Follow TV Tropes


Bob from Accounting

Go To
"Nothing good has ever followed the phrase 'Bernard in Accounting'."
Captain Carter, What If…? (2021)

Whenever a throwaway character in a Work Com is introduced, they will often be labeled as someone from the "Accounting department", usually to serve as the straight-man for a joke. The character's name will also tend to be common and monosyllabic, such as "Bob", "Bill", "Ted", or "Steve", altogether creating an impression of a staid and two-dimensional person.

Sometimes the person will betray this impression and be wacky or very unusual in some way, creating humor via contrast. (Their name may be dropped, but we never see their quirky antics.) Alternatively, the person may be from human resources or some other department that most companies have, especially one not known for its personality.

Once their function in the joke has been fulfilled, they will usually never be mentioned again.


    open/close all folders 


  • From a TV ad for Magic: The Gathering: "The goblin's out sick? Well, send in Bob. From accounting." Bob From Accounting was actually considered for a card in the joke set Unhinged.
  • A commercial for some sort of microwaveable noodle dish. The mascot in question is a miniaturized stereotypical Chinese man, who apparently works in accounting.
  • A series of Radio ads for the temp service AccounTemps between a Boss and an HR manager detail the problems when the HR guy fails to get Bob from AccounTemps. An alternative link to the company's website invites the searcher to "get a Bob".

    Anime and Manga 
  • Aggretsuko: Retsuko's boyfriend in the first season is Resasuke from sales. The relationship doesn't last because he has no personality at all and is oblivious to her needs. She was only attracted to him because he was polite to her.

    Films — Animated 

  • In the movie version of Horton Hears a Who!, Mayor Ned, not believing that Horton's "voice from the drainpipe" is real, asks if the whole thing is a prank by "Burt, from Accounting". We actually see Burt from Accounting later in the film, though.
  • The Incredibles invokes this trope deliberately — and then almost immediately subverts it, because Bob from Accounting is Mr Incredible. It gets even funnier when you realize that his last name, Parr, sounds similar to the word "par," meaning "ordinary." Therefore, Bob Parr's name is supposed to sound generic, even though the rest of him... isn't.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Inception, Cobb introduces himself this way when setting up the Mr. Charles gambit.
  • The Other Guys literally has one in the NYPD. He's generally plain, mostly a gag character, and known for interrupting people in the middle of personal conversations. He even gets yelled at by Terry for doing so.note  He actually turns out to be a plot point as he is seen at the meeting with Ershon talking to investors. It reveals that Ershon was going to try to get money through the police pension fund to pay back his debts.


  • The title character in The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, The Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes, does not change his occupation after being turned.
  • Ron's family in Harry Potter is all wizards and witches, except for one of his mum's distant cousins who is an accountant. ("We don't talk about him much.") Word of God says the reason the Weasleys don't talk about him is that he has the same opinions of wizards as Harry's Uncle Vernon, i.e. not positive. Originally, he was supposed to appear in the series when his daughter turned out to be a witch and received her Hogwarts letter but the storyline ended up being cut.
  • The Dee family, in Robert Sheckley's short-story "The Accountant", is likewise all wizards and witches, except for little Morton Dee, who wants to be an accountant—and has some powerful arguments on his side.
  • One of the Vampyr youth in the Discworld novel Carpe Jugulum "pretends to be an accountant". It's the Vampire equivalent of being one of those people who congregate in dark basements and drink cow's blood.
  • In The Laundry Files, Bob from IT is not an example. Despite his name and mundane-seeming job, he's the protagonist, and has a full name: Bob Howard. Plus, he's actually a wizard-in-training. Fred from Accounting, however, who briefly serves as Bob's archnemesis before falling victim to demonic possession is an example—a one-name guy whose only role in the story is to Be Bureaucratic at our hero.

    Live-Action TV 

  • House:
    • In the season two episode where the hospital organized a charity poker tournament, Wilson finally won by beating "Berman from accounting". House also occasionally cracks jokes (including in the aforementioned poker episode) about 'Debbie from accounting', Wilson's supposed romantic interest:
      House: "Anything lower, you wouldn't sound so excited. Jacks or higher, your voice sounds like Debbie from accounting is sitting in your lap."
  • The staff on Are You Being Served? make frequent references to the Accounts Department, with a lot of ethnic humour about how they were all Asiannote  (par for the course given the show), and in one episode, Mr. Patel from Accounts does appear.
  • Early episodes of Just Shoot Me! features mentions of Baxter from Accounting.
  • A lot of Chandler's workmates from Friends get this treatment, including "Financial Services Lowell" and "Brian from Payroll".
    • In one episode Rachel tries to set her sister up with "Bob from Human Resources". Becomes a Running Gag after she keeps bringing him up.
  • From NCIS: Tony's misadventures with female coworkers tend to have names like "Alice from Evidence," etc.
  • Scrubs does this with 'X from the gift shop' and 'Y from pediatrics'.
    • A straighter example is Ted's barbershop quartet. Each member thereof comes from a different branch from the hospital, and the bass actually is from accounting. (The other two are from shipping and receiving, and onsite property management.)
  • On NewsRadio, they usually mention various people in Ad Sales.
  • John Stossel did a report on taxes, and he showed an elderly man whom he introduced as Bob, his accountant.
  • Monty Python loved accountant characters — for example, there's a Flying Circus sketch about one who wanted to become a lion tamer despite his aptitude test showing that he was in no way suited to anything that exciting... and confusing a lion with an aardvark.
    • Also, in the sketch where people are simply falling off a building past a window, one of the two office workers recognized one of them as "Wilkins from Finance", eventually taking bets on who'd be next.
    • Averted in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life with the crew of the Crimson Permanent Assurance, who show that it's fun to charter an accountancy firm and sail the wide accountant-sea...
  • Subverted in Sherlock, when "Jim from IT" turns out to be Moriarty.
  • Early on in Bones, Zack is often said to be dating "Naomi from Paleontology."
  • On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John Oliver frequently refers to Janice from Accounting during his segments, as in "Janice from Accounting don't give a fuck!"
  • The Nature Documentary parody show When Nature Calls describes the vast animal population, giving an offhand mention to one particular deer, "Kenny from accounts payable."
    Kenny: Sup?


