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Accounting News Roundup: The New CPA Exam and Dating an Accountant | 04.08.16

New CPA exam

There's a lot of talk about the new CPA exam but I'm not really sure why. Sure, it's a couple hours longer and will have more simulation and essay questions but is that a big deal? It's not as if they're writing it Latin or going back to mandatory pencil 'n' paper 4-sections-in-two-days thing. But people think it's important, I guess. I probably just don't have a good appreciation of the nuances.

The new format tests “a CPA’s ability to understand information and make a decision and interpret that decision, and that’s certainly more of what’s happening in the profession,” said EY Americas recruiting leader Dan Black of the exam.

Mr. Black, who got his certification in 1996, said most of the company’s entry-level hires aren’t CPAs because the certification requires a few years of professional experience. Still, EY provides an incentive bonus for passing the exam within their first year or two, he said.

And about the increase from 14 to 16 hours, Dan Black says, "It’s certainly a bit grueling.” Although not as grueling when you took it, amirite, Dan? Anyway, the AICPA has a new CPA exam FAQ for anyone who plans to fret over this from now until next April when the new exam launches.

Dating an accountant

I don't know where to start with this 11 Reasons To Date An Accountant If You’ve Never Had A Stable Relationship. Actually, I do know where to start — why isn't "They're employed" the #1 reason? Has society's standards fallen so far that gainful employment isn't a must anymore?

And sure, dating someone who's detailed-oriented is nice, but it will drive you crazy when (s)he tries to alphabetize your record collection. Or the fact that accountants like it when numbers balance but balance in a relationship among human beings can be messy and lots of accountants don't do messy. And, like, what does this even mean:

Day in and day out, these people must remain as patient as possible as they crunch numbers and bring their spreadsheets and files to a balance. This enables accountants to tolerate inconveniences gracefully in other areas of life, too.

Or this:

If you’re going through a problem, talk it through with an accountant. He or she can easily discuss the situation on a rational level, while still having a handle on the importance of your emotions.

Or this:

At the end of each close, a new chapter begins. Accountants have the utmost potential to be the best story written in your book.

Oh, brother. If you're not an accountant and you're reading this, uh, #1: Welcome! Not sure how you got here, but okay. and #2: Sure, try dating an accountant if you've never had a stable relationship. You've been given fair warning, though.

As a CPA, people expect you to know this stuff

Corporate secrecy is a thing in the US and if you want to set up a shell company to buy a house or some land you can do that pretty easily, all for less than you pay in rent.

Nevada is among a handful of U.S. states with liberal incorporation laws that offer many of the same benefits that have drawn business tycoons, politicians and money launderers from around the world to hide their wealth in exotic locales — a secret economy revealed this week in a series of reports based on leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm.

The so-called Panama Papers show how the firm Mossack Fonseca set up shell companies for the rich to shield their millions from the prying eyes of tax authorities and the public.

The firm’s most common destination was the British Virgin Islands, where it worked with more than 100,000 entities. But its seventh-most popular place to set up corporations — after island nations such as Seychelles — was Nevada, with more than 1,000 companies.

Then there's Delaware. The First State has long had a reputation as the home to some of the largest, most successful companies in the world that have principal locations elsewhere:

More than a century ago, Delaware sought to attract businesses by allowing companies to write governance rules that shielded management from liability and eliminated standard protections for shareholders.

Today, the state is the legal home to 1.1 million companies, 95% of which have their principal location in another state or country. Tens of thousands of businesses list the same Delaware addresses, home to their incorporating agents.

The businesses registered in Delaware include 65% of Fortune 500 companies.

But many more are limited liability corporations essentially unknown to all but the owners and their agents and lawyers, drawing enough criticism that the state maintains a “facts and myths” Web page.

So next time you're at a dinner party and someone asks you about setting up a secret corporation or hiding some money, you can point them to 1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington. It's no Panama City, but after everything that's transpired, it's probably what they want.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I stumbled across PwC's letter to Mitt Romney from 2012 and shared it with everyone for #TBT. And in Open Items, an experienced associate wonders if (s)he's underpaid.

In other news:

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