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Accounting News Roundup: An AICPA Takedown and KPMG Losing Hershey’s | 05.03.16


As we mentioned a few weeks ago, voting on the merger-ish event of the AICPA and CIMA is currently underway. At the time, we noted the full-throated opposition by professors Paul Miller and Paul Bahnson that didn't pull any punches on the AICPA or the "elite" (aka AICPA brass). The Pauls wrote another column that sorta covers what they'd like a professional association of accountants to be, but it's more meticulous about what they don't want it to be. And at the top of their list is something all you CPAs will all appreciate:

No ancillaries. First, the ideal association would not try to generate revenue through ancillary activities that turn constituents into customers. For example, it would not peddle such things as life insurance, credit cards, travel discounts, mortgages and merchandise.

Thus, we think the AICPA shouldn’t try to duplicate what Amazon, Costco, AARP, QuickenLoans and SelectQuote already do so much more effectively.

Like I said, there's lots of stuff the Pauls would like their ideal association to not to do. They include handing over the CPA exam to NASBA, in part because "our suspicion that the institute’s elite has stealthily used it to pursue political objectives"; stop selling CPE; "work well with their counterparts at other accounting associations"; no political activism (aka lobbying) and, of course, "No other designations":

First, doing so clearly implies that some members are less qualified than others. Second, it would treat members as customers. Third, it would create a temptation to water down the qualifying criteria in order to perpetuate the revenues.

It’s clear to us that the AICPA’s elite feels no compunction against this practice. We believe its most flagrant abuse is the notorious program that conjured thousands of CGMAs into existence without an examination. We note that this questionable credential now extracts millions of dollars in annual fees, mostly from members’ unsuspecting employers.

Ouch. Naturally, they conclude by asking members to vote against the AICPA/CIMA tie-up and if it passes, "we will encourage members to resign in protest."

Line. Drawn. Who doesn't like a showdown?

Accountants behaving badly

CPAs, especially those who work at accounting firms, are encouraged to give back to their communities in one way or another. One of the ways that many give back is by serving on nonprofit boards. Many times when boards find out that a prospective member is a CPA, they are eager to make him or her the treasurer because no one else really wants to deal with money and numbers and stuff. When that person gets a reputation as someone willing to serve as treasurer, then other boards want them to serve as treasurer as well. 

Such is the case with Kara Myers, a CPA and former Warren Averett audit manager who is in a bit of trouble at the moment: 

Court records show that Myers is accused of stealing money from the Duncan Bridge Resort Condominium Owner's Association, Inc.; the Vestavia Vipers All-Star Team; and the Vestavia Hills Girls Softball Association. According to a recent filing, she was responsible for "a series of thefts" from the organizations' bank accounts.

Police seized a bunch of Myers and her husband's assets "including a bank account, a boat and two vehicles – a Mercedes-Benz and a Lexus." It's reported that Myers also served "as the past president and past finance VP for the Junior League of Birmingham and past treasurer and second VP of the Vestavia Hills Elementary PTO Board."  Those organizations might want to double check their books and every nonprofit in the Birmingham area should try a little harder when looking for their next treasurer.

Grant Thornton issues a press release

Man, the PR folks at GT must be exhausted. In the wake of nabbing the Tony Awards from KPMG and announcing their support for some crap legislation, we learn that GT now has a Jacksonville, Florida office.  “Our new space will enhance employee collaboration and innovation," says the partner-in-charge, because that's what they all say. Are there stock quote banks for PR professionals like there are stock image banks? Or do accounting firms just pass around templates?

Previously, on Going Concern…

Chris Hooper wrote about augmented reality. And in Open Items, someone wants to know about investment management jobs in NYC.

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