September 24, 2020

News you can use

Five Tips for First Year Accounting PhD Candidates

This is the latest post from Dr. Emelee, a former Big 4 employee who is in process of obtaining his PhD. Read the rest of his posts here.   The first year of a doctoral program is rough. Public accounting experience will make the transition easier in a lot of ways because ridiculous hours, lots of […]

FASB on Intangible Impairment Testing: Just Eyeball It

All those carrying value versus fair value exercises? Yeah, the nerds in Norwalk say you can skip those, unless – and I'm stealing this example from Compliance Week – you've got a new Coke situation on your hands: The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2012-02, Intangibles–Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): […]

Savings Tips For Young Professionals From the AICPA

Hopefully you guys appreciate the time these folks put together to give you some free advice on putting a little away toward your future. Answers provided by AICPA National CPA Commission members Craig Steinhoff, CPA, Kelley Long CPA, Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS, and Leonard Wright, CPA/PFS. Adrienne Gonzalez: How do you suggest young professionals who are also […]

NASBA Takes the Guesswork Out of Reciprocity with Its Accounting License Library

While most of you are either in the process of getting licensed as a CPA or perfectly content to stick around in the state in which you are already licensed, NASBA reminds everyone that those of you with licenses in different states should not simply let them expire now that mobility (mostly) allows you to hold one license but work in multiple states.


From the NASBA blog (which I didn’t even know existed until now):

Mobility has meant that many CPAs no longer need to keep an active license in a state in order to practice there. But even if the license is no longer needed, there’s more involved than just letting it expire. If you don’t file the proper paperwork to let the board know that you’re voluntarily relinquishing that license, you could face disciplinary action. Without communication from you, the board may assume that you’ve allowed your license to lapse.

The distinction between reciprocity and mobility is an important one, which is why NASBA is enhancing ALL in this regard. If your work in a state were likely to be short-term, then the state’s mobility guidelines would likely cover you for the project’s duration. But if you are licensed in one state and plan to relocate to another, then you’ll need a secondary or reciprocal license from that state’s board. Most states, even with mobility, are requesting that CPAs obtain reciprocal licenses if they are making such a permanent move. Either way, if you find yourself with redundant licenses, ALL can help you relinquish them properly.

Now, NASBA wants to use their Accountancy Licensing Library tool to figure out the rules in your state for relinquishing your license, which is fine. But you can also check with your state board directly for rules on this.

Keep in mind if you relinquish your license in any state you may have to re-apply and retake the exam all over again, assuming you somehow also relinquish your other licenses in other states and have no license to transfer to that state. But who is going to do that?!

The key word here is redundancy. In this day and age, it no longer makes sense to carry multiple licenses, even if your work means you need practice privilege in states other than your own.

How to Request Recommendations on LinkedIn Without Giving the Impression That You’re Jumping Ship

Ed. note: Got a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com.

Good afternoon, GCers. No time for small talk. Let’s get to it.

Hi Caleb,

With regards to LinkedIn, do you have any advice on how to request recommendations from superiors, other coworkers, and clients, without giving the impression to my own superiors that I want out? For some background, I am a Senior 3 in EY’s TAS group and have been here since I graduated college.

I like what I do and I work hard to get the job done right, but the double-edged sword of being a “high performer” is that you are continuously staffed on the complex engagements withhat are constantly go-go-go. Needless to say, my social life has become essentially non-existent during the week. I am not actively looking to move to another company given I am up for promotion to Manager this year, but I am starting to think that it would be beneficial from an upward mobility standpoint to make a move elsewhere, and I think getting recommendations on LinkedIn would be a solid start.

Thank you,
J.

J.

Great question. Now, there is no fool-proof way to prevent against raising suspicions, however, you can ask certain colleagues in such a way that will both minimize suspicions and even gain a bit of their respect.

