Johnny Inkslinger: Accounting Legend

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Scofield, Barbara
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Issue Date
August 2016
Alternative Title
This paper provides an introduction to the American folktale character of Johnny Inkslinger, Paul Bunyan's accountant. Johnny Inkslinger's significant role in the legends of Paul Bunyan is demonstrated through the summaries of his presence in six of the twelve tales in the James Stevens 1925 version of Paul Bunyan. This paper demonstrates the insights into accounting in Paul Bunyan's era and our own that the character of Johnny Inkslinger provides. Finally this paper includes a series of assignments with teaching notes that could be used across the accounting curriculum to engage students in learning accounting using the example of Johnny Inkslinger, sometimes as a model and sometimes as a warning. Material from these tales can be used in courses as diverse as management accounting, accounting information systems, international accounting, and accounting theory