The Accountancy profession goes back over 5,000 years – so there have been plenty of famous and well known people throughout the years who have been accountants – but you might not know about it.
It is well known that rich and noble individuals in the past who wanted to keep track of their assets (cattle, gold, grain, etc) would hire people to keep records of their individual assets as they bought and sold them. They would then analyse these records to make sure that nothing was unexpected. This was likely the beginning of the accountant and the auditor combination.
Over the years things have obviously become a lot more complex and demanding. With a career in Accountancy becoming one of the most lucrative job paths you could take. If you’ve ever wondered what your career path might look like if you were to become an accountant, take a look at these famous accountants from history…
J.P. Morgan is now a household name in the investment banking industry, but J.P. Morgan himself started his career as an accountant on WallStreet. Before forming his own company in 1895, Morgan began his rise to the top as an Accountant in 1857. The company he started has arguably gone on to become one of the most influencial and largest investment banks in the world. The company now goes by J.P. Morgan Chase.
Luca Pacioli may be the most famous Accountant you’ve never heard of. He’s arguably known as the grandfather of Accounting, and is the individual who invented Double Entry Bookkeeping. An Italian Mathemetician, and collborator with Leonardo da Vinci, Luca has possibly made the most dramatic impact upon Accounting we know today without most Accountants realising it. His rare books can be found at the ICAEW Chartered Accountants’ hall, and are considered essential piece of Accounting history.
Arthur Blank is probably not that well known to you unless you are an American Football fan. However, he is also the co-founder of Home Depot, which is where I find his most impressive rise to fame. Blank started his Accounting career in 1963 after graduating from Babson College. He is now thought to be worth around 1.3 billion dollars, which I would imagine most people wouldn’t complain about from a career in Accountancy.
Mick Jagger. Yes. THE Mick Jagger went to University to become an Accountant. Admittedly, he didn’t pursue this career, as he proceeded to follow his passion for music. However, whenever someone tells you that Accountants are boring, you can now remind them that Mick Jagger is an Accountant (or at least almost was), and he’s one of the least boring people to walk this earth! He studies Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics, and even made it to the famous school on a scholarship.
John D. Rockefeller was an Accountant before starting his Oil business. It is argued by many that Rockefeller is history’s richest man in the modern era. As a young man he kept a strict tabs on his finances in a small red notebook which he referred to as “Ledger A”. Even after his career as an Accountant, he valued what being an Accountant had taught him and the benefits it had brought to his business life. As a personal finance tip, he used to literally jot down every single expense he had, and total up each page in his notebook. Over time, each page had a smaller balance at the top of it. I have implemented a more modern approach to this in my personal finances.
There you have it. A nice selection of some of history’s most famous accountants. I think in this career we get a bad reputation of being boring individuals who don’t really achieve much. While some of the individuals on this list aren’t exactly “accountants for life”, they do show the possiblities that accountants possess. That is the key to this career: flexibility.
There are few careers in the world which allow you to flexibly move across different career paths so easily. You can be a CEO, a standard Accountant, work in Investments, run a business…the list goes on!