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How Much Do You Know About Accountants? 101 Facts About Accountants


We bet you think you know everything there is to know about accountants, but guess what? There’s a ton we just know you don’t!  We know finding facts and figures about accountants can be time-consuming and frustrating, so we put together this list of the top 101 facts, notes, and statistics so you can easily reference them and refer back to them any time in the future.  This space is constantly changing, so if you see a fact that is not up-to-date, feel free to let us know. And if you know a stat that we should add, let us know that too! An accountant is a person who works in the field of accounting or accountancy.

Accountants who have passed their professional associations' certification exams can use titles like Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant, or Certified Public Accountant.

2. The first recorded name in history belonged to an accountant.

The first written text in history, more than 5,000 years ago, is believed to belong to an accountant who was making records of supplies. It read, “A total of 29,086 measures of barley were received over the course of 37 months. Signed, Kushim.”

3. Bubble-gum was invented by an accountant.

Walter E. Diemer was an accountant and the inventor of bubble-gum. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was working as an accountant at Fleer in 1926, when the company president sought to cut costs by making their own gum base.

4. ‘Bookkeeping’ is the only English word to contain three sets of double letters back-to-back!

5. FBI Accountants were the only ones who could bring down Al Capone (American mobster and crime boss).

Upon joining the United States Treasury Department Intelligence Unit in 1920, the accountant, Frank J. Wilson would earn a reputation throughout prohibition as a thorough investigator of tax returns and income. After reviewing approximately two million documents, he yielded the much-needed information to break Al Capone’s case.

6. Before a standard numbering system was created, ancient accountants kept track of animals and grain with clay tokens.

7. The father of accounting, Luca Pacioli taught Leonardo da Vinci.

8. Accountants control the ballots for the Oscars.

Surprisingly, PricewaterhouseCoopers is the accounting firm in charge of tallying the votes.

9. The word ‘accounting’ comes from the French ‘compter’ or ‘computare’ meaning to count or score.

10. Income tax was originally introduced as a temporary measure to finance the war against France.

On 9 January 1799, British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduced income tax to help cover the cost of his country’s wars with France.

11. Income tax was originally introduced as a temporary measure to finance the war against France.

On 9 January 1799, British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduced income tax to help cover the cost of his country’s wars with France.

12. The words ‘debits’ and ‘credits’ come from the Latin words ‘debitum’ and ‘creditum’.
13. Mick Jagger, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and comedian Eddie Izzard are just a few of the famous names who worked in accounting before their showbiz careers took off.

14. St. Matthew the Evangelist is the patron saint of accountants, as well as bookkeepers, tax collectors, bookkeepers, stockbrokers and bankers.
15. Monty Python frequently poked fun at accountants.

A possible reason for this is that John Cleese’s father wanted him to be an accountant; he was due to start work for Grace, Derbyshire & Todd Chartered Accountants in Bristol.

16. Accounting has been around for millennia. Tokens dating back 7000 years were discovered in ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq, Turkey and Syria).

These are thought to be the earliest documented records of goods received and traded.

17. Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli is regarded as the father of accounting.

He published the first book on double entry accounting in 1494. Leonardo da Vinci was one of his students.

18. Over 2,000 accounting specialists are employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

19. November 10 is recognized as International Accounting Day.

20. The first Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board examination was administered in New York in 1896.

21. Employment of Accountants is projected to grow 11% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

22. Staff accountants with 1-3 years of experience are expected to see a compensation increase of 4.1%, with an average starting salary of $50,000 to $64,250.

23. Contrary to popular beliefs, accountants use basic arithmetic and simple equations while computers do most of the math. 

Accountants analyze and interpret results. 

24. Before a standard numbering system was developed, ancient accountants used clay tokens to keep track of animals and grain.

25. Nike co-founder, Phil Knight, was a certified public accountant. 

Nike was created as part of his MBA project. 

26. The winner of Miss USA 2013 pageant was an accountant.

27. Young certified accountant’s salary is ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 while seasoned accountants and top management officers receive as high as $200,000 per annum.

