We were wondering about Benjamin Bankes’ employment status with the AICPA, a non-profit professional trade organization, the trade being (loosely) the CPA. They fiercely defend the CPA designation’s legitimacy as a world-recognized credential and work for their members by offering themselves up as experts for legislators who have no idea what they are unleashing with a simple tax tweak. It’s a pretty good deal; we get reasonable security that our financial experts are at a minimum trained in the skills necessary to function at the entry level and the AICPA gets the notoriety that comes with being a 360,000 strong organization with a long history of protecting the integrity of its most precious asset.
So when we found Benjamin Bankes’ picture among AICPA headshots on Flickr, we wondered what kind of employment status he enjoys with the AICPA. Independent contractor? Full-time, taxable employee? Spokespig? I mean he’s right up there with Barry, so it’s got to be a pretty secure gig.
Just wondering. It’s a damn awesome picture.
It’s been quite some time since we brought you Five Questions as we’ve already asked just about everyone worth asking to participate. But we’ve got a serious bacon fetish and a penchant for saving our pennies, so when we got the chance to interrogate Feed the Pig’s Benjamin Bankes, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
In case you aren’t familiar with his work, BB is th��������������������f the AICPA’s Feed the Pig campaign, inspiring saving across the country through PSAs, tweets and other similar awareness campaigns. His people got in touch with us and sent his official bio thusly:
Although he comes from a long line of investment piggy bankers, Benjamin once toyed with the idea of playing professional football (he wanted to be the ball in a Super Bowl game). Once he realized he would have no life with that career, the idea quickly boared him. Then, he discovered the alarming state of personal finances in this country and Benjamin realized his true life’s mission.
Bankes attended Sowthwestern University, where this little piggy went to marketing classes. Though he has never been known as a party animal, he does enjoy the occasional mudslide. In addition to his sharp business sense, Benjamin is also a very talented fiction writer who goes under the pig-pen name of H.W. Hogfellow. Other interests include: long trots on the beach, watching television (his favorite show is Squeel of Fortune), viewing movies (favorite movie is Martin Boarsese’s epic, The Hogfather), and listening to music (favorite song is “Pigs Don’t Lie” by Shoatkira). Benjamin currently resides in the minds of 25 – 34 year-olds everywhere who need proper financial guidance.
Feed the Pig’s hard work is definitely working. According to a survey conducted by The Advertising Council:
Respondents who recalled seeing or hearing the Feed the Pig PSAs were more likely to claim they always take certain actions to save money, such as:
o Keeping a budget of their expenses (33% vs. 19%)
o Saving for long-term financial goals such as education, a house or retirement (30 vs. 18%)
o Bringing a bagged lunch to work and/or eat leftover meals (29% vs. 21%)
o Comparison shopping for the purchase of most items (49% vs. 23%)
o Increasing savings when they receive a salary increase (27% vs. 16%)
Respondents who recalled seeing or hearing the Feed the Pig PSAs were more likely than those who had not to report that in the past six months, they have taken action to learn more about managing their finances. Reported activities include:
o Discussing ways to save money with friends and family (84% vs. 67%)
o Visiting a website to get more information about how to save money (62% vs. 34%)
o Calling a toll-free number to get more information (32% vs. 4%)
Side note: this interviewer slipped an extra $20 in her piggy bank after writing this piece.
We’d like to say we sat down with Benjamin but good bacon would have gotten hurt in the process, so instead we caught up with him via email and asked all the sizzling questions we could come up with.
AG: Does it hurt having that slot in your head?
BB: Only when it’s empty.
AG: When we think of financial literacy we think of you but what are some other resources for those interested in learning how and why to save?
BB: Of course I recommend my website, www.feedthepig.org as well as another financial literacy website from AICPA, www.360financialliteracy.org. In addition the state CPA societies have wonderful financial literacy sites and offer programs in their communities. Here’s a sampling:
Texas Society of CPAs: http://www.valueyourmoney.org/
California Society of CPAs: http://www.calcpa.org/Content/Financial_Literacy.aspx
Virginia Society of CPAs: http://www.vscpa.com/Content/financial_fitness/default.aspx
AG: Do you read any accounting blogs and if so, which do you like?
BB: Do I sense a leading question? You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on Benjamin Bankes.
AG: Fine, we won’t send you a FREE I heart Jr Deputy Accountant bumper sticker then. Moving on, even though financial literacy is important, we all deserve a splurge every now and then, especially if we are being diligent about saving our money. How do you splurge?
BB: I put ice cubes in my tap water.
AG: Sounds like you missed your calling, you would make a great CPA. Lastly, are you going to be visiting Capitol Hill any time soon? Seems like America as a whole has really embraced your message but Washington could really use your help. You can stay at my house to save a few bucks on a hotel room.
BB: I don’t have any trips planned right now, high gas prices and all, but follow me on Twitter (@feedthepig) and I’ll let you know when I’m there.
We have a landslide on our hands. Not only are most people we talk to disturbed by the suited swine, the winning caption was a clear choice.
With over 55% of the vote. Now, just for the sake of argument, anyone could wear the costumes to the recruiting events, people, not just partners. Embrace the truthiness.
Thanks for voting!
We don’t know who the hell the AICPA has working in the marketing department but they need to get in touch. We have some questions.
Below is Benjamin Bankes at the New York City Marathon. If you’re not familiar with Ben, he is the spokesswine for the AICPA’s “Feed the Pig” campaign.
We’ve presented three photos for your caption suggestions. See the rest after the jump.
Rules are the same: Submit possible captions for all the photos in the comments. We’ll choose our favorites — with preference given to those with an accounting bent — and then let you vote for the best one.