Why is ‘accountant’ trending on TikTok?

Internet slang is a constantly shifting landscape. Every few months, a new term sweeps across the web, starting out small and localized before crashing into the mainstream. Right now, the words “accountant” and “accounting” have been trending on TikTok, but they don’t mean what you probably think they do.

TikTok’s format means that things can easily take on a whole new meaning. While the user who creates a sound may use it for one thing, others may take the sound and use it to create totally different videos. These videos may set off trends within that user’s community. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a single TikTok sound to mean vastly different things and be part of several distinct but equally popular trends simultaneously. The term “accountant” is one such trend, as while the term started out in one community, it quickly spread to another.

Last year, TikTok user and actor Rocky Paterra posted a video that quickly went viral. In this video, Rocky sings a song about being a “struggling actor.” However, when strangers ask about his job, he tells them that he’s an accountant. This allows him to avoid awkward or repetitive conversations, and as he goes on to note, “no one asks you questions when you say you’re an accountant.”

The rest of the video shows this in action, with Rocky brushing off several common small-talk questions by giving generic, accountant-themed answers.

The video proved to be very popular and quickly amassed over 700,000 likes and 4,000 comments. The video caused other users to think about jobs that you wouldn’t want to talk about with strangers, with several other less common work communities latching onto the sound.

The sex worker community, especially those who sell explicit content via OnlyFans, was one such community that found the concept charming. Many users note that explaining what they do for a living can often lead to repetitive or awkward conversations with friends or loved ones. In fact, in many places, admitting that you’re a sex worker can be dangerous, leading to many empathizing with the idea of telling people you have a regular job to hide your actual employment.

TikTok user stormigee quickly used the sound to make her own video, captioning it, “When you make thousands off of OnlyFans, but your father asks where the money is coming from.”

@stormigee

I’m gonna get beat for this I already know #foryou #modestgirl anyhow user is stormigee

♬ As An Accountant – Rocky Paterra

Others, like user Shay, used the sound in response to a viewer’s question about their job. In her video, Shay empties a bag of dollar bills over her head while the song plays, with the question of “wait, what do you do?” superimposed over the footage.

Since then, many other adult creators have used Rocky Paterra’s sound to create their own version of the video, to the point that in many parts of TikTok, the word “accountant” is now a commonly-used slang for a sex worker or OnlyFans creator. Due to how TikTok trends move from community to community, we’ll likely be seeing fun videos based on this concept trend for the next few months.