Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact of the matter is that accountants remain to be an essential element of the running of any country, on both a microcosmic and macrocosmic scale. However, accountancy is not necessarily a word that has traditionally been synonymous with the word “fun” nor even, perhaps, has it been associated with the word “exciting”. To some—albeit, even most of the general population, accounting may be more likened with the word “boring” than “adventurous” or “exciting”. However, people may be surprised to learn of some interesting facts that surround the nature of accountancy and even of some of those industry professionals who practice the dutiful profession. Here are 5 fun and interesting facts about accounting.
1. It’s a word as old as time
Perhaps not quite, but the etymology of the word does reach back a very long way. The word used to describe accountancy was translated from Latin origin and was then derived from the Old French word “aconter” which was a law term that was later adapted into the more modernized term “compter”. This means “to count”. In English, the word ‘accountant’ was originally spelled ‘accomptant’ but over time spelling and speech opted to drop the ‘p’.
There is also a popular misconception around the term “bean counter”. This is a term that has been used to refer to a particularly strident or persnickety accountant. Many people believe that this is a term that dates back centuries; however, the term did not actually start to circulate until the late 1970s’.
2. Archaeologists have discovered ancient clay accounting tokens
The tokens which originated from ancient Iran, were dated to be from 4000- 3000 B.C.E. The tokens were found in the centers of Godin Tepe and Tepe Yahya, and were discovered in ancient storage rooms. The accounting tokens are believed to have come into existence at a time of socioeconomic upheaval in ancient Iran; the tokens were used as a bookkeeping measures by local leaders and priests who sought to help remedy the unequal distribution of wealth that was pervasive at the time.
3. Accountants help catch bad guys.
It’s true! While accountants don’t typical accompany police officers on ride-alongs, they do comprise a substantial part of the nation’s police and military forces and play a very significant role. Allegedly, the FBI has over 1000 accountants that are considered to be “special agents”. When you take a minute to consider the kind of classified information these special agent accountants may have access to in order to perform their jobs, their high-profile special agent job title makes sense.
Perhaps among the most famous and high-profile cases that were solved, in large part, due to FBI accountants, was the arrest and conviction of the infamous Al Capone. Despite Al Capone being widely immortalized for his notorious involvement with prohibition bootlegging and mobster criminal activity, it was his conviction of tax evasion that led to his incarceration in 1931.
4. Some celebrities began careers in the field of accounting.
The entertainment industry sure would have been disappointed if these individuals did decide to pursue careers as accounts, so it’s probably a good thing that they didn’t. WWE wrestler, D-Lo Brown; and Ultimate Fighter, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell both began careers as chartered accountants prior to achieving their celebrity and formidable fighter status. Also, Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger, and author, John Grisham also studied accounting at some point in their young lives. Though, good luck calling up Mr. Jagger to see if he will help you with your tax return.
5. It was an accountant who invented bubble gum.
His name was Walter E. Diemer, and he worked for Fleer Chewing Gum as an accountant. Walter also had a flair for inventing, and enjoyed experimenting with new chewing gum recipes in his spare time. In 1928, Diemer stumbled across a new recipe that would later become the original bubble gum and then go on to be named Dubble Bubble. Diemer discovered that his new recipe enabled the gum to be more flexible but less sticky than typical chewing gum. Diemer decided to make up some samples of the new gum recipe and sell them at a local soda shop. It is said that the original bubble gum flavour was pink because that was the colour of food dye that Diemer had on hand.
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