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Would you fit in with Dunder Mifflin’s accounting department?

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The Office US

Warning! May contain spoilers from The Office (US)

If you’re a fan of The Office (US), you’ll know all about the eccentric, relatable characters that work for Dunder Mifflin's paper company. Many of us have witnessed how the show is somewhat of a microcosm of the traditional 9-5 office while highlighting how the fun side of your job can often go unnoticed.

At Kaplan, a big part of our focus is on providing the best accounting qualifications. We have been delivering accountancy training in the UK for over 80 years, partnered with leaders from industry and global institutes, and delivered consistently high pass rates. But there are still many misconceptions, and confusion, surrounding what it means to be an accountant.

The Office (US) is often unrealistic, but very relatable, especially with a whole accounting department with contrasting personalities. So, in the spirit of fun, let’s take a deeper dive into the accountants at Dunder Mifflin, and see where you would fit…

The accountants

Throughout the majority of The Office (US) seasons, there are three accountants: Angela, Oscar, and Kevin. If you’re a fan, you’ll know that their opposing and, at many points, questionable personalities clashed quite often. It’s even regularly noted that just one person could have done the job that the three of them were hired for.

Kevin Malone

Kevin is the easiest accountant to criticise. Let’s be honest, he’s not exactly the type of employee that you should strive to be. In fact, he’s possibly the perfect example of how not to be an accountant. Nevertheless, he still works in the Dunder Mifflin accounting department, so it’s only right if we take a closer look at how he does things.

Kevin Malone from The Office US

* Image credit: The Office (US) official Facebook page.

Keleven. For those who don’t know, ‘Keleven’ was a number that Kevin invented himself. Needless to say, you shouldn’t invent your own numbers when you start your career in accounting. But if we’re assessing whether you’d fit in the team, if the bar is this low, you’d likely do just fine.

Food maths. Despite several of Kevin’s bad habits, he does appear to be educated, and there are occasions where we see that there is some accounting knowledge behind his facade. According to a diploma hanging in his workspace, Kevin gained an Associate of Science degree in Accounting. Not only this but there are times when his advanced maths skills come to life.

In one episode of The Office (US), the Dunder Mifflin team is aiming to get to a pie store before it closes. With pies on the line, Kevin comes to the rescue with his extremely quick, mental maths calculations that determines how quickly they need to travel to reach the store within five minutes. So, although Kevin has his downfalls, with the right motivation he is quite capable of his job.

Dunder Mifflin’s laid-back office culture is likely the catalyst of Kevin’s work ethic. But, in some ways, Kevin’s mental maths skills are very useful when aiming to be an accountant, hopefully, yours will appear more regularly than when sweet treats are involved!

Angela Martin (Schrute)

Angela is much more competent than Kevin and is the head of the accounting department which must mean something, right? There are a lot of downfalls to Angela: she’s quite cold, unforgiving and hard to please. But, as an accountant, I guess she’s not too bad.

Angel Martin from The Office US

* Image credit: The Office (US) official Facebook page.

Direct and outspoken. A few of Angela’s qualities can be considered both positive and negative. She is always the first person to address Kevin’s mistakes, which can be very judgemental and patronising at times, but at least she’s direct. Angela is also very confident in her abilities as an accountant and takes her job seriously most of the time.

Of course, as someone seeking a career in accounting, you should hope to have some fun and relax from time to time, which Angela certainly wasn’t a believer in. However, her self-discipline and serious work ethic are possibly what helped her to become the head of the department, so there are a few qualities to admire.

Oscar Martinez

Oscar is arguably the most competent of the trio, and someone that you could realistically aspire to be like as you embark on your accounting career. All of the Dunder Mifflin team have their downfalls, but Oscar is clearly very intelligent and almost single-handedly tries to keep the business afloat.

Oscar Martinez from The Office US

* Image credit: The Office (US) official Facebook page.

Level headed. Oscar is the go-to person to talk his colleagues (particularly Michael Scott) down from extreme and unrealistic decisions, particularly if it involves financial consequences. Throughout the show, Oscar displays himself as an analytical, level-headed and strategic thinker, who can also remain calm under pressure.

Oscar is a good example of a more realistic or commendable accountant. He also showcases his leadership skills throughout the series, he’s not afraid to highlight mistakes made by Kevin and Angela while remaining respectful. Although Oscar can be a bit too confident at times and make careless mistakes due to cutting corners, if you’re asking us, he’s quite a high target to aspire to be!

Would you fit in as an accountant?

As an accountant, you probably would fit in with the Dunder Mifflin team, and then there will possibly be four people doing the job that one could do! But, if we’re being honest, due to the chaotic nature of the whole office, we hope that you will aim a little higher than a workplace like Dunder Mifflin. If you’re a fan of The Office (US), it’s common knowledge that the productivity levels are extremely low. So, we’re sorry to break it to you, but your future job role is likely to feature a lot more work and slightly less fun.

Nevertheless, Kevin, Angela and Oscar all hold some qualities that employers are looking for from an accountant, so maybe they can act as your inspiration in some way. And, judging by The Office (US), whether you’d prefer to work in a team or independently, there is much more fun to be had behind a traditional 9-5 office job than you would initially think.

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* All images are courtesy of The Office (US) official Facebook page.