September 25, 2022

The Serious Questions

Here’s a Fake AICPA Press Release That We Wish Were Real

This is so ridiculous that upon receiving it, Colin did one of those cartoonish double-takes, you know, with the sound effect and everything. The really sad part is minus the swearing, you could almost believe it to be true. AICPA Launches Three New Professional Designations New York (November 19, 2013) — The new Chartered Global […]

New Audit Associate Looking For Prank Ideas, Possibly a New Job in Near Future

Oh, man. Are we going to go here? I think we are. From the suggestion box: Can we have a post where folks can share their best auditing related pranks? I'm a new associate and want to pull something memorable on my team. When talking audit pranks, the most well-known and widely used prank is […]

Guy Wants a Gentle Way to Break Up With the AICPA

I am surprised this wasn't marked "urgent" because it seems this guy just cannot wait: Subject: AICPA Can you tell me how to cancel my membership. I hate that place, and now that I'm leaving big 4 I get to get off their god forsaken spam listings, if only I can figure out how. My […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: ‘Your jaded mentality toward the profession is often over the top’

Welcome to a special Tuesday after Labor Day edition of To Whom It May Going Concern, our infrequent feature of the best (read: worst) and worst (read: best!) tips and feedback we get from readers. Have a tip or feedback for us? Email us at [email protected] or drop something in the tips box. All messages […]

Let’s Play Another Round of Accountant/Not an Accountant!

We had so much fun with this last time, we decided to do it again. Now, let's all keep in mind that we are going with the pop culture definition of accountant (as in anyone who knows debits from credits, does tax returns for a living and/or took more than just one accounting course in […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: ‘If Going Concern were to go public, who would you pick as your auditor?’

As we may have mentioned, we get bombarded with a number of strange questions. Either most of you have been enjoying summer because things have been relatively mundane or we've been relatively uninspired by the barrage of tips, suggestions, and inquiries, because TWIMGC hasn't appeared for a while. This seems like a good enough of […]

Someone Who Has Never Dated an Accountant Came Up With 15 Reasons to Date an Accountant

Earlier today, we spotted a post from our friends over at Above the Law mocking eHarmony's "15 Reasons to Date a Lawyer" (or, alternatively, 15 stupid reasons to date a lawyer) which, of course, inspired us to look for an equally stupid article about dating accountants.

Raise Your E-cig If You’re an Accountant Vaping at Your Desk

A former cancer stick smoker turned vaper would like to know if any of you fellow office drones/vapers have been busted sneaking a few puffs: Wanted to get some insight from the GC community.  I am a vaper since I quit smoking and have been vaping on several occasions in my office.  Sometimes I'll hit […]

The Going Concern Grand Prix: Let’s Talk About Your Ride

It's not often we get an advice email we haven't already answered, but lo-and-behold, here's one: What is the coolest car an accountant could have?  Bimmer? Benz? Beetle? Forget ballin partners who have long since disposed of a soul, I mean us grunts who do the work.  Surely our perceived lack of personality and terrible […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: “If people can sue the firms for not working overtime, can I sue the firm for making me fat?”

Welcome to the latest edition of To Whom It May Going Concern, our infrequent feature of the best (read: worst) and worst (read: best!) tips and feedback we get from readers. Have a tip or feedback for us? Email us at [email protected] or drop something in the tips box. All tips on are on the […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: “Next time you abuse your first year, remember that they are the ones that pick up your food.”

This is the latest edition of our infrequent feature, To Whom It May Going Concern. Here we share some of the more, shall we say, interesting messages that come across the wire. If you get the urge to tell us what you think about this here website, email [email protected] with "To Whom It May Going […]

Possible CPA Vanity Plate Belonging to Possibly Vain Person Possibly Driving Around Dallas

As we're sure you already know, Tax Prof has been on the vanity license plate beat this week. Naturally, one of our readers had a spotted plate to throw in the mix: "Saw this little beauty walking out of work about a year ago" Now, it's entirely possible this license plate is one of those […]

Comp Watch ’13: Considering a Mark of the Big 4 Beast

I suppose if public accounting firms were looking to brand their employees, offering them a 15%-no-questions-asked raise would be the way to do it: If your company offered you a pay raise to tattoo its logo on your body, would you do it? A New York City real estate company made the offer and dozens of […]

BREAKING: People Put Crappy Coffee on Their Expense Reports

An astounding report by Certify, a travel and expense management provider, found that Starbucks is a popular place for people to have coffee and talk business.    The report shows that breakfast was dominated by Starbucks, with 14.14 percent of expenses and averaging $7.86 per receipt. You guys. Go to the street vendors or a […]

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival Has a Champion (And Some of You May Need a Sponsor)

