Accounting can be an amazing profession, not only for those who love finance and numbers, but also for those who love adventure, excitement, and fame. Below, you will see a number of accountants who turned their careers into something extraordinary:
1. The accountant who brought down a crime boss
Al Capone was – and still is – considered one of the most powerful and dangerous mobsters in American history. This Chicago crime boss was responsible for orchestrating innumerable crimes and murders during the late 1920s. At the time, however, the FBI was failing miserably to get a conviction to stick to this notorious criminal leader. That is, until they got some help from an accountant.
FRANK J. WILSON was a former accountant and tax returns and income investigator for the United States Treasury Department. Wilson was also the person responsible for finally getting Al Capone prosecuted, convicted, and sent to jail. This all came about when Wilson discovered during his financial investigation of Capone that this mobster was not only guilty of multiple murders, but also of having accrued millions of dollars in unreported income. Thanks to the work of this accountant, the notorious Al Capone was finally arrested and sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion.
Fun factDid you know that around 15% of agents employed by the FBI are actually special agent accountants?
2. The accountant who is trying to change the world
OBIAGELI EZEKWESILI is not only an accountant, but an inspiration to us all. This Nigerian chartered accountant is one of the founders of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany.
Ezekwesili not only uses her financial skills and expertise to hold governments around the world accountable, however, but also campaigns for many other human rights issues. She was even listed as one of Time’s most influential people of the year in 2015 because of this.
3. The accountant who broke out of prison
In the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, Academy Award winner Tim Robbins plays an accountant named ANDY DUFRESNE. Although Andy might be nothing more than a fictional character, he has become one of the most memorable and exciting accountants ever to grace the movie screens.
What makes the character of Andy Dufresne so exceptional, you might ask? Well, not only does Andy manage to escape from a maximum security prison after being wrongfully convicted for murder, but in doing so, he also gets some long overdue justice. After being forced to manage the personal finances of all the abusive and corrupt prison guards, Andy eventually uses his skill and craft as an accountant to empty out all of their bank accounts as part of his escape plan.
4. The accountant who knows art
If you never thought that art and money go together like fine wine and cheese, then it might come as a surprise that in February 2015, Paul Gauguin’s painting ‘When Will You Marry?’ was sold for around $300 million to a private collector. And behind the scenes, it is people like GARY CASTLE who are responsible for managing the art world’s millions.
Gary Castle is an accountant art expert. This means that he doesn’t only know how to balance the books, but he also knows all about fine art and culture. Castle is one of the few experts in the world dealing solely with art collectors, art foundations, and even artists themselves.
5 & 6. The first two people to know who won the Oscars
At the 88th Academy Awards this year, BRIAN CULLINAN and MARTHA RUIZ were the first two people to know who won each category’s Oscar. This is because these two accountants were responsible for tallying all of the votes that determined the winners.
Cullinan and Ruiz are both registered chartered accountants and partners at the firm that oversees the balloting process during the Academy Awards. Because of this, you can see them on Oscar night posing with famous actors while clutching the big black briefcases that contain the names of all the Oscar winners.
Breaking professional stereotypes
What do all of these awesome accountants have in common? They all broke the stereotypes surrounding the profession of accounting. Who said you can’t achieve great things, do exciting work, or make a difference in the world as a professional accountant?
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