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Georgia Voters Will Decide on the Use of Accrual Accounting by the Department of Transportation

Interestingly enough, Caleb just covered accrual vs cash here on Going Concern the other day. Not interestingly enough, as a subsection of the Georgia state government, the Georgia DOT’s only option is government accounting and that sure as hell ain’t accrual. Apparently Georgia governor Sonny Perdue is hip to this accounting trick that just can’t be tapped and is questioning whether or not the DOT has the legal authority to use accrual for multi-year state funding commitments.

The short answer, without being an authority on matters of accounting legality, is HELL no. They better stick to fund accounting like every other government agency but that comes with its own set of flaws. See also: 49 of 50 states facing massive budget deficits.

If you aren’t familiar with government accounting, let me make it very simple: in regular accounting, balance sheets balance. Companies shoot for assets to outweigh liabilities and if they don’t for an extended period of time, shareholders bail and the company goes under.

In government accounting, there is no real concept of “balance” and it’s all about expenditures and estimates of spending that have little connection with actual money coming in. Most government agencies would be crippled if they were forced to institute GAAP, even with the magic of government accounting we have already witnessed from the smallest municipality to entire sovereign nations.

Anyway, in 2008, an audit of DOT practices concluded that accrual accounting was a violation of Georgia’s constitution (and the sanctity of government accounting fortheloveofsweetbabyJesus) but DOT officials claim that sweating their questionable accounting methods prevents the state from funding important road projects.

Again, magic on paper, garbage in practical application. Accounting methods are not meant to turn insolvency into funding, they are merely options and their use should not be abused for users. Seriously.

Georgia voters will be trusted with resolving the issue. Better start reading some Advanced Accounting textbooks, Georgia voters, you’ll need them to pick the right door on this little game show.

Voters to weigh on DOT accounting system [Atlanta Business Chronicle]

Deloitte Tops BusinessWeek’s ‘Best Places to Intern’ List, KPMG Gets the Silver

Thumbnail image for confidence.jpgAll right Deloitte. What are you paying BusinessWeek? Seriously, you take the “Start Your Career” crown and now you’re just getting greedy with the arbitrary magazine list championships. You’re risking backlash if you continue to dominate:

Our ranking of the best U.S.companies for undergraduate internships highlights employers who have put together an outstanding experience for students. Accounting firm Deloitte tops our list, followed by rivals KPMG (No.2) and Ernst & Young (No.3).The last of the Big Four accounting companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, comes in at No.5, right behind consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.

This is getting ridiculous BW. Four out of the top five spots go to Big 4? Do they really have an unbreakable stranglehold on your list methodology?

To compile our list, we judged employers based on survey data from 60 career services directors around the country and a separate survey completed by each employer. We also consider how each employer fared in the annual Best Places to Launch a Career, our ranking of top U.S. entry-level employers released in September of each year.

So, the employer’s own surveys are judged and you consider a list previously issued by you? Unless we’ve been misled, those employer might not have gone so well. As for considering your own list to make a new list, does that mean that this is basically the same list but with a different name?
Putting the methodology hocus-pocus aside, we notice that while Deloitte took home the gold medal, KPMG got the big talk up for their global rotations:

Two years ago KPMG realized it had to make a substantial investment in its internship program if it hoped to woo top students from larger consulting and accounting firms. So the company decided to offer interns an opportunity to gain valuable overseas experience. KPMG lets student interns spend four weeks in the U.S. and four weeks abroad. “It’s extremely competitive [to recruit top students], and this is a differentiator,” says Blane Ruschak, executive director of campus recruiting at KPMG.
A chance to work overseas is precisely what appealed to Andrew Fedele, 21, an accounting and economics double major at Pennsylvania State University. “I was sold pretty much when I first read about [KPMG’s] global internship program.” He spent four weeks in Chicago and four weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa. “South Africa has just such an interesting history. To go there and live with the locals and work with them was really exciting.”
What did KPMG get in return? Exactly what it hoped: Fedele accepted a full-time job almost immediately after KPMG made its offer at the end of the summer.

The article does manage to point out that “KPMG…hired nearly 900 fewer entry-level employees this year. But 91% of those full-time hires were former interns, whereas only 71% of new hires in 2008 were interns.”
The trend of fewer non-interns getting hired on at Big 4 (in this case KPMG) firms was something that we touched on in August, although BW doesn’t bother mentioning that it’s most likely due to the slashing of the firm’s hiring budgets.
We can’t give this latest meaningless index any more thought. If you’ve got an opinion on the latest jumble of the Big 4 in a BW list, leave them in the comments.
Best Places to Intern [BBW]