Accounting for cloud revenue One of things that's been established is that creative accountants get ahead. That is, when someone asks, "What was net income?" the accountant who responds, "Net income was X," gets a "Thanks." The accountant who responds, "What do you want net income to be?" gets a promotion. This seems to be […]
Non-GAAP worries One of the things people find troubling about non-GAAP reporting is how it can magically transform losses into gains. This MarketWatch article has a list of 26 companies from the S&P 500 that did precisely that over the last year. They include names like AIG, Halliburton, News Corp. and Yahoo. However, this guy […]
Ed. note: I'm presenting at the Association for Accounting Marketing's Summit this morning and then traveling the rest of the day. Regular programming resumes Monday. Materiality Awhile back, the FASB wanted to revisit the concept of materiality by following the legal definition established by the Supreme Court. It did not go over so well. Gretchen […]
Auditing auditors The PCAOB has been around for slightly more than a decade, and in that time, there's been a lot of grumbling about how the Board approaches its work of auditing auditors. One of those grumbles is that how the Board selects which audits to audit is too focused on the highest risk engagements, […]
AICPA As we mentioned a few weeks ago, voting on the merger-ish event of the AICPA and CIMA is currently underway. At the time, we noted the full-throated opposition by professors Paul Miller and Paul Bahnson that didn't pull any punches on the AICPA or the "elite" (aka AICPA brass). The Pauls wrote another column […]
PCAOB Inspections Auditor of auditors, the PCAOB, released the closest thing it has to a teaser-trailer yesterday: Staff Inspection Briefs that preview its 2015 inspection findings of both auditors of issuers and broker-dealers. The good news is the 10 firms the Board inspects every year didn't suck it up: Preliminary 2015 inspection results of the […]
Tax Day Is over! Congratulations to all the tax folks out there who managed to survive the season without losing their minds, not putting on 20 pounds and fighting off those clients who showed up yesterday afternoon with a shoebox full of documents and receipts. Although you probably took a few sick days, you made […]
The LOLs just keep coming from across the pond — why doesn't the AICPA make a bigger deal out of accountants behaving badly? I'd love to see these stories front and center on the Journal of Accountancy like the ICAEW does with economia. Today's tale of accounting gone wrong is a woman who not only […]
PwC ‘Punished’ Thorough Auditing, Whistleblower Testifies [Law360] A couple Augusts ago, Adrienne wrote about an academic study that revealed the market for audit services penalizes audit firms for disclosing information critical of management in their audit opinions and that audit firms that find internal control material weaknesses experience lower client and fee growth. In other […]
Writing your résumé is a big deal, wouldn’t you think? Especially if you really need a job to maintain your lavish lifestyle or keep your kid in video games. There are maybe a handful of things in life that you don’t want to screw up—think marriage proposal, your CPA exam, and, yep, a résumé is […]
Well, you guys did it. You made it through another year. 2019 was a pretty crazy 12 months in the accounting profession, and we were glad to be along for the ride. This year we found out about KPMGers in the U.K. defecating in bathroom sinks. And we thought about who in accounting would survive […]
As expected, Steven Masera, the former accountant of the bogus nonprofit and college consulting company led by Rick Singer, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering today in Boston federal court for his role in the nation’s largest college admissions bribery scandal, USA Today reported. Masera, 69, is scheduled to find out […]
Supreme Court Curbs Protections for Whistleblowers [WSJ] If you or someone you know is thinking about blowing the whistle on some shady behavior, forget about reporting it internally; take your tip to the Securities and Exchange Commission if you want anti-retaliation protection under Dodd-Frank. Naturally, this came out of a case of accounting shenanigans: The […]
Tax Plans May Give Your Co-Worker a Better Deal Than You [NYT] The tax bill puts wage earners, currently about 80 percent of the working population, at a big disadvantage. “So a decorator, an artist or a plumber would have a higher tax rate than an owner of a decorating business, an art shop or […]
“Small business” Politicians love to trumpet their support for small business. And it’s no wonder, small businesses are all around us, so groveling to them makes for an easy ploy. The Republican tax plan includes a 25-percent rate for pass-through entities, which many people equate with “small business.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of small businesses […]
You will likely attend parties over the holidays. Your own workplace party is like living in a fishbowl. You feel required to show up but having much fun is often out of the question. The only career advancement opportunities are getting senior management put a name to a face (yours) or showing good judgment by […]
I took the day off on Friday to travel to parts unknown. Alright, maybe "unknown" is a stretch; I went into the mountains to avoid civilization and showering for a few days. It was great! During my absence, Professor Paul Gillis and Leona May chipped in with excellent posts on polar opposite topics: Executive MBAs […]
Some of you people have aspirations to start your own firm one day. We think that's great and your career/life path will take many twists and turns on the way to becoming professionally independent. You may become at partner at your current firm. You may get fired several times for being "difficult." You may even […]
I’ll admit, I’ve trolled Tom Selling’s Accounting Onion. From what I hear, Tom doesn’t appreciate my potty mouth but that doesn’t mean I appreciate his salty opinion any less. He hates the idea of IFRS in the U.S., which immediately endears anyone to me, and I enjoy his candid (if slightly more boring than what you all are used to here on Going Concern) tone.
So when I was in full-on troll mode and saw Tom’s recent Why Do Accounting Academics Blog Less Than Other Academics? post, I had to tweet it. Short version of the eems like every bunch of academics except those in accounting seem to blog their bookish little butts off?
Well one blogging academic didn’t like that tweet (don’t shoot the messenger, bro, I am in enough trouble for my actual opinions, I don’t need heat on account of someone else’s *troll win*) and ended up writing an entire post in response *extra troll win*. Associate Professor and Chair of Accounting & Taxation at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, Mark Holtzman, wrote the following on his Accounting Ethicist blog:
Last night I read the Accounting Onion’s latest post, asking “why do accounting academics blog less than other academics?” The writer, Tom Selling, offers a novel, if implausible theory:
We (accounting professors) rely on the Big-4 oligopoly to hire our students:
There are certainly tradeoffs to blogging, but they all seem to be roughly the same across academic disciplines, except for the presence of the Big Four. For some reason, that appears to be a net negative in relation to blogging opportunities.
Could it be that blogging by accounting professors is detrimental to the career prospects of one’s accounting students? I’m just asking.
I immediately tweeted that this post was not nice or true. (I then added, in a second tweet, that “Accounting professors don’t blog much because we are too busy with teaching, research and service.” That was admittedly a poorly-thought-out answer – Accounting professors are just as busy as English profs or any other area.)
First of all, Accounting Onion’s theory would suggest that somehow the Big-4 fuel an atmosphere of fear. Here’s a narrative: Accounting academics are afraid to say what they really think for fear of upsetting Big-4 recruiters, and that Big-4 recruiters would viciously retaliate against these academics by refusing to hire their students. That’s ridiculous. I think I can speak for my colleagues when I say that we’re not willing to lie (or withhold the truth) in order to get prestigious employers to hire our students.
Furthermore, I’ve worked for the Big-4 (or I should say the Big-8 and Big-6 – scratch that! I haven’t worked for the Big-4, have I?). In my capacity as a Department Chair, I know many Big-4 recruiters and employees. And we accounting professors do have a lot of far-fetched opinions. But I don’t know any recruiters or partners who would retaliate against students because of their professors’ far-fetched opinions. The Big-4 firms are very systematic about who they recruit and wise enough to hire our students in spite of us and our wacky opinions.
That said, how do we answer Accounting Onion’s question? Where are all the accounting professor-bloggers?
Here goes: I’m sorry to say that accounting doesn’t make for very interesting blogging. See any interesting tax footnotes lately? How ’bout that new FASB proposal? IFRS is already a joke – how many bloggers do we need to point that out? Here comes “Little GAAP.” Is there anything interesting to say about “Little GAAP?” And while I’m at it, have you ever seen the list of topics at a AAA meeting? There could be more accounting professor blogs, yes, but who would want to read all that cr@p?
