Friday, July 31, 2015

A Work in Progress

In college I took a course in business law taught by a former corporate attorney, who later confided to us that she was the only woman in many of her law school classes in 1961.

To demonstrate the quantum differences in gender participation and attitudes between now and then, she revealed that on at least two occasions one of her male classmates actually remarked that she was occupying a seat that should have been reserved for a man.

Seriously. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Fast forward 50 years or so.

I read in one of the accounting publications of a significant boost in the proportion of women partners and principals at some 47 CPA firms participating in a survey from the Accounting Move Project – an organization that polls accounting and financial institutions to determine the status of women in the profession.

According to the poll results, woman partners and principals comprise 22 percent of the firms surveyed versus 17 percent five years ago.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tired of Being Left in the Dark

Much like my expertise in technology, my knowledge of all things electrical extends just slightly behind the successful change of a light bulb.

I once tried to install a ceiling fan, and despite a careful read of the directions nearly caused a two-block power outage in addition to blowing the entire right side of my circuit panel. Under strict family orders I was served with an order of protection from ever touching anything remotely electrical at Chez Carlino.

But sadly power outages are something I’m all too familiar with.

In the 19 years we’ve resided in our leafy hamlet north of New York City, I estimate we’ve lost power close to 50 times. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. One of the drawbacks to living in a town nicknamed “the tree capital” is that said trees tend to fall on power lines during inclement weather.

And in recent years we’ve been treated such climatic events as Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 (out 3 days), a freak Halloween snowstorm just two months later (out 4 days) and the worst of all, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 (out 7 days).

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Internet of Things

In the summer of 1984 I was at a friend’s house whose wife worked at a large cosmetics company in the department that we now refer to as IT but was then known as data processing.

In any event she was typing furiously on her new IBM PC and paused occasionally to laugh out loud. Curious I asked her what was so funny and she replied, “My friend is sending me dirty jokes.”

On that sweltering July day I was first introduced to the process called electronic mail, albeit in an X-rated version.

Fast forward 30 years or so. 

Today Internet connectivity has become an inarguable staple both socially and career wise, I often wondered what the next phase would bring.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Some People We Just Can’t Help – Part 2

One trait I have always admired in people is an entrepreneurial spirit.

As an example, the temperature in the New York area approached triple digits this past weekend and on my way to cool off in our town pool, I noticed a girl about eight years old, patiently sitting next to a makeshift lemonade stand waiting for a customer. I was so impressed by that I had to stop and pay $1 for a glass of lukewarm lemonade.

I hope to be reading about this up-and-coming titan of industry in the not too distant future.

But in a vignette with folks closer to our age, I received a call from an employee in a mid-sized CPA firm in the Northeast, who, along with two of his colleagues, wanted to leave their present employer and acquire a firm that they could nurture and grow.

As you can imagine a request like that is not all that uncommon in our line of work – we field scores of emails and phone calls from entrepreneur-minded CPAs who hope to someday build a firm that will establish a strong footprint in their respective markets.

However, more often than not there’s the inevitable “but.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Readin’ and Writin’

As someone whose technology skills are, to be kind, “challenged” I will be the last person to dismiss how advances in that field have basically transformed virtually every process in our lives from the moment we rise until bedtime.

But with anything new and evolutionary there is always a law of unintended consequences. In this case I‘ve always maintained that our dependence on technology has caused us to take a step (or several steps) backward in terms of our basic literacy and writing skills.

Remember when you actually had to put pen (or pencil) to paper?

Maybe that’s just the long-time editor in me. But think about it, how many emails have you gotten over the past, say, six months, fraught with grammatical and spelling errors, incorrect homophones or basic clumsy sentence construction?

Probably more than you think. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

It’s all a matter of packaging!

When I was 18 years old, my father secured me a summer job at an Italian seafood restaurant in Brooklyn. In truth it was not because of any special culinary skill I possessed, but rather he happened to be friends with the owner.

For $2.05 an hour which was minimum wage at the time, I got the privilege of standing on my feet for 10 hours a day, six days a week, opening clams, shucking oysters and slicing scungilli.

Halfway through the summer, the owners decided to upgrade the menu by adding lobster. If they were going to do it, it would be a sizeable investment with a tank and a large display case packed with ice since the lobsters had to be kept alive and fresh until serving time.

So they invited a seafood purveyor to come in and basically sell them on adding lobster. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Some People Can’t be Helped

I set a personal record over the July 4th holiday – three barbecues in three days.

To be honest, I don’t want to see another hamburger, hot dog or slab of ribs until Labor Day. And forget about stepping on the scale over the next two weeks.

I’m also wondering how someone ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes during the annual July 4th contest held at Nathