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Accountants in Love

“He was a chartered accountant, and all chartered accountants have hearts as big as hotels. You think they’re engrossed in auditing the half-yearly balance sheets of Miggs, Montagu and Murgatroyd, general importers, and all time they’re writing notes to blondes saying “Tomorrow, one-thirty, same place.”

Ice in the Bedroom (1961)

It’s typical of this genial and generous author to sympathise with the misunderstood members of a profession so mocked and maligned. We all want to be loved, after all, and accountants are people too.

Is Wodehouse correct in his claim that all accountants are big hearted? My regretful, but considered answer is no. My limited authority on this topic is acquired through my friendship with Louis. Louis’s attitude toward blondes is certainly warm. He admires women of taste and style, but not the costs associated with keeping them. He  may well ponder blondes in the afternoon, but his assignations with them are rare, and clandestine. He rather unfairly resents his wife, who may be a little drab, but stretches a dollar further than anyone I know. She’d be a deal less drab with some new clothes and a haircut, but Louis prefers style on a shoestring.

Fortunately old Louis has many redeeming features: his wit and intelligence make him an enjoyable drinking companion, at least until his ’round’, when he slinks off to the toilets and predictably fails to reappear. Fun, yes. Big hearted? No.

I’m sure many chartered accountants are worthy of Wodehouse’s fine words, but Louis is not one of them.

HP

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22 Comments

  1. scuffedshoes says:

    I’ll take a line through John Cleese, who has it that chartered accountancy is a profession best suited to those who are, “unimaginative, timid, lacking in initiative, spineless, easily dominated, no sense of humor, tedious company, and irrepressibly drab and awful.”

    • honoriaplum says:

      I LOVE this sketch. Thanks for posting.

      I’m open minded to the idea that there will be accountants ‘out there’ who don’t conform to stereotype, but admittedly I’m still waiting to meet one.

  2. Galahad Threepwood says:

    NIce, will look forward to future issues…paste the link on FB like this time please..

  3. Cathy Lewis says:

    Ah, my favorite accountant was the accountant that often wasn’t. I became aware of him through a man who called himself Mr. Smith, who came to call one evening as a representative of said accountant, to speak to my former husband about doing the accounting for his (Alan’s) newly opened business. Mr. Smith was not attractive in any sense, had little discernible personality, and I loathed and distrusted him. Not so Alan, who hired him despite my open hostility. Why – I thought – would a decent accountant send an absolute non-person out to bring him business? And why was the representative so secretive about the accountant – almost protective? And why were his fees extremely low? And why did my former husband continue to be so stupid as to hire such a shady character????

    Well, Mr. Smith came by regularly to pick up and deliver papers, and as far as I could tell the accounting was done adequately. And Alan could reach Mr. Smith by telephone, although not the real accountant; all messages went through Mr. Smith. And I would spend some time imagining the reality behind this unusual way of doing business: was, perhaps, the accountant a quadriplegic? Or, had some hideous accident left him living his life behind a black silk mask? Was he or she extremely young, or a recluse? Was the accountant actually Mr. Smith?

    One day however, Alan called and the phone was answered by someone with a different voice so Alan, assuming it was the accountant, introduced himself. Although the accountant seemed shocked, he did admit to his identity. After that, Alan would call and ask Mr. Smith to connect him with the accountant and Mr. Smith would make noises on the telephone, then put on his “accountant voice”, and pretend to be the accountant. Which he actually was, and had been all along, never having actually been Mr. Smith.

    Or Alan would call and Mr. Smith would pick up and Alan would try talking to him as the accountant he actually was, but Mr. Smith always went through the clicking phone noises and the fake voice.

    Why? I think he had so very little confidence in himself that he had resorted to this A story right up Plum’s alley, and I so wish he had told it, rather than leaving it to me.

  4. Prem Rao says:

    Delightful start, old girl. Look forward to more of the same. Best wishes to those “writers of notes to blondes”. May their tribe increase.

  5. Janiece Pope says:

    Loving the piece and the comments (especially Cathy’s surreal story). As a librarian, i tend to feel empathy for people whose professions are cursed with bad stereotypes; however many accountants seemingly do conform to theirs. My younger cousin is an accountant and i don’t think she fits the mould at all, so there are exceptions.

    Also, i fear re Prem’s comment that modern-day “writers of notes to blondes” no longer resemble the rather romantic description from Wodehouse above: i think of them as creepy sleazy people like Shane Warne who lie about in trackies firing off filthy texts to spray-tanned women who have purchased their own bosoms. It’s a sad decline.

  6. honoriaplum says:

    I’m loving the comments. Thanks all.

    Cathy’s story is fabulously bizarre and would have fitted well in the world of Wodehouse. Told by Mr Mulliner perhaps? I wonder what voice ‘Mr Smith’ might have used for contacting blondes.

  7. recumbyrider says:

    Fascinating – via the method of Wodehouse – accountancy seems almost interesting 🙂

  8. […] 14 An egg, a bean and a crumpet. December 9 Christmas Special. December 6 Bank manager training. December 1 The glamour of […]

  9. honoria plum says:

    Reblogged this on Plumtopia: The world of P.G. Wodehouse and commented:

    From the Plumtopia archives: As I participate in my first NaNoWriMo this month, I will be reblogging some of my previous Plumtopia pieces, and sharing some excellent Wodehouse articles and resources from around the web. Your contributions are always gratefully received. This was one of the first pieces I wrote for Plumtopia.

  10. ashokbhatia says:

    Nice one! The nature of their work is such that the only way they can be effective on their jobs is by being unpopular, if necessary. Poor souls – being upholders of systems and procedures – are much maligned and misunderstood. For most businesses, they are better referred to as Conscience Keepers!

  11. David Rosenbaum says:

    Well, I’m the US equivalent of a CA, and though it is true that many of us do conform to the stereotype (more or less), there are definitely some of us who are different. People often tell me “you’re not like the typical accountant”. To that I answer “how many accountants have you met?”

    As to our writing notes to blondes: No comment. (Though some colleagues I know say “why discriminate”? Come one, come all.)

  12. honoria plum says:

    Thanks so much, David. I have met a handful of accountants at best, but as a non-blonde, it is especially heartening to hear of this broad minded, flexible attitude when it comes to note writing.

    • David Rosenbaum says:

      An accountant would address his (or her, what what?) attentions to blondes as an escape from the boring, drab reality. A brunette, or even better, a ravenhaired maiden would conform much better to the stereotypical accountant’s attitude.

      Curiously, one of our most knowledgable birds over at Yahoo Blandings group (alas, now deceased) was a retired CA named Terry Mordue.

      BTW, kudos on your blog.

  13. David Rosenbaum says:

    BTW, why can’t I follow you on Twitter? The link doesn’t seem to work for me. What’s your Twitter name?

    • honoria plum says:

      What Ho David! Apologies for not replying to your messages sooner. My technology has failed to let me know about them. Thanks so much for the kind words. I never knew Terry Mordue was a CA. I was in the yahoo group many years ago, and I loved it. But I forgot how to log into it after getting a new computer and I disappeared. I’m still sad about that. You can see again how technology and I are not at one. However, I press on and am improving. In twitter land I am HonoriaPlum: https://twitter.com/HonoriaPlum . I’d love to follow your exploits if you have an address you can send me.

  14. honoria plum says:

    Thanks David. I have sent me rejoining request today. Many thanks.

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