Joking about accountants – a netnographical approach

Unfairly or not, some have characterised the rôle of accountants in popular culture as dull and boring. And the bottom line is that there is a plentiful stock of jokes about them. But a provisional audit of the scholarly literature reveals that researchers been extremely economical in accruing an inventory of accountancy-humour papers. In fact, historically, formal academic interest in such jokes tends towards zero. Going some way to balance the shortfall is a special 2012 issue of the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, which carries an article on this very subject. The paper,‘Jokes in popular culture: the characterisation of the accountant’ credited to Senior Lecturer Dr. Frances Miley, and Andrew Read, Lecturer in Accounting, (both at  the University of Canberra, Australia,) takes a netnographical approach.

“The purpose of this research is to enhance our understanding of this stereotype by comparing the characterisation of the accountant found in contemporary jokes with a similar characterisation found in commedia dell’arte, which is a form of improvisational theatre.”

It all adds up to the fact that :

“The characterisation of the accountant in contemporary jokes is consistent with characterisations of the accountant in other areas of popular culture, confirming that the stereotype is widely entrenched in popular culture.”

To further further the study of the genre, the authors also maintain a blog called Accounting Jokes ‘The definitive site for humour about all things accounting’, where one can find quite literally dozens, or more, jokes about accountants. (Please note that the site appreciates readers’ contributions towards consolidating the catalogue of new accountancy jokes.)