What's on an Accountant's Desk?


Glancing at your home or office desk you'll notice that everything in place is there for a reason. Considering the amount of time most of us spend at an office desk we tend to stock our desk with essentials in order to make our job, our day, and our life more productive, comfortable and enjoyable.

Accountants spend as much if not more time sitting at a desk than any other desk-bound professional.  When you take into account the skillset and common personality type of the average accounting professional – very organized, extremely attentive to detail, analytical, independent – some of their desktops deserve to appear on the cover of Architectural Digest.

What are some of the types of items you'd expect to find on the desk of an accountant? If you are an accountant seeking employment, take note of what you may need to add to spice up your next desk:


Gadgets, toys and doodads – Accountants know their work can be stressful at times, so they arm themselves with little stress relievers and various items that help serve as a quick distraction to keep them from feeling overwhelmed.

  • Foamy stress ball (if unavailable, a banana will work in a pinch)
  • Nerf dart gun (they seldom use it, but the fantasies are soothing)
  • Magnetic sculpture toys (to massage the other side of their brain)

The obligatory witty coffee mug – Anyone who claims accountants lack a sense of humor must be unaware of the hundreds of humor-adorned coffee mugs that accountants collect in startling volumes.  Accountants lighten an atmosphere any way they can to avoid workday weariness. Here are some popular coffee mug one-liners:

  • "Accountant: Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had, in a way you don't understand."
  • "A good accountant has a loophole named after him."
  • "Instant accountant: Just add coffee."

Living plants – Sure, plants can be found on the desks of many types of professionals to help purify the air, lower workplace stress and enhance productivity, but for accountants it's all about balance. Plants represent the natural world, a place that exists outside of their own minds and their spreadsheets – plus accountants love anything green. They commonly tend to these plants:

  • Lucky Bean (pun intended)
  • Money Tree (same here)
  • Silver dollar plant (ok, moving on...)

Obsolete accounting devices – That may sound odd, but an accountant's reason for toting around old number-crunching tools is that they're sticklers for tried and true systems. And they tend to be loyal to anything that has proven its worth from back when they first crunched numbers as a hobby (don't judge). Popular devices accountants seldom reboot:

  • Adding machine (even if it takes up half their desktop)
  • Calculator(s) (coming out their ears–popular as doorstops)
  • Abacus (the novelty just doesn't get old)

Ergonomic implementations – Accountants anticipate spending a multitude of hours sitting at their desk each day, with little intention of leaving the comforts of their workspace. Yet operating a keyboard and mouse (and obsolete accounting devices) all day can take its toll, so accountants equip themselves with the latest in ergonomic technology, including:

  • Lumbar support (good posture ensures longer work hours)
  • Foot rest (good circulation ensures longer work hours)
  • Wrist support (carpal tunnel syndrome ensures heavy usage of Nerf dart gun)

A desk is often a catchall for random trinkets, personal effects, and anything we believe is important to remember at a given time. The way we choose to manage our own desktop can truly translate into a corresponding level of success as working professionals. Commit yourself to taking inventory of your workspace on a regular basis to be sure its appearance represents the goals you've set for yourself.

We can learn a lot about a person based on the appearance and setup of his or her office workspace. Based on the items listed above how does your desk rank? Is it a cluttered, stressful place or an organized environment that sets you up for success?

blog comments powered by Disqus