Monty Python: required viewing for accountants

Accountants play a crucial role in the engine room of any business, but they have long been the victims of unkind stereotyping and have somewhat unfairly earned a reputation for being boring, methodical, number-crunchers with no sense of humour and a penchant for weird green peak caps.

As the well-worn joke goes: How can you tell if an accountant is an extrovert? He looks at your shoes when talking to you." Fortunately, in our experience, most accountants are able to see the funny side of things and the endearing ability to enjoy a good laugh at themselves.

One of the biggest culprits when it comes to targetting accountants was the seminal British comedy series Monty Python. The Pythons frequently poked fun at accountants and relied on the profession as a source of humour.

Why? Well, one possible reason for the putting accounting in the crosshairs is that John Cleese's father wanted him to become an accountant. He was to work for the ominous-sounding Grace, Derbyshire and Todd Chartered Accountants on Whiteladies Rd, Bristol, England.

"If I had not gone into Monty Python, I probably would have stuck to my original plan to graduate and become a chartered accountant, perhaps a barrister lawyer, and gotten a nice house in the suburbs, with a nice wife and kids, and gotten a country club membership, and then I would have killed myself," said Cleese.

The lanky comedian and Minister of Silly Walks went on to appear in Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda, the South African Spud trilogy of films and many others. The next time you're in the mood for some irreverent satire spoofing the the obsessive compulsiveness of accountants or just want to breathe a sigh of relief that John Cleese isn't the head of your department, you don't have to look any further than Monty Python.