Accounting Fun Facts

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Fun fact in accounting

Fun Accounting Facts you may not have known about!

Accounting tends to be much of an afterthought in today’s society. Maybe seen as a little boring? Try running a business without it, or see how well your own household finances fair neglecting it. However, accounting is a discipline that crucial to our economy and way of life. Accounting can be traces back to our earliest of civilizations and writing.

Cuneiform First writing

Kushim (Sumerian:KU. ŠIM) is the earliest known recorded name of a person in writing and it turns out he was an accountant. The name “Kushim” is found on several Uruk period (c. 3400–3000 BC) clay tablets used to record transactions of barley.

 

The word ‘accounting’ comes from Old French ‘acont’ meaning ‘account, reckoning or terminal payment’. It comes from the Latin word computus, which means as you may have guessed a computation or “calculation”. And yes the term computer comes for this root word. Kinda cool.

 

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Luca Pacioli

Luca Pacioli (c.1447 – 1517) was the first person to publish detailed material on the double-entry system of accounting. He was an Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar who also collaborated with his friend Leonardo da Vinci (who also took math lessons from Pacioli).

It is said that Luca Pacioli published works for the double entry accounting system based on procedures in use by Venetian merchants during the Italian Renaissance. Most of the accounting principles and cycles described by Luca are still in use to this very day. His documentation includes journals, ledgers, year-end closing dates, trial balances, cost accounting, accounting ethics, Rule 72 (developed 100 years earlier than Napier and Briggs), and extensive work on the double entry accounting system. 

Pacioli warned that you should not end a workday until your debits equal your credits (This reduces the possibility of errors of principle.)

Both of the terms debit and credit have Latin roots. The term debit comes from the word debitum, meaning “what is due,” and credit comes from creditum, defined as “something entrusted to another or a loan”.


Ancient Rome

Modern Accounting

Abraham Lincoln

Income tax was originally introduced as a temporary measure to finance the northern troops. President Lincoln signed into law a revenue-raising measure to help pay for Civil War expenses. The measure created a Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the nation’s first income tax. It levied a 3 percent tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a 5 percent tax on incomes of more than $10,000.

Accountants have been woven into the fabric of the FBI since its creation in the summer of 1908, when a dozen bank examiners were included among the original force of 34 investigators. Today, around 15 percent of agents employed by the Bureau qualify as special agent accountants.


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The FBI accountants played a huge part in bringing down Al Capone and continue to help white collar criminals accountable. The Forensic Accountant (FoA) role is one of the most vital and sought-after careers in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Forensic accountants use their accounting skills, auditing, and investigative techniques to research and follow the systems through which money may be funneled or laundered by terrorists, spies, and criminals involved in financial wrongdoing.

Can you say Double Bubble? Walter E. Diemer (January 8, 1904 – January 8, 1998) was an American accountant who, in 1928, invented bubble gum. Although an accountant by trade, Diemer liked to experiment with gum recipes in his spare time. In doing so, he accidentally stumbled upon a unique recipe. The gum was pink because it was the only food coloring in the factory, which is the reason most bubble gum today is pink.[1]


Bubble gum

Compared to standard chewing gum, the gum was less sticky, would not stick to the face, and yet stretched more easily. Diemer saw the possibilities, and using a salt water taffy wrapping machine, wrapped one hundred pieces of his creation to test market in a local mom-and-pop candy store. Priced at one penny a piece, the gum sold out in one day.

Celebrity Accountants
Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger

It’s hard to imagine, but Mick Jagger was an avid student of finance and accounting at the London School of Economics. Apparently, this was his fall back plan in case his side gig singing in a band didn’t work out. This just goes to show how accountants—even would-be accountants—are very practical-minded!

 


Robert Plant

You can probably agree that the British rock band Led Zeppelin wouldn’t have been the same without lead singer Robert Plant, but that’s almost the way it turned out. Plant was two weeks into a career as a chartered accountant before he bailed to go back to college and pursue music, of all things.

 

Robert Plant
Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart’s droll sense of humor entertained fans for decades. But before his days of stand up and acting in his self-named TV show, he worked as an accountant at gypsum company giant, United States Gypsum. Apparently, Bob Newhart was destined to succeed at anything he put his hand to.

 


William Scott Elam

From Accountant to Hollywood Villain
Born William Scott Elam in 1920, Miami, Arizona, the man who would become known as Jack Elam had an unconventional path to Hollywood stardom. His early life wasn't steeped in the glitz and glamour of the silver screen.
Childhood and Unexpected Tragedy: Details about Elam's childhood are scarce, but we know he didn't have a typical Hollywood upbringing. He wasn't groomed for acting or nurtured with dreams of stardom. Instead, he likely faced the realities of a small-town life. One defining incident tragically shaped his physical appearance. In a childhood fight with a fellow Boy Scout, Elam was stabbed in the eye with a pencil, leaving him with permanent damage and a distinctive misaligned eye that would later become a recognizable feature on screen.

 

william Scott Elam

John Grisham

John Grisham has spent decades behind a desk, but not always writing courtroom novels. Nope. He acquired a BS from Mississippi State University and set his sights on a career as a tax lawyer, before eventually turning to trial law. His real-life tax and legal experience makes his novels incredibly realistic and, quite frankly, fun to read.

 

John Grisham
JANET JACKSON

Janet Jackson

It may come as a shock to learn that Janet Jackson studied to become an accountant in her early days at college. It’s very likely that, since she has such a natural instinct for showmanship, she would have made headlines even then.

 


Kenny G

Saxophonist Kenny G may have been motivated to keep his long locks trimmed had he pursued his planned career as an accountant. Graduating from the University of Washington with degree in hand, he was all set to crunch numbers until a record deal enabled him to spend his life in music.

 

Kenny G.
John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller

Before founding Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller worked as an accountant. He started out as a bookkeeper at the tender age of 16, working hard and long into the wee hours of the night. This experience served him well as he eventually became an accountant and, subsequently, one of the richest men in history.

 


Gibby Haynes

Gibby Haynes is the lead vocalist of a cult psychedelic band (whose name we won’t mention here), as well as a former accountant. Surprisingly, Haynes had a promising career as an accountant until he discovered his wilder side. The singer was selected “Accounting Student of the Year” at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he studied accounting. He also got a position at Peat Marwick, one of the area’s most prestigious accounting companies.

 

Gibby Haynes
Arthur Blank

Arthur Blank

Arthur Blank, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, has a variety of financial skills to assist him manage his wealth. After graduating from Babson College in 1963 with a degree in Business Administration and Accounting, he began working for Arthur Young and Company as a senior accountant. Blank’s current net worth is believed to be $1.3 billion, making him one of the wealthiest ex-accountants in history.

 


Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef was a character actor best remembered for his performances in classic westerns such as The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and For a Few Dollars More. Before that, he also worked as an accountant and served in the US Navy as a minesweeper.

 

Lee van Cleef
Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney

Best known for her long stint as a Saturday Night Live cast member in the early 1990s, Julia Sweeney is also known from her work in hit films, The Coneheads and Pulp Fiction. Surprisingly, though, Sweeney previously worked as an accountant for Columbia Pictures and United Artists after studying economics at the University of Washington.

 


Pete Falk

Falk trained as a certified public accountant and worked as an efficiency specialist for the State of Connecticut’s Budget Bureau before finding success in acting. Peter Falk had a lengthy career in television and cinema, but he is most remembered for his portrayal as Columbo’s rumpled investigator and the grandfather in the Princess Bride.

 

Pete Falk

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