Category Archives: Drama

Money for nothing and chicks for free: Advertising the accountant

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2010). Money for nothing and chicks for free: Advertising the accountant. Paper presented at the 2nd World Accounting Frontiers Conference, Sydney.


Although we now recognise celebrity in such diverse areas as the celebrity trainer, celebrity chef and celebrity gardener, we are yet to see the rise of the celebrity accountant.  Previous research had described the accounting image as dull and boring.  This research looks at jokes about accountants to see whether that characterisation is true.  The accountant is stereotyped in jokes, and is much the same as the stock character of Il Dottore  in Commedia dell’arte, a form of improvised theatre developed in fifteenth century Italy and evident in the plays of Shakespeare and in modern day pantomime.  This research illustrates that the image of the accountant can only be viewed as one consistent with a  cautious professional dealing with financial matters, in a position of trust, and that the image portrayed in the stereotype is one that the accounting profession should continue to uphold because it masks the power of accountants to make choices that impact on profit and wealth.  Recent advertising by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and CPA Australia attempt to change that image to one more akin to the portrayal of a celebrity accountant.  However, if successful in altering the stereotype of the accountant, instead of benefiting the profession, this advertising could be detrimental to the profession.

Link to full paper

Link to 2nd World Accounting Frontiers Conference


All the world’s a stage: Accounting behind the fourth wall

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2011). All the world’s a stage: Accounting behind the fourth wall. Paper presented at the International Conference on Critical Accounting, New York.


The aim of this research is to enrich understanding of why the accounting profession appears to have been relatively unaffected by the global financial crisis, and why the global financial crisis has not prompted accounting to a closer examination of its raison d’être.  Drawing on the concept of the fourth wall, which is taken from dramatic theatre, a view of accounting in time of crisis is proposed.  The global financial crisis is portrayed as breaking through the fourth wall that separates accounting, its users and those whose interests it protects from its public audience.  Both the players and audience want the fourth wall restored as quickly as possible because, while it is down, all are uncomfortable, so strong interests support the status quo continuing as before the global financial crisis.

Link to full paper

Link to 2011 International Conference on Critical Accounting