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December 1, 2022

Wanted: Space Accountants

This week, NASA released a series of retro recruiting posters for people who want to work on Mars. Granted, there are no actual jobs on Mars yet, but hey, considering the war for talent on Earth, you can never get started to early.

There are all kinds of exciting opportunities working in space — riding in rocketship, sex in zero gravity, sleeping for weeks at a time on long trips — but all this adventure is brought back to Earth by some practical considersations. Like accounting!

Zach De Gregorio, CFO of Spaceport America, wrote a short column at Accounting Today and he wants accountants to get excited about leaving this planet:

Space travel is the emerging industry that will dominate the next decade. Companies are already working towards flying tourists into space and running hotels in space. Soon companies will be manufacturing in space. Affordable nanosatellites will put even more technology into high orbits. And there are already business plans for mining operations on the Moon and Mars. All these possibilities have one thing in common: accounting.

As soon as the human race begins to regularly travel, live and work in space, a series of accounting problems surfaces where we have no solution. What tax jurisdiction do space activities fall under? What accounting standards do we use in space? Which accountant are we going to send to audit the mining operation on the moon?

Do droids deserve hazard bonus pay? When is nexus established? How do you qualify for tax credits? Should we start worrying about non-GASAP reporting now?

It seems to me that space accounting issues are worth exploring so if you've been thinking about these sorts of things, please share your ideas. Who knows, if you're lucky, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos just might give you a job.

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