Popular culture may not always present the kindest stereotype of accountants, but there have been many memorable characters over the years. Here are some of our favourites.
1 Loretta Castorini, Moonstruck
Cher won an Oscar for her role in the 1987 New York-set romantic comedy Moonstruck. She stars as Loretta Castorini, a widowed accountant who falls for her new fiancé’s one-handed baker brother, played by Nicolas Cage.
2 Christian Wolff, The Accountant
Ben Affleck is a maths savant who has made a career out of un-cooking the books for a variety of criminal clients. Handily, he’s also had some serious military training, which comes in useful when he becomes a wanted man.
3 Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
Tim Robbins plays one of cinema’s best-loved financial figures in this 1994 classic. Wrongly imprisoned for murdering his wife, the former banker spends his time inside completing tax returns and laundering funds for the prison guards.
4 Albert Brennaman, Hitch
Shy accountant Albert (Kevin James) enlists the services of dating doctor Hitch (Will Smith) to help him attract a beautiful, out-of-his-league client – including reining in his overenthusiastic dance moves in one particularly memorable scene.
5 Skyler White, Breaking Bad
When her terminally ill chemistry teacher husband Walter turns to drug-making in an attempt to provide for his family after his death, Skyler puts her bookkeeping skills to good use laundering dirty money through a carwash business.
6 Louis Tully, Ghostbusters
It was reputedly Rick Moranis’ idea to play Dana’s neighbour as a nerdy accountant in this classic 1980s supernatural comedy. Louis is possessed by the Keymaster before being rescued by the Ghostbusters (and ultimately becoming their accountant).
7 Ben Wyatt, Parks and Recreation
Adam Scott and Rob Lowe – ‘Butch Count-sidy and the Sum-dance Kid’ – play state auditors in this political satire sitcom. Wyatt was inspired to become an accountant after bankrupting the town he was elected mayor of at the age of 18.
8 Norm Peterson, Cheers
Norm is Cheers’ most committed regular, occupying the same bar stool every night (but never paying his tab). He loses his job in an accountancy firm after throwing a company party at the bar, and eventually becomes a house painter.
9 Itzhak Stern, Schindler’s List
Ben Kingsley plays industrialist Oskar Schindler’s accountant and general manager in this multi-Oscar-winning 1993 drama. Together, the pair save more than a thousand Polish Jews from the Holocaust by giving them jobs in Schindler’s factory.
10 The Man, The Tourist
Jamie Dornan wakes up in the Australian outback with no memory of who he is or why he’s there – but it soon becomes apparent someone is out to get him. He slowly pieces his past together and – spoiler alert – discovers he’s an (unlikely) accountant.
Unlike some of the less-than-honest characters portrayed here, ethics and integrity are essential traits for an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can find out more about these fundamental aspects of training and practice here, and more about the Ethics Learning Programme for students here.