7th February, 2007

Spotting Accountants From Twenty Paces

Filed under: General — admin @ 10:10 pm

I spend a lot of time around financial people and have mentioned previously the profileration of a certain sort of spreadsheet software. By default anyone who works with numbers in my line of work is referred to as an accountant. They don’t need to have letters after their name, there are just certain things that accountants do. Sometimes the behaviours can start to rub off on those who work with them, especially impressionable young IT professionals, causing us to lose the odd promising programmer to the dark side.

It can be hard to work out if people I work with (implementing ERP systems) are technologists or accountants. Now, there is a way. With suitable apologies to JWZ here is Andrew’s first law of career tendency spotting;

Accountants are people who, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use Excel”. Now they have two problems.

There is already a complement to this law, known as Kenway’s qualification, which states that;

Excel is a great prototyping tool, just don’t let it anywhere near your production systems.

8 Comments

  1. Reminds me of the time when I asked someone close to me, who shall remain nameless, to send me their CV…I was furnished with, yes, you’ve guessed it – an Excel worksheet document detailing all the accounting positions the individual had undertaken – my brother and I couldn’t stop laughing.

    Comment by Jeff Moss — 08/02/2007 @ 3:23 am

  2. Reminds me of the time when I asked someone close to me, who shall remain nameless, to send me their CV…I was furnished with, yes, you’ve guessed it – an Excel worksheet document detailing all the accounting positions the individual had undertaken – my brother and I couldn’t stop laughing.

    Comment by Jeff Moss — 08/02/2007 @ 3:23 am

  3. Helpful quotes. Helpful reference to Panko, which leads to http://smurfonspreadsheets.wordpress.com/2007/01/12/spreadsheet-risk/ and http://www.eusprig.org/.

    Good stuff for those of us hoping to salvage something of value from a customer’s ill-conceived spreadsheets.

    Comment by Steven F. Lott — 08/02/2007 @ 5:55 am

  4. Helpful quotes. Helpful reference to Panko, which leads to http://smurfonspreadsheets.wordpress.com/2007/01/12/spreadsheet-risk/ and http://www.eusprig.org/.

    Good stuff for those of us hoping to salvage something of value from a customer’s ill-conceived spreadsheets.

    Comment by Steven F. Lott — 08/02/2007 @ 5:55 am

  5. Spoken like a true database professional!

    Comment by Keith Pitty — 08/02/2007 @ 9:26 am

  6. Spoken like a true database professional!

    Comment by Keith Pitty — 08/02/2007 @ 9:26 am

  7. I have been corrected by the author of the second quote. It is actually;

    Excel is a great interim (band aid) solution, but do you really want your enterprise running on plasters?

    Comment by Andy Todd — 08/02/2007 @ 2:09 pm

  8. I have been corrected by the author of the second quote. It is actually;

    Excel is a great interim (band aid) solution, but do you really want your enterprise running on plasters?

    Comment by Andy Todd — 08/02/2007 @ 2:09 pm

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