Friday, September 28, 2012

Silver Screen CPAs

This week, CPAs in social media circles were enthusiastically tweeting as well as posting on Facebook about how the cast of CBS’ hit show The Big Bang Theory did a parody promo for the accountants who tallied the votes for this year’s Emmy Awards telecast. The star of the show, Jim Parsons, who plays socially awkward genius Sheldon, gives his cast members a play-by-play description of each accountant as they’re introduced to the crowd. The skit ended with the cast members chanting “C-P-A... C-P-A!

It was great exposure for a profession that traditionally has toiled below the celebrity radar.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pay Tied to Performance? What a Concept!

Some years ago, I read where Roger Smith, the then-chairman of General Motors, received nearly $4 million in annual salary and benefits, and while on his watch, the auto giant managed to lose nearly $4 billion. Later, he tendered billions more for the acquisitions of decidedly non-automotive-related entities — such as EDS and Hughes Aircraft — in lieu of investing in the company’s core business. As a result, CNBC labeled him as the worst CEO in the country that year.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rotating Blame

In full disclosure, the only thing a lifelong New Yorker like me knew about the town of Dixon, IL, is that it was the birthplace of Ronald Reagan. Other than that, it was simply one of the many burgs in the country’s heartland that I, in all honesty, would probably never have a reason to visit.

But over the past several months, this town with a population of roughly 16,000 has come under the intense glare of an unwelcome national spotlight, not because of its most famous citizen, but rather its shocking lack of accounting oversight.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Influence is in the House!

Seldom do I get self-promotional in this space, as there are far too many issues impacting the accounting profession to write about as opposed to publicizing the accomplishments of our company and people.

But this once, I’ll make an exception.

Friday, September 14, 2012

iCan’t Afford That!

While I rarely buy anything from TV infomercials, one night I saw an ad for a battery-operated palm-sized razor for the very agreeable price of $9.99. Since my corded shaver often has to be sardined into my travel kit, I viewed this as an opportunity to reduce my on-the-road concerns by one.

But that strategy changed once I called the toll-free number.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Height of Fashion

It’s happened to everyone sometime. And some more than others.

You’re cleaning out a desk drawer or a file cabinet and you uncover a snapshot of yourself in younger days - an unflattering portrait of a misspent youth, perhaps adorned with such antiquated sartorial accoutrements as leg warmers, designer jeans, or a huckapoo shirt accompanied by a puka shell necklace.

Not to mention the requisite big hair.

Along those lines, I found an old photo taken of me just prior to going on my first job interview straight out of college and promptly joined the cringe parade. I had forgotten they actually made polyester suits. And what’s worse, that I owned one. Fortunately, I’m a lot more clothes-conscious now thanks to a fashionable spouse, and the once big hair has been supplanted by no hair. Also, I’m the fortunate beneficiary of a metabolism that has kept my weight steady, as not to have to go to stout section or buy pants that resemble an oversized pillow case.

I harken back to this nostalgic albeit comical period, because I’ve noticed a number of young people - many of them recent college graduates - embarking on their new careers or perhaps still scheduling interviews and have taken note of how they present themselves.

I can safely say they’ve come a long way since my baby blue polyester threads.

Now it’s Brooks Brothers, Jos. A. Bank, or even Men’s Warehouse. And ditto for the women. Not to mention they’re all noticeably healthier looking and fitter due to the sheer influx of health clubs since I was a newbie to the corporate workforce.

Now, there are exceptions, like the young man down the street whose clothes have only a passing familiarity with an iron or a young woman I spotted waiting for a train at 7:30 a.m. who was more appropriately dressed for an evening in New York’s meatpacking district than the financial district.

CPA firms in particular have never been known for pushing the envelope when it comes to fashion, so for new recruits the mantra would be to err on the side of caution, whether newly employed there or interviewing for an available slot.

While managing partners and firm administrators have come a long way since the choices in office attire were conservative or conservative, I would not try to replicate the outfits of LMFAO or the Black Eyed Peas and hope to be taken seriously - or sent home to change.

And for those keeping score at home, despite the polyester suit I did get the job, although during my first week my manager did mention on three occasions that Macy’s was having a huge sale on men’s wear.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Recycled Pledges

This week was laden with hard TV choices.

On Wednesday, I opted to watch my New York Giants stumble in their opener against the hated (at least by me) Dallas Cowboys in lieu of watching Bill Clinton make a case for giving Barack Obama a second term at the Democratic National Convention. Apparently, many in New York at least felt the same way as the Super Bowl champions commanded a larger viewing audience than the former commander-in-chief in the Big Apple.

The next night, which forced the convention to move to a smaller venue due to the threat of heavy rains (the weather at least was bi-partisan as it gave the recent GOP gathering an equal opportunity soaking), I was torn between a movie on Showtime I had missed on two previous occasions or watching the President’s acceptance speech and asking the voters for a second term.

As a lifelong Republican, I surprisingly opted for the latter.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What’s in it for me?

Last week, I regaled you about the curious attitudes toward succession and transition of attendees at the Midwest Finance and Accounting Showcase, particularly those whose situation cried for an upstream merger or, at the very least, a severe slowdown in their work loads.

But that’s only 50% of the typical trade show equation.

The other half is the vendor side, each hawking their accounting-centric wares to everyone and anyone who will listen. As expected, there were the usual suspects in terms of financial software applications, tax and legal experts, web site builders, data security concerns, and various related trade publications — something for everyone, at least in theory.