Bracket season came to close yesterday afternoon on Going Concern and your Busy Season Survival champion is none other than booze. Hooch. The Sauce. Firewater. Whatever your flavor, alcohol managed to overcome it all to win GCBSSF&BvsT. Yes, those of you who cry busy season tears into beers managed to outnumber the BYU alums, CPAs […]

Going Concern March Madness: The Busy Season Survival Final — Booze vs. Excel, There Can Be Only One

Finally, the champions of the two Busy Season Survival regions — Food & Bevvie and Tech — will meet to crown the ultimate winner of GCMMBSSF&BvsT. It's been a memorable tournament unless you've been committed to Team Booze in practice as well as voting. From coffee's disappointing performance to an inspired run by Email to the exciting […]

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, The Final Four

Well, we have our survivors from GCMMBSSF&BvsT. It's been quite a journey so far, and now we will crown the kings of both Food & Beverage and Tech in your quest to come out of busy season with your sanity intact.

So let's get to it. We're keeping the polls open until Friday at 1 pm ET so you can stuff the channels appropriately.

Market Research Shows That People Prefer Cats Over Accountants Nearly 1,000 To 1

What on Earth is this? And everyone said I could never make cats and accounting work when I published my groundbreaking research paper The Cat Quotient in 1989.     KATZABOSCH USES CATS IN NEW MARKETING STRATEGY Launches CatSayBosh.com   Baltimore, MD – KatzAbosch, a leading certified public accounting and consulting firm serving the Mid-Atlantic […]

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, The Elite Eight

This blogging gig sucks. The publisher, Gail, is up my ass about this March Madness thing. Says we have to follow through even though it was Colin's stupid idea. Everyone knows that booze is the only thing you need to survive busy season; not sure why we have to go through all the trouble.

The tech guy, Stonewall, is helping out though, so I guess we'll just try to get through the Elite Eight. 

But seriously, just keep some hooch in your drawer at work like me. If you need anything else — including more than 4 hours of sleep a night — to power through busy season, then I don't want you on my team.

Going Concern March Madness Busy Season Survival: The Sweet Sixteen, Day Two

I'm in Raleigh, North Carolina today visiting students at North Carolina State, so I apologize for the delay in getting to the bottom half of the Sweet Sixteen in GCMM. I know you've shaking with anticipation.

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, The Sweet Sixteen

If you picked upsets in your NCAA Mens bracket and all the favorites in your GCMMBSSF&BvsT bracket, then you're in pretty good shape today. My hunch is that you went for the opposite strategy.

While favorites Excel and coffee had no problems and the wins by Bagels and Key Shortcuts were very satisfying, the loss by Someone Else's Hotpocket from the Freezer was devastating. DEVASTATING. 

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, Day 2

Busy season is like war. Okay maybe not, but it's hell anyway. There are no rules on how you survive it, but you MUST survive it. And if that means taking that last slice of pizza and hiding it in your drawer for later then by God, YOU MUST TAKE THAT SLICE OF PIZZA. Oh, Pete was late getting to the team lunch and didn't get to eat? TOO BAD. You're going to want that cured meat and refined flour in about 3 hours when you'll need your 4th wind.

Day 1 of GCMMBSSF&BvsT is underway and there is still time to vote if you were too busy skipping work yesterday to get around to it. But the rest of us need to keep things moving, so let's do that now.

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology

For the last two seasons, Going Concern March Madness pitted accounting firms against each other to decide just which firm was the coolest in this fair land. Sadly, we have decided to end this exercise. It was a good (?) run but has been exhausted for reasons that include: 1) a Rothstein Kass three-peat was not something anyone was prepared to endure and 2) the underlying premise of the bracket was based in fantasy or, dare I say, complete bullshit. Does this mean that Vault's annual prestige ranking has lost all purpose? That's not for me to say.

Here Are Some Bad Busy Season Role Models

In the spirit of busy season, we figured this would be a good opportunity to bring back a few role models you shouldn't be molding yourself after if you want to get along with your team and have a job next busy season. Take it or leave it, these are just suggestions. 5. The guy […]

A CPA’s Guide to a Successful Observance of St. Patrick’s Day

For CPAs, St. Patrick's Day is usually just one of several holidays that becomes a casualty of busy season. On Presidents' Day we were unable to engage in parliamentary procedure, on Mardi Gras we are unable to get laid, and on Valentine's Day we are unable to get laid1.

Proper observance of St. Patrick's Day requires three components: a spiritual component, a green component, and a drunken component–all of which will be easier to do this year because St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday. (You're not officially required to work on Sundays, but you're unofficially expected to work on Sundays. Add St. Patrick's Day, and you've pretty much got a free pass to dick around. At work.)

To Whom It May Going Concern: Journalistic Integrity or the Lack Thereof; Someone Needs a Kuddle; Black Jokes?!

