Accountants Don’t Get No Respect

The Accounting Profession’s Lack of Diversity Is a Rodney Dangerfield Problem

If you’re like me, your eyes glaze over when firms start talking about “diversity initiatives.” Most of the time, they’re bullshit buzzword-filled discussions involving a white board and a “shout out your answers!” brainstorming session led by a white guy in a skinny tie who wouldn’t know diversity if it punched him in the windpipe. […]

Does Hollywood Always Portray Accountants as ‘Pathetic’ or ‘Despicable’?

That’s the question put forth by a reader across the pond to the group and since the Academy Awards have come and gone with nothing more than the cliché PwC jokes, it seems worth discussing.

But first, the Brit with the beef:

I watched the brillant [sic] Untouchables yesterday. This triggered the point about portryal [sic] of accountants by Holloywood [sic]. It is very poor in comparision [sic] to other professions.

Most accountants in the movies are either pathetic (think Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters) or despicable (Ed Begley Jr. as the sleazeball accountant who crosses a vengeful Roseanne Barr in She-Devil).

Other professions like, firefighters, doctors, and lawyers (Julia Roberts in the Oscar-winning Erin Brockovich), get their fair share of heroic roles. But when it comes to accountants we are pushed aside.

Well, for starters, comparing the work of firefighters and doctors to accountants makes as much sense as sending a team of interns into an audit committee meeting. If you’re looking for heroics, there are few opportunities for accountants in Hollywood; even a crook-turned-crime-fighter like Sam Antar would be a anti-hero at best. One exception would be Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List.

As for Morris in Ghostbusters, he scores with Annie Potts in Ghostbusters 2, so that hardly qualifies as pathetic. As for motive behind the unflattering portrayals, maybe enough people working in Hollywood have been ripped off by their own accountants that a slight vein of villainy is always written into their characters. The most recent muse being Ken Starr.

Despite that possibility, there are plenty of accountants in film that we like:

• Thandie Newton as Stella in RocknRolla

• Leo Bloom in The Producers (Wilder or Broderick, take your pick)

• Danny Glover as Henry Sherman in The Royal Tenenbaums

• It’s on the small screen but George Wendt as Norm Peterson on Cheers

Whether you see these characters as flattering or not, is your call but their awesomeness is not in question (I’m partial to Stella, frankly). We’re missing some, surely, so feel free to chime in with others.

Accountants Can Kick a Politician’s Butt?

Figuratively, of course.
Denver Post:

Perlmutter, a Democrat from Golden, had introduced an amendment that would allow regulators, if they ever faced another economic crisis like the one last fall, to tinker with standard accounting rules that many believe exacerbated the crash.
But accountants, despite their milquetoast image, are not to be messed with lightly. An army of pinstriped lobbyists had been working committee Democrats for two days, and by just after 2 p.m. Wednesday, they forced Perlmutter to accept a compromise that gutted the amendment.
“Basically, the accountants were kicking my butt,” Perlmutter conceded.

Of course. Should of known it was lobbyists and not an army of abacus-wielding Bob Herz fanboys.

Will Big 4 Firms Get Access to the Swine Flu Vaccine?

swine.jpgNo idea! But we figure if you’re an auditor (or any other service delivery professional) at Goldman Sachs or Citigroup (PwC and KPMG respectively) you probably have a better chance than most.
Oh and it helps if you’re at high risk for developing complications. So if you’re aged 24 to 64, aren’t around kids, and don’t have serious health issues, you’re just going to have take your chances without the H1N1 vaccine.

Citigroup has been supplied with 1,200 units and Goldman with 200, says Jessica Scaperotti, press secretary for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. The agency has so far approved orders by 29 employers–including 16 that have yet to receive any vaccine–after they were cleared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Big employers that have received or are scheduled to receive vaccine so far include Time Warner (TWX), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and New York University.

Since we have the tendency to jump to conclusions, will assume there’s no plans to distribute any vaccines to any of the large accounting firms locations. Reaffirming our belief that the Rodney Dangerfield image remains intact for the accounting firms. Your best bet is to be on the client site of any company that has any systematic importance.
New York Businesses Get H1N1 Vaccine [Business Week via JDA]
Earlier: Deloitte Study Says That Half of You Aren’t Scared of Swine Flu. Tell That to a Backstreet Boy
Also Earlier: Our Token Swine Flu Post