The Image of the Accountant in a German Context


Accounting & the Public Interest

2004, vol. 4, pp.62-89

Départements : Comptabilité et Contrôle de Gestion

This study introduces content analysis as a method of examining the accountant's role. The empirical study is based on 73 advertisements, which are directed primarily at employees who are affected by the management accountant's work. The findings of the study indicate that the subject of accountancy is used particularly in connection with promises of "cost reduction." Consequently, the majority of advertisements use the accountant stereotype of "savings personified." In a professional context, the work ethic of the management accountant is given particular emphasis in the advertisements. He/she identifies him/herself with his/her task to the maximum degree, is regarded as loyal to his/her company and, for the most part, is well organized in his/her work. However, the characterization of the management accountant as a well disciplined company-person conflicts with the negative portrayal of his/her professional qualities. In advertisements, the management accountant is portrayed as a rather inflexible, passive, and uncreative specialist who, as a result of these qualities, often demotivates others. The personal characteristics of the management accountant are shown in a negative light. This gives him/her the unappealing image of a humorless, envious, dissociated, and ascetic corporate-person