Accountants top the swearing league table
A new survey from commercial property agents SavoyStewart.co.uk found that accountants use the most profanity during meetings.
It’s been a stressful year, especially for the accounting profession.
While swearing in the workplace is relatively common within the UK, it has inevitably increased due to relaxed working from home conditions and lack of supervision from senior staff.
Keen to discover which sectors were guilty of using the greatest number of expletives while on the clock, SavoyStewart.co.uk conducted a swearing survey.
The study approached 100 companies across 14 different sectors and discovered that workers in accounting, banking and finance used the most profanity during team meetings and video calls.
To conduct the experiment, the researchers asked volunteers from each sector to record the number of times a member of staff swore during meetings over a 12-week period.
The information was then collated and compared, ultimately putting the accounting profession at the top of the rankings for the highest number of obscenities uttered during the study.
Not safe for work
Accountancy won the sweary accolade by a shocking mile, with a total of nearly 1,000 swear words spoken and an average of 80 per week.
This figure dwarfed the least sweary sector by almost 17 times.
The oath most commonly spoken by accountants during the research began with an F.
Lawyers claimed second place, with a total of 722 curses spoken and an average of 60 words per week.
Charities and the voluntary sector came last in the survey, with a total of just 57 occurrences of swearing and an average of five words per week.
In this more well spoken sector, the most common curse was reportedly the S-word.
Profanity in practice
Accountancy is clearly no stranger to a bit of corporate cussing. Outside a pub in Sheffield during the summer of 2018, for example, accountant Paul Singleton let off a stream of F-bombs that resulted in a disciplinary tribunal with the ICAEW. The asterisk-laden outburst was a result of a fee dispute with his clients and their solicitors, and earned Singleton a serious reprimand for bringing his profession into disrepute.
The accountant denied that his misconduct was in breach of the ICAEW code of ethics. He’ll be kicking himself now that he wasn’t able to cite the swearing study as part of his defence.
Ranty outbursts are not unknown on the AccountingWEB community, where practitioners occasionally vent their annoyance with tricky clients.
AWEB reader Lone_Wolf doesn’t go for profanity in the office, but isn’t afraid to let off steam once the clients are out of earshot: “I imagine I’d very quickly go insane if I had to deal with some of the [clients] I do on a day to day basis without the occasional swear.”
DJKL begged to differ: “When working with staff in the office all swearing ought to be forbidden; it could certainly make some staff I have worked with uncomfortable.”
Mike_uk_1983, however, thought the question depended on the person involved: “You may have a client who swears every other word themselves and they may feel more comfortable if their accountant also swears, whereas other clients may be more offended by it. You have to know your client.”
What do you think about swearing in the workplace? Is it a harmless way to vent your frustrations, or a step on the slippery slope towards unprofessionalism?