During my more than twenty years of work experience in the corporate world as an accountant, I have experienced mellow or downhearted treatment, direct confrontation, foul language and discriminate avoidance from colleagues in the business or other administrative divisions of the companies I worked for because of the nature of my job. Though outside corporate world, I experience a high regard or some kind of a hero treatment. It is confusing and this is a condition that accountants have to deal with. In a hope to shed some light and let others understand where accountants are coming from, I listed some misconceptions below based on past encounters and experiences.
- Accountants are tax experts. I hope my fellow accountants will agree that not all of us are tax experts because tax laws are laws; they are legal in nature. The provisions of the tax laws have to be interpreted by tax experts and lawyers. So when a taxpayer approaches me for tax consultation, I may not be able to provide an immediate answer and may also seek the advice or guidance of a tax expert. In addition, please understand that accountants are supposed to abide to tax laws; to support the government in the implementation of tax rules and not to do otherwise. When taxation rules provide for the proper recording of transactions and its documentation, we abide no more, no less.
- Accountants are strict and inconsiderate. I have worked with and have met fellow accountants who are kind, helpful, joyful, friendly, fun, approachable, and supportive. We are normal people just like everyone else; however, our job requires that we observe rules to the highest standard. Just like any profession, this is our code of ethics. In our country we have a famous expression, "trabaho lang, walang personalan" meaning for job's sake, nothing personal.
- Accountants are good in numbers or are good in math. Pardon my objection but I myself abhorred mathematics during my high school and college days. I would rather read History or study English. This is just my assumption but maybe some accountants are detail oriented and persevering that is why we managed to become accountants.
- Accountants can solve the financial or taxation problem of a business. Example cases: When a business needs an immediate financial statement, go to an accountant. When a person is having problems with the tax bureau, seek for an accountant. What I am trying to say: First, assess and understand why you are in that situation then relay it to an accountant so he can help you. Second, a basis (data or documentary evidence) is necessary to assist anyone. It is not like magic to produce something without any basis or origin. Third, the solution may not always be the solution that you wanted or imagined, but be assured that a trustworthy accountant will give you a sound advice.
- Accountants are simply support group doing administrative tasks and have insignificant role in the company. Indeed accountants support other important divisions of a business like sales, marketing, operations, human resource, engineering, purchasing, information technology and all the other divisions but please note that without the accountants, the management will never find out the results of business operation, they may miss guidance on financial decisions when needed, there will be no one to do the administrative tasks and so these may lead to business failure.
That's my list. Have you got other items there? Have I in some way shed light on these misconceptions? Do you now somehow understand the nature of an accountant's work?
Now for some trivia, check these out:
- Accounting was discovered by an Italian Franciscan friar, Luca Pacioli. He is referred to as the Father of Accounting because he discovered double-entry bookkeeping in 1494. Double-entry bookkeeping is the recording of a financial transaction that has an equal but opposite effect in two accounts. E.g. Increase in Cash $100; Decrease in Accounts Receivable $100.
- These people studied accounting or are actually accountants:
- Kenny G. - majored in accounting, graduated magna cum laude
- Chuck Liddell - degree in B. A. Business Accounting
- John Grisham - major in accounting; graduated from law school
- Mick Jagger - attended business courses at the London School of Economics
- Juan Manuel Marquez - studied accounting and worked as accountant before he became a famous boxer
Hmnnn.. just got a glimpse of interestingly varied and awesome accountant's personality from the above list, have you?
Accounting for your day today! Thank you.