Ben Affleck as The Accountant: How Close to Real-Life CPAs?

Ben Affleck as an accountant

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Accounting? What’s that?

When you hear the word "accounting", what's the first word that would most likely enter your head? Probably "math", but everyone hates math, right? And as average everyday people, what do most folks really know about accounting? Contrary to popular belief, this field is actually accessible and even quite necessary for normal people, such as accounting and bookkeeping service in, say, Kearny, NJ. But some people don't even bother to care, while some couldn't even bring themselves to learn more about it, finding it too complicated and not worth the taxing hours of trying to explore its concepts in detail. 

So, setting aside all the accountants and accounting officers out there, most people probably know only basic things about this field: accounting equates to money, plus math, plus major mental meltdown. But you really shouldn’t shun accounting from your life. There’s more to accounting than that, and what’s a better way to disseminate complicated concepts than through popular culture? Though it isn’t the movie’s main focus, The Accountant starring Ben Affleck opens a window for the public to see into the world of accounting. The question is, how accurate is the movie as a whole in portraying the accounting profession?

How real is it?

This movie is about an accountant known as Christian Wolff, how he goes about in dealing with different situations whether it's math or executing skilled criminals, and how he had grown up to be that kind of person. “An accountant with high-functioning autism and high skills in killing numerous guys in a few minutes, who can mentally analyze years’ worth of data” sounds a bit far-fetched, but as far as accounting is concerned, real-life accountants can attest that the movie got it right.

Somewhere at the beginning of the movie is one of the most CPA-related scenes in the movie, where Wolff is shown to be giving his consultation to an old farmer and his wife who are trying to figure out how to lower their property tax. He subtly suggests for the two to declare a room as a home office, since the wife uses it to make her necklaces that she sometimes sells at church, despite her saying that it’s only a hobby. And since the wife uses their truck when buying materials for the necklace, Wolff also suggests for them to declare it as a company truck.

If you haven’t encountered this in real life yet, know that this method to lower your tax truly exists, since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows this method of deducting business expenses from your payable tax. You can actually search for it on their website. As for real-life accountants, yes, they do offer consultations like this one, and this is the same all over the US. So if you have some concerns similar to the farmer and his wife, or regarding other money-related matters like sales and use tax and you’re in Kearny, NJ, New York, Georgia, or any other place, you can get in touch with real-life accountants who are as good as Wolff and will be there to help you out. 

There are also some other parts in the movie that tried to give more substance to Christian Wolff as an accountant, such as the mention of a stereotype regarding accountants and “nerdy pocket protectors”. Another one is the big scene where Wolff investigates the discrepancy in Living Robotics’ records. While this scene focused more on the forensic side of accounting, Wolff still demonstrated an accurate way of how accountants, in general, go about in solving such issues. Moreover, the production managed to use accounting terms accurately, something that's satisfied most of its real-life accountant audiences.

But there’s more to accounting than that.

You can’t expect a movie that runs for less than two hours to show everything about an accountant and his job, especially since this isn’t the main focus of that movie.

Accounting companies offer much more services than just consultations on property tax or investigations on log discrepancies, and you have to look at the real world to see that. We at Nicholas J. Coco, CPA offer services such as accounting and bookkeeping service in Kearny, NJ, as well as business financial planning, financial statements, and different kinds of tax services: corporate, individual; sales and use. If you would like to avail or consult us regarding our services, don't hesitate to call or send us an email. Our website also offers detailed information about us and about the jobs that we can do for you. Feel free to personally drop by our office as well. Don’t wait to encounter miscalculations and drastic accounting mistakes before seeking assistance. Don’t be like Living Robotics, and don’t wait too long before taking action like the farmer and his wife. There’s no need to look for a Christian Wolff. We at Nicholas J. Coco, CPA can offer so much more for you!

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