How to avoid a dodgy accountant (a tribute to Rihanna)

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Rihanna does some serious harm to the esteemed profession of accountancy in her latest video.

Or, at least, to one accountant in particular.

B*tch Better Have My Money depicts the Barbadian superstar enacting bloody revenge on her dodgy numbers man and his wife, spiced up with a spot of drug-taking, vicious torture and gratuitous nudity.

It’s a controversial cocktail of violence, iniquity and underwater buttocks; all contributors to why it’s been streamed more than 30m times on YouTube.

BBHMM has, unsurprisingly, attracted outcry from self-appointed moral guardians everywhere. Of course, this includes The Daily Mail, who even warned that the video should “turn all mothers’ stomachs”.

To be fair to the Mail, it is pretty jaw-droppingly ‘NSFW’.

But we’re less interested in the rights and wrongs of Rihanna’s production than we are its inspiration: rumour has it, it’s based on a crooked ex-accountant of Rihanna’s who, she claims, didn’t quite play straight with her dollar bills.

With that in mind, we asked MBW friend Nick Lawrence, of NWN Blue Squared, to highlight some of the key things managers and artists should be looking out for to ensure their chosen balance sheet whiz is an honest one.

BBHMM video freshly seared upon his mind’s eye, Nick (pictured) even craftily applied a bit of a Rihanna tribute to the task at hand.

Nice work.

You know you have a good accountant when…

Talk that Talk

You look them in the eye for the first time, mention your royalty issues and they come right back at you with the most effective methods for monitoring global rights.

If they start wittering on about their recent visit to Buckingham Palace, walk away!

Rated R

They are proud to display their accountancy qualifications from one of the main accreditation bodies. In the UK, that would be the ACCA or ICAEW.

If they are reluctant to show you the results of their first maths exam in secondary school, think again.


They can’t or won’t say “sorry”. Everyone is human – even accountants (yes, really) – and mistakes happen.

However, the best accountants work collaboratively with their clients and, when the odd glitch occurs, the relationship should be strong enough for them to ‘fess up and sort out the problem.

Honesty is not only the best policy, it’s a legal requirement!


Your accountant arrives in a limo that isn’t longer than yours.

Sure, accountants – like any other professional – earn a comfortable living, but on the basis that you get what you pay for, that should be a good thing as they are helping you earn a healthy wage too.


They step up and protect you from the latest financial storm.

Any accountant can be effective in the good times, but this is the music business and times can be tough.  The best accountants not only understand your business but are on hand to proactively shelter you from rough financial weather.

If it looks like your accountant is leaving you out in the rain, seek shelter elsewhere.

As Rihanna once sung: “You were there for me when I needed you, when my back was to the wall. And it’s good to know you’re still the one to catch me when I fall.”

Now that’s what I call a testimonial!Music Business Worldwide

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