For the 2021 A to Z challenge, I picked accounting, one of my college majors. Twenty-six posts on everything from hedge funds to T accounts, with the zen of Zero thrown in for good measure. You can scroll through the posts via the Next button at the bottom, or search April 2021 on the sidebar menu. Beware: accounting involves a lot more philosophy than you might think!
Accountants invented writing, money, international commerce, the middle class, and spreadsheets. When Genghis Khan would take over a city, the first people he’d send in would be the accountants. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Romans, the Tang dynasty–most of the huge empires and great civilizations thrived because of their accountants. Truly, as Max Bialystock says to Leo Bloom in “The Producers”:
You’re an accountant! You’re in a noble profession! The word “count” is part of your title!Max Bialystock
It is once more the first of April, the first day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Last year, I started writing A to Z about a subject (the Olympics) and still Haven’t STOPPED… stay tuned for exciting news along those lines in a few days.
This year, I am challenging myself to keep the entries super short. I won’t air my specific goal publicly, but I promise, Dear Readers, S-H-O-R-T. Suffice it to say, there will be 26 days worth of topics on the history, sociology, fun facts, and weird stories about Accounting, my noble profession.
Frankly, we don’t get enough credit. Or debit, as the case may be. Given how this noble profession is the underpinning of society, you’d think we’d be treated better than to be called the “guy with the green eye-shade…” Or, consider this, one of the first quotes I ever came across, when I was first discovering T-accounts and learning about why you don’t depreciate waste baskets:
The typical accountant is a man, past middle age, spare, wrinkled, intelligent, cold, passive, non-committal, with eyes like a cod-fish; polite in contact but at the same time unresponsive, calm and damnably composed as a concrete post or a plaster of Paris cast; a petrification with a heart of feldspar and without charm of the friendly germ, minus bowels, passion or a sense of humor. Happily they never reproduce and all of them finally go to Hell.Elbert Hubbard
That quote was from the anarchist, traveling salesman, and founder of the Roycroft Arts & Crafts community Elbert Hubbard. He also became publisher of a magazine called The Philistine, which led him to be convicted for publishing obscenities. He petitioned first President Taft, then Wilson for a pardon, eventually breaking into a presidential cabinet meeting to plead his case. They granted his freedom, which allowed him to travel overseas. He happily grabbed his passport and in May 1915 boarded The Lusitania. Maybe it served him right; someone helped to track his magazine circulation and earnings from door-to-door soap sales.
None of the accountants I worked with had eyes like a cod-fish–some of the Executive Vice Presidents, now, that’s another story. But for the accountants, the ones who sit against the back wall during the big meeting with giant binders full of answers, then produce the key statistic at the critical juncture of the meeting….! These blogs are for you. We know how extremely creative we are. Just look at what Excel Ninjas can truly do!
All ordinary people, who share the common characteristics of being hard-working and long-suffering. When it’s “that time of year” or month or season, whether working late on taxes, quarterlies, budgets, or that Special Executive Project, all the accountants know which food delivery services near the office are open past midnight. We probably invented DoorDash, too.
Trust me–it’s gonna be great!