It's been a bit since we've done a To Whom It May Going Concern and that could be because a lot of you have been too busy to send us a steady stream of hate mail, lame tips and vague complaints. Things must be slowing down, though, because our beloved hate mail and nonsense is […]

Accountants: Tell Us Your Busy Season Problems

As many professionals embark on the tumultuous journey that are the busy season months of January, February, March, and April, it is inevitable that known and unknown problems will arise. Some of these are client-initiated and others are co-worker-initiated. Some of them are simple problems; some of them are complex problems. Some involve food odor; some […]

a fat person grabbing their gut

Going Concern’s Guide to a Healthy Busy Season: Because No One Should Die at Work

We get tons of reader questions and while we can’t answer all of them, we want them anyway. Send us your best questions, career conundrums, and work-life problems to [email protected] Not an inside tip, as much as a post suggestion: Busy season diet? What to eat, how to not be fat, etc. This is important question. Sure, […]

Shipping Wars’ Token Hot Chick Is a Former Accountant?

As far as reality show accountants go, I guess Shipping Wars' Jennifer Brennan isn't quite the caliber of the PwC Dumpster Diver but does compete well with Cosmo bachelor and country hottie Tripp Davis. If you haven't caught this A&E "reality" show about moving strange loads cross-country, "Texas Cowgirl" is basically the resident hottie. She […]

Blind Item: Which NYC Accounting Firm’s Holiday Party Was a Little Too Light on the Liquor?

Here's an unconfirmed account of a holiday party from last month:  [Well-known firm] NYC party on [date] at the [fancy place] was not up to snuff. While the venue was sleek, and the band was good, – the food, and most importantly the booze was not.  The bar only served one choice of white wine and one choice […]

And Now, May We Present Going Concern’s Twelve Days of Christmas

Ed. note: With only a week before Christmas, you can't walk into any building without hearing Manheim Steamroller or Michael Bublé blasting through the soundsystem. It's enough to make you want to punch out one of those Salvation Army bell ringers. If you can't beat 'em (and not go prison), join 'em, right? So, in […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: “You’re an accountant concerned about being around nerds?”

To Whom It May Going Concern is an infrequent feature of some our favorite messages that come across the wire. If you have something important to tell us, email [email protected] with "To Whom It May Going Concern" in the subject line, @ us on Twitter or just yell really loud and maybe we'll hear you. […]

Science Says You Should Have Multiple Large Monitors

Back in October, we learned that PwC auditors had finally whined loud enough to earn a second monitor. Up until that point, it was only by the grace of God that anyone was able to accomplish anything and it probably explains the firm's dreadful PCAOB inspection results. Some found it strange that a firm of […]

Grown Man Curious to Know If Other Accountants Are Experiencing Mockery From Coworkers, Mom Issues, Crabby Spouse During Movember

For the past several years, the month of November has been flush with gentlemen, dudes, and hyperhormonal young boys growing moustaches for the sake of bringing awareness to men's health issues like prostrateprostate cancer and depression. This trend has expanded globally, much to the chagrin of family, spouses, co-workers and the populace who are decidedly […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: “Bob Moritz said ‘assless chaps’ in regards to his motorcycle riding at the PwC town hall.”

To Whom It May Going Concern is a feature of some of the more, shall we say, interesting messages that come across the wire. If you get the urge to tell us exactly what you think about this here website, email [email protected] with "To Whom It May Going Concern" in the subject line, @ us on Twitter or just […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: No More Big Four?

To Whom It May Going Concern is a feature of some of the more, shall we say, interesting messages that come across the wire. If you get the urge to tell us exactly what you think about this here website, email [email protected] with "To Whom It May Going Concern" in the subject line. Just a reminder […]

Is Everyone on Extreme Cheapskates an Accountant Or What?

Yesterday, while most of America or at least most of my noisy and obnoxious Facebook friends were prepping to watch the second presidential debate, TLC premiered its latest So Horrible I Can't Look Away reality series Extreme Cheapskates. We met the dumpster-diving PwC tax accountant featured on the show's first episode yesterday but apparently she […]

Is Getting a CITP Worth It?

