Accounting isn’t all by the numbers. The accounting field is rich with history, tradition and, dare we say, even romance.
Here are amazing fun facts that may change the way you look at accounting:
- The word “accountant” comes from the French word “compter,” which means to count or score. Over time, the “p” was dropped in both spelling and pronunciation.
- * The ancient Romans were obsessed with record keeping. Their military bases kept detailed accounts on everything from how much grain was in their stores to how many nails were in their workshops.
- The first book on double-entry accounting was written in 1494 by Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli. Although double-entry bookkeeping had been around for centuries, Pacioli’s 27-page treatise on the subject has earned him the title “The Father of Modern Accounting.”
- The state of New York gave its first certified public accountant (CPA) exam in 1896.
- Bubble gum was invented in 1928 by accountant Walter Dimer.
- Accounting plays a major role in law enforcement. The FBI counts more than 1,400 accountants among its special agents.
- Chicago crime boss Al Capone was finally brought down in 1931 by FBI accountants. Although believed responsible for crimes ranging from bootlegging to murder, Capone was ultimately arrested and convicted for income tax evasion.
- Celebrities who began their careers as accountants or CPAs include Ultimate Fighting champion and Dancing with the Stars contestant Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, WWE wrestler D-Lo Brown, jazz artist Kenny G. and comedian Bob Newhart.
- Other celebrities who studied accounting before hitting the big time include author John Grisham, Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and singer Janet Jackson.
- Every year since 1935, a team of CPAs has spent an average of 1,700 hours prior to Oscar night counting the Academy Awards ballots by hand. Two tuxedoed accountants from the Academy’s accounting firm traditionally make an appearance during the live broadcast.
- Many people believe the term “bean counter,” used to describe an overzealous or detail-obsessed accountant, dates back centuries. In fact, it’s only been around since in the 1970s.