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November 28, 2022

Accounting News Roundup: Mandatory Arbitration Heading to SCOTUS and Drawing Dead People | 01.18.17

Mandatory arbitration

The New York Times reported late last week that the Supreme Court will hear three cases together on employers' use of mandatory arbitration. Most employee contracts force employees to resolve their disputes with companies out of court and prohibit class actions. One of the cases included is Ernst & Young v. Morris that we noted back in September.

Female CEOs

LinkedIn interviewed Deloitte's Cathy Engelbert who said that she was surprised by "all the attention when I was first named to the role."  She said that led her "to understand that being a female CEO is a novelty, and we have to move to the point where it moves from novelty to the norm." Currently, only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, while 50% of the Big 4's US firms are women.

Moving for taxes

Have you ever known anyone to move to South Dakota for its lack of income tax? I didn't think so. Here's an article that suggests people "flock to states with less burdensome taxes" citing the annual United Van Lines study of Americans moving around the country and a Tax Foundation post that explicitly states "Taxes are occasionally overcited as the reason why individuals leave a state." Common sense says people move for three things in no particular order: 1) Jobs; 2) Weather; 3) Lifestyle. If taxes are slighly lower in the state that a person chooses, that's just an added bonus.

Hobbies

Carl Koppelman, a former accountant with Princess Cruises and Disney Studios, now spends his days taking care of his elderly mother and…drawing dead people for a site called websleuths.com. At first he was just doing administrative work, including building "a spreadsheet that now has 17,000 names of unidentified and presumed dead victims."  But his real talent turned out to be creating images of those unidentified dead people:

In 2009, Koppelman posted as CarlK90245 – a combination of his name and his ZIP code. And the more he looked around at the photos, the more he noticed something … the police sketches of missing and murdered people didn’t match what they really looked like if they were ever found.

Koppelman began looking at coroner photos and using a Corel Photo Paint graphics program to make dead and missing people into pictures.

He did a drawing of an unidentified body found in an abandoned Philadelphia hotel.

“I opened his eyes, put an Eagles jersey on him and straightened his mouth,” Koppelman said.

A website based in Pennsylvania saw the drawing and asked if they could use it. That was all the feedback Koppelman needed.

I'm not suggesting you quit your accounting day job today to solve mysteries, but maybe someday!

Previously, on Going Concern…

We welcomed back Adrienne Gonzalez as a contributor. She wrote about Big 4 firms' systemic importance (or lack thereof).

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