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September 26, 2023

Accounting as Performance Art? Sure, Why Not?

Sometimes it's hard for accountants to explain what they do for a living. Painful, even. Sure, you could make up some other job but that's borderline pathological. Plus, we all know what happens when people think you're a marine biologist.

After a while, most people try to come up with a less boring way to describe spreadsheets, financial statements, tax returns, et al. because you'd like people to stop walking away from you mid-sentence. This can be difficult, but by no means impossible. For example, when I was still in the game, I explained that accounting is how businesses "keep score" and auditing was necessary to "make sure they aren't cheating." I suppose "cheating" was a stretch, but close enough and most people would react with, "Ahh!" so I knew it worked. When explaining taxes, well, let's just say, there's nothing I can tell you that will be helpful.

Anyway, I cannot recall coming across an accountant who explained their job as a form of art. Yes, many accountants like to think that there is an art to their craft, but I don't think they have this in mind:

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He probably shouldn't quit his day job just yet.

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