CPA INSIDER

Which superheroes would make the best CPAs?

Many of our favorite characters possess the ‘powers’ of amazing accountants.
By Cheryl Meyer

The superheroes populating this summer's blockbuster movies, such as Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming, possess dazzling powers to fight off enemies, and they use their intellect, skills, and strengths to avert disasters and make things right in the world.

In that last respect, superheroes resemble CPAs, who may not hold superhuman powers (as much as they'd like to) but must rely on their minds, abilities, and expertise to prevent catastrophes, decipher numbers, clean up messes, and ease the minds of distressed clients.

Several CPAs offered their take on which superheroes would make astounding accountants and why. Here are their top picks:

Batman. The "Caped Crusader," otherwise known as Bruce Wayne, holds no superhuman powers but instead "uses his intelligence to stay one step ahead of his opponents," all while he runs his own multibillion-dollar company, noted Anna Nalls, CPA, founder of Anna Nalls CPA PC in Evanston, Ill. "Like Batman, an accountant is very analytical and precise," she said. "Accountants also use their expertise to influence business decisions that can make or break a company." Tim Lyons, CPA, CGMA, a manager at Mauldin & Jenkins LLC in Atlanta, said Batman, with a cave full of crime-fighting tools, is also known for his gadget know-how. "This affinity for technology carries over incredibly well for the CPA profession as we are always looking to new technology-related items to make our jobs more efficient," he said.

Wonder Woman. Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, "excels thanks to a combination of extraordinary strength, speed, intelligence, and an arsenal of mythical weaponry," said Maggie Kennedy, CPA, a consulting senior manager at EKS&H LLLP in Denver. Her armaments include the Lasso of Truth, which forces captives to be honest. "This magic lasso … is a weapon used by the CPAs of the world," Kennedy said. "Numbers tell a story, and they never lie, if you know how to read them. Accountants have been able to bring down countless criminals in the real world, including the infamous Al Capone, due to their ability to see the truth via numbers." Wonder Woman is also strong-willed, diligent, nurturing, ethical, and peace-loving, which would make her a great CPA, noted Jessica Bou Akar, CPA, senior accountant at Dent Moses LLP in Birmingham, Ala. "We deal with so many personalities on a daily basis," Bou Akar said. "It is very important to be able to communicate and resolve conflict peacefully while maintaining a good conscience."

Captain America. A superhero appearing in Marvel Comics, Captain America is self-aware, optimistic, and a natural leader, said Tim O'Neill, CPA, tax senior at Mueller Prost LC in St. Louis and a 2016 graduate of the AICPA Leadership Academy. "To be a successful CPA, you have to have a strong sense of teamwork and drive; this is Captain America's bread and butter," he said. "Captain America would [also] set a great example to other CPAs because of his level of integrity and strong sense of conviction."

Iron Man. Holly Hawk, CPA, CGMA, lecturer at the University of Georgia, noted that Iron Man, like CPAs, is analytical, detail-oriented, and innovative. Iron Man can also adapt well to change and is respected among his peers for his business acumen, which is "a key skill set for CPAs," Hawk added. "He also realizes that with his team [the Avengers], he can be even more powerful, which is true for CPAs as well."

The Flash. This DC Comics superhero, who currently has his own TV show, "would make an awesome CPA," said Barrett Young, CPA, founding member of The Green Abacus, a La Plata, Md., firm that embraces the superhero theme in its marketing materials to its target market of technology companies. The Flash is a crime-scene investigator, with a skill set that could transition easily into forensic accounting. He's also bright and speedy, and could "read new accounting standards instantly," Young quipped. "And he's a really great, caring leader who always takes responsibility in front of the customer for his team's mistakes." Young admires superheroes, he said, "because they are continually brought face-to-face with their weaknesses, and they overcome them."

Cheryl Meyer is a freelance writer based in California. To comment on this article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager of newsletters at the AICPA.

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