bean counter

or bean-count·er

[ been-koun-ter ]
See synonyms for bean counter on
nounSometimes Disparaging.
  1. an accountant or other financial officer, often one placing undue importance on spending, financial accountability, and profit, or anyone regarded as having a reductively quantitative focus: If it were up to the bean counters, this company would never take risks or innovate.

Origin of bean counter

An Americanism first recorded in 1970–75

Words Nearby bean counter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for bean-counter


  1. informal an accountant

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012