there was a sexy art student. Moving on…You say “The series of books planned for Alan the Accountant will help me examine the exciting world of Accountancy that I turned my back on.” This begs a few more questions: 1) “Exciting?” 2) What have you learned about the profession that surprised you and how will you get the kids interested? 3) What makes you think the accounting profession will embrace you after you abandoned it? Accountants can be a touchy bunch, you know.

    Fiction lets writers and readers live different lives. We might not be able to live the life of a 17th century nobleman, but we can read Les Trois Mousquetaires. We might not be pirates but we can read Treasure Island. I am not an accountant, but Alan allows me to explore my life had it taken a different route.

    Artists rarely sit on the boards of large companies, but accountants have the keys to these exciting corridors of power. Art and accountancy might seem to be unrelated but there is an unexplored link between them. This has been expressed most famously by Andy Warhol when he said, ‘Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art.’

    Will accountants embrace Alan? I hope so, and I don’t think that a teenage indiscretion will blight their enjoyment. And anyway, it’s not too late for me to retrain.

    Well, we’re on your team and despite what some might say, that’s a decent endorsement. Anyway, getting more serious…In this book, you examine the possibilities for Alan’s happiness, which include his finding of an offshore tax haven. Is this really the example that we should be setting for children? I mean do we really want to be having the “UBS conversation” with our kids at such a young age?

    Offshore tax havens are an important part of life. Is it wrong for children to learn that some kids have to say goodbye to their friends and go and live on a British dependency in the middle of nowhere? No, I say! They might be the ones ripped from their beds and flown to a sweltering island, only allowed to go home 90 days a year. Life’s not all ipods and ice cream, we have to be honest!

    Have it your way but don’t come crying to us when Fox News gets ahold of this. Next – Here in the U.S., accountants are nearly as revered as they are in the UK. You guys have an awards ceremony over there for crying out loud. Do you think that your book can help bridge the prestige in the UK over the U.S.?

    I hope that my little book will bring accountants to the collective bosom of the people. I see a time when Alan the Accountant is the top rated kids’ show on TV. Children of all ages will dream of becoming accountants. Our universities will be so full of accountancy students they will stop teaching all other subjects. Our shops will sell out of calculators, accountants around the globe will be lauded and admired, statues will be built of senior partners and it will all be thanks to Alan.

    Honestly, the idea of a Tim Flynn statue is a tad frightening but we like your enthusiasm. Speaking of…More books featuring Alan are forthcoming – what do you have planned? Adventure? Excitement? Adjusting entries?

    Accountancy is a field that has not been mined for children’s books before so there is plenty of scope for stories set in the world of high finance. Accountancy is awash with slang and acronyms that are made for children’s books. Titles planned for future editions of Alan’s book include ‘My first investment account’, ‘Adventures in negative growth’ and ‘Darling, come quickly, Freddie just said his first word – EBITDA’