As someone surrounded by friends and relatives who are accountants, I don’t buy the rumor that accounting humor is nonexistent. Nope. Not one bit.
Unlike the ridiculous stereotype, the accounting professionals in my midst are calm, composed and methodical. They have such internal controls, they're never, ever unbalanced. When I ask how many accountants it takes to change a light bulb, one will say, let me run a few numbers and I’ll get back to you, quickly concluding: It takes one accountant to do the work and one to make sure it was done within budget.
You might say that accounting humor contributes to success on the job. In our recent survey, when CFOs were asked, "How important is an employee's sense of humor in him or her fitting into your company's corporate culture?" 22 percent of them said very important, and 56 said somewhat important. That adds up to 78 percent of them giving a nod to jokes all around!
I’ve taken it upon myself to gather a few examples of accounting humor — accounting jokes and a cartoon or two — and share them here, stopping short of putting them on spreadsheets. If you’re a manager, try out a joke on your team, and if you’re an employee or job candidate, take a break to read this. If you can relate or find something funny, go ahead and laugh out loud!
From the work-life balance files
1. How do you know when an accountant is on vacation?
He doesn’t wear a tie and comes in after 8 a.m.
2. An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night," he says. "Have you tried counting sheep?" asks the doctor. "That's the problem — I make a mistake and then spend six hours trying to find it."
3. What’s an accountant's favorite brand of cereal?
Read more about the work-life equilibrium for accounting and finance professionals.
Chips off the old block
4. How do you know if your son is going to be a CPA?
When you read him the story of Cinderella and get to the part where the pumpkin turns into a golden carriage, he asks, “Is that ordinary income, or a capital gain?”
5. You might be a tax accountant if ...
… you refer to your child as Deduction 214.
6. An accountant, after reading a nursery rhyme to his child, says, "No, son. It wouldn't be tax deductible when Little Bo Peep loses her sheep. But I like your thinking."
No laughing matter: Can a Working Mom or Dad Find Sanity in the Accounting World?
Take the money and run
7. What do you call a trial balance that doesn't balance?
A late night.
8. A young accountant fresh out of college is interviewed by the owner of a small business. “I need someone with an accounting degree,” says the man. “But mainly I’m looking for someone to do my worrying for me. I have lots of things to worry about, but I want someone else to worry about money matters.”
“OK,” says the accountant. “How much are you offering?”
“You can start at $75,000 a year,” says the owner.
“That’s a great salary!” says the young accountant. “How can a business like yours afford to pay so much?”
“That,” says the man, “is your first worry.”
No joke: There's more
Want to find out the 5 Secrets of Workplace Humor in Accounting and Finance? While you're there, be sure to scroll to our slideshow of accounting cartoons and save a few to share with people who can appreciate them.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2015 but was updated recently with the new survey, accounting jokes and cartoons.
Aside from the one-liners and puns that were shared with us, we found these and other jokes at Business Insider, the Alternate Accountant, Jokes 4 Us, Crush the CPA Exam and The Accountant’s (Bad) Joke Book.