Five truths that all accountants will relate to on International Accounting Day

Brought to you by FreeAgent

10th November marks International Accounting Day, the annual celebration of the fateful day in 1494 when Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli, the “father of accounting”, published his seminal work on the double-entry bookkeeping system. Here Emily Coltman FCA, chief accountant to award-winning cloud accounting software FreeAgent, reflects on five universal truths that all accountants will be able to relate to on International Accounting Day in 2017.

1. Your friends and family think you’re a human calculator

Just because we’re accountants it doesn’t necessarily mean we can perform complex mental arithmetic on demand! But try telling that to the friends who automatically hand us the bill to work out at the end of a meal, or the family member who casually asks us how much interest they’ll have to pay on their new mortgage.

2. People are shocked to discover you have a sense of humour!

We’re not sure how this misconception first came about but, unfortunately, accountants have long been saddled with the reputation of being … well, a little dull. You don’t need me to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth: accountants have a wide range of interests and passions outside of tax codes and VAT returns - and yes, we do have a sense of humour!

3. Your job is also your hobby (or so people think)

Whether it’s being asked to look through a friend’s business books or being invited to be treasurer on a local committee for the umpteenth time, we’re expected to love nothing more at the end of a long day than to do even more accounting when we get home! Of course, for some of us this is a pleasure rather than a chore, but sometimes all we want to do is dive into a good book, watch a film, or simply not think about tax for a few hours.

4. Everyone expects you to dress like ‘Hector the Tax Inspector’

The besuited Inland Revenue mascot of old is often the first image that springs to people’s minds when they picture a “typical accountant”. Of course, in reality there’s no such thing! Yes, some of us are suited and booted, but we’re certainly not averse to a splash of colour, a funky pattern here and there, or perhaps even a pair of jeans once in a while!

Hector the tax inspector

5. You suddenly become very popular in January...

While January is often a quiet month in other people’s social calendars, we accountants are usually bombarded with invitations from friends and colleagues who may just have a looming tax return deadline on their minds. In the run-up to 31st January, no-one is more popular than an accountant - some things never change!