Balance sheets and photo shoots

You’ve heard of model accountants, but an accountant model?

If Michael Lanni looks familiar, it might be because you’ve seen him on a billboard or walking the runway in New York. The 28-year-old — he’s 6’1” and wears a size 38L suit and size 11 shoes, and has a 15-inch neck, a 30 inch waist and 32-inch inseam — can also be spotted at his father’s Richmond Hill, Ont.-based firm, Linder Lanni Chartered Accountant, where he works while studying for his CPA designation.

The international model, who has appeared in ads for Adidas and owns the catwalk for some of the world’s most famous fashion houses, never planned on a career posing in front of the camera. Lanni assumed he’d join the family business (his older brother is an accountant too). But that changed nearly nine years ago, when a scout outside Holt Renfrew asked if he’d ever thought about modelling. “I was working part time at Loblaw and I was really into sports, so modelling was never a thought,” he says. When he saw “Ford” on the card, he thought the guy was from the Ford car company. Once he realized he’d been approached by Ford Models, one of the top agencies in the world, he picked up the phone. A week later, not only was he signed, but he’d also booked a campaign for Montreal-based Garage clothing.

Since then, he’s walked in a Dsquared2 fashion show in Toronto that aired on CityTV, did a Farley Chatto fashion show as part of Toronto Fashion Week and worked for designers at Hugo Boss in Stuttgart, Germany.

Lanni’s careers seem far from similar, but modelling and accounting play off each other well: the former appeals to him because of the lights, cameras, travel and money, and the latter because of his keen interest in business and how companies successfully grow. He’s taken skills learned from his fashion gigs and woven them into the accounting world, and vice versa. “People backstage at fashion shows have put in tons of hard work; the last thing they want is to deal with a difficult model. Being an accountant, I respect everybody on set and try to make it as easy for them as possible.”

What’s he bringing from the runways to his accounting clients? “I have more confidence and a more outgoing personality because of modelling. Clients want to deal with an accountant who is confident and not shy.” Plus, let’s face it: most clients wouldn’t scoff at doing business with a very attractive accountant who models on the side.