When you speak of accountants, the temptation is often irresistible to think of someone in a three-piece suit, seated behind an office desk, in an air-conditioned room, punching furiously at the keyboard, reconciling accounts, and spending the whole day sorting out financial records.
Maybe you think of an accountant that is a cool dude, pale-looking from years of working in a grey cubicle within a window-less building. He is an excel wizard and most likely a math whiz who never stops talking about numbers, taxes, and accounts.
Truthfully, you may be right – but just to an extent. There’s so much more to the picture.
Over the years, individuals who trained as accountants and, in some instances, practised as one has distinguished themselves in other fields outside the accounting industry and won for themselves garlands of fame and fortune as well as glory and honour on the global stage in diverse areas of human endeavours.
For your entertainment, we thought we’d share a brief account (pun intended) of some CPAs for whom the whole world was a stage. Individuals who, rather than being “ordinary” tax accountants and CPAs, chose to break the mould and prove stereotypes wrong.
1. Janet Jackson – From Counting Cash to Counting Grammys
The multiple Grammy Awards winner is one person you will hardly connect with in the accounting profession. However, the tenth and last child of the famous Jackson family studied accounting in her early days at college.
Today, she is a force to reckon with in the music industry. A voice that won’t be silenced all through ages.
2. J. P. Morgan – Took his knowledge to the Bank
As a child, J. P. Morgan suffered from rheumatic fever. But that couldn’t hold him from becoming one of America’s greatest industrialists.
A foremost banker and financier, Morgan was highly instrumental in saving America’s economy from the collapse of the 1907 Bankers’ Panic.
With all the plaudits attributed to Morgan down the ages, it is fascinating to know that the illustrious career he had in the banking sector was founded on a background of an accounting career he started at the age of 20.
3. John D. Rockefeller Sr. – From Bookkeeper to Standard Oil Founder
One of the wealthiest Americans of all time and the richest person in modern history, the Standard Oil founder once worked as an accountant before striking gold in the oil industry.
He started out as a bookkeeper at age 16, where he garnered quality experience that stayed with him throughout a lifetime of business success and philanthropy.
4. Thomas J. Pickard – From BBA to FBI
The former acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) trained as an accountant at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn with a BBA in accounting before he started his career as a Special Agent with the FBI.
He also received his MBA in taxation and held a CPA license. No doubt, his accounting background played a great role in his remarkable career with the FBI.
5. Bob Newhart – Proving Accountants have Humour
Born George Robert Newhart, the American comedy legend, who remains a darling of millions of people across the world, had worked as an accountant in his early days.
Before breaking into fame as a comedian, Newhart worked for United States Gypsum as an accountant.
6. John Grisham – Telling Stories of “the Firm”
Bestselling author and former American lawmaker John Grisham graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Mississippi.
The prolific novelist of 47 consecutive #1 bestselling thrillers took the literary world by storm with one of his many classics, The Firm – probably reminiscent of his accounting background and “first love.”
7. Kenny G – Numbers were Music to his Ears
Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, more widely known as Kenny G, is a music maestro. He’s an accomplished saxophonist, composer, and producer.
However, beneath the fabric of musical stardom is a bedrock of accounting. In fact, Kenny G graduated with honours with a major in accounting from the University of Washington, Seattle.
From Seattle, and with an accounting degree in hand, he went ahead to carve his own niche and make a name for himself.
8. Julia Sweeney – From CPA to SNL
A famous name on the silver screen, especially as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1994, Julia Sweeney is not your regular accountant – that’s if you ever knew that she was one.
However, Julia did practice as an accountant. Before becoming an actress and comedian, she pursued a career as an accountant with Columbia Pictures and United Artists.
9. Alexandre Bilodeau – Accounting Après Ski
Canadian freestyle skier who boasts of multiple laurels attached to his name studied accounting and still has a flourishing accounting career.
A graduate of John Molson School of Business of Concordia University, Bilodeau won his first Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada.
The 2019 Canada’s Sports Hall of Famer pursued his accounting career after retiring from active sports, working with KPMG.
10. Navdeep Bains – Accounting and Innovation go Hand in Hand
Bains is a Canadian politician and was, until recently, the country’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry – an office he held from 2015 to 2021.
Besides being a political office holder, Bains earned an MBA from the University of Windsor and held the prestigious FCPA designation.
The list continues…
UNLEASH YOUR POTENTIAL WITH PROVISION CPA
Despite being in different fields and belonging to different eras, all individuals mentioned above have one thing in common – they gave a voice to their creative, ingenious, and enterprising sides. We believe entrepreneurial accountants have these skills and, when applied, whether it’s to our small business clients or other industries, have the potential to change the world.
If you’re a CPA or a tax accountant with a desire to bring meaning, impact, and a significant difference to people and business owners while practising as an accountant, Provision CPA might just be the right fit for you.
For over two decades and with tremendous success, we have consistently redefined the accounting profession and pushed beyond the accountant’s stereotypes by providing meaning and impact to our clients.
From the city of Vancouver, Canada, our team of tax accountants and CPAs have mastered the art of providing accounting, taxes, and financial strategy to Canadian entrepreneurs with an overwhelmingly positive impact on Canada’s economy.
We are more than the regular tax accountants and CPAs. We are accountants with a personality! We are entrepreneurial accountants!
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