Picking out a gift for your favorite number cruncher can be challenging. So, we have put together a list of ideas that might inspire you to get the right gift.
1. Fancy notebooks or stationery
A leatherbound notebook or personalized professional stationery set could be a good gift idea for someone who is just starting out. There is something about having a fancy on your desk at work that can give you a little boost when you see it. A personalized business card case could also be worth looking into, as it looks great to pull a business card out of a case when networking.
2. Themed gifts
There are plenty of fun accountancy-themed on niche sites such as Etsy and DesignByHumans. Some examples include:
- A ‘Be Audit You Can Be’ insulated travel mug.
- A ‘Being an Accountant is Like Riding a Bike, Except the Bike is on Fire and You are on Fire and Everything is on Fire and You’re in Hell’ shirt
If you can’t find what you are looking for you can also always go to a custom printing company, either online or brick-and-mortar, and explain to them what you want. Then it really will be one of a kind.
3. Gag gifts
If they have a sense of humor, it might be fun to get them something that will give them a chuckle to look at on a bad day. Here are some ideas:
- Wrongulator – This is a calculator that always gives the wrong answer.
- Enron Code of Ethics – If they liked The Smartest Guys in the Room, they might get a kick out this. Its not a gag text per say, as the code is a detailed 64-page manuscript that would have been ethical if implemented. It Is also extremely expensive as it is only available on the second-hand market.
- An Enron shirt – if they get it, they get it
4. Hobby gifts
Just because someone is an accountant does not mean that they want to be reminded 24/7. In fact, oftentimes the reason that people become accountants or CPAs is because they want to have the means to pursue their true passions. So, try to find out what those are. Maybe they love music, or a favorite have band. Then you could buy them music or possible a ticket to a concert. If they enjoy baking, maybe decoration or cookie-cutting set would be nice. If you are really stuck, you could just ask a close friend of theirs, family member or even the person themselves what they’d like.
5. Laptop accessories
If they commute a lot, it could be handy to have a waterproof, durable laptop bag or backpack to carry their laptop in. A laptop riser can also be helpful if they are tall or like to have their laptop at eye-level or a particular angle.
6. Gift cards
When all else fails, you could always give them the option to choose their own gift. If you know that they enjoy reading, but are no sure what they would like, you could get them a voucher for a bookstore. The same is true for any other interest. In that case, it might be nice to add a cute or funny card or box of chocolates to the gift to make it a little more meaningful. A subscription to Spotify or Netflix could also be nice.
7. A calculator
This one is pretty basic, but a calculator is a necessity. And yes, as one Redditor put it, ‘if you can’t text without messing up, how are you going to calculate?’ Calculators are for calculating and that fact will help you to concentrate while you are using it, rather than inputting data in a haphazardly as you are apt to do on a cellphone. Furthermore, even though you are going to be doing most of you work on apps and programs, there will be times when you just need to check something quickly and don’t have time to turn on your laptop and fidget with programs. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Texas TI-BA II Plus – This is an advanced financial calculator that is specifically designed for business analysts.
- HP 12C – This is another financial calculator that has over 120 built-in functions, as well as power-off memory protection.
If they enjoy a bourbon or liqueurs, why not buy them their favorite brand? You could even pair it with some tumblers or shot glasses to give it that extra touch.
9. Good earbuds
Much of accountancy work, especially when a CPA is just starting out, is going to involve a lot of data entry and pencil pushing. So, chances are they will be listening to a lot of music or audio books to help them through the slog. Therefore, it might be worthwhile to get them either some really good quality earbuds for better audio quality, or noise cancelling headphones to help block out background noise. Of course, before buying anything, it is a good idea to check the reviews.
We left the best for last, because we decided to go a bit more in detail for these. As always, its best to confirm your CPA’s favorite genre before buying anything, but these are some of the most recommended reads by accountants:
- The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron – Bethany McLean – This is an analysis of the rise and fall of Enron Corporation explores one of the biggest institutionalized instances of corporate accountancy fraud. This centered largely around misrepresenting the company’s profitability so effectively that they managed to fool Forbes and many others, and eventually leading to many reforms on accountancy policies and practices in 2002.
- Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco – This is a complex book by John Heylar that traces the rise of Ross Johnson, successful and mergers of Stand Brands with Nabiso, that company’s merger with RJR Reynolds and finally his catastrophic failed attempt at a leveraged buyout that led to his losing his job at the company. More of a commentary of corporate greed than a precise tracking of the financial aspects, this book still provides insight into the LBO craze of the 19080s and why this model eventually collapsed.
- Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street – This is an entertaining, semi-autobiographical account by Michael Lewis of his time at the investment bank of Salmon Brothers’ time during the 1980s. By doing say, he provides a peek at the brutality, ruthlessness and greed of Wall Street at that time.
- Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance – This book by Jane Gleesen-White mainly deals with the history of accounting and how modern accountancy as we know it got its roots in Italy. She presents the information in a humorous way. However, it should be noted that while much of the book is true to its subject matter, the last part does dwell on climate change and economics. It still makes for an interesting read, though.
- 7 habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – A New York Times bestseller with over 40 million copies sold, this book by Stephen R. Covey is a guide on self-discipline and development based on his personal observations and approach to life. Covey was received his MBA from Harvard, and a doctorate from Brigham Young University. He wrote other many self-help books during his life, in addition to running his coaching business, but this was his most influential.
- More than a Numbers Game: A brief History of Accounting: if our brief overview of accounting whet your appetite, you might be interested in looking into this book by Thomas A. King. He traces the history of accounting from the 1940s onwards, describing its evolution into how we know it today.
- The Pale King – is a novel by David Foster Wallace that follow the life of IRS trainee David Foster Wallace as he begins working at the IRS Examination center in Illinois. It uses accountancy as a backdrop to critique modern American life and meaning of life in a funny and philosophical way.
- Stephen King novels – Read into this what you will, but for some reason his novels, and particularly his Dark Tower series, seem to be popular among accountants.
- The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings – While the Hobbit was originally a children’s novel, the Lord of the Rings was the first true epic fantasy novel that paved the way for all that followed. Created by professor J.R.R. Tolkien, he created a full world with a rich history hinted at in the poems and stories woven into the main story, as well as inserting two full-fledged working languages that he entirely invented on his own into his work. Although he can linger for a but to long on the foliage at times, this is still a fantastic work that is well worth reading more than 60 years on.