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A World Cup Comparison: Accounting and Football (Or Soccer to Us North Americans)

Posted by Dave Clarke on June 25, 2014 at 1:31 PM

The World Cup is by far one of the most universal events on the planet. But rather than penning a piece on how much national GDPs decline during the 30 days of pure football thanks to "unproductive" work hours, we thought we'd pit the beautiful game against another universal truth: accounting! Stop laughing and just indulge us for a minute or two as we explain how soccer and bookkeeping are actually two peas in a pod...

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Both Require Precision

Ever see how a Messi heel flick zips right to the foot of a teammate? A slightly different angle or perhaps too much force would send the ball in an errant direction, breaking down a goal-scoring opportunity. That's precision. And it's necessary in accounting too. A misplaced decimal point is serious. A debit without a credit is calamitous. Precision powers both football and accounting. End of story.

Both Take Endurance

The average midfielder clocks nearly 10 miles of walking-jogging-sprinting per game in a little more than 90 minutes. World Cup footballers are some of the most fit humans on the planet. Endurance is oftentimes what powers a team to a win (especially if you're playing in the ungodly humidity of Manaus). On the accounting side, endurance is critical—particularly around tax time. And if you think about it, just as footballers train year-round to be optimally prepared for the World Cup, a savvy business owner or accountant will keep up with their accounting throughout the calendar in order to make tax time a little more digestible.

Both Have a Storied History

It is up for debate as to which has been around longer: accounting or football. Regardless, there are a few individuals who were critical in making these pursuits what they are today. Pele did... well... he did everything. Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli is widely regarded as the "Father of Accounting." Diego Maradona channeled a higher power to nip England in 1986...

And there are a host of tech-savvy pros today that are blazing the trail of the future of accounting. (Shout-outs to Kelly Phillips Erb, Jason Blumer, Jody Padar, Jodie Buckler, Bri Norcross, Erin Rue, and so many more!)

Both Can Be Epically Painful

We all know the pains of accounting, so we don't even need to get into all that. But on the soccer side of things, when outcomes don't go as desired, the pain can cut deep. Just look at when Brazil fell to France in the 1998 Final. Or even more recently, the early 2014 exit of defending champion Spain. The point is, with so much vested in something, a negative outcome can be devastating... but you get back up and chart a new plan of attack.

Both Can Be Joyous

Just look at the emotional power on Clint Dempsey's face after he scores. Now think about that feeling when your books are balanced or your estimated quarterly tax payments came out just right. See what we mean?

While we could go on and on about how accounting and football are one in the same, we'll call full time here so that you can get back to "working" while the game is on in the background...

Topics: Accounting