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January 26, 2023

How Would Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Fit Into Public Accounting? A Brief Analysis

I don't imagine that too many people have given much thought to how Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would fit into the accounting profession, but Peter Reilly did and I'm grateful: 

The only two roles I could see for Trump in public accounting are client from hell or managing partner. Public accounting firms at the regional and large local level tend to be run by somewhat sociopathic dictators of greater or lesser benevolence.  Hillary Clinton on the other hand could be the leader of a peer review team or one of the people in a national firm that has a job not involving direct client service coming up with nonproductive things for working people to do.  Clinton is definitely the Big Four type.  Trump not so much.

Trump is boorish oaf, so Peter's right that he wouldn't make it in the Big 4. He most definitely would have to start his own firm (with a loan from his father, of course) in order to run it as he saw fit. Essentially riding on his dad's coattails, this regional or large local firm would start offering bad, overpriced investment advice and would hawk Amway or Advocare on the side simply because he wanted more money. Through shameless self-promotion and dumb luck, he'd probably manage to make it Top 100 firm despite a number of sexual harassment lawsuits. He'd promote his children to partner as soon as they graduated from college, the CPA would be optional for them but no one else.

Peter is right again on Hillary, she's definitely Big 4 material although I think she's far too ambitious to simply be "a leader of a peer review team." Her smarts would keep her moving up the ladder towards senior management and every performance evaluation given to her by a man along the way would include, "Difficult," and "Too direct," and "Not well-liked by everyone" and "Wears too many pantsuits." She'd be a sought-after mentor and visible leader only to be asked repeatedly, "How do you manage to balance life and work so well?" Also, one of her clients would be subject to a major investigation after she had deleted most of her workpapers and emails right before the expiration of document retention deadline.    

I've been out of the game awhile so some of you might have a more honed-in role for either Trump or Clinton in the public accounting universe. If so, share it below.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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