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 ?
The bean-counters in our Government don't realise the human aspect of the Post Office."
Bean-counters in then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's office warned decisions on payments should be kept well away from his desk.
The latest findings come from the "bean-counters" - the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.
A number of vacancies have recently available for talented bean-counters to calculate country.
If replacing an M2 machine gun pin for a couple of bucks can save replacing a $500 barrel extension, you can bet the bean-counters sit up and take notice.
Cuts that potentially pose a risk to residents are unacceptable and usually made by bean-counters - in this case central government bean-counters - who have little knowledge of the services they intend to savage.
The bean-counters have just revealed average household disposable income dropped another pounds 200 last year.
The Government and its bean-counters should think again.
While Alan Orme (Letters, May) may be understandably worried about the financial implications of climate change, I suspect that he, like most of us bean-counters, doesn't know enough about the subject to offer an informed opinion.
As usual the NHS management, unlike the NHS staff at the sharp end, does not work for the benefit of the patients but for the bean-counters in suits.
Although there is a small amount of adult content - 40 Hour Man is definitely for mature readers only - the primary focus is on frustrations of the working world, petty co-workers, vengeful bosses, bean-counters in suits, and other employment-related hazards.
Dowie, who has instilled fantastic team spirit to the Latics' squad, will surely be snapped up smartly if the worst happens and the bean-counters pull the plug today.
Now MoD bean-counters are adding insult to injury by checking how much kit is returned by the 25,000 troops deployed to the Gulf and docking pay.
Irene O'Neill, of the Independent Federation of Nurses, said: "The new breed of hospital bean-counters know the price of everything, but the value of nothing."