No one knows how LinkedIn will evolve in the coming years. It quickly went from a “why are you on LinkedIn?” website to the year’s biggest tech IPO (for better or worse, but that’s a different story altogether). There’s no denying that recruiters – both headhunters and in-house specialists – use the website as a search tool, so I can understand your desire to beef up your profile. My suggestion is to have recommendations from a peer, a superior, and depending on the relationship, a client. My suggestions for targeting potential rec’s:

1. Superior – The trick here is to pick a superior that is active on LinkedIn. I bet if you searched LinkedIn for the leaders of your group that you’ve worked with, their profiles will fall into one of two categories: a) active or b) dormant. The dormant LinkedIn profile might not show the recent promotion, give little to no description about their practice line or specialties, and they’ll be lucky to have more than 25 connections. The active user (and the person you want to target for a recommendation) will have a very active profile: details about industry knowledge, present title within the firm, probably 100+ connections, and – if you’re lucky – a few recommendations from peers. This is your target.

How to target? Simple. Be honest and straightforward with them in the sense that you are taking your public image within the firm very seriously. You can also mention that LinkedIn is a professional website and you’re hoping to have your hard work properly recognized amongst profiles online; after all, it is a very competitive market within your practice. You can also offer to leave a respectful recommendation on their profile from the perspective of a direct report.

There are two reasons you want to target an active LinkedIn user. First, they know how to use the site, unlike the partner with seven connections who probably doesn’t remember his/her login password. Also, an active user understands the value in having a complete profile. They will likely respect you for taking your public image (and the image of the firm) seriously.

2. Peer – did you and a coworker spear-head a project, push through challenges, and deliver an exceptional product to your clients? There’s nothing wrong with recommending each other’s work. It will demonstrate that you are a team player and work well with those on your level.

3. Client – if you are close with one of your clients, this is a no brainer. Have him/her slap a few nice words on your profile regarding a project or engagement. This will look great on your profile – to both recruiters and your superiors.

The safe, fall back reasoning for pursuing all of these recommendations is that you are hoping to polish up your profile and public image as it is seen within your firm and by your clients. If a recruiter happens to be impressed, so be it. Added bonus.

Has anyone else reached out to one of the groups above? What are your experiences? Share in the comments.

Mobile Expense Tracking, The Easy Way

While we won’t all admit it, many of us are pretty lazy. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and given the right set of tools, lazy bastards like us can actually spend more time procrastinating and less time worrying about how to blow off whatever it is we’re trying to avoid.

When it comes to expenses, we can all use an easier way, lazy or not. Here are three apps that should help.

Evernote (free) MACPA CEO Tom Hood uses the Evernote iPhone app to snap a pic of his receipts, which he can then send directly to his office for safe-keeping and reimbursement. This means no stuffing random receipts into your pockets hoping they make it back to homebase. You can also use it as a sort of mobile Post-it note and scrapbook, capturing clips from newspaper articles, meeting notes and even business cards.

iXpenseIt This app ($4.99 in the Apple store) can help you track your own personal expenses as well as any you might incur for work. Voted one of the 50 Most Useful iPhone Apps by Laptop Magazine and a Best iPhone App by CNN Money.

ProOnGo Expense (free 30-day trial, pricing varies) goes a step further and even allows you to track your billable hours. It is compatible with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and even Windows Mobile. Using the GPS feature, you can track your mileage too. The receipt reader feature allows you to put all your receipts into a neat Excel sheet or QuickBooks file.

Just for clarity’s sake, we’re sure you’re aware of this but here are the IRS rules on business expenses for your records. File it!

Sitting At Your Desk Is Killing You

Did you need more proof that your job sucks? How about this infographic:

According to the graphic, we now sit 9.3 hours a day, far more than the 7.7 hours we spend sleeping. Our hunter/gatherer bodies just weren’t built for this lifestyle.

Sitting for more than 6 hours a day makes you 40% more likely to die within 15 years versus someone who sits for fewer than 3 hours a day. Exercise does not offset this increased risk of premature death.

Those who sit in front of the TV for 3 hours or more a day are 64% more likely to die of heart disease.

So what can you do besides quitting your job to roam the fields for buffalo day in and day out? Try some of these busy season exercise tips from AccountingWEB for starters. My favorite is working at my desk while sitting on an exercise ball; it helps correct my posture and offers a core workout while I’m humming away at my laptop.

Enjoy!

Infographic courtesy Medical Billing and Coding

Getting Hacked Happens to the Best of Us?

