The CFO of Dundler Mifflin in “The Office” was a Real-Life Financial Advisor

Liz Jin
2 min readFeb 24

If you ever looked at David Wallace and thought, “Wow, casting nailed it,” there’s a reason why.

David Wallace is the spot-on fictional CFO in the American comedy series, “The Office”; image source.

One of my favorite characters from the hit U.S. TV show “The Office” is David Wallace, the long-suffering CFO and eventual CEO of the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin.

The casting director nailed it when they hired Andy Buckley for the role. I mean, the guy is a literal composite of my finance colleagues throughout my career.

But did you know that Andy was a real financial advisor at Merrill Lynch? I was so tickled to learn this and was reminded of some great lessons.

First, he showed that creativity isn’t just for non-corporate folks. You’re not an actor, you say? Well, baking, gardening, collecting art, telling jokes, decorating your home, and writing on Medium are all creative activities in my book.

There is always a way to incorporate more creativity into our lives.

Second, Andy successfully merged two seemingly conflicting interests — acting and accounting — proving one doesn’t have to preclude the other. In fact, his accounting background was a strength. He was cast specifically because of his familiarity with corporate finance.

Lastly, he didn’t quit his day job to go all-in as an actor. The entire time he appeared on The Office, he continued working full-time in the financial industry.

It’s perfectly OK not to want to give up your day job (and all the monetary and non-monetary perks that come with it) while you’re testing out new creative pursuits.

I used to think my very corporate job was somehow at odds with my outside interests, such as creating motivational content.

It’s refreshing to be reminded that not only can both co-exist, but your corporate skill set may actually make you uniquely suited for your creative endeavors.

Liz Jin

“I wake up in the morning with a desire to both save the world and savor the world. That makes it hard to plan my day.”