Hate people? Be an Accountant!

An alum alerted me to this Yahoo post:


Here, Chris Kyle gives a brief career guide for people who hate working with others. Here’s what he has to say about us accountants:

While just about any position will require some amount of face-time with co-workers and clients, accountants find themselves diving into a spreadsheet more often than reaching for a cell phone. With plenty of financial data and tax information to digest, chit-chat time is at a minimum.

I wish this were true. If it weren’t for the large number of other people who I was forced to work with, and who were constantly interrupting my productive work on spreadsheets, I probably would have stayed in Big-6 public accounting, and I’d be making a lot more money right now. There were the audit teams – staff, seniors, managers, partners – a different audit team for every client. There were the clients, who I had to make nice with. The Happy Hours every Thursday night were quite tiresome.

For me, a Big-6 career (now Big-4), with all the socializing and drinking, was too much like fraternity life. I would have preferred to close the door to my office and be alone with my spreadsheets. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of an office with a door – but rather shared a cubicle with a good friend. Even if I wanted it, I could never get any alone time.


About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.


  1. Really interesting to know more about accounting sector. Thanks for sharing. Job seekers can view latest accounting jobs available at Careerbuilder.Co.In

  2. Hi Dr. Holtzman, I really enjoyed reading this blog. As a future accountant getting ready to go work for one of the Big Four, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think people have this stereotype about accountants that just isn’t true. I think to be a successful accountant you need to be personable and be able to work with people.

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  4. People used to say this about investment analysts, which was equally untrue for them as it is for Big 4 accountants today. Turns out that the few somewhat antisocial analysts were the only ones not caught up in the irrational exuberance of the late ‘90s. Nobody listened to our warnings; they only heard the recommendations of the socially nimble about buying Enron shares. That’s analogous to believing today that people-oriented hotshot accountants in the Big 4 are providing sound audit results.

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