TV Characters Who Would Be Great CPAs

Read young CPAs’ choices, and then tell us yours.

August 16, 2016

There are few things as relaxing as diving into your favorite TV show after a long day at work. We fall in love with the characters, laugh at their antics, and may even notice similarities between their stories and ours. That made us wonder: What TV characters would make the best CPAs?

For help, we asked participants in the 2015 AICPA Leadership Academy for their suggestions, and they gave us six that we thought really fit the bill. These iconic characters shake up accountant stereotypes while emphasizing the valuable attributes that make CPAs stars in their own right.

Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation. “Knope would be a FANTASTIC CPA,” said Diego J. Baca, CPA, an assurance manager at EY. “Her integrity, wit, charm, ambition, and dedication to the stakeholders was unmatched by anyone in her fictional TV town.” Knope is involved in the government sector, and her love interest is a CPA specializing in auditing government entities. But according to Baca, “Knope would have been better. She lived all of the values that the profession requires, and she did it with class, humor, and a personality that was second to none.”

Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones. Caleb Bullock, CPA, CGMA, business development manager at Somerset CPAs, P.C., said Lannister could put his wit and intellect to good use as a CPA. Bullock observed that, like CPAs, “he is an incredibly valuable resource to anyone he serves.” And he already has a motto that would be perfect on his business card, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” Noted Bullock, “What could be more ‘CPA’ than that?”

Liz Lemon, 30 Rock. Renee Bardenwerper, CPA, said that Liz Lemon “is serious when it comes to getting the job done.” Liz runs into a lot of hilarious trouble with her colleagues and staff on the show, but manages to maintain her position as the voice of reason. Her character serves as a reminder to “keep our clients on the right path, to make sound financial decisions, and to be in compliance with tax laws and other regulations,” said Bardenwerper, a manager at Winter, Kloman, Moter & Repp, S.C.

Dwight Schrute, The Office. Alex Bybee, CPA, manager, Barnard Vogler & Co., shared his favorite quote from salesman Schrute: “Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, ‘Would an idiot do that?’ and if they would, I do not do that thing.”

Bybee said, “He might drive clients crazy, but Schrute would be extremely efficient, and with his sales prowess he would be a business development powerhouse.” Schrute is a “firm believer in justice and a fierce competitor,” he said. On top of that he continually proves himself to be loyal and trustworthy, all characteristics of a successful CPA.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS. Gibbs is an investigator who is a former U.S. Marine scout sniper. Cheryl L. Exline, CPA, CGMA, tax manager at Arnett Carbis Toothman LLP, said, “Gibbs would make a good accountant. He is very observant. He is great at reading people and is good with details.” Gibbs would get to the bottom of any situation a CPA might face—and likely would have a knack for forensic accounting as well.

Jerry Seinfeld, Seinfeld. Although Seinfeld’s last season was in 1998, fans still find his humor right on point. Andrew Beyeler, CPA, tax manager at Lenhart, Mason & Associates LLC, said that Jerry has the characteristics of a great CPA: “Jerry is an organized, detail-oriented character who is often a voice of reason among his friends.” He is trustworthy, and his friends often come to him for help coping with their wildly unique problems, Beyeler said—just as CPAs must be trustworthy and ready to help. Furthermore, Beyeler added, Seinfeld “would serve the CPA profession well with his sharp wit and sense of humor.”

Characters who are observant, relatable, intellectual, and have a good sense of humor might well be able to fill a CPA’s shoes. Next time you catch up on your favorite show, you may notice that one of your favorite characters would make a great CPA as well. Share your ideas and inspirations for the next CPA star with the Young CPA Network on Facebook and Twitter.

Amber Trimble is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. To comment on this article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager of newsletters at the AICPA.

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