A cute Thomson Reuters video is making the rounds of accounting blogs, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Tax Accountant.” I’m curious to see what, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be an Accounting Professor,” would look like.
The video’s recipe is simple. First, start with attractive kids. The two boys and two girls used here are enchanting, especially the one missing his two front teeth. Second, dress them in grown-up sized business attire. Third, coach the kids to read a script about the daily frustrations and complaints of being an adult working as a tax accountant. Fourth, cue the rolling acoustic guitar line with a happy bounce. Fifth, release on Youtube.
Voilà! A tasty video going viral by accounting standards (>100,o00 hits).
If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you catch lines such as, “When I grow up, I want to manage a tax department. I want to have lots of turnover and burnt out employees, and I want to have only three employees to do the work of eight.”
Really? With such prospects in store, why would anyone want to become a tax accountant? The video offers no clue.
The template can be used in a variety of settings. For example, if I knew then what I know now about the frustrations of working as an accounting professor, would I ever have started down the path? The answer varies depending on whether the day is good or bad.
Why did any of us decide to become an accountant? I think the answer is fairly simple. We can do numbers. More than being able to do arithmetic, we can read numbers, and we are able to hear what the numbers say to us. For that we are willing to put up with all the frustrations.
It didn’t hurt that being an accounting major is fun. Well, it’s fun for nerds. In anticipation of Accountant Day, I asked my students what we’d look like in costume. They had fun with it. Nerd clothes include pocket protectors filled with pencils, white shirts stained from coffee droplets, unkempt hair, clothes that no longer wear well after a 12 hour day, and a caustic sense of humor.
Accounting classes have always been fun, sort of. We got hooked with the first statement of accounting 101, “Assets equal Liabilities plus Owners Equity.” Then it was accounting 102, Intermediate Accounting, Cost Accounting, Auditing, and various tax courses. Do you know there is no college curriculum as standardized as that of accounting?
Most of us loved being an accounting major. A 2009 video put together by some graduating University of Florida Fisher School of Accounting students says it well.
This video helps to bring back memories. It contains a clip of Hadley Schaefer, one of my favorites. The years of studying accounting were some of the best years of my life.
And I’d do it again.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht