October 23, 2021

Going Concern: 10 Years Of Giving You the Moon

July 20, 2009 was the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. It also happened to be the first day that Going Concern was live on the Internet. 

So now July 20, 2019 is here, and it’s their 50th and 10th anniversaries, respectively. A big coincidence? Or a cosmic signature that will forever be remembered in the annals of history? You’ll have to decide, but I think it’s clearly something beyond all of our control.

OK, maybe an irreverent, yappy accounting site doesn’t have much to do with our species’ most significant achievement, but they’re both fanciful endeavors that turned out just fine. Maybe even better than expected.

I had spent about a month building up Going Concern’s archive before the site went live. The first morning it was online, I slept through my alarm that had been getting me up at the crack of dawn to keep an East Coast publishing schedule. So yeah, the first day didn’t start off so hot.

I whipped together a morning link wrap and then managed to publish nine more posts to meet the expected daily quota. I remember my first publisher, David Minkin, asking me if I thought 10 posts a day was doable. “Yeah, should be,” I said, having no idea what I was agreeing to. I had people helping me, after all: namely Francine McKenna (one post per week) and Adrienne Gonzalez (three posts per week), so only having to come up with 46 more articles would be a breeze.

This gif sums up what my typical workday was like pretty well:

What transpired over the next 10 years is kinda hard to explain. Going Concern became a thing, much more than just a blog run by a Big 4 refugee, thanks to many different people who’ve contributed to its success. 

In those early days, especially, Going Concern became a must-read for the hundreds of accountants laid off during the financial crisis, if for no other reason to gossip in the digital unemployment line. Many of you wrote looking for career advice. We were sent farewell emails, some better than others. The Big 4 leftovers continued to dish as they were sucked in deeper, burned out, or engaging in some insider trading

There’s been a lot of snark (almost all of it warranted), a hatchet job here and there, and more than a few unsubstantiated rumors. But, I have to say, I think we were appropriately upfront and transparent about those unsubstantiated rumors. There was, dare I say, lots of decent journalism too—10 years of it. That’s far longer than my career in public accounting (5 ½ years), and most of your public accounting careers, too. And Adrienne can denigrate it all she wants, but it’s the steadiest gig she’s ever had. 

I left GC full-time last year, but AG and Jason have this thing handled; God knows there’s plenty of crazy stuff going on in this profession to keep them busy. KPMG antics alone could staff an entire desk.

The point is, Going Concern will continue, and the accounting profession is better for it. Even if some people think the whole thing was faked or a waste of money, it remains a giant leap for accountant kind.

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