Are accountants really so boring?

The accountancy profession

A woman went to hospital to get the results of a scan. With a sad face, her consultant told her she only had six months to live.

“Oh that’s terrible news,” she said, sobbing. “What shall I do?”

“You could always marry an accountant,” said the consultant.

“Why?” asked the woman. “Will that help me live longer?”

“No,” replied the doctor. “But it will SEEM longer.”

For as long as I’ve been in the profession, we accountants have always been the butt of jokes about how boring we are.

Some are quite funny, others are mediocre, but nearly all single us out as being some of the dullest people out there. After all, you know what an accountant who is also an extrovert does – looks at your shoes while talking to you, instead of at their own.

So it made me laugh when I read about an accountancy firm in the USA that turned our profession’s supposed boringness into an asset. It adopted this strapline:

PROUD TO BE BORING ACCOUNTANTS

You could say it was the ‘yawn of a new era’. The rebranding worked wonders as new clients saw the firm as being trustworthy and approachable.

And dare I say, it also made them appear to have a sense of humour.

Brutal honesty is often a good way to attract new business. Back in the 1930s or thereabouts there was a man with a lot of trousers he needed to sell. So he put an advert in the press, with words along the lines of ‘BUY THESE TROUSERS. THEY’RE NOTHING SPECIAL BUT THEY’RE CHEAP.’

They sold like hotcakes.

I like to think that’s what our clients like about us. I wouldn’t say we were either ridiculously cheap or boring, but we do specialise in good, honest advice. If we can help your business grow or save you money, we’ll tell you. Some of us won’t even look at anyone’s shoes while letting you know.

And if our attention to detail gets you great financial results, I’d say that’s pretty interesting.

And that reminds me – have you heard the one about the accountant who suffered from insomnia? His doctor asked if he’d tried counting sheep.

“That’s the problem, replied the numbers man – if I make a mistake I end up losing three potentially chargeable hours trying to find it.”

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