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?