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December 8, 2022

When Good Audits Go… Good. (+ Sex Scandal)

oil!.jpgThis is the sort of story that you can’t make up. Like the story of the guy who tried to write off prostitutes and porn as a “medical expense”.
Wait a second. Oil “programs,” federal misconduct, drugs, sex, AND bad accounting?! This might be the best thing I’ve read in weeks.
Continued, after the jump


NYT:

The Interior Department announced on Wednesday that it was ending an oil and gas royalty program that ignited a scandal last year when it was disclosed that federal employees had engaged in corruption, drug use and sexual misconduct with oil industry officials.
Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, told a House committee that he was phasing out the royalty-in-kind program, which is administered by the department’s Minerals Management Service. It allows oil companies to pay the government in oil and gas rather than in cash for the right to drill on federal lands. Recent audits have shown that the government has failed to collect tens of millions of dollars worth of royalties owed it under the program.

Everyone knows I am not the mathlete but tens of millions seems fairly clear to me. Did NYT really have to use “right to drill” in that too? This might be the seediest accounting scandal I’ve seen since the phone sex company that booked revenues too soon (I think that’s called the premature double entry method):

Four Star Financial was another firm with results too good to be true. Once a thriving financial services firm that paid as much as 18 percent on returns to investors, Four Star performed well for years. The closely held firm had invested in 900-numbers and collected on their unpaid receivables. It also made short-term loans at high interest rates. But when the 900-number industry began to slide in the mid-1990s, the firm (then called 900 Capital Services) sought new ways to pay off investors.
A class action lawsuit alleges that Four Star undertook a Ponzi scheme described as the “‘Argentina arbitrage transaction” defrauding investors of at least $40 million. The deal purportedly involved the sale of long-distance telephone arbitrage contracts in Argentina.
According to the Web site Four Star Fraud.com, which apprises former investors of ongoing litigation and company news, most investors–largely concentrated on the Westside–believed Four Star dealt exclusively in telecommunications. The suit further claims that both 900 Capital and Four Star had questionable investments from their inception.

Too easy. It’s almost as if they write themselves sometimes.

oil!.jpgThis is the sort of story that you can’t make up. Like the story of the guy who tried to write off prostitutes and porn as a “medical expense”.
Wait a second. Oil “programs,” federal misconduct, drugs, sex, AND bad accounting?! This might be the best thing I’ve read in weeks.
Continued, after the jump


NYT:

The Interior Department announced on Wednesday that it was ending an oil and gas royalty program that ignited a scandal last year when it was disclosed that federal employees had engaged in corruption, drug use and sexual misconduct with oil industry officials.
Ken Salazar, the interior secretary, told a House committee that he was phasing out the royalty-in-kind program, which is administered by the department’s Minerals Management Service. It allows oil companies to pay the government in oil and gas rather than in cash for the right to drill on federal lands. Recent audits have shown that the government has failed to collect tens of millions of dollars worth of royalties owed it under the program.

Everyone knows I am not the mathlete but tens of millions seems fairly clear to me. Did NYT really have to use “right to drill” in that too? This might be the seediest accounting scandal I’ve seen since the phone sex company that booked revenues too soon (I think that’s called the premature double entry method):

Four Star Financial was another firm with results too good to be true. Once a thriving financial services firm that paid as much as 18 percent on returns to investors, Four Star performed well for years. The closely held firm had invested in 900-numbers and collected on their unpaid receivables. It also made short-term loans at high interest rates. But when the 900-number industry began to slide in the mid-1990s, the firm (then called 900 Capital Services) sought new ways to pay off investors.
A class action lawsuit alleges that Four Star undertook a Ponzi scheme described as the “‘Argentina arbitrage transaction” defrauding investors of at least $40 million. The deal purportedly involved the sale of long-distance telephone arbitrage contracts in Argentina.
According to the Web site Four Star Fraud.com, which apprises former investors of ongoing litigation and company news, most investors–largely concentrated on the Westside–believed Four Star dealt exclusively in telecommunications. The suit further claims that both 900 Capital and Four Star had questionable investments from their inception.

