What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions ‘accountant’?
Is it numbers, maths, taxes, nerdy, boring, spreadsheets?
Do you image an accountant as a scrawny person, with eyesight so bad, they need thick glasses lens?
Not going to lie, I used to think that myself. Actually, on top of that, I used to also think they didn’t have a life and walked around thinking about maths and business.
Well, now that I know, I know those were my misconceptions.
# Common Misconception 1 – Accountants excel at and love Maths
Ok so, firstly, accounting is not all about numbers. Analysing, evaluating and advising skills are also required, as well as many other skills.
In fact, as you may know, accountants do not always use their mental math skills when doing calculations. They use spreadsheets and calculators.
Actually, many accountants hate maths and I personally know some that would stay away from it if they could.
# Common Misconception 2 – Accountants have the worst taste of fashion
Hopefully I’m not the only one who thought this.
However, if you put accountants and other office people from other sectors, you will not be able to tell the difference. Facts. Meaning either all office people have very good taste, or they all have very bad taste, or they have no other option. I’ll go with the third.
Apart from in the office, accountants actually have very good fashion taste outside of work. For instance, which of the three people below is an accountant?
Answer – all 3 of them! Ok, maybe those are the wrong examples, but my point is that their job does not define their fashion sense.
So in conclusion, I guess anyone can be an accountant, even the most model material person, which brings me to my next point.
# Common Misconception 3 – Accountants are boring
Someone who only thinks about calculations and business would not be someone very fun to hang around with right?
But in reality, accountants are literally like every other person you will meet. You will find the most humorous of people as an accountant. As they say – never judge an accountant by its cover. Or was it a book? Hmmn..
And, just as a side note, did you know, former boxer Chuck Liddell trained to be an accountant?
# Common Misconception 4 – All Accountants deal with tax
I always associated accountants with tax. But, then I learnt that not all accountants do tax advice and calculations.
Actually most don’t. Because that’s a whole different bonus qualification. Funny right? (Sorry for the disappointment).
# Common Misconception 5 – Accountants are too expensive
Ok let’s just agree for a while that accountants are expensive.
But then what’s more expensive – a HMRC issue for poor management and late returns, or an accountant who will ensure all that stress is out of the way, plus will do all the book-keeping and will advise you how to make your business grow in the most efficient way, along with offering other services?
I would personally go with the second option in my opinion.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.