Recently, I’ve been getting suspicious emails purporting to be from a high-up in my company. I have faith in this person and therefore would assume if (s)he wanted to push hot webcam videos on me, (s)he’d have the decency to text me with the hott linkks instead of using poor grammar in work emails. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the same emails coming from – gasp! – my own email address. Now I knew it had to be a scam; surely I wouldn’t have to tell myself about some hot new webcam girrllss I’d discovered on an .ru domain, I’d have that shit deliciously bookmarked on my own machine.

Being incredibly careful with my logins, I knew I couldn’t have slipped up and gotten phished. Had I been hacked?

Whenever someone says “I got hacked!” I have to admit I always feel a bit of “blame the victim” is in order. After all, I find it a bit hard to swallow that some hardcore hackers in Russia are all that concerned with your personal Facebook page. To say “I’ve been hacked” implies that some outside source did some work to break through your rock solid security and gain entry, and makes no implication that the user themselves likely opened the door and let the “hacker” in, if unwittingly. More often than not, “I got hacked” means “I unknowingly gave up my password in a phishing scheme” or “I screwed up and clicked an unbelievable posting on Facebook that stole my login info because I never read the permissions I give third party apps.”

It’s been done a million times but for your sake, here are a few tips for staying safe out there in the big scary Internets.

Make sure your contact info is up to date. If an unscrupulous individual ever gains access to your Facebook account, you may be forced to lock it down, in which case you’ll need access to the email address you use to sign in to receive communications from Facebook to get your account back. Make sure you’re using an email you have access to, even if it’s one you don’t use often.

Diversify your passwords. It goes without saying that a good password is one that isn’t found in the dictionary but isn’t so difficult you have to keep it written on a sticky at your desk. Dennis Howlett recommends a LastPass account (via AccountingWEB UK) for harder to remember passwords if you must. Substitute numbers for letters (like “1” instead of “I” or “3” instead of “E”) and throw in some punctuation just to be safe.

If you aren’t sure, don’t click it. Spammers have gotten pretty smart since the days of the “ILOVEYOU” virus (which happens to turn 11 this week) and even the most technologically-adept can fall for their tricks. If you aren’t expecting an attachment, don’t open it. Common attachment scams include spoofed emails from UPS or USPS claiming to contain your tracking number or a package exception – while UPS may send you emails, they’d never send you a zip file (tracking numbers are always included in the body of any UPS communications sent on merchants’ behalf). Be wary!

And if you have been hacked, phished or otherwise compromised, delete any offending posts from your hijacked social media pages and issue an apology. You don’t have to beg for forgiveness, just let everyone know you got compromised and are sorry, it won’t happen again.

In my case, I just got spoofed, which isn’t really my fault at all. That’s where a nice email from the tech support department to the rest of the team comes in handy.

Before You Quit Your Job, You Should Do a Little Tech Housekeeping

Since apparently accounting is still booming and jobs are everywhere according to CNN, chances are you might be considering walking away from your awesome 70-hour-a-week grudge work for the sweet life of private industry or maybe the lucrative pastures of healthcare. Either way, if you’re going to quit your job, you will probably want to keep your former employer as a reference. The best way to do that is to erase your digital footprint as neatly as possible, just in case a team of nerds will be scoping out your computer and any embarrassing data contained therein post-employment.

Let’s be real, just about everyone uses company PP&E for non-company things; email, Facebook and, if you’re at the SEC, porn. We won’t judge your daytime browsing habits, let’s just get into how to make them go away before your last day.

First, it’s best to start scrubbing your history before you actually let on that you are about to leave. Granted, if you’ve gotten fed up to the point of quitting, it’s likely that no one in your office even realizes how miserable you are and won’t notice when your cube is suddenly devoid of personal items. Regardless, it’s still a good idea to take some of these steps before management is aware you’re running away.

So, you’ve got your final resignation notice saved on your desktop and are ready to send it to your boss. What next?


Erase your web history In Firefox, go to Tools, then Options, and then choose “clear your recent history.” While you’re in there, hit the Security tab and uncheck “remember passwords for sites” which, really, you shouldn’t have turned on at work anyway. Not using Firefox? Here are instructions for deleting your history and cookies in Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Unsubscribe from any newsletters or subscriptions you’ve been getting at work Maybe your firm doesn’t care if you get the Going Concern newsletter but just to be safe, spend some time combing through your work email and unsubscribing from any non-work-related newsletters. This way you can transfer everything to your personal account if you still want to receive it and save yourself some embarrassment when the person your emails are forwarded to after you leave gets your daily Bestiality Hotties email.

