September 25, 2020

Accounting News Roundup: Virtual Reality Accounting and Gun Disclosures | 03.23.16

VR accounting
A tipster sent us a link to the strangest idea I've heard so far about how to make accounting less boring: virtual reality accounting.

Here's how one of the guys building it described it in the interview:

The concept is it's an app that helps boost the productivity of any accountant that's trying to do accounting within the VR space. So it's a VR app for accounting. Crunching the numbers, finances.

Wait, it gets weirder!

Yeah, the one thing we felt was that accounting jobs are boring, right? It's arguably not fun, I would assume for the most part. So we're in the early stages of VR, there's going to be a real need for these people who have to sit at a desk and look at excel spreadsheets. How can we make that just a little more interesting by putting it in a VR office?

So, you're a bored accountant and you want your life to be less boring so you strap on an Oculus or whatever and you're in virtual reality office….still doing accounting? Yep!

You're in the office, the desk is in front of you, you've got the ability to interact with your accounting things. And then there's cinderblock walls, just very sort of basic office lighting.

[…]

File cabinets. And then just a few things you might find in a typical accountants office, like on the wall as decoration. Motivational things. When the accountant is like, "I've been in here for five hours, I'm almost done with this spreadsheet', they can look to the left and see a motivational, you know 'Keep crunching the numbers!'

Everyone in the interview has severe attention deficit disorder so it's pretty hard to follow but it's interesting and funny and it sounds like they're on to something! Sort of! It remains to be seen whether it will actually result accountants being more productive.

Gun disclosures
Elsewhere in strange-but-innovative ideas, here's New York's public advocate getting into securities disclosures:

In a letter sent on Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Letitia James, the city’s public advocate, said that Sturm, Ruger, the Southport, Conn., maker of rifles, pistols and revolvers, had misled investors about who used its products and had not adequately disclosed the reputational and liability risks it faced.

More and more, shareholder activists are questioning whether the gun companies and the retailers that sell their products adequately represent their reputational risks to shareholders, calling their lack of disclosure of these risks a violation of S.E.C. rules.

“Gun manufacturers must come clean about the dangers posed by their business and the risks it represents for even their own shareholders,” Ms. James said in a statement. “As public advocate, I will continue to pursue every possible avenue to hold those gun makers and sellers accountable.”

Huh. I have no clue how they came up with this idea, but you have to admit that it's far easier to pressure the SEC into action than the trainwreck that is the US Congress.  

IRS scams
Worries about IRS crank yankers won't abate for another few weeks so if you have vulnerable clients be sure to keep them current on the most current tactics. Here's a new one:

One reader said he had been called by someone claiming to be an IRS agent who demanded that they meet in the parking lot of a local Walmart to exchange cash.

It's amusing that the people behind these scams assume their victims are willing to believe that IRS agents would carry out their duties like a Missouri meth dealer, but there you have it.

Previously, on Going Concern…
I wrote about accounting firms needing to treat people like family to keep them. And in Open Items: From audit (2 yrs) to senior financial analyst, am I leaving too soon?

In other news:

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