What we've been reading: Tyra Banks, movie rentals and snark

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Welcome to What We've Been Reading, the AccountingWEB editors weekly round-up of the stories that have caught their attention. 

Although some of these stories include an accounting angle, it's not strictly about accounting.

But this isn't just about us, we want to hear from you! What kind of online book club would this be if we were the only ones reading? So what have you been reading? Comment below with your recommendations.  

This week we delve into Gawker's archives, discover what the accountants for the presenter of America's Top Model advised her, and the movie The Accountant eventually has something to celebrate (and it's not the reviews, or its representation of an accountant or...)

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FrancoisFrancois: On Smarm

Tom Scocca is one of my favourite writers. In many respects, he was the animal spirit of Gawker, the gossip blog-cum-cultural phenomenon that was killed by a lawsuit.

By all accounts a brilliant editor and a complete brainiac, Scocca, who comes across rather meek, writes like a man twice his size. No fear or favour. His masterpiece, which I reread this week, is this 10,000 word deconstruction of smarm.

Scocca sees smarm as a weapon where any criticism or analysis is reframed as mean spirited. As snark. It’s unsurprising that a guy whose brain never seems to switch off would have a bee in his bonnet about this.

Whether you agree with Scocca or not is besides the point, really. Or actually, it is the point. The point is that’s allowed. But my goodness, you’re a braver person than I if you’re willing to take Tom Scocca on in an argument.

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Richard HattersleyRichard: The films that became hits without anyone noticing

In this age of cloud accounting, accountants are often warned about the lessons of high street relic Blockbusters. But one accountant has actually found success with rentals. That accountant is the film The Accountant.

This week Ben Affleck’s machine gun-toting CPA took the accolade of 2017’s most rented movie in the US. When the Accountant was released in 2016 it attracted as much interest as you could imagine for a film called the Accountant. The thought of having a physical copy of the Accountant on DVD didn’t entice film lovers either, as it was nowhere to be seen in the DVD top 30 list.

Don’t tell HMRC and its MTD dreams, but The Accountant didn’t prosper on the digital platform either – it only reached 19th place in digital purchases.

But where Affleck’s number crunching thriller couldn’t get the punters into the multiplexes, on digital rental the film thrived. It beat box office big hitters Moana and Wonder Woman.

This rental success must have contributed to the film's getting greenlit for a sequel (The Accountant 2: double action, double fun and double entry… perhaps?)

So why was The Accountant a popular digital rental choice? Considering the stinking reviews it got (52% on Rotten Tomatoes) and I must confess that I turned the film off after twenty minutes, film lovers used the accounting technique of being risk-averse, and felt the safer option was to just rent it.

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Tom HerbertTom: Tyra Banks - a model client?

While accountants across the country are being told to embrace advisory services, it may be wise to steer clear of one particular piece of advice given to celebrity Tyra Banks by her accountants: “spend some damn money!”

The creator of ‘America’s top model’ is worth an estimated $90m, but in a recent interview to promote her new book ‘Perfect is boring’ she revealed that she’s a spender, not a saver.

“Things didn't make me happy,” she told MONEY magazine. "I saved, saved, saved. But I saved to a fault. About 15 years ago, my accountants pulled me aside, and they were like 'Tyra. You're not spending money. Nothing. You're just giving it away to the government. You need to spend some damn money!'”

The skinflint supermodel took her advisers at their word and created an ‘F account,’ with the F fortunately standing for ‘frivolous’, and spent her money on “stupid stuff” like private planes – but always with a maximum budget in mind.

While Banks may not have faith in the US government to spend her money wisely, her book does contain the sage advice that you should find someone trustworthy to help handle your finances.

 

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