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Accounting News Roundup: CPA Killers; Auditor Searches; Tax Season Problems | 02.07.17

CPA killers

Last week, I mentioned that Watson, IBM’s smartypants computer that will eventually rule us all, was getting into the tax prep game by teaming up with H&R Block. It took all of of four days for someone to ask if this was the end of CPAs as we know it and then dismiss it completely:

Will this be the ultimate CPA-killer? Probably not. Powerful computers may someday crunch the numbers. But my clients will always need an accountant around to complain to about their high taxes.

Most people who talk about robots taking over believe the thing that will save humans is our ability to interact with people. “Sure, the computers may crunch the numbers, but who will interpret the numbers?” a person who is completely freaked out about the future of AI tells themselves.

People tend to forget — or perhaps ignore — that the cool thing about Watson, et al. is that they don’t stop learning. That’s the whole point! Plus, computers “have better memories and higher tolerance for boredom than humans, which is key in tax planning,” writes Matt Levine. One day Watson will learn how to pick up on frustration and irony and it will listen to clients complain about their high taxes. And have a higher tolerance for it, too.

Auditor search

Compliance Week reports that the first audit partner names are trickling into the PCAOB’s database:

PwC has reported, for example, that William Corey is the partner in charge of the firm’s engagement for Laureate Education Inc., while EY has reported that James McCaulley is the engagement partner for its external audit of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Grant Thornton is the only other firm to have reported so far, providing the names of engagement partners overseeing 15 separate audits for a series of investment companies.

Here’s the page with the Auditor Search for your perusing pleasure. Give a shout out to your friends and/or bosses when their names come through.


Maybe it’s still too early for the mildly amusing kvetching on Twitter to really get rolling, but I hadn’t seen much until I noticed this yesterday:

#Taxseasonproblems’s hashtag-cousin #busyseasonproblems is similarly quiet. Again, it’s only February 7th, so maybe worried for no reason? But I hope accountants aren’t losing their edge. Complaining about busy season is what keeps you alive.

Previously, on Going Concern…

As I promised on Friday, we rolled out a new design over the weekend. There’s always a few kinks associated with such a thing, so we were taking care of some those yesterday. We’re still tidying up a bit, so things may still feel a little strange for awhile.

Some of the comments, for example, may have got lost in the move. Open Items registration is, uh, not quite right. Bear with us as we sort the rest of these out. And please let us know what you think of the new design either in the comments or send an email. If you hate change and, ergo, everything about the new site, then blame me. The whole thing is my fault.

In other news:

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