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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


n. a statistician; an accountant. When the bean-counters get finished with the numbers, you won’t recognize them.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
They see us as scorekeepers, bean counters, and police.
Over coffee, we rationalized that communication auditors might have an effect similar to that of financial auditors affecting the bean counters: spin doctoring is discernible from good communicating because auditors examine method as well as message.
Orbiting the Giant Hairball proceeds from an observation its author shares with virtually every other management writer of the past decade: the problem with business is rigid, entrenched ways, inflexible regulations, formulaic organization, and number-mad bean counters. And, like nearly every one of its predecessors, it finds salvation in some pursuit that is ant/rational and really really visionary.
If it sounds like ABCM is it just a new way for the bean counters to crunch numbers, think again.
Many of the problems I had blamed on the "bean counters" were in fact due to my own lack of understanding of how accounting works, and I learned that I was not alone.
The consequence of bean counters and well-heeled ministers and advisers formulating policy for a world and life they know nothing about has been plain to see.
The Hollywood Reporter described the duo as "the last of the brash, shameless, old-school, ingratiatingly crass pirates to streak across the cinematic firmament before the advent of the suits and bean counters"and indeed they were.
So just when are our emergency service top brass going to stop making excuses and toeing the official line and tell the truth - cutting back on jobs to appease the bean counters isn't improving efficiency or creating better working practices, it's compromising security and putting lives at risk.
Worse still, unlike QPR, results have not gone so well since the break in Dubai...only adding to the gnashing of teeth upstairs among the bean counters.
Should we not get rid of the bean counters at the Ministry of Defence first?
And the bean counters have sparked outrage by recommending 94 doctors and nurses are given the boot.
Steve Williams, Welsh secretary of the Police Federation, agreed with Ms Berry's comments, saying that in his 27 years as a detective, bureaucracy was "as bad as ever" and that offices had become "bean counters".
I suspect the bean counters and the board members have decided that it is cheaper to let foreign countries pay the cost of appropriate training.
'The NSWNA calls on the Government to consult with clinical nurse managers on decisions about skill mix and nursing staff, rather than leaving these decisions to the bean counters.
My implausible request is that the bean counters find it in their hearts to care for everybody, no matter what their illness.