28. Accounting offers a stable rate of employment amidst economic fluctuations compared to other professions.

29. Accounting is one of the top 10 safest jobs to have according to Info Corner.

30. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors held approximately 1.3 million jobs in the United States in 2014.

Among the top five industries employing these professionals are the government and the manufacturing industry. Accounting and related services top the list, employing 26 percent of accountants.

31. According to a survey, Accountants are generally happy and satisfied.

Accountemps did a survey indicating that seven of 10 accountants would choose accounting all over again if they had a chance to pick their profession anew.

32. What accountants like most about their jobs: solving problems. 

Working with numbers, making recommendations, learning new technologies, and working with people are other top pleasures of the job.

33. In May 2014, the median yearly wage for an accountant was $65,940, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The top 10 percent of accountants pocketed more than $115,950, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $40,850.

34. If you want to go where the highest-paying accounting jobs are, head first to the District of Columbia. Accountants living there earn a mean of $90,220 yearly, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Rounding out the top-five list are New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts.

35. You can work for virtually any employer when you have an accounting degree.

Prime example: more than 2,000 accounting special agents work for the FBI.

36. Aside from the musicians, actor Bob Newhart, comedian Eddie Izzard, author John Grisham and boxing champion Chuck Liddell also rocked the numbers.

37. CPAs spend an average of 1,700 hours hand-counting the Academy Award ballots.

After the 2017 Best Picture mistake, new protocols have been established.

38. Scotland was the first nation to establish chartered accountancy practices.

The Royal Charter introduced the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) in the year 1854, and this is still one of the leading institutes for advanced accountancy courses.

39. The Romans were said to be obsessed with accountancy, they had a defined and detailed practice where finances were recorded and balanced daily.

The Romans were one of the first people to have announced public expenditure for Emperor Augustus.

40. In 1899, Christine Ross became the first female CPA in the US.

Her clients included wealthy women and people who worked in the business and fashion industry—she certainly knew the value of niching up.

41. The word "accountant" was formerly written in English as accomptant, pronounced without the "p."

Over time, "accomptant" gradually changed both in pronunciation and in spelling to its present-day form.

42. In 1494, Italian mathematician and "father of accounting" Luca Pacioli wrote the first book on double-entry accounting entitled Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita.

 In this book, he notes that one "should not go to sleep until the debits equal the credits.”

43. Located at the Ohio State University, the Accounting Hall of Fame was founded in 1950 for honoring accountants who have made or are making significant contributions to the advancement of accounting. 

44. J.P. Morgan, Phil Knight and John D. Rockefeller began their careers as bookkeepers.

45. Many believe the term “bean counter,” used to describe a nitpicky accountant, dates back centuries.

In fact, it has only been used since the 1970s.

46. Since the establishment of the Accounting Hall of Fame at the Ohio State University nearly 70 years ago, 93 accountants have been elected. 

The Accounting Hall of Fame, now hosted by the American Accounting Association, honors those who have made significant contributions to the profession.

47.The candidates who took the first CPA examination had to answer 10 questions on Accounting Theory.

The examination was proctored in New York on December 15,1896.

48. In 1921, John W. Cromwell, Jr. became the first African American CPA.

Because of CPA requirements, it took him 15 years to become a CPA after graduating college.

49. Accountants have always had their fair share of options when it comes to their career.

For instance, public accountants are employed by government agencies, private individuals and large-scale businesses. These people deal with auditing and taxes, along with accounting.

50. Internal auditors have their complete attention on the firm’s finances to keep an eye on mismanagement. External auditors pretty much perform similar tasks but are paid by an altogether different business.

51. Most accountants also have a specialisation.

While some of them teach higher education courses, others take up work in other sectors, such as health care, risk management and assurance services. Many accountants prefer to specialise in certain areas, which is why you’ll see that certain accountants specialise in things like chartered management accountancy.

52. The Great Depression led to the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In 1934 the SEC was formed. All publicly-traded companies were required to file periodic reports with the Commission which had been? certified by members of the accounting profession.

