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10 movies every finance professional should watch

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Next year sees the release of ‘The Accountant’ a new movie starring Ben Affleck as a ‘mild-mannered, socially-weird government accountant who moonlights as a highly-trained assassin,’ (CinemaBlend.com).

In anticipation, we’re looking at the top 10 films that either feature accountants or are a must-see for finance professionals. And while the average accountant won’t go after discrepancies with a gun like Affleck’s character might, they’ve not been chained to the desk on the silver screen either.

1) The Untouchables (1987)

As part of a team of FBI agents, accountant Oscar Wallace goes after Al Capone with the mafia boss’s questionable accounts in one hand and a shotgun in the other. The danger-loving bookkeeper may have looked a little nerdy, but it was his idea to go after Capone on tax evasion that eventually put him behind bars – so it would seem the number is mightier than the sword! Watch the trailer

2) Wall Street (1987)

The film that with a single line encapsulated an entire decade – ‘greed is good’. Spoken by Gordon Gecko, the ‘bad guy’ investor for whom there is never enough wealth, he represented all that was selfish and excessive about the 1980s. Strangely, despite being a warning against the ugliness of greed, the film was a boost for Wall Street recruitment. Watch the trailer

3) Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Accountancy expertise got banker Andy Dufresne out of some pretty difficult and dangerous situations in prison after being convicted for murdering his wife and her lover. He also negotiated – another key accounting skill – some cold beers on a hot day for himself and a few inmates from some usually aggressive prison guards. Watch the trailer

4) The Other Guys (2010)

Will Ferrell’s ‘mild-mannered’ police detective and forensic accountant ticks off a few stereotypes at first – a scared of danger, law-abiding, deskbound, number cruncher. But he has a dark past and a wife, something that completely surprises his wannabe-action-hero partner, Mark Wahlberg. Watch the trailer

5) Ghostbusters (1984)

All accountant Louis Tully wants to do is date his neighbour, the beautiful Dana Barrett [Sigourney Weaver]. Unfortunately Dana’s apartment is haunted by Zuul the demi-god, there’s a gateway to another dimension in her freezer, a demon dog beast tears through his party, he’s possessed by Vinz Clotho, the keymaster, and then a big marshmallow man saves the city. Just a typical day for an accountant then! Watch the trailer

6) Schindler's List (1993)

German industrialist Oskar Schindler and his Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern saved over a thousand Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War. The lists that the two men drew up prevented thousands from being shipped to concentration camps, instead the authorities were told they were essential for a new factory Schindler was building – which he wasn’t. Watch the trailer

7) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Danny Glover’s respectable accountant is another example of movies portraying the profession in a slightly bookish and stereotypical way, but yet again the accountant gets the woman when he beats away the advances of Anjelica Houston’s ex-husband Gene Hackman in this eccentric film of beautiful sets and a weird cast of characters. Watch the trailer

8) Jurassic Park (1993)

Now, the accountant in this film doesn’t get the girl, nor does he turn into a demon or bust a famous mafia boss. No, he’s the first person to be eaten by the T-Rex in Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur classic. Someone’s got to do it! Watch the trailer

9) Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Once again, not necessarily the most flattering portrayal of the profession, but Joe Pesci’s money laundering accountant and federal witness is one of cinema’s most irritatingly watchable characters and a classic fall guy to the cop duo of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Watch the trailer

10) Margin Call (2011)

Like Wall Street, this film could be seen as a warning against greed and uncontrolled excess, but it’s unlikely to inspire an influx of people to follow careers in trading – who knows. Watching a trading house display loose ethics when dealing with near collapse amid the global financial crisis shouldn’t be an inspiration, but stranger things have happened, especially considering some people still made a lot of money out of the crisis. Watch the trailer

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