Or, Accountants Really, Really Don’t Mince Words
I’ve been doing some research in-and-around accountancy, including some attempts to learn actual methods. It is what it is; mainly what I’ve noticed is that authors in the field like to get ahead of you on the question of how excruciating (supposedly) their subject can be.
For example, there’s the almost-a-Bond-villain approach:
“Let’s begin with candor. Do you expect to enjoy this introductory course in financial accounting?”
~Clyde P. Stickney, Financial accounting: an introduction to concepts, methods, and uses, 8th ed., The Dryden Press series in accounting (Fort Worth: Dryden Press, 1997).
And the overly-descriptive but also passive-aggressive horror-movie gambit…
“If for many people history is boring and all about dead people, why produce a Companion to the history of a discipline that is widely perceived as a mind-numbing activity performed by the living dead – cold, colourless number crunchers? In this volume we hope to show that accounting history is much more than describing the content of crumbling ledgers, the scrutiny of faded balance sheets and charting impenetrable methods for recording transactions in the past. While we don’t promise to excite readers with historical tales of lust, debauchery, and murder, we do hope to reveal the manner in which the seemingly innocuous practice of accounting has pervaded human existence in numerous and fascinating ways.”
~J. R. Edwards and Stephen P. Walker, eds., The Routledge companion to accounting history, Routledge companions (London ; New York: Routledge, 2009).
But dramatic introduction hooks aside, it’s not really as bad as all that. Money is interesting!
Image: Anton Graff, “Self-Portrait with Eye-Shade,” 1813, Wikimedia Commons