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Accounting News Roundup: Workaholism and Insider Trading | 09.01.17

accounting news workaholism

All work and no play makes you a dummy.

Ed. note: Going Concern will be off on Monday, observing Labor Day. See you back here on Tuesday. If anything interesting happens between now and then, drop us a line at [email protected] or create a post in Open Items.


Accounting firms have long had a workaholism culture, although it’s never gotten ink like the work-until-you-die ethos that pervades Silicon Valley. They call it “hustle” and since hustle is good then “working 18 hours a day. Every day. No vacations, no going on dates, no watching TV,” is fine.

Except it’s not. It’s idiotic. Only a demented mind or someone so boring that they’d prefer working to literally anything would consider an ideal life to be not having one. Not to mention the fact that after working 56 hours in a week, you’re no longer productive anyway. Not to mention the fact that working 18 hours a day for years on end does not guarantee that you’ll be Mark Zuckerberg or Bob Moritz or whoever you think you want to be when you grow up. Not to mention the fact that it’s virtually guaranteed that you’re not going to be Mark Zuckerberg or Bob Moritz. Most startups fail, most people leave public accounting.

Yet, a common attitude is that success does not come without enormous sacrifice. In Silicon Valley, the debate spilled out into the open between David Heinemeier Hansson, the CTO of Basecamp, who wrote an essay about workaholism, and venture capitalist Keith Rabois:

Mr. Hansson’s essay singled out Mr. Rabois, the venture capitalist who worked for 18 years with hardly any vacation. This prompted a debate on Twitter, where Mr. Rabois sniped that Mr. Hansson’s take-it-easy approach to building a company would be perfect — “for lazy people who want to accomplish nothing.”

Oh, brother. I bet this guy keeps a pocket edition of Atlas Shrugged on him at all times.

Sometimes I wonder if accounting firms have moved away from workaholism and then busy season rolls around, and I remember that it’s essentially baked into the profession. I’m certain there are a fair number of people out there trying to reshape it, a la David Hansson, but I’m confident there are loads of Keith Raboises out there too.

Don’t be like Keith. I mean, if you want to be like Keith, fine, I know money and success are things that people desire; just know that you’re by far the most boring person at every party. Oh, right but you don’t go to parties. I guess the most boring person at the party has a leg up on you.

tl;dr: Don’t work this weekend.

Accountants behaving badly

Hey, everyone, just a reminder that you shouldn’t insider trade. You will get caught, even if you’re communicating via encrypted messages:

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in New Jersey, alleges that Evan R. Kita, a CPA and former accountant at Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc., tipped two of his friends with confidential information about the clinical trial results for Celator’s cancer drug and its acquisition by Dublin-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc almost three months later. Celator’s stock rose more than 400 percent in March 2016 when it announced positive results for its drug to treat leukemia, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals offered to pay a hefty premium in May 2016 to acquire Celator.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Daniel Perez and Richard Yu purchased Celator stock based on Kita’s tips before the two announcements and agreed to share their trading profits with him. The SEC alleges that Richard Yu passed Kita’s tips to his father, Chiang Yu, who also traded in advance of both announcements. To avoid detection, Kita allegedly communicated with Perez and Richard Yu through an encrypted smartphone application.

Insider trading and you got Dad involved? You’re son of the year, pal.

Brought to you by Accountingfly

The featured job of the week is a Senior Tax Accountant with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Accounting firm recruiters won’t ask for your bank information.

Brad Hughes of our business partner, Beech Valley Solutions, wonders if auditors should consider switching to transaction services.

In Open Items, someone is wondering about severance clauses in offer letters.

In other news:

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