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Accounting News Roundup: Millennials and Auditing; Saudi Arabia and IFRS | 04.11.16

Millennials and auditing

Deloitte pays to publish content over at the Wall Street Journal and most of the time I don't pay much attention, but today there's a chat with its head of audit, Joe Ucuzoglu, where he tries to explain how to get Millennials to care about auditing:

[M]any millennials are equally focused, some more so, on making a contribution and having an impact to society.  As a profession, we need to demonstrate to millennials how the work we do helps to enable the capital markets to function optimally and helps to enable investors to trade trillions of dollars in securities with confidence. This motivates them, and it provides a sense of purpose—well beyond a paycheck. And, when you incorporate that at a very early stage in their career and introduce advanced technologies, they are enthusiastic about redefining the way the profession works and exploring how these technologies can challenge the historical norms of the way in which an audit is conducted. That’s exciting to them.

The drudgery of auditing drives a lot of people away especially those who aren't interested in "paying their dues" like their older colleagues did. That's mostly because "paying dues" involves working long hours to clear tedious review notes all for the privilege of working long hours to write tedious review notes. It's kinda hard to see the "impact to society" in that for most people. Investment banking has a similar problem. Whether or not technology can MAKE AUDITING GREAT AGAIN isn't so much a long-term worry: I think it will eventually. In the meantime, there's this transition period where the drudgery is still pervasive and the technology hasn't come far enough along. Not everyone is going to find that change exciting or meaningful or impactful or whatever it is Millennials want. It will always be a hard sell.

Accountants are out there

A couple weeks back we noted that Advanced Drainage Systems had filed three years of restatements thanks to errors that were, in no small part, due to inadequate accounting staff. Lo and behold, it seems that the company found someone who has some chops:

Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., a Hilliard, Ohio, drainage-pipe maker, named Tim Makowski controller and accounting chief. He was also named principal accounting officer, for purposes of Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Scott Cottrill will remain CFO, secretary and treasurer, but hand over the principal accounting officer role. Mr. Makowski was most recently a director at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He will receive a salary of $275,000 and a bonus targeted at 40% of that amount, plus a $50,000 cash signing bonus and is eligible for equity awards valued at a combined $150,000.

Hopefully they didn't put all their eggs in one basket with this guy.

Saudi Arabia anyone?

This is maybe a strange thing to highlight here in ANR, but WHY NOT? According to a Forbes report, Saudi Arabia is adopting IFRS for listed companies starting on January 1, 2017 and they don't have nearly enough qualified accountants in the country to pull it off:

[H]itting the deadlines won’t be easy. Observers point to a shortage of suitably qualified accountants in the country. Deloitte estimates the number of qualified Saudi accountants is just 300 (although Socpa says it has 5,000 members). Canada, which has a similar sized population, has more than 100,000 qualified accountants.

That means Saudi Arabia will probably have to import more trained expats from abroad, which would undermine another government aim of getting more locals into private sector jobs. The requirement for all statutory financial statements to be filed in Arabic will restrict the pool of talent from which it can recruit.

And then there's the issue of "trying to match international accounting standards with the requirements of sharia law." So if you're an IFRS expert, fluent in Arabic and have even the slightest idea of how Islam would fit into international financial reporting, then you could add a nice little detour through the Middle East to your career. 

Previously, on Going Concern…

I admitted that I didn't know that paper tax organizers were still a thing. And in Open Items, someone wants to know what happens if you don't turn in a performance review.

In other news:

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