53. ICAS is the oldest professional body of chartered accountants.

The ICAS was founded in 1854 by Royal Charter, making it the oldest professional body of chartered accountants. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland is the world’s first professional body of Chartered Accountants. They act as a thought leader and voice of the professional business community.

54. The exam to become a Certified Public Accountant is a rigorous 4 part exam. Although it isn’t necessary to be a CPA to get a job with your accounting degree, companies are likelier to hire a CPA rather than not.

The exam is notoriously difficult – the average pass rate in 2014 was 49%. Don’t let this discourage you though, retaking the exam is common. In fact, 42% of the people that took the exam in 2014 had taken the exam before.

55. 152,746 accounting jobs were posted between June 2014 and July 2015. 

The amount of jobs in the field is expected to grow by 13% through 2022. To put that into perspective, the average job growth rate between now and 2024 is 7% across all occupations.

56. Of the 1.3 million accountants and auditors working in 2014, 26% worked in client services, which includes tax preparation and bookkeeping for companies or individuals.

57. In 1977 only 28% of all accounting majors were women, but now account for 52% of accounting majors.

58. Only 46% of recent graduate hires are women according to a survey by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants).

However, when compared to the finance industry, which typically has a female employment rate of 17 to 23%, accounting is more evenly balanced.

59. Almost 90% of the accountant believes that a cultural shift in the Accounting industry is leading to technological changes.

60. 60% of companies aren’t happy about their current Accounting & Finance process.

61. To satisfy client needs, more than 58% of accounting firms invest in accounting solutions.

62. Top four accounting firms KPMG, PWC, EY, and Deloitte have earned a combined revenue of $56 billion from the U.S. market in 2018.

63. 69% of CFOs are using spreadsheets to generate financial reports.

64. 30% of SMBs believe their accountants are their best advisors.

65. 21% of small business owners think that they don’t have sufficient knowledge about their companies accounting and finance.

66. More than 64% of SMBs are using accounting software.

67. 70% of small-business accountants see their advisory roles becoming more strategic.

68. 58% of SMBs don’t expect to meet with their respective accountants face-to-face.

69. 74% of C-level accounting executives are certain that the emergence of the cashless society will have the greatest long-term effect after 2025.

70. More than 42% of SMBs expect their accountants to offer business advice. 

71. Most of the small businesses outsource their tax preparation (71%), payroll (50%), auditing (48%), tax planning (30%), personal finances (16%), and bookkeeping (14%).

72. More than 70k people are working in the Accounting Payable industry in the UK alone. 

73. Best-in-class enterprises are processing a single invoice 71 percent faster than all others.

74. Only 14% of paper invoices are inputted on the same day they are received.

75. Accounts payable software can save up to 1 hour a day for your company. 

76. Account payable automation can cost an average of $16 less per invoice.

77. It takes 6 to 18 months for an accounting payable software to pay-off.

78. Companies that are using cloud-based accounting can generate 15% of more in revenue.

79. However, 67% of companies today want to shift their accounting process into the cloud.

Some of the benefits cloud technology provides include improved service offerings and client collaboration. These tools enable businesses to save time and dedicate themselves to parts of their job that require interaction with their clients and managing and empowering internal teams.

80. More than 90% of accountants said that using cloud base accounting software brings a big difference in their business process.

81. 50% of the accounting executives believe that automation will have a great impact on the accounting business over the next 30 years. 

82. 80% of professionals believe that AI in accountancy gets them to advantage while maintaining their cash flow, payroll, and tax management. 

83. Accounting processes like tax preparation, payroll management, and auditing will be all automated by 2022. 

84. A survey revealed 21% of small and midsized businesses in the US have applied an accounting system with payments and invoicing products.

85. The most intriguing accounting challenges of SMBs are accounts receivables/collections (51%), cash flow (44%), paperwork (33%), closing the books monthly (28%), and payroll.

86. The global number of auditors will grow from 1.2 million to a vast number of 1.44 million by the end of 2020.

87. It needs almost 10 hours for 26% of US companies to handle tax-related issues. 

On the other hand, 40% of businesses claim that they can add up to 40 hours every year. 