Sometimes, your career troubles are so massive that you can no longer afford to buy a few rounds of drinks to convince your buddies to listen to you complain for the fifteenth night in a row. That's when you man (or woman) up, open up an email and let GC steer you in the right […]

Accountants Debating Semantics? Accountants Debating Semantics

Do people accuse you of getting worked up over petty annoyances and you fear that no one understands your suffering? Email us your questions, complaints, and concerns so that we may make your world a better place. I have a question to the accounting world at large regarding vocab. What is preferred: analytic or analytical? After […]

Let’s Compare the Big Four Accounting Firms to the Four Houses in Harry Potter

Career conundrum got you down? Want someone to tell you how to spend your bonus? Need gift ideas for your secret workplace lover? Email us the questions that burn deep in your loins.  Do you think that the Big 4 are comparable to the 4 houses in Harry Potter?   Deloitte: Griffindor [sic] PWC: Slytherin […]

Here Are Some Office Olympics Ideas for Your Accounting Firm’s Fall Busy Season

Did you get passed over for that promotion? Not sure what dish to whip up for the Labor Day potluck at the boss's house? Need a new mobile app suggestion for those bathroom breaks?  Email us your dilemmas and queries so that we may put your mind at ease.   Undoubtedly some of you are still […]

Curious Reader, Who Supposedly Doesn’t Work at McGladrey, Questions All the McGladrey Mockery

Are you wondering what happened to Colin's numerous typos? Curious why we don't let interns run our Twitter account? Want to see me virtually pie a failed CPA exam candidate on Skype? Editorial questions, comments and complaints are welcome, just don't expect us to actually read them. Hey there cynical GCerz I have a question […]

Did an Ernst & Young Partner Get Demoted for His Anti-Facial Hair Stance?

In the past week, we have received several tips about an Ernst & Young OMP who was recently demoted to a less-BSD position. While that's the reality, we're certain that any internal messaging took quite a different tone with the partner in question ("PIQ") "transitioning to a client facing role" or some other euphemism for […]

David Cay Johnston Would Just Like to Confirm That Mitt Romney Isn’t Like Richard Nixon, That’s All

And he's so excited to do it, he's throwing digits in Willard's face! Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy [via TaxProf]

Yes Auditors, It Is Possible to Explain Your Job Without Scaring People Away

Once again we dig into the ol' mailbag to answer a question that has plagued one of your fellow capital market servant colleagues. If you have questions on anything from appropriate footwear to choosing the right tickmark from the supply room to handling awkward sexual advances by a coworker, email us. Dear GC:   In […]

A Guide to Understanding the Hierarchy of Big 4 Leadership

Have you found forbidden love at your firm and don't know how to handle it? Do you have a problem saying no to an unreasonably demanding superior? Are you a new intern that is curious about the socially acceptable number of drinks to consume at a team happy hour? Email us your questions and after a […]

Sorry To Say, More Women Are Likely To Say They Are Sorry

I came across an article over the weekend that I thought might be interesting to the four or five women who read Going Concern. The basic premise – if you're too lazy to read it – is that women are more prone to issuing apologies than men. Sorry we need to ask a colleague a […]

Some of You Should Take Fashion Advice From This Deloitte Consultant

We cover fashion from time to time here on Going Concern primarily because so many of you are in desperate need of help in that department. Look, I know it's hard to pick out clothes when you don't live with mom anymore (or she has finally refused to do it) but like we've said before, […]

A Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse for Public Accounting Zombies

Surely most of you have heard about two horrifying and completely bizarre incidents recently; the "Miami zombie" who ate 80% of a dude's face off and the Maryland engineering student who chopped up and ate his roommate. I grew up in Milwaukee not that far from Jeffrey Dahmer's house so I can't say cannibalism in […]

Dewey Think an Accounting Firm Could Go Bankrupt?

Michael Cohn over at Accounting Today wonders if an accounting firm could suffer the same fate as recently departed global law firm Dewey & Leboeuf. It's a question worth asking since the entity structures for both accounting and law firms are similar and mergers are common in both industries. But really, it's not as likely (although not […]

Is This the Most Embarrassing Thing To Ever Happen to an Accountant at Work?

Many of you have suffered social indignity at one time or another while at work. Spilling food on yourself. Wardrobe malfunctions. Moments of clutzitude. The blood rushes to your face and stays there for undetermined amount of time, your co-workers snicker, and talk behind your back for a while, but eventually you get over it. […]

How To Write an Epic Farewell Email

BWHAHA we changed it up! You thought Colin was going to milk a second post out of the pathetic farewell email he barely posted yesterday but we have just twisted your brains by having ME do a follow-up. WHAT WHAT. Anyway. When the [dude who's terrible at writing farewell emails] E&Y email came in via […]

Serious Question: Why Did You Become an Accountant?

Forgive me but for the five years since I accidentally stumbled into the wild world of accounting, I've heard just about every complaint you can imagine. The hours suck. The work sucks. It steals your soul. They load you up on snacks and lock you in a dark office, starving you of Vitamin D and […]

Here’s a Depraved Non Sequitur (Still Related to Accountants) for Your Wednesday Afternoon Enjoyment

It's late on a Hump Day in May and people seem sleepy, so how about a non sequitur, courtesy of Drew Magary at Deadspin:  I do think there would be something morbidly fascinating about being able to see the porn viewing habits of people you know. Like seeing another person's iPod library. Would you think […]

New Accounting Club President Needs Help Trolling Peers, Firms

Need help working on your office etiquette or lack thereof? Trying to figure out how to hit on your colleague without getting dragged off to 12 weeks of sexual harassment training? We've got your back, just get in touch. I've just been elected Accounting Club President! Any suggestions on how to best troll my peers […]

Analysis: Is The Going Concern Editor on a Power Trip?

