Beyond the boring grey: The construction of the colourful accountant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The accounting profession has long laboured under the weight of the stigma of the accounting stereotype. This unappealing persona may pose a potential problem for recruitment into the profession. How is the gregarious graduate to be tempted into the tentacles of the dull and the dreary? Drawing on Goffman's work on stigma and impression management, this paper examines the recruitment literature of the ‘big four’ accounting firms and six of the professional institutes in an attempt to unravel the techniques deployed by the profession to camouflage the spectre of the stereotype. The investigation reveals how the recruitment discourse, an important stage in the process of professional socialization, is used to construct an image of the trendy and fun loving accountant. Through text and image, a carefully orchestrated campaign of impression management casts aside the boring bookkeeper in favour of an altogether more colourful characterisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1320
Number of pages25
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • accountancy career
  • accountancy recruitment
  • accounting stereotype
  • Goffman
  • identity construction
  • impression management
  • stigma management


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