bean counter

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bean counter

1. A derogatory term used to describe someone who obsesses over trivial and insignificant expenditures in an attempt to save money. As soon as the staff learned they had to purchase their own office supplies, they knew it was a result of the finance department's new bean counter tightening the company's purse strings.
2. An accountant. We need to get a bean counter in here to analyze these expense reports and give us the big picture on our finances.
See also: bean, counter

a bean counter

If you call someone a bean counter, you mean that they are only interested in how much money a business makes and spends. Note: In the following expressions, `bean' means money. The reason for our failure is that we have bean counters running our companies. The Japanese have engineering and manufacturing people. Medical bean counters don't think it is cost-effective to detect this type of cancer in the older age groups. Note: You can call this type of approach bean counting. If someone does this, you can say they count the beans. He is angry with the Hollywood establishment — the `bean-counting producers, the idiot studio heads and the lawyers.' Those who count the beans in our society have all the power, and will do for the foreseeable future. Note: These expressions usually show disapproval.
See also: bean, counter


n. a statistician; an accountant. When the bean-counters get finished with the numbers, you won’t recognize them.
References in periodicals archive ?
They see us as scorekeepers, bean counters, and police.
Policies are and always will be dictated by the financial bean counters - duty of care is non existent if it costs too much.
He hit out at penny-pinching bean counters for blocking the plans - as the Bank Holiday crash death toll rose to eight.
Reducing pay for local nurses is a disastrous policy and suggests the victory of bean counters over genuine economic managers.
PERHAPS Coventry's council taxpayers should be grateful that the super-efficient bean counters at the city council are doing their utmost to make sure Sheila Hammond knows that she's in debt.
ADRIAN Goldberg is correct that the NHS needs major surgery - applied not to patients but to the huge and costly unnecessary quangos, supervisory bodies, managers, administrators and bean counters with which it has become infested.
The bean counters have cut costs, rationalised staff numbers, and turned the business into a lean and hungry entity.
The documentary picks up where Trio's recently debuted ``Easy Riders, Raging Bulls'' leaves off, looking at the shift from low-budget, high-art pictures of the late '60s through early '80s to the mass-marketed megabuck productions that satisfy studio bean counters if not film critics.
At least, that's what the telcom bean counters foresee.
And grieving takes time, the kind of time that bean counters would not consider "productive.
Sad, isn't it, that national pride has fallen into the hands of bean counters, who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing?
So far the controversy has yet to have a strong impact on public support for fighting the disease (President Clinton wants Congress to increase funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program by $100 million for fiscal year 1999), but if that support begins to erode as a result of the debate, public funding for AIDS may no longer be kept sacrosanct from bean counters.
One other effect of leaving the bean counters and the narrow gauge engineers in charge of laying out voice-mail systems is the related outrage of phone call routing that so often accompanies these systems.
But perhaps it is premature to write Congress off as just a collection of humorless bean counters who hang around for years, croching behind a battlement of blandness.