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8 January, 2017 / Andrew Read

Rock and Roll would not exist without an accountant

The hallmarks of rock and roll music are the electric guitar and electric bass.  An accountant invented two of the most popular electric guitars and a very popular electric bass.

The first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar was the Fender Telecaster released in 1950.  Shortly afterwards, in 1954, Fender released the Stratocaster.  Between these two Fender released the Precision Bass in 1951.

The inventor of these instruments was Leo Fender.  Leo Fender was an accountant before he went into business making and repairing musical instruments.  Fender graduated as an accountant from Fullerton Junior College in California.  He worked as a bookkeeper and accountant for several years in southern California working for a variety of firms.  In 1938, Fender lost his job as an accountant and accounting’s loss was rock and roll’s gain.  He opened a business called Fender Radio Service making and repairing public address systems and amplifiers.  From there he began working on the early electric guitars until he released his own electric guitar in 1945.  Five years later he changed the world with the release of the Telecaster.

The following musicians are known for using Fender instruments:


Randy Bachman
Jeff Beck
Richie Blackmore
Eric Clapton
Dick Dale
The Edge
Dave Gilmour
George Harrison
Jimi Hendrix
Buddy Holly
Mark Knopfler
Bonnie Raitt
Robbie Robertson
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Ronnie Wood

Precision Bass

Donald “Duck” Dunn
Dee Dee Ramone
Roger Waters
John Paul Jones


Syd Barrett
Jeff Buckley
Steve Cropper
Bob Dylan
Jonny Greenwood
Chrissie Hynde
Muddy Waters
Jimmy Page
Rick Parfitt
Keith Richards
Francis Rossi
Joe Strummer

25 June, 2013 / Andrew Read

Journal of fashion

On our accounting jokes website we posted the joke:

How does an accountant make a bold fashion statement?

He wears his blue suit instead of the grey.

It appears that one accountant went beyond this limited choice.  Matthaeus Schwarz, a 16th Century German accountant, published the first book of fashion.  The book comprised 137 water colour paintings of his outfits from all periods of his life up to his 63rd year.

Source:  BBC and Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum

Source: BBC and Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum

Schwarz was born in 1497 (3 years after Pacioli’s Summa was published) and studied to become an accountant in Italy.  He worked for the Fugger family, important merchants and bankers in Germany, who were one of the richest families in Europe at the time.  Schwarz was a fashion innovator and spent a large proportion of his income on his wardrobe.  He pushed the existing laws and conventions of appropriate dress to their limits.  Schwarz’s dress was not only to satisfy his vanity, he also dressed in order to obtain social and political prestige which was successful as he was made a noble in 1541.  Schwarz died in 1574 at the age of 77.

Source: Winterman, D. (2013, 8th June). Fashion: The accountant who created the first book of fashion. BBC News Magazine.  Retrieved 20th June, 2013, from

19 June, 2013 / Andrew Read

Debunking Pacioli


Source: Wikipedia

There are many myths about Luca Pacioli.  He has been called the ‘father of accounting’, he had been credited with writing the first book on double-entry bookkeeping and some have claimed that he invented double-entry bookkeeping.  None of this is true.

He wrote the first best-seller that covered double-entry bookkeeping.  His book was published in 1494, 44 years after the development of printing in Europe. An earlier book which did not become a best seller was written in 1458 by Benedetto Contrugli.

The method of bookkeeping Pacioli described had been in use for over 200 years in Italy.  Some authors claim it is even older than that, tracing its ancestry to Chinese, Indian, Arab or African civilisations.

Double-entry bookkeeping was called the ‘Method of Venice’ but its use was not restricted to Venice.  It was being used in other parts of northern Italy including Florence and Genoa prior to 1494.

Pacioli has an important place in accounting history for writing the book that publicised double-entry bookkeeping in Europe which, most likely, led to it forming the basis of contemporary accounting.  However, his role should not be mythologised to make him into something that he is not.


Walker, S. P. (2009). Structures, territories and tribes. In Edwards, J. R. & Walker, S. P. (Eds.), The Routledge companion to accounting history (pp. 11-29). London ; New York: Routledge.

Mattessich, R. V. (1998). Review and extension of Bhattacharyya’s Modern Accounting Concepts in Kautilya ‘s Arthaśāstra. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 8(2), 191-209. doi: 10.1080/095852098330512

Sy, A., & Tinker, T. (2006). Bury Pacioli in Africa: a bookkeeper’s reification of accountancy. Abacus, 42(1), 105-127.

Zan, L. (1994). Toward a history of accounting histories. European Accounting Review, 3(2), 255-307.


19 June, 2013 / Andrew Read

Accountant wins Miss USA pageant

CBS News reports that the winner of the 2013 Miss USA pageant is an accountant.  Erin Brady from Connecticut has a degree with a finance major from Central Connecticut State University.  Maybe the popular stereotype of an accountant as dull and sexless needs revising.

2013 Miss USA

Source: Getty Images



29 August, 2012 / Andrew Read

An astronaut’s origins

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died last Saturday.  He, his astronaut colleagues and the rest of the moon landing team are an exemplar of what was good about the twentieth century:  courage and technical innovation.  However, what has Armstrong to do with a blog about accounting trivia?  Well, Armstrong was the son of an auditor.  His father, Stephen Armstrong, was an auditor for the Ohio state government.

Source:  Neil Armstrong. (2012, August 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:37, August 27, 2012, from

20 August, 2012 / Andrew Read

I am woman, hear me debit

Source: Duke Universtiy

Source: Duke Universtiy

It is forty years since Helen Reddy’s feminist anthem “I am woman” topped the charts.  You would assume that this is sufficient time for women to make a significant impact on the accounting profession.  Apparently not.

The Accounting Hall of Fame has 93 members.  Only one of whom is a woman, Professor Katherine Schipper.

12 August, 2012 / Andrew Read

An accountant as Australian Prime Minister

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Artie Fadden (Sir Arthur William Fadden GCMG 1894-1973) is the only accountant to become Prime Minister of Australia.  As well as serving as Prime Minister during 1941, he served as Treasurer from 1949 to 1958.  Fadden completed his accounting qualifications by correspondence in the 1920s, became a member of what is now called CPA Australia, and was a principal in the firms Fadden, Sutton & Co. in Townsville and A. W. Fadden & O’Shea in Brisbane.

Source: Cribb, Margaret Bridson, ‘Fadden, Sir Arthur William (1894–1973)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 12 August 2012.