Generally, we prefer that our tip box be used for actual tips (as previously stated, "eat shit" is not a tip) but every now and then, some non-tip makes its way through that we can't help but act on. I suppose the following "tip" is one such non-tip that I'm compelled to repost here. It's […]

The Poor Fashion Taste of Accountants, Explained

Have a question about anything – and we mean anything? Email us and one of the smarter than average bears around here will get to it.  Colin,   Can you explain why most accountants dress poorly?  Also, is it inappropriate to intentionally dress better than the managers and partners? I enjoy dressing well and find it […]

(UPDATE) Going Concern March Madness 2012: Final Results and Debrief

~ Update below includes statement from Rothstein Kass Co-CEO and Co-Managing Principal, Steve Kass. After an exhaustive tournament, and a fair amount of comments that stated the obvious (i.e. there's no such thing as a cool accounting firm), we have a repeat champion in Rothstein Kass. Despite coming in as the defending champion, RK only […]

Going Concern March Madness 2012: This Town (i.e. Roseland, NJ) Isn’t Big Enough for Two Cool Firms

Last Friday, someone was hoping for a Rothstein Kass/J.H. Cohn Final in Going Concern March Madness for no other reason than to make things as awkward as possible in the elevator at 4 Becker Farm Road, Roseland, New Jersey: I am hoping for a JH Cohn vs Rothstein Kass final as they share an office […]

Not Every Accountant Appreciates an Easter Card

We live in America, which means if you don't believe in an almighty omnipotent God, you are evil and really don't deserve the freedom to not worship anything. It also means that people of other religions don't always understand that just because someone might not occupy a house of worship on the weekend, it means […]

Going Concern March Madness 2012: Is There Anything Cool About These Final Four Firms?

After two rounds of intense competition to determine the coolest accounting firm, we have come down to the final four. The Usual Suspects are long gone and the remaining favorite, Grant Thornton, was tattooed in the second round.  So who are we left with? What firms are desperately hanging on to be accepted as, not […]

Regional Denver Accounting Firm Answers Wardrobe Crisis Questions for Upcoming Photoshoot

One of the most important things capital market servants must do in order to get ahead is to craft a professional image. In order to develop the reputation as a trusted resource for your clients, you must look the part. Some of you do this rather well, while some of you…well, not so much. I've […]

Accountants Coping with Busy Season: Booze or Spreadsheets?

Once again, we take a peak at what our friends across the pond are talking about because you guys are clearly working to hard to email us anything of interest: Over the weekend I have put in the [sic?] hours working. Not by force, just to overcome the feelings of negativity. I have found getting […]

An Accounting Troll Gets Trolled

I think the guy who asked me what a troll was just trolled me. Freaking CPA can celebrate all over again as he is yet again appearing in Going Concern. Two things: 1) I'm not a "he" (I could see how one might think that but thought my obviously feminine first name gave that away […]

Analysis: Are Clients Being More Dickish Than Usual or Are Accountants Just a Little Too Sensitive?

It's been quite some time since we checked in with our friends across the pond and since many of you may be dealing with client relation issues yourself, this seems like as good of an opportunity to discuss all the fun you're having. I know it's our busiest time of year and maybe that's making […]

Let’s Discuss Putting Wildly Inappropriate Things on Expense Reports

As professional capital market servants, you regularly purchase goods and services for business reasons. Airfare. Bic pens. Strippers. They all, at one time or another, have been purchased in the name of commerce. Unfortunately, what constitutes as a "business expense" is subject to wide interpretation. For example, a large elaborate lunch with various co-workers is […]

Mark Weinberger Is the Future Ernst & Young CEO. You Shut Up.

Yesterday we broke the news of Mark Weinberger jumping into the big Black and Yellow chair when Jim Turley steps down next year. It's pretty big news for E&Y as JT has been running the show since July 2001. With all his fancy schmancy credentials, there's no question that Mark is up for the job […]

Who Is the Going Concern Accountant of the Year?

Continuing with the theme of, "It's the end of the year so we have to compile posts that remind us of how bad it was," we're offering up nominees for accountant of the year. Now, the term "accountant," for the purposes of this post won't follow strict construction. For example, if you work for an […]

Has an Auditor Ever Been Whacked For Snitching on Fraudsters?

