Everyone knows that CPAs are the real stars of the Emmys and that accountants feature prominently in movies like Shawshank Redemption and The Royal Tennenbaums. What else is out there if you've already seen the whole accountants-in-the-movies list, though? (Schindler's List, The Untouchables, Ghostbusters, et al.) Cable is stuffed with white collar crime docs (American Greed, etc.) and reality TV is crawling with singing, dancing, ninja warrioring accountants. But – if you're short on time, how do you know which shows are worth watching?
Luckily, I watch enough TV for all of us and can narrow it down a bit. Here's a list of some must-watch CPA-related movies, videos, and shows -– in case you don't get enough accounting at work.
The Smartest Guys in the Room –- A lot of you probably already know the story of Enron, but for those of us who were still in grade school when the scandal broke and Arthur Anderson collapsed, this fascinating documentary details Enron's schemes, including its involvement with the California energy crisis. Seriously, watch this documentary, it will make you realize how important an auditor's job is and how easily and egregiously Enron duped everyone. If you're still not convinced, check out the trailer. I just checked, and the movie is available on Netflix streaming, so you can watch it once you're done watching Fuller House (but not before). I watched the whole thing, and –- holy crow –- Enron's actions were a lot more shocking than what my professors touched upon in my auditing classes. Watch it when you can and let me know your thoughts.
White Collar –- For some inexplicable reason, White Collar along with other USA shows like Psych and Monk, is a favorite of Eastern Europeans everywhere (including my Russian mother-in-law). A former white collar felon gets released into FBI custody where he uses his conman skills to help the Bureau hunt down other white collar criminals. It's available on Netflix. Plus, it co-stars Tiffani Amber Thiessan, aka Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell. If you've had your fill of accounting-related shows, this one isn't all mortgage fraudsters and corrupt Wall Street tycoons -– some of the criminals are art and jewel thieves or even wine counterfeiters. Wine counterfeiting is a real thing. Check out this NPR article about the guy who bilked wealthy wine connoisseurs out of millions! I'm only one season into my White Collar Netflix binge, but it seems pretty entertaining thus far.
Rainman -– Okay, so Rainman isn't an accountant; he's an autistic savant, but wouldn't he be handy on the audit team? Besides footing financial statements in, like, two seconds, I bet he'd fix all your v-lookups and pivot tables in a flash. Plus, nobody on your team would have to learn IDEA because he could crank out statistical analyses IN HIS HEAD. Anyway, Rainman is a most excellent movie about an autistic savant (Dustin Hoffman) who can mentally calculate anything in seconds but who needs around-the-clock-care and his long lost brother (Tom Cruise) who tries to use Rainman's incredible mental math powers for evil (well, some money problems).
This video of Greg Kyte working the corner as a Liberty Tax Mascot — I spent this morning at GC Headquarters combing through Greg Kyte videos when I found this bedazzled nugget of internet gold. You're welcome.
Remember, kids: once it's on the internet, you can never take it back….not that Greg should want to take it back. That video is a delight.
COMING SOON: The Accountant starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick — I like to keep you guys current re: upcoming films that have mass appeal like Jurassic World (which was amazing but nevertheless snubbed at the Oscars). Well, Ben Affleck's got a new movie called The Accountant. The original release date was January, but the date got pushed back to October so those of us working busy season will have time to sit through it. Along with Ben –- of BenJen drama and Gone Girl –- it stars Anna Kendrick, Bella's frenemy in Twilight. (SO GOOD) Affleck plays a "math savant" who works as a crime ring accountant. When the Feds start to close in on him, Affleck's character starts on a new client – “a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as [Affleck] uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, ..the body count.. starts to rise.” Could be interesting. We'll see in October.
The Goonies — Unquestionably the greatest movie of our time. Don't question me. JUST WATCH IT.
Okay, what am I missing? I'd like to watch an accountant-inspired story I haven't seen, so consider this a challenge.