He goes on to point out that there are notable exceptions to the rule – Going Concern being one of them – but for the most part, the gist I got was that accounting is too fucking boring to warrant dedicating one’s time and effort to writing about it. Thanks for crushing my lofty career goals and any pride I had (if I ever did) in what I actually do for a living.
Pride isn’t the only thing that makes me take issue with that. I have somehow made writing about accounting my life for the last three years so I get that it’s boring. Trust me, I am the last person on the planet who would have ever thought accounting could be interesting but then I started following the adoption of IFRS in the U.S., SEC employees’ porn problems, massive frauds and interesting police blotters starring CPAs around the country. Know what? It’s not that fucking boring. And I don’t just say that to make myself feel better about my questionable career choices.
Who would want to read about that crap? A lot of people, actually. I am amazed by the amount of traffic I get on accounting-related posts on Jr Deputy Accountant that are months or even years old. Are accountants on top of the news cycle? Well no, there is no news cycle. Thank God I have the CPA exam to write about or else I might be out of a job for as little news we get in this industry. But accountants are just as interested in opinion and information as anyone, if not more.
So? What do you guys think? Would you actually read blogs by your accounting professors?
As anybody who has done even remedial research on CPA review materials knows, exam prep doesn’t come cheap. The major review programs run from $1,500 to $3,000, and usually come with access limits anywhere from 9 months to a year. The larger review courses don’t guarantee a pass and often include hidden fees for administrative costs (what is that, anyway?), so-called free repeats and updates to books. There’s no doubt that CPA review is a big business, and you can trust me on that because I used to be in it.
That being said, CPA review doesn’t have to cost you a metric shitton of cash you don’t have. Here are a few ways to save some money if you’re not one of the lucky few getting your course paid for by either your employ ent parents.
Look for discount codes – CPAnet often has discount codes posted on CPA Exam Club, whether you are looking for cram courses, a full review or just Wiley materials. Check out their discount page for more details.
Avoid supplemental products like flash cards – Flash cards are an easy way for review courses to make a few extra bucks. Save the $100 or more dollars, buy a $2 pack of index cards and make your own. You’ll learn more that way and have more money your pocket when all’s said and done, which you might need if you end up having to retake any exam parts.
Call or email the review course to ask about discounts – They’ll probably tell you no and try to sell you into their bundle CPA review/masters program for $125,000 but hey, can’t hurt, right? Like any other business, CPA review programs sometimes run special deals so pick up the phone and ask.
Order through someone other than the review course – CPA Review Materials sells verified products at a discount and includes free shipping on orders over $400 – something you can’t get if you buy from the review course directly. As a trusted vendor, you know you’re getting what you’re paying for since the site deals directly with the review courses to provide products to candidates. But this brings us to our next point which is…
Do NOT buy from unsavory sellers – When you buy second-hand CPA review materials through eBay or Craigslist-type sites, remember you are taking a risk that the “book” you think you are buying is really just a photocopied binder full of outdated, pirated material. Products you purchase from individual sellers are not covered under review courses’ policies, and in many cases it is a direct violation of these courses’ copyrights to buy or sell materials. But CPAs would never dream of breaking the rules, right? If you are absolutely broke and in need of second-hand materials, you can usually find the Wiley CPA Exam Review books on Amazon for cheaper than retail and won’t be violating any rules by buying them that way.
Do NOT buy materials from your friend who passed four years ago We won’t suggest that you buy materials from your friend who passed just last quarter since that would also be against most review courses’ rules and we would highly recommend you stay away from materials any older than one year. The CPA exam changes twice a year and especially with the implementation of CBT-e, you will want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information available, even if you need to spend a little more to get it.
Lastly, a money-saving suggestion is to do a cost-benefit analysis of cheaping out on a review course over having to pay additional retake fees if you do not pass the first, second or third time out. There’s no reason why you have to spend a lot of money to get through the exam (plenty have passed using just the Wiley books, which are usually around $50 a piece), just make sure to analyze your own needs and plan accordingly. And remember: you can’t buy your way to a 75, all the money in the world does you no good if you don’t actually use the materials and study!