I’ve gotten some crazy questions over the years but this one pretty much takes the cake. I’m not saying it’s stupid, nor am I saying it’s all that crazy, it’s just… well… out there, is all. Read on.

Dear Adrienne,

I’m a college student at the University of North Texas. Fraud has been a hot topic in my courses this month. We covered many scandals including Crazy Eddie, Barry Minkow, NextCard, Enron, and Bernie Madoff. This has got me thinking a lot about how I would react if I was in the shoes of the auditor. The students in my class always say to just report the fraud, however they never put themselves in the shoes of the fraudster to determine how the fraudster would act nor do they think about protecting the reputation o watched enough movies to know that if a fraudster finds out that somebody knows “too much,” then that person probably won’t make it home alive that night, unless they cooperate. I remember in that movie, “The Other Guys,” the auditing partner got killed because the fraudsters didn’t want him snitching out any information to authorities.

Another thing is that if it is found out that a partner is involved in fraud, this will ruin the firm’s reputation if this gets reported to the SEC. However, if the firm handles this internally, fire the partner, admit mistake, and let the public know that it doesn’t want anything to do with the partner, then perhaps only the partner would get in trouble and not the firm.

So exactly how are you suppose to act in situations of fraud? Of course AICPA tells us to first report it to your supervisor, then to the audit committee, and then the SEC. But still though, you got to get this out before someone kills you and you’ve got to handle it in a manner that best protects the reputation of the firm. Am I right? Also, have you ever heard of any auditors that were murdered because they knew too much? When you read about Enron or the Bernie Madoff scandal, there are talks about death threats, but you don’t necessarily hear about any murders involved. So it may be something that only happens in the movies.

Well, since you brought up Crazy Eddie, my first instinct was to pose this question to Crazy Eddie’s corrupt CPA, Sam Antar. Thankfully Sam obviously checks his Twitter account every five minutes and had some thoughts for me almost immediately.

“Yes, the potential is there. Depends on the client. Have that person contact me if worried,” he tweeted. Now isn’t that sweet? If anyone out there is feeling the heat, you know who to hit up.

His thought? It’s rare, if not impossible. Why would a fraudster whack the auditor? By the time the fraud is uncovered, it’s too late. The workpapers would likely document said fraud, so the fraudster would then be forced to whack the entire chain on up to the partner and who has time to do all that killing? “No logic in whacking outside auditor unless part of conspiracy,” Sam said.

That being said, does anyone remember Allen Stanford’s sketchy auditor C.A.S. Hewlett (“C.A.S.H.” get it?!)? He apparently kicked the bucket on January 1st (a real accountant would have kicked the bucket on December 31st, pfft), just a month before Stanford was charged with fraud (though he didn’t get arrested until June of that year). The circumstances surrounding his death were, uh, weird to say the least but I don’t think anyone is going to go so far as to say he got whacked.

Or how about Ken Lay? I mean, does anyone really believe he had a heart attack? There is even an entire website dedicated to exposing Ken Lay’s post-mortem life.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky, and I don’t expect you to know this since you haven’t made it out into the real world yet. What is an auditor’s job? Is it to uncover fraud? Or is it to verify with a minimum of certainty (a.k.a. “reasonable assurance”) that the financial information presented by a company is probably legit? If you answered the latter, you win. Forensic accountants dissect fraud, auditors simply check boxes. I’m sorry if this offends any of you hardcore auditors out there but in your hearts, even you guys know I’m right. Auditing is a joke, an intricate dance (read: performance) that exists more for entertainment than functionality. If you don’t agree with me, I’d be happy to name any number of companies that prove my point for me (let’s see… Enron, Worldcom, Overstock, Satyam, Olympus…).

What do you think the odds are that a first or second year auditor would even be able to detect fraud? Don’t you think the criminals behind it are at least clever enough to hide their wrongdoing from a bunch of fresh-faced kids with their SALY checklists? Look at the lengths Crazy Eddie went to – to success until their greed got the best of them and a chick ruined the whole scam. And that’s the thing, the auditors rarely uncover fraud, it’s usually the fraudsters themselves who end up exposing themselves though greed or just plain stupidity.

Whistleblowers don’t make friends but they don’t have to hire armed guards either. Like I said, by the time the fraud is exposed, it’s too late to start killing people to hide the truth.

And thanks to SOX, it is illegal to “discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or in any manner discriminate against” whistleblowers, so a more likely scenario is that revelations of fraud will come from within the firm, not from the outside auditors who are pissed off to be doing inventory counts on New Year’s Day.

You watch too many movies, kiddo. Just check the list, collect the bank recs and call it a day.

