Literature and insights

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 20 June 2008



Evans, S. (2008), "Literature and insights", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 21 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Literature and insights

Article Type: Literature and insights From: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Volume 21, Issue 5

In a recent article that dealt with the career of US comedian, Steve Martin, there was a description of his deliberate image management. “Martin settled early on his look: clean-shaven, with a neat suit to match his neatly-parted hair”, it said. Should we be surprised that the author then says of Martin:

His reputation is a paradox: in the wildest and craziest decade of US pop culture, the only figure to emerge with the official tag of “wild and crazy” was someone with the disposition of an accountant.

Ah, the old stereotype. Who could be milder and more sensible than an accountant?

Here is another one. In 1975, celebrated English musician and songwriter Ray Davies created an album titled Soap Opera:

The conceptual conceit here was that a delusional accountant named Norman believed he was Davies; thus, live shows depicted “Norman” (oh go on, then: Ray) acting out this fantasy by singing Davies’s compositions (Cairns, 2007, p. R6).

Okay, I get it! The complete opposite of a charming and talented artist is (drumroll, please)… an accountant. It is not much consolation that Davies’ album bombed.

There are more like this, but you get the drift. It is bad press in anyone’s language, and it does not take any real imagination to resort to such stereotypes. I rather prefer poet and philosopher Valery’s (2006) statement that “a business man is a hybrid of a dancer and a calculator”. While he is not directly specifying accountants, at least that allows some of us connected with the world of commerce some artistic expression and even grace. On ya, Paul!

If you care to submit your own writing for possible use in these pages, please e-mail me at: I will even look at the wild and crazy submissions – promise!

Steve EvansLiterary Editor


Cairns, D. (2007), “Ironing out the Kinks”, The Australian, 10 November, p. R6

Valery, P. (2006), Paul Valery Quotes,, available at:

Further Reading

Anderson, S. (2007), “The square route of stand-up”, The Weekend Australian, Review, p. 7, 29-30 December, originally from: New York Magazine

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