Too easy. It’s almost as if they write themselves sometimes.

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Are Today’s Accountants Already Occupying Wall Street?

Caleb and I had a talk last night and it made me think about this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. More importantly, it made me think about what I am and am not doing to support it. I haven’t been to a rally, even to take pictures (last time I tried to do that, I was the only one out in front of the Federal Reserve Board at 6 in the morning except for the lone Fed cop patrolling the perimeter).

I get that people are pissed off. I’m pissed off too. I’ve been pissed off, don’t tell me about being pissed off. I was lugging around aFed sign made on top of “Ron Paul ’08” acrylic three years ago, you don’t have to tell me about being pissed off. (Here I am in 2009 on SF Citizen in a “Bernanke 00%” t-shirt at an anti-Iraq war rally)

And I get that for some people, all there is to do is go downtown with a drum and some poorly-written signs on cardboard ripped from your mom’s Costco packages in the recycle bin. That’s totally fine, everyone has their own way of sticking it to the man.

For a lot of Going Concern readers, sticking it to the man means showing up every day in business casual pretending to give a fuck about COSO but actually knowing that it’s all a lie. They work you to the bone until you leave or submit and get promoted to manager. Partner if you’re lucky. Run on that hamster wheel, here have this bonus, keep going and one day you can beat your own subordinates into submission. Go, go, go… Many of you get that this is bullshit but keep showing up every day anyway, and to me, you are your own special kind of protester. Same as last year, motherfucker, it’s the ultimate form of rebellion.

Too much?


Point being, everyone has their own way of screwing the establishment. Francine does it railing against the Big 4. Bill Sheridan and Tom Hood do it at the MACPA with professionalism. Tom Selling does it by riling up fellow academics. Professor Dave Albrecht does it by being seen in public canoodling with known incendiaries like yours truly.

I do it by ripping on the IASB as often as I am allowed to, infiltrating the Hill to sniff out what’s the latest in CPA lobbying efforts and getting in as many F bombs as I can on the dry subject of accounting. That’s all I can do. I can’t abandon my day job to hang out in Manhattan eating vegan paninis. I can make and distribute offensive Bernanke fridge magnets.

I completely understand why people are attracted to Occupy Wall Street; the part I’m struggling with is why so many of the 99 Percenters seem obsessed with this thing called “fairness” that does not, in fact, exist. Is it fair that any of us have to drag our asses to work every day and do what we do? Is it fair that Becker costs $3,000 and doesn’t pass the CPA exam for you? Is it fair that many of you are drowning in student loan debt and seemingly forced to get Master’s degrees just to work in your field? Is it fair that Caleb gets listed in all the accounting publications and I’m stuck as the sidekick hack who always manages to piss people off? This world is unfair, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have to write about accounting every day of my life, it’s un-fucking-fair, we get it.

In my view (for whatever that is worth, which is probably not more than our company pays me to write this post), the ultimate rebellion is assimilating and infiltrating the establishment to enact real change from the inside. Are partners scared as shit of this website? Yes. If they’re threatening you with termination if you even dare to write us for advice, we’re doing something right. And I didn’t even have to not shave my armpits to accomplish that (but Caleb probably shaved his).

Are any of you going to independently revolutionize the accounting industry? Probably not. But collectively, you have scared the pants off of lazy ass recruiters and partners across this country who thought you didn’t have it in you. They read us because they feel like they have to or else they’ll lose touch with what you guys are thinking, and it scares the living shit out of them. In my mind, that’s a far more effective message to send the The Establishment, whoever the hell they are.

I fully support the fundamental sentiment of Occupy Wall Street but much prefer fulfilling my incendiary duties here trying to get accounting kids riled up and questioning why they put up with the shit they do. Working mothers in public accounting should be allowed to have children. Interns should be allowed to ask questions (even dumb ones). Auditors should be expected to question last year’s logic. It’s not complicated but it’s important work that a lot of you do, and I hope that you get that.

It is not your fault that we’re here. Many of you just followed the rules.

Thanks for letting me be a part of that. Beats standing around with a fucking sign, that’s for sure.

Earlier:
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