Audit Team Struggles to Come Up with Ironic Halloween Costume

From the mailbag:

Hey Caleb and Adrienne,

Question: my audit team and I are looking for a cool costume idea for Halloween. Since everyone rejected my idea of dressing as “Sox”, we’re at a loss. I’d love to go for some irony element (no one liked my idea of being Occupy protesters and not showing up for work). I think it would be fun to do a play on a scandal, fall out or another sexy accounting story, but I just can’t figure out how to make a reverse merger costume. Do your twisted, ironic minds have any ideas?

-Should probably go back to work, now

Dear SPGBTWN,


Perhaps you missed our story from last month but sorry to say, you’ve got a tall order ahead of you. That writer wanted an idea for “Accounting Police” and the best I could come up with was this:

Simply dress up as police officer and walk around the whole night counting things, not unlike The Count (in fact, I suggest you do the laugh). “What the hell are you supposed to be?” some dope will say. You’ll respond, “A counting police.”

And because you’ve got a whole team of auditors trying to get creative (not your strong suit) it’s even a bigger challenge. I suppose you could go as “whistleblowers” but that will most definitely include a blowing a whistle which will likely get you quickly ejected from any party. Another option is go as Mort Mort Feingold (maybe a sexy version?) and have the rest of your friends dress up as various, dimwitted celebrities.

Of course you could really nerd it up and play on “footnotes,” or even “audit trail.” Then again, if you want to go the “sexy” route, I suggest you go with “double-entry accounting.” How sexy you make it is up to you.

Any other ideas, gang? This is a tough one.

Tickmark or Treat – How Does Your Office Celebrate Halloween?

I was grabbing lunch yesterday and overheard a conversation between a collection of young associates at the table next to me. “Sexy cat.” “Slutty nurse.” “Superman.” No, this was not a recap of a client meeting (but imagine if it was!); they were talking tossing around Halloween costume ideas.

In the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, we here at GC wanted to see what you were all doing to celebrate, in the office or otherwise.


Which admin assistant has the best candy on their desk? What partner encourages the team to dress up? Who shuns those who wear orange sweaters to work on 10/31? Are any offices throwing Halloween parties?

Word of HR advice – should you dress up in the office, keep your costumes PG-rated. Avoiding racial stereotypes, fishnet stockings, and any kind of head piece or mask that requires removal before picking up the phone should probably be avoided.

Bonus GC points for pictures.

Past Halloween Adventures:
Clearly Avoiding the “Sexy” Route, Young CPA Needs Help with Ideas for “Accounting Police” Halloween Costume
KPMG Halloween Party: Don’t Expect Treats in the Form of Bonuses

Are Today’s Accountants Already Occupying Wall Street?

Caleb and I had a talk last night and it made me think about this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. More importantly, it made me think about what I am and am not doing to support it. I haven’t been to a rally, even to take pictures (last time I tried to do that, I was the only one out in front of the Federal Reserve Board at 6 in the morning except for the lone Fed cop patrolling the perimeter).

I get that people are pissed off. I’m pissed off too. I’ve been pissed off, don’t tell me about being pissed off. I was lugging around aFed sign made on top of “Ron Paul ’08” acrylic three years ago, you don’t have to tell me about being pissed off. (Here I am in 2009 on SF Citizen in a “Bernanke 00%” t-shirt at an anti-Iraq war rally)

And I get that for some people, all there is to do is go downtown with a drum and some poorly-written signs on cardboard ripped from your mom’s Costco packages in the recycle bin. That’s totally fine, everyone has their own way of sticking it to the man.

For a lot of Going Concern readers, sticking it to the man means showing up every day in business casual pretending to give a fuck about COSO but actually knowing that it’s all a lie. They work you to the bone until you leave or submit and get promoted to manager. Partner if you’re lucky. Run on that hamster wheel, here have this bonus, keep going and one day you can beat your own subordinates into submission. Go, go, go… Many of you get that this is bullshit but keep showing up every day anyway, and to me, you are your own special kind of protester. Same as last year, motherfucker, it’s the ultimate form of rebellion.

Too much?


Point being, everyone has their own way of screwing the establishment. Francine does it railing against the Big 4. Bill Sheridan and Tom Hood do it at the MACPA with professionalism. Tom Selling does it by riling up fellow academics. Professor Dave Albrecht does it by being seen in public canoodling with known incendiaries like yours truly.

I do it by ripping on the IASB as often as I am allowed to, infiltrating the Hill to sniff out what’s the latest in CPA lobbying efforts and getting in as many F bombs as I can on the dry subject of accounting. That’s all I can do. I can’t abandon my day job to hang out in Manhattan eating vegan paninis. I can make and distribute offensive Bernanke fridge magnets.