Delete any personal files you have on your desktop This could be that annoying photo of you and your boyfriend on vacation, your resignation letter (including the ultra-vulgar first and second drafts) and/or any third-party programs you’ve added to your computer (either with or without management’s permission). You never know how thoroughly IT is going to check out your laptop, so assume they’ll be combing through it and don’t leave anything of yours carelessly lying around. This includes your music collection, no reason to give them free mp3s.

Avoid deleting too much It would be awfully suspicious if you tried to clear out most of your emails and let’s face it, there’s a copy stored on the server anyway if management cares that much. This is about cleaning up after yourself, not looking like a paranoid weirdo. Be diligent but not psychotic.

Empty the recycle bin All of the above are useless if you forget to clean the recycle bin when you’re done.

How to Backup Your Gmail in Five Simple Steps

Note from AG: this is the second in a series of tech-related posts which we are providing by popular demand. Please feel free to let us know what sort of content you’d like to see related to technology and gadgets specifically for accountants so we can make your lives easier. We aren’t mind-readers, so tell us what you want to see here and we’ll send our team of loser interns to fetch it. Double note, “AG blows” is not considered feedback.

How many of you use Gmail exclusively? I have two accounts; one for publishing JDA and ignoring Caleb’s constant Instant Pestering and the other to filter my JDA email and endless email subscriptions. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I woke up one morning to find everything gone and sympathize for anyone who knows what that kind of fear feels like after the Gmail fail that shocked us all earlier this month.

TechCrunch reminds us what went down:

While the initial reports had around .29 percent of Gmail users affected by the bug (about 600,000 users), those estimates were quickly revised to .08 percent (about 150,000 users). And today, those numbers were further revised to .02 percent. This means that only around 40,000 of Gmail’s 200 million (or so) users were affected.

Now, 40,000 pissed off people is still 40,000 pissed off people. But there was even better news out of Google today: all of their data is safe and sound. But it isn’t safe and sound in some remote server attached to the cloud. Instead, it’s safe on back-up data tapes somewhere in an undisclosed location.

Accountants know better than anyone that the cloud can make everyone’s lives easier, keep data secure and allow for freer exchange of information without obnoxious exchange of physical hard drives. They should also, therefore, know that the cloud allows for unforeseen snafus such as what just occurred when 150,000 Gmail users tried to log into their accounts and found nothing there.

Using POP, you can backup your Gmail account just in case. You’ll need a good email client like Outlook or, if you’re ancient like some firms we know (or our friends at the Federal Reserve), you can also elect to use LotusNotes or some other antiquated email client of your choosing.

From the Google folks:

Here’s how to download a copy of every message* in Gmail to an email client:

1. Sign in to Gmail.
2. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page, and open the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
3. Select Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded).
4. Click Save Changes.
5. Open the mail client you’ve configured for Gmail, and check for new messages.

Gmail messages are downloaded in batches, so it may take time for everything to appear in your mail client.

* Messages in Spam and Trash aren’t downloaded unless you move them to your inbox or All Mail.

And now you have a nice copy of every email you’ve sent and received going back as long as your email client can handle. You’ll probably want to save this as a clean copy in your personal folders to keep your personal Gmails from splicing themselves throughout your work email, just in case anyone happens to check what you’re doing during work hours on company PP&E. Even better, do this at home on your own computer so you don’t even have to bother with worrying about anyone scoping your embarrassing forwarded jokes.

Happy Gmailing, people!

How to Improve Your Business Lying

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

We all have to lie from time to time as we go through life. Sometimes it’s to protect ourselves, sometimes to protect others. We even grade them – the fib, white lie, the lie of concealment, the misleading lie, and the business lie.

Does the lie have a place in life, or should we all be absolutely honesl the time, about everything? I feel sure we could spend many hours debating the pros and cons of lying including many moral issues.

