Until Sunday evening, February 26, 2017, just about no one knew that accountants were involved in one of the most glamorous events of the year, the Oscars. Then Warren Beatty announced the incorrect winner for Best Picture and accounting got thrown in the spotlight. This is because for decades, the Oscars trusted PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest accounting firms in the world, with tallying the votes and managing the announcement of the winners.
But why are accountants even involved in what would seem to be an event that is so far from the world of accounting?
There are a few reasons why accountants need to be involved in such an important event (at least one that is important for the entertainment business). First, in an industry where wheeling and dealing critical to getting ahead, it is important to make sure that something which can easily make or break someone’s career is conducted fairly. For many, hiring a third party is one way of achieving this.
Second, keep in mind that PwC is much more than just an accounting firm, as they also have large consultancy and advisement groups. While Hollywood is the home base for much of the film industry, it is really quite a disparate group, and everyone is not centrally located, nor easily reachable during the voting period. Overcoming these challenges is a perfect task for consultants.
Finally, it is easy enough to say that it is just like many other familiar relationships. There is something to be gained for each party. The Oscars are able to say that they conducted a fair vote, and PwC can advertise that they are the firm the Oscars trust with handling the vote.
So, while accounting isn’t always the most glamorous of professions, there is certainly the opportunity to be involved in glamorous events. Just make sure that you double check your numbers (or your cue cards) before handing out the final product.