Unlikely CPAs: 5 Celebrities that Studied to be Accountants

Accounting is not known as a profession you go into if you want to be in the spotlight. To the contrary, accountants are those “bean counters” that are behind the scenes making sure people have their bookkeeping in order and are in compliance with tax laws. Surprisingly, there are some well-known celebrities that once had aspirations of becoming a CPA and/or owning their own accounting firm. Here are five of the best-known almost-accountants:

Bob Newhart: Actor and comedian Bob Newhart worked as an accountant for the USG Corporation after his service in the Army during the Korean War. Newhart never really took to the profession, mainly because he was not a perfectionist went it came to numbers. His philosophy was “close enough is good enough.”

John Grisham: John Grisham earned an undergraduate degree in accounting before going on to law school. His original intention was to become a tax attorney, but he ended up parlaying his legal skills to write legal thrillers and become a best-selling author. His book The Firm, which was later turned into a Hollywood movie starring Tom Cruise, showcased his accounting background with a story about a Memphis-based law firm that specialized in creating offshore tax shelters for mafia clients.

Robert Plant: Former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant spent a short stint (only two weeks) studying to be a chartered accountant when he was 16 years old. Apparently, Robert’s heart was never in the CPA profession, because he went on to study music in college and become the front man for one of history’s greatest rock-n-roll bands.

Janet Jackson: Hard to believe that the sister of the famous Jackson 5 child phenomenon would have aspired to be a professional accountant, but Janet Jackson once studied to enter the profession. Her acting and musical talent was soon discovered, however, and she went on to become a major singing star in her own right.

Mick Jagger: The man who wrote iconic hits such as Gimme Shelter and Paint it Black was once on the career pathway to helping clients do just that. Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger spent a year studying accounting and finance at the London School of Economics. However, childhood friend Keith Richards, who convinced him to give up the stability of an accounting career to pursue their music dreams, permanently interrupted his studies. I guess things ultimately worked out okay for Mick.

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