There are in fact a number of good reasons why we have to lie. To tell the truth might be unnecessarily hurtful. Telling the white lie, when you decide to tell a colleague how good they look when they return to the office having spent a small fortune on clothes or a new hairstyle is probably the right thing to do. Spoiling someone’s day unnecessarily is difficult to justify. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is just your opinion. Everyone else may disagree with you.


Lying in business is another matter

In business it is a matter of day-to-day necessity to lie or conceal a wide variety of issues. In certain cases to tell the truth might even be illegal. For example, when one company is having secret talks to purchase another, the stock market price of their shares could be affected if they told other people in advance of the acquisition. If asked a direct question relating to a potential acquisition and they had answered it honestly, they may have given someone the opportunity to purchase stocks in advance and make money from the information, thus breaking the law with regard to insider trading.

In deciding to lie to someone, we try to convince them of the accuracy of the information by reinforcing the statements with body language signals.

Look me in the eye

One of the most obvious mistakes is deliberately looking someone straight in the eye when lying. The origins of this emanate from the challenging statement we heard as children “look me in the eye and tell me that you know nothing about what happened.” This might be accurate with children, teenagers, and young adults as they do tend to look down or away when concealing the truth. In order to counteract this they are advised to look people in the eye to prove the truth of their words.

As we get older we believe that looking people in the eye when lying will help us look more convincing. We compound the mistake by staring without blinking and adopting a solid posture whilst the statement is being said.

Even though they are not sure why, it tends to give the game away to the majority of people because instinct tells us that something is wrong and we become suspicious about what we are hearing. We don’t know what it is, but we just know it feels wrong.

Constricting pupils

There is also the issue of the eyes. You may be the best liar in the world, but you cannot prevent your eyes constricting when you lie. A good negotiator will always make best use of the light, so he can see your eyes but you can’t see his!

A few things to bear in mind

1. Don’t look directly into the pupils of the person you’re lying to, look at the whole face.
2. Maintain eye contact for 75% of the time (the average for most people).
3. Be aware that the voice usually goes flat when you are lying. In trying to lie convincingly we control pitch and resonance, believing it will sound more convincing. Often, each word is clipped in an attempt to be precise. Changes in the voice coupled with a look directly into the eyes will cause doubt.
4. Next is body posture, whether standing or sitting.

In an effort to conceal the truth when a lie is being told the body generally becomes more solid or rigid. This is made more difficult because only you know what your body language is like when you tell the truth and you must make sure you don’t change it when lying. If you are an animated person who looks at people 75% of the time, then don’t alter your habits, do not increase the eye stare, or reduce body movement or sound firmer with your words. People will not always be sure you are lying, but they can tell something has changed.

Another difficult area to control when lying is the hands. Some people fidget with their hands and arms (especially when caught off guard with a question they did not expect.) One second the hands are in pockets and then out and this may get repeated several times.

Blushing and nose blushing

The skin gets warmer when someone is feeling awkward. This is because blood vessels in and around the nose and face are irritated when you exaggerate or lie. The only way to make the irritation to go away is to rub or lightly touch the tingling and offending areas of the face.

We have carried out a number of body language experiments in this area and discovered that 90% of those observing hand-to-face contact thought that something was wrong and they became cautious of what was being said. To anyone who understands body language it is a giveaway. Therefore if you cannot learn to leave the offending areas alone, stick to telling the truth.

Who are the best liars?

Politicians have to be good at lying because journalists will never stop asking awkward questions that will give them tomorrow’s headline. Unlike many of us, they have learned to adapt. By giving a much longer answer and explanation than necessary, a politician telling the lie avoids being asked a follow up question and hopes the reporter has either forgotten his original question or gives up.

One of the contracts I have is to analyse public figures and I sometimes have to spend weeks or months studying before I can be sure of a politician’s gestures that tell if they are concealing the truth.

About the author:
Peter Clayton is a leading body language expert, speaker, and trainer as well as a consultant for the BBC and ITV. He writes for a wide range of national papers and magazines and is a specialist consultant to other speakers, leading businesses, celebrities and politicians. For more information, visit his Web site: www.peterclayton.com.

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This article originally appeared on our sister Web site, AccountingWEB.co.uk.