Who said accounting can’t be fun!

Summer is in full swing, the kids are out of school, and we’re between tax deadlines. What a perfect time to have some fun with a blog post, rather than writing about our normal tax tip and HOA audit topics. Since you may not know much about the rich and exciting history of accounting, I thought we would share some of that with you in this article.

“If I wasn’t singing, I’d probably be an accountant.” Janet Jackson

The team at Bach, James, Mansour & Company scoured the internet to assemble a list of interesting facts about the accounting industry and history. Here is our Top 10 list:

  1. Before a standard numbering system was developed, ancient accountants used clay tokens to keep track of animals and grain. No, I wasn’t there!
  2. The word accountant is from the French word compter, which means to count or score. The “p” was dropped over time. Today, we’re much more careful about dropping digits…
  3. The state of New York gave its first certified public accountant (CPA) exam in 1896.
  4. Bookkeeper and words derived from it (like bookkeeping) are the only words in the English language with three sets of double letters.
  5. Bubble gum was invented in 1928 by accountant Walter Dimer. Things can get really slow after the April 15 tax deadline.
  6. Chicago crime boss Al Capone was brought down in 1931 by FBI accountants. Although allegedly responsible for everything from bootlegging to murder, he was convicted of income tax evasion.
  7. Every year since 1935, a team of CPAs has spent over 1,700 hours prior to Oscar night counting the Academy Awards ballots by hand. You may not have noticed, but members of the Academy’s accounting firm traditionally make an appearance during the broadcast.
  8. Many believe the term “bean counter,” used to describe a nitpicky accountant, dates back centuries (see #1 above). In fact, it has only been used since the 1970s.
  9. A number of celebrities started out studying accounting, including novelist John Grisham, comedian Bob Newhart, jazz artist Kenny G., singer Janet Jackson, and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
  10. The Accounting Hall of Fame, now hosted by the American Accounting Association, honors those who have made significant contributions to the profession. Since its establishment at the Ohio State University nearly 70 years ago, 93 accountants have been elected. To nominate me, just click here.

I’m sure you never imagined that accounting had such an amazing background! Do you have any fun and amazing accounting facts to add to our list? Please let us know and we will send out an update. Have a great rest of your summer and remember that the CPAs at Bach, James, Mansour & Company are here when you’re ready to start planning for next year and beyond. That is, as soon as we’re back from our annual pilgrimage to the Accounting Hall of Fame….

Neal Bach, CPA