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Accounting News Roundup: Embracing Technology and A KPMG Museum | 05.23.17



Maybe it’s just me, but I get the sense that the accounting profession is thin-skinned about its future. Any criticism of CPAs, how they conduct business, and their ability to adapt to the changing world is met with a defensive response akin to, “WE GET TECHNOLOGY. WE ARE WITH IT.” For example, AICPA President, CEO and part-time haberdasher Barry Melancon felt the need to call out Mark Cuban for saying that he wouldn’t want to be an accountant right now:

Melancon disagreed with billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, star of the TV show “Shark Tank” and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who predicted that accountants might become obsolete. Cuban recently told CNBC, “I would not want to be a CPA right now. I would not want to be an accountant right now. I would rather be a philosophy major.”

Melancon disputed Cuban’s argument that advances in technology mean accounting isn’t a profession for the future. “I would argue that’s a very superficial comment,” he said. “That’s a comment from a person who really doesn’t understand what the profession is about and how we have been actually moving to the higher cognitive skills in management accounting, public accounting—however you want to define it, in advisory, auditing or accounting—for some time now. We are also embracing those changes.”

Isn’t the best way to respond to Mark Cuban is to actually get on Shark Tank and demonstrate your underappreciated technology chops so he’ll invest in your harebrained idea? Telling a room full of CPAs that Cuban doesn’t know what he’s talking about kinda falls flat, especially when something like this happens:

Melancon had mixed success in demonstrating how Amazon’s Alexa bot technology could be used by accountants. He tried to demonstrate Alexa’s translation skills, asking Alexa to say, “Welcome to this meeting in Washington, D.C.,” in Mandarin Chinese. However, Alexa replied, “Sorry, I’m having trouble accessing your translating skill now.”

To be fair, even getting Alexa to play decent music can be a challenge sometimes.

Elsewhere in let’s-all-become-philosophers news: Automation and the end of accounting


Yesterday’s groundbreaking for KPMG’s monstrous new training center was big news in Central Florida, including one report that said it will include “A KPMG museum that will showcase KPMG’s heritage, values and purpose-led culture.”

Are accounting firm museums a thing?  If so, what kind of artifacts do they have? Will it contain Peat’s abacus? I’m sure there will be an adding machine or two. I envision the first spreadsheet encased in bulletproof glass, roped off, sorta like the Mona Lisa. Do you think they’ll be able to get a hold of Scott London’s ticket stubs to that Springsteen concert? Will it be open to the public? I have so many questions.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I also contributed to the glut of news on KPMG’s new ginormous training center, where future visitors will be reminded not to mishandle leaked info from the PCAOB. In Open Items, a high school student asks about an EY internship.

In other news:

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