Friday, October 21, 2016

A Long Lost CPA Movie Thriller

Since becoming empty nesters – at least for the duration of the 2016-2017 academic year – the bride and I have enjoyed frequent date nights and that includes regular movie viewings, something we only did in 20th century B.C. – before children.

Last week it was “The Girl on the Train” which despite receiving mediocre reviews I enjoyed and a film that will surely propel its star – Emily Blunt – into the Oscar conversation.

Saturday we plan to see “The Accountant” in which Ben Affleck plays an autistic green-eyeshader who just happens to moonlight as an assassin with skills that go far beyond computing goodwill or completing a K-1.

I got to thinking about some of the famous accountants in the movies – as I’m sure everyone who either blogs or writes on the profession is sure to do in the ensuing weeks since the film’s debut.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sometimes, there’s no use trying…

Some people are just oblivious to reality despite all evidence to the contrary.

Take my neighbor for example. Since the day his daughter was incredulously given a driver’s license, she has had three fender benders, smashed into my mailbox while backing up and just recently was clocked at 93 miles per hour on a highway with a 65 speed limit.

Her fault right?

Not a chance. The father is taking the case to court, charging that the highway patrol “did a lot of things wrong?”

Like what? Citing her for driving nearly 30 mph over the speed limit and endangering others?

Sometimes there’s nothing left but to simply shrug your shoulders.

Let’s face it we’ve all known people like that. And there’s no amount of trying to sway their way of thinking.

And many CPAs are no different.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Case of the Great Declining Multiples

Ah, the 1990s – Seinfeld, LA Law, Jurassic Park, Boyz II Men, Sega, Netscape and mobile phones the size of rugby balls. Some things from that era were to be treasured, others, like my pale blue “Members Only” jacket were eventually given to a clothing charity where I’m not sure they kept it.

In full disclosure I also owned a purple one that mysteriously disappeared from my closet. I always suspected my spouse but she has steadfastly remained loyal to her alibi of visiting her mother at the time.  I still find it strange that her mother lived in Florida and I don’t remember her absent for a week, but that’s fodder for another column or at least a segment of “Unsolved Mysteries.”

You know what else will most likely never return from that bygone era? Receiving high multiples for CPA firms.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Firm of the future or future of the firm?

Next month, I have been tasked with a 100-minute presentation on what I believe the CPA firm of the future will look and operate like.

Yes I know this subject has been addressed ad nauseum over the past decade and perhaps longer, but in its defense it always seems to be in demand – even by a group of tax professionals who will comprise the bulk of my audience in November.

I’m not going to regale you with highlights of my speech – or in some cases bore you with them – but remember anything that is of a futurist trend in nature will always be heavily oriented in technology, a subject that doesn’t often make the older generation comfortable.

So I begin by asking the session members how long they think common tech-related devices that they use every day have been in existence. The answers are, more often than not, surprising.

Friday, September 30, 2016

I’ll Vote for Groucho!

In the classic Marx Brothers’ movie “Duck Soup” the main character, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx), is debating with the Secretary of War on whether to raise taxes on the mythical country of Fredonia and the ensuing exchange goes something like this…

Secretary: “How about taking up the tax?”
Firefly: “How about taking up the carpet?”
Secretary: “I still insist we must take up the tax”
Firefly: “He’s right; you gotta take up the tacks before you can take up the carpet.”

I thought of this absurd parody while watching the much anticipated Presidential Debate earlier this week – a political train wreck that you just can’t help but rubberneck. And of course one of the main talking points during that often painful and finger-pointing 90 minutes was the oft-discussed subject of taxes.

I don’t often get political in this space, but after Monday night, there are some things that need to be said with regard to proposed tax changes – whether real or imagined.

Hillary Clinton has stated that under her plan the rich would pay their fair share of taxes, while Donald Trump would cut the corporate tax rate to 35 percent to usher in a more business friendly environment.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Good Walk Spoiled

I once knew a wizened public relations professional who spent the majority of his career at the Ford Motor Co. In his college days, he played golf for the University of North Carolina, which in the early 1950s was one of the powerhouses of collegiate links. Each year they routinely would drub interstate rival Wake Forest University until one day the UNC coach warned his players that WFU had recruited this strapping 18-year old from Pittsburgh, who, reportedly, could drive the ball 300-yards plus.

UNC’s dominance came to abrupt end the first time their team saw Arnold Palmer walk out of the locker room, a blond Adonis in a white T-shirt whose broad shoulders looked capable of seating a family of four for dinner. He teed up the ball on the practice tee and calmly sent it to the next county.

The match was over before the first stroke.

Even though I’m not a golfer, I was saddened to read the passing of a legend, who left legions of fans and admirers not to mention being instrumental in elevating the game to the national and global reach it enjoys today.

This in a roundabout way brings us to the topic de jour. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Where did it all go?

I’ve always considered myself to be reasonably young looking and in good physical shape for someone my age. I go to the gym regularly, eat cleanly and can never make it to the end of Monday Night Football without falling asleep.

But sometimes reality of your internal chronometer smacks you squarely in the face.

Case in point.

Last week I was in the waiting room of my doctor and noticed among the stack of un-interesting publications he routinely subscribes to, that 80s pop star Cyndi Lauper was on the cover of AARP magazine.

I did an immediate double take. But there she was in all her red headed glory on a publication geared toward the 50 and older crowd. For those keeping score at home, Ms. Lauper is actually 63. Let me repeat that for emphasis, 63.

I mean, it wasn’t all that long ago that “Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and “Time After Time” were at the top of the charts.

Or was it?

I don’t know whether it was reflexive or desperate, but as soon as I returned home I phoned my financial planner to get a status report on my portfolio.

Too bad the accelerated pace at which the years pass by doesn’t always register with some.

Again case in point.