    Newspaper Comics 

  • Dilbert has a character Scott Adams refers to as Ted the Generic Guy, who usually fills this role. In another strip, Ed from Accounting was the only demon from Heck that wasn't at lunch.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Recorded And Stand Up Comedy 

  • This trope forms the core of one of Eddie Izzard's Star Trek routines. Stevens from Accounts decides to go on an away mission to figure out why a landing party consisting of Kirk, Spock and McCoy routinely expenses several hundred packed lunches. Things look bad for Stevens as the Captain points out he's wearing a red jumper.
  • The Cheech & Chong skit "Moe Money" begins with the titular executive calling Debbie from Finance (filling in for Carol, his usual secretary, who is getting her nails done) and asking her to hold all his calls, not let anybody into his office, get him some headache tablets and get Maintenance to repair his tape recorder. After Sal Pushman breaks into his office and begins to annoy him, Moe tries several times to call anyone who might be able to throw Sal out, including Debbie.


    Video Games 

  • In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Fred, a former Gadgetron accountant, is used as a contestant to introduce Annihilation Nation. He doesn't survive long.
  • Poker Night 2
    Claptrap: Kill 'em all and let Debbie from Accounting sort them out!
  • NGU IDLE, a punny incremental Idle game on Kongregate has titans, a series of super powerful enemies, the third of which is called Jake from Accounting.
  • One of the minibosses in the "Terror on Gorgon" DLC of The Outer Worlds is "Charles from Accounting", a former accountant turned crazed bandit.

    Web Animation 
  • Overly Sarcastic Productions: In "Journey To the West part VIII", Sun Wukong recruits the Star of Fiery Virtue, the deity of the planet Mars, who turns out to be a minor bureaucrat in the ranks of Heaven, to help fight the One-Horned Rhinoceros King. The Rhinoceros King handily defeats the Star of Fiery Virtue.
    Red: Dang it! I guess that's what happens when we count on Steve from Heaven Accounting.


  • This is the central gag of the webcomic Warbot in Accounting.
  • The political webcomic Get Your War On features only office workers illustrated by clip-art images — basically blank templates of White Collar Workers. In the animated videos, consisting of phone calls between two main characters, they identify themselves/each other simply as Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable.
  • Mentioned among the victims of the anglerfish attack in What the Fu.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 

  • A YouTube Poop of the "lost series finale" of D'oh Yogi! shows from the opening titles that the series was, "Created by Phil from Accounting".

    Western Animation 

  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Deal," Nicole gets employee of the month at the Rainbow Factory and performs a rap about how she climbed the corporate ladder and stepped on all her co-workers to get there.
    "I put Jim from accounts in the corner like a baby!
    Carol from HR, straight trippin', she can take me!"
  • One episode of Dilbert featured a Jerkass co-worker named Dick from Procurement. It's treated like his full name, with it showing up on things like Alice's routing slip for the Secretary's Day card she's passing around.
  • Inside Job (2021): One of things Reagan tells Rand not to tell to the public is that the weather is being controlled by Gerald from the accounting, with a shot from someone from Weather Department trying to control a Weather-Control Machine before being zapped by lightning.
  • Sealab 2021: a character from the never-before-or-after-mentioned Accounting department serves as an additional foil to Murphy's inane scheme.
  • In the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft," one of the programmers tells the prophecy of the Sword of A Thousand Truths to his colleagues. The leader asks who foretold the prophecy and the programmer says it was Saltzman from Accounting.
  • The Simpsons:
    • While watching Booberella on the news, Mr. Burns says to Smithers, "Do you know Bill from accounting? That's his daughter."
    • In one episode a private company takes over the bankrupt school. Lisa complains that "we spent all day selecting fabric swatches, and then our guest speaker was Phil from Marketing."
  • Donna From Accounting from King of the Hill. Note, she's never called just Donna, always Donna From Accounting.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • A short skit featured two vampires standing near a blood cooler and talking about someone named Dave.
      "Big Dave, or little Dave?"
      "Little Dave, from accounting."
      "Yeah, he's a prick."
    • Another skit had Thing leaving the Addams Family to make it on his own. A coworker sets him up twice with "the new girl in accounting." The first is a regular human who dumps him because he can't reproduce and she wants kids. The second is another disembodied hand (with nail polish) named A-Majig, and they end up getting married.
  • In the Wander over Yonder, episode "The It", the watchdog Ted from Accounting is in the Top 10 in the Intergalactic Villain Leaderboard after being tagged by Lord Hater.

    Real Life 

  • Bob Newhart was actually an accountant prior to going into comedy.
  • John Major, legendarily dull British prime minister, was the son of an ex-trapeze artist and had an early career in banking, prompting the joke that he was the only man ever to run away from the circus to become an accountant. And knowing that makes Making Money even funnier.
  • There's an Australian drag queen named Karen from Finance.