Accounting News Roundup: The Accounting Profession Is Still Worried About Millennials | 10.24.16

Oh, those millennials

If you like reading articles that feature a Greatest Hits of what's wrong with millennials in the accounting profession, then this recent Accounting Today post will not disappoint:

A recent survey by the Institute of Management Accountants found that 62 percent of senior finance professionals believe that recruiting millennials is the biggest challenge for their business.

“We wanted to do this survey because there’s this big issue of baby boomers retiring and millennials entering the workforce,” said IMA director of research Kip Krumwiede. “You have a lot of cultural differences between those generations, so it’s important to identify those. We found that 62 percent said that recruiting millennials is a challenge and about half said the biggest challenge is that millennials only stay at a company one to three years.”

What's the reason for this? “They want a more flexible work environment, not necessarily a 9 to 5 job, but more work-life balance and flexible hours, kind of like the Google atmosphere" and "They want to progress in their careers," and "The millennial generation tends to want to work for tech-related companies because they’re cooler or they tend to have the kind of culture millennials are looking for."

I think what frustrates millennials (FULL GENERATIONAL DISCLOSURE: I'm in the grey area between GenX and Millennial) about a lot of employers is many have not evolved in a way that reflects the world around us. Technology has made a lot of things possible like flexible work environments and "Google atmospheres" whatever those are. It simply doesn't make sense to ask employees to adhere to a static work environment when it isn't necessary. As for the career path, I don't think most millennials need a step-by-step plan so long as they can envision a role for themselves at a particular company. And "cool" is irrelevant because "cool" is relative. Any company can be cool if they're operating in this century and yes, that includes things like providing flexible work environments, embracing technology and treating their employees like people rather than commodities.   

The businesses that have evolved to do these things aren't exclusively filled with millennials, btw. They don't get to avoid the "cultural differences" between Boomers and non-Boomers just because they're "cool" or have a "Google atmosphere." They attract and retain millennials because they haven't ignored the change that's going on in the world. If more accounting firms did that, we wouldn't have to keep having the same conversation.

Insider trading

Is it me or are people simply not trying anymore? Here's an SEC press release featuring attorney James Cope who couldn't wait to trade on material non-public information:

The SEC alleges that James C. Cope obtained more than $56,000 in ill-gotten gains by purchasing securities in Pinnacle’s acquisition target, Avenue Financial Holdings, prior to the banks’ joint public announcement later that month.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Cope learned confidential details about the planned merger during a board executive committee meeting on Jan. 5, 2016, and proceeded to place his first order to purchase Avenue Financial stock while that executive committee meeting was still in progress.  He allegedly placed four more orders within an hour after the meeting ended.

We're all so used to people staring at their phones during meetings that we don't even think that they could possibly breaking the law. I wonder what Jim's looking at on his phone? Probably playing Candy Crush.

Accountants behaving badly

CPAs are expected to adhere to high ethical and professional standards. IRS agents are public servants who work in the best interests of the Republic. If you've assumed both these roles in your career as an accountant and then using all that knowledge to enrich yourself (allegedly!), is quite a way to break bad:

Alena Aleykina, a certified public accountant and former Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation agent, is accused of claiming false filing statutes, dependents, and deductions and losses on her personal income tax returns in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Allegations in the indictment also claim that Aleykina prepared false tax returns for herself, members of her family and on behalf of trusts between 2008 and 2013. She is also accused of making false statements to representatives from the Department of the Treasury, and attempting to obstruct a federal investigation by destroying evidence on a government computer.

The former agent is also charged with fraudulently causing the IRS to issue IRS Tuition Assistance Reimbursement payments to her.

Altogether, Ms. Aleykina faces 9 charges and 41 years in prison. Yowza.

Elsewhere (i.e. Down Under) in ABB:  Former Deloitte director Stephan Sparrius avoids jail over child porn

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! It's been interesting to watch all the coverage, analysis and hand-wringing over Donald Trump's tax returns devolve into barely a mention on cable TV news. Although here's a paper asking: Were Trump's Fake Losses Legal as Tax Deductions?

Previously, on Going Concern…

Most of the internet was broken on Friday, but I did manage to find an amusing and relevant Politico headline.

In other news:

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