I completely understand why people are attracted to Occupy Wall Street; the part I’m struggling with is why so many of the 99 Percenters seem obsessed with this thing called “fairness” that does not, in fact, exist. Is it fair that any of us have to drag our asses to work every day and do what we do? Is it fair that Becker costs $3,000 and doesn’t pass the CPA exam for you? Is it fair that many of you are drowning in student loan debt and seemingly forced to get Master’s degrees just to work in your field? Is it fair that Caleb gets listed in all the accounting publications and I’m stuck as the sidekick hack who always manages to piss people off? This world is unfair, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have to write about accounting every day of my life, it’s un-fucking-fair, we get it.

In my view (for whatever that is worth, which is probably not more than our company pays me to write this post), the ultimate rebellion is assimilating and infiltrating the establishment to enact real change from the inside. Are partners scared as shit of this website? Yes. If they’re threatening you with termination if you even dare to write us for advice, we’re doing something right. And I didn’t even have to not shave my armpits to accomplish that (but Caleb probably shaved his).

Are any of you going to independently revolutionize the accounting industry? Probably not. But collectively, you have scared the pants off of lazy ass recruiters and partners across this country who thought you didn’t have it in you. They read us because they feel like they have to or else they’ll lose touch with what you guys are thinking, and it scares the living shit out of them. In my mind, that’s a far more effective message to send the The Establishment, whoever the hell they are.

I fully support the fundamental sentiment of Occupy Wall Street but much prefer fulfilling my incendiary duties here trying to get accounting kids riled up and questioning why they put up with the shit they do. Working mothers in public accounting should be allowed to have children. Interns should be allowed to ask questions (even dumb ones). Auditors should be expected to question last year’s logic. It’s not complicated but it’s important work that a lot of you do, and I hope that you get that.

It is not your fault that we’re here. Many of you just followed the rules.

Thanks for letting me be a part of that. Beats standing around with a fucking sign, that’s for sure.

Earlier:
Wanted: Accountants for Large Protest; Organizational Skills and Experience with Anything Slightly Resembling a Expense Reimbursement Policy a Plus [GC]

Blind Item: Which Accounting Firm Has a Manager Who Recently Scolded a Team of Barnyard Animals?

From the mailbag: “The author is a newly appointed manager and a certified d-bag. His email is serious.”

Hi Guys –

It has come to our attention that there are several people making animal noises around the office. I feel it shouldn’t need to be pointed out that this is not appropriate in the office and can be very uncomfortable/awkward for others. Aside from co-workers, we also have prospects, clients, recruits, etc. walking through the halls on a daily basis. Hearing animal sounds made toward each other does not give a good impression of [a firm who, we are told, is “über-sensitive”] and our abilities to those people. It also does not go unnoticed by partners/senior managers/managers.

Please be mindful of those that could be in your audience. Please see me if you have any concerns or questions.

Thanks,

Okay, team. Lots to discuss here aside from guessing the zoo where these beasts work.

1. I alluded to a noise from a cow, pig, chicken, or maybe even a llama but obviously there is room for other possibilities. Macaws? Beluga whales? Howler monkeys?

2. Are these noises mating calls, expressions of joy, or melancholic song?

3. If our barnyard animals guess is accurate, the firm should ask themselves: why would you hire Goat Boys in the first place?

4. If this some kind of involuntary function, how does one handle this appropriately without running aground of diversity issues?

5. Other thoughts, and obviously guesses to the firm, are welcome at this time.

Clearly Avoiding the “Sexy” Route, Young CPA Needs Help with Ideas for “Accounting Police” Halloween Costume

Now that it’s September, people start getting anxious about their Halloween costumes. Regardless of the two months of football, a World Series, and God knows how many GOP Presidential candidate debates, many will agonize over just what outfit they will wear for approximately 2-3 hours, knowing full well that vomit could end up on it. These days Halloween costumes, for better or worse, focus on the “sexy.” The sexy Little Bo Peep. The sexy priest. This year, I’m really hoping to see the sexy Angry Birds. Anyway, a reader is stumped on how best to approach a recent light bulb moment she had for this year’s outfit:

Hi Caleb,

I am hoping some creative CPAs who read your blog can help me out. A month ago, during one of my trainings, a partner came in and spoke to us about how we should not be seen by our clients as the “accounting police.” Immediately, a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought “HALLOWEEN COSTUME!”, but I have no idea how to pull this off so people will understand it! Any ideas out there?

So we have “accounting” and “police.” Not exactly a lot to work with here but we’ll throw a few ideas out there to get things rolling:

1. Ask four of your friends to join you and go as the letters P-C-A-O-B. Of course, you won’t actually do anything.

2. Simply dress up as police officer and walk around the whole night counting things, not unlike The Count (in fact, I suggest you do the laugh). “What the hell are you supposed to be?” some dope will say. You’ll respond, “A counting police.”

3. Get another idea.

Your suggestions are now welcome.