Is there a generally accepted symbol for "accountant"?
I have been informed (by an accountant) that the international symbol for an accountant is this:
Whilst a search on Google retrieves a few similar symbols, they are not of sufficient quantity or quality to justify the title of international symbol. Also tried searching on stock sites to no avail.
I can only guess that the meaning of this symbol is two ring binders.
If anyone can shed some light on this it would be appreciated.
I did some research on this, and in no way did I find that there is a symbol for accountancy. I do not think this line of enquiry is productive.
As I see it: your job is to make a good logo. Good logos are not always the ones that figuratively picture a subject. I think you are better off dropping looking for "commonly understood symbol", and rather concentrate on making a good logo. Typical examples people bring up in these cases are Apple and Nike. None of them has anything to do with orchards or greek gods, the logos says nothing about computers or victory.
To base the idea on two ring binders is a starting point, and not a bad one, but ring binders are on the way out. The reference would be lost on the younger generations. That means that you would/could use it as a starting point for something more abstract.
Accountancy does not have a lot of intuitively graphic elements connected to it. It is not like a builder would have a hammer and saw. You could use graphs, dollar signs etc, but it is too easy to confuse with completely different things, I would say it is not advised.
I would actually see all this as a positive thing: you get to focus intensely on a more abstract level. Forget the universally-understood-thing and rather create something recognisable and memorable.
A quick look at http://www.thenounproject.com/search/?q=accountant tells you that this is probably a very difficult issue, as not much has been submitted yet...
I wouldn't say this is a complete reference, but it is my go to place when i have questions like this.