The auditing team I work with here at Henry & Horne likes to joke about how different we are from the typical “nerdy” accounting stereotype, but, honestly, CPAs in general are a pretty interesting group of people. I thought I’d share some “fun facts” I ran across to prove that CPAs – and the accounting profession in general – have come a long way over the years!
- Before a standard numbering system was developed, ancient accountants used clay tokens to keep track of animals and grain.
- The State of New York gave the first CPA exam in 1896.
- The first African American CPA was John Wesley Cromwell, Jr., licensed in 1921. John went on to lead a very successful career after he became the controller of Howard University in 1930.
- Bubble gum was reportedly invented in 1926 by Walter Diemer, a twenty-three year old accountant for the Fleer Corporation. The gum was pink because it was the only food coloring in the factory when the young accountant was experimenting with the gum recipes in his spare time.
- Al Capone may have been the first American to make $100 million a year, but the law finally caught up with him in 1931. Special Agents from the IRS charged him with tax evasion. Accountants were responsible for ending the crime czar’s career.
- Oscar winners always remember to thank their agents, fans, and co-stars, but they should also thank their CPAs. Accountants have controlled the ballots for the Academy Awards every year since 1935. A team of nine CPAs spend up to 1,700 hours prior to Oscar night counting the ballots cast in each category by hand.
- Arthur Blank, co-founder of the Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, is a CPA.
- Ray Wersching, who was the kicker of the San Diego and San Francisco 49ers from 1973-1987, was a CPA during the off-season.
- John Grisham, author of A Time to Kill, The Firm, and many other popular novels, received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Mississippi State University in 1981.
Jessica Puckett, CPA