Debunking the “boring accountant” myth

It’s time to smash the myth that Canadian accountants are “boring number crunchers” and reveal the true value of a CPA.

How many times have you had this experience? You talk to people who say they think your job as a Chartered Professional Accountant is all about number-crunching, doing tax returns or pushing pencils. What they sheepishly won’t tell you is they also believe CPAs are “nerds,” “conventional thinkers,” and maybe just a bit “boring.” Those are the stereotypes that are deeply anchored in many people’s minds.  Now, as the CPA designation turns six years old, it is time to debunk the myths and to help people understand the true value that CPAs offer businesses and their communities.

Debunking the myth of the “boring” accountant is the theme of this year’s national CPA brand advertising campaign. The upcoming 2018/19 campaign has been designed to shift Canadians’ perceptions of CPAs away from the “boring pencil-pusher” stereotype.

“The challenge was clear,” said Lyne Lortie, vice-president of CPA Quebec and a campaign lead on the CPA Branding Committee. “How can we bring clarity and tangibility to the CPA brand? We asked ourselves: what if we directly challenge the stereotype? What if we turned it upside down? What if we used it to set up just how silly that perspective is and just how impactful CPAs are?”

The campaign does just that, says Heather Whyte, senior vice-president of CPA Canada and a member of the CPA branding committee. “It boldly takes the ‘boring accountant’ stereotype head on by using humour and strong visual appeal across television, billboards, social media and other channels to reinforce the message that CPAs are Canada’s pre-eminent accounting and business professionals – no matter what the business.”

Developed by the CPA profession’s national branding committee and new advertising agency of record, Dentsubos, the campaign shows the range of exciting roles that CPAs play in a variety of fields. It kicks off with a high-energy TV spot challenging the “boring” stereotype and extends that challenge through multiple print, out-of-home and online video examples of the exciting and sometimes unconventional roles that CPAs play in a variety of industries to make valuable contributions to business and society.

Taking this bold approach opened the eyes of business professionals during focus groups across the country. Respondents in those groups liked the idea of CPAs doing more than finance and suggested that providing real-life examples of CPAs in action would help shift perceptions. The campaign provides that proof by profiling CPAs who are breaking the stereotype every day.

“From business advisors in Canada’s C-suites to mold-breaking entrepreneurs making a difference halfway around the world, the CPAs we’ll see in this campaign reflect the amazing diversity of roles that professionals with the CPA designation are filling across the country. Canadians are going to see very vivid examples of the ingenuity of CPAs and the impact they’re making,” said Carol Wilding, chair of the branding committee and CEO of CPA Ontario.

While the campaign is primarily focused on reaching Canada’s business leaders, an important goal of the campaign is to strengthen CPAs’ pride in their designation. “We really want to honour the very best traditions of our profession in this campaign, and at the same time tell the stories about the new paths that CPAs are opening,” says Whyte. “We hope many CPAs see their own ingenuity captured in this campaign, and that they feel pride in what the campaign says about our profession.”

Take a look at the new campaign now.


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