5 Surprising Facts About Accounting as a Profession

By Robert Half July 26, 2017 at 12:00pm

Mick Jagger may be known for his musical achievements and stage acrobatics, but did you know he could also rock a spreadsheet? Kenny G and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin worked in accounting, too, before they launched their music careers. How's that for some surprising facts about accounting and the professionals who pursue it?

Here's a sticky question: Who invented bubble gum? Would you guess it was an accountant?

As you probably know, we’ll take any opportunity to shine the light on accounting facts. Did you know, for instance, there's an International Accounting Day that takes place every November? This professional holiday goes all the way back to 1494, when a book was published for the first time that contained an essay on double-entry bookkeeping.

Interesting facts about accounting

Here's a fact you may not know: A four-year university degree isn't necessary to enter the fields of accounting, finance and auditing, but the number of students enrolled in these programs is growing, with many taking online courses. And this: Business growth is driving a healthy demand and higher salaries.

But here are five fun facts we really want to spotlight.

  1. The FBI employs more than 2,000 accounting special agents who use their mad math skills to solve crimes.
  2. Aside from the musicians, actor Bob Newhart, comedian Eddie Izzard, author John Grisham and boxing champion Chuck Liddell also rocked the numbers.
  3. The 1928 bubble gum inventor was an accountant named Walter Diemer.
  4. The first CPA exam was issued in New York way back in 1896.
  5. CPAs spend an average of 1,700 hours hand-counting the Academy Award ballots. (Oops! After the 2017 Best Picture mistake, new protocols have been established.)

Research sheds light on profession

It's no surprise that the job outlook is bright for accounting professionals today. Salaries are strong in all regions and sectors, according to the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide. Visit our Salary Center, where you can use the Salary Calculator to adjust these salaries for your city.

In addition, managers need to move quickly in their recruiting efforts and discover more about what workers want and what it takes for companies to bring them on board. 

Read more about that in The Demand for Skilled Talent report.

So here's to all the facts about accounting and the awesome accountants out there. You're all celebrities!

Take a look at the 5 Surprising Facts in the slides below.

Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect current information.

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