Rodney Dangerfield, who, sadly, left us earlier this month, spent half his adult life complaining that he "didn't get no respect," and, along the way, amused millions with an ongoing barrage of self-deprecating one-liners in his fruitless pursuit of that all-elusive goal.
With a frenetic, sweaty, delivery and his free hand continually tugging at his signature red tie, Dangerfield personified the sad-sack everyman in a quest to rise above his surroundings.
"I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said, 'Stop being ridiculous, everyone hasn't met you yet.'"
"I once complained to my dentist 'Hey doc, I got yellow teeth.' He told me to wear a brown tie."
"I called the suicide prevention line and they put me on hold."
With pearls such as those, the bug-eyed Dangerfield parlayed a career that began in dingy smoke-filled clubs to one of global notoriety that included 27 appearances on The Tonight Show and roughly 20 movie roles.
But it wasn't so long ago that the CPA profession could commiserate with the now-departed comic on matters of respect-or the lack thereof.
Following a roster of well-publicized corporate fraud scandals, many in the CPA profession were, unfortunately, viewed for a time in a similar light as Dangerfield's loathed wife and daughter during one of his routines.
"My wife and I were happy for 20 years, then we met."
"My daughter just failed her driver's test. It was the first time she was ever in the front seat."
But unlike Rodney, the profession for the most part, opted not to make a career of regaling others with tales of their misery and temporary fall from grace, but rather, set about getting back respect themselves.
To be sure, restoring investor and client confidence has been an arduous process, but let's face it: When you hit close to bottom in terms of trust and quickly morph into the butt of jokes on late night TV shows and freakish cartoons in newspapers, going upward is one of the few directional options remaining.
True, Uncle Sam has appeared on the horizon with a whole new set of rules and prohibitions and, as it stands now, will likely be a lengthy visitor.
In September, Accounting Today's annual feature on the profession's 100 most influential people showcased a baseball team returning from the dugout to take the field. And the metaphor was not by accident.
If the pulse of the profession is any barometer, much of the major construction on the profession's image is nearing
completion. But a healthy amount of finishing work remains.
Now if Dangerfield had a routine about his CPA it would probably go something like this:
"I went to my accountant and he told me I owed $3,000 on my taxes. I told him I wanted a second opinion. He said, Alright, you're ugly too."
Ironically, with his passing, Rodney Dangerfield at last attained respect. For the CPA profession, it was always a question of when rather than if.
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