Bean counters? Baloney! The world sometimes talks about CPAs like we’re a bunch of number-crunching math freaks who love taxes and spend Saturday nights playing calculator bingo. Obviously, the accountant stereotype has nothing (well, only a little) to do with reality.
Let’s take this opportunity to dispel five myths of the typecast and clichéd CPA, once and for all.
Preposterous Myth #1: CPAs are math nerds
OK, so most of us are pretty good with numbers. That's an accountant stereotype that has merit. But by no means are most of us mathematical geniuses who crack impossible equations in our spare time. Some of us didn’t pass calculus and all of us have interests outside of numbers, including but not limited to saving whales, filmmaking and Fashion Week. We also have to be good at communicating, making ethical decisions and thinking creatively.
Absurd Myth #2: CPAs are boring
CPAs are people. The same kind of wonderful, smart, interesting people you’ll find in any other profession. We range from quiet to loud, serious to hilarious, introverted to extroverted. Don’t hate just because we have analytical minds capable of solving really hard problems.
Ludicrous Myth #3: CPAs are for doing taxes
Wow. Taxes are just a fraction of the accounting industry, and many CPAs have nothing to do with them. CPAs are out there fighting white-collar crime, making businesses successful, helping the world become financially literate, keeping cities and states afloat, managing really important people’s finances — and on, and on.
Nonsensical Myth #4: CPAs are hermits
Listen up: That image people have of a CPA alone in a cubicle with a spreadsheet is a scam, really. CPAs lead businesses and organizations all over the world — and we don’t do it in a vacuum. Once you get your first job, you’ll see that not only do you have a team to work with all day, you’ll likely go out as a team at night. Take that, accountant stereotype!
Outrageous Myth #5: CPAs are tightwads
Contrary to popular belief, CPAs do not live to pinch pennies. CPAs love to spend money, if that happens to be the smart decision at the time. That’s what it all comes down to: smart choices. And if some big spender in the company is about to make a stupid one, well, there should be a wise CPA nearby to stop him.
Still stuck on the accountant stereotype?
Editor's note: This post was updated in 2016 to reflect more current information. It originally appeared on ThisWayToCPA.com and is reprinted with permission of the American Institute of CPAs. Accountemps is an alliance partner of the AICPA.