88. In the next 8 years, the total value of global accounting software industries will reach a magnificent $11.8 billion. 

89. Bookkeeping doesn’t really include a book.

Bookkeepers used to work with actual books, but now everything is done with software. Maybe you knew this before starting your accounting program, or maybe it was a surprise, but using computers and software programs is a huge part of learning and doing accounting work.

89. You still have to take English in accounting programs.

What most people don’t realize is that when you study accounting, you still have to take general education classes, including English, writing, humanities, law, ethics, and social science.

90. There’s three official accounting agencies in Australia: CPA (Chartered Practicing Accountants), CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) and the IPA (Institute of Public Accountants). 

Anyone who works in accounting will be a member of one of these bodies. 

91. As of April 22, 2016, there are approximately 665,000 actively licensed CPAs in the US.

92. The unemployment rate for auditors and accountants is only 2.2%, much lower than the national rate for all occupations at 4.3%.

93. The accounting software market is expected to reach $11.8 billion by 2026.

Starting in 2018, the accounting software market has been expanding at an 8.6% YOY rate, with North America being the largest contributor to this growth, in revenue terms. The migration to cloud services and the integration of accounting software with mobile devices were the main reasons for these impressive accounting software statistics.

94. About 49% of accountants want to automate number crunching and data entry.

    Close to half of all accountants would like to automate small tasks such as email and diary management, data entry, and number crunching. An additional 18% would also like to automate the interaction with their clients to process simple requests. Additionally, automation would not only save accountants’ time, but it will also decrease staff turnover, which tends to become high with tedious, repetitive tasks.

95. RPA has decreased the time of contractual processing and auditing from several months to just weeks.

Robotic process automation has enabled accountants to discover areas of redundancy and increase their efficiency. As a result, larger companies that use AI have increased their efficiency and can offer higher-level services, and have in that way started outpacing smaller accounting businesses. 

96. 15% of the FBI’s staff are accountants.

As the latest accounting statistics report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been employing accountants since its foundation back in 1908. 

97. 83% of accountants say companies are more demanding these days.

In the 2018 Sage accounting stats, most accounting professionals admitted that clients are more demanding compared to five years ago. More than two-thirds of the participants (67%) agreed that the profession has never been as competitive as now, with the accounting job requirements growing by the year.

98.  72% of self-employed contractors do their bookkeeping and accounting errands without professional help.

A survey by AccountancyAge in 2017 discovered that most self-employed contractors don’t use any professional bookkeeping help. About 18% responded that they get some assistance, while 7% use specialist accountants. An interesting detail in these bookkeeping statistics is that 2% of all participants said family and friends help them with accounting. Still, the job outlook for accountants has continuously been positive.

99. Accounting is ranked as #42 on the U.S. News’ 100 Best Jobs list.

Flexibility, upward mobility, and stress level are among the factors considered in the ranking process. The U.S. News bookkeeping industry statistics also show that accounting has high upward mobility and an average stress level. Flexibility-wise, it offers above-average work vs. life balance and an alternative working schedule. Accountants stateside further have good prospects to get promotions, make more money, and improve.

100. Task preparation (71%) and payroll (50%) are the two most outsourced tasks of SMBs.

In its 2016 study, Wasp Barcode discovered that most SMBs outsource task preparation and payroll when it comes to accounting tasks. According to the same bookkeeping industry statistics, these are followed by auditing (48%) and tax planning (30%). Last on the list come personal finances with 16% and bookkeeping with 14%. So, it’s good to have these figures in mind when trying to calculate your accountant job outlook.

101. Accounting is ranked as #42 on the U.S. News’ 100 Best Jobs list.

Flexibility, upward mobility, and stress level are among the factors considered in the ranking process. The U.S. News bookkeeping industry statistics also show that accounting has high upward mobility and an average stress level. Flexibility-wise, it offers above-average work vs. life balance and an alternative working schedule. Accountants stateside further have good prospects to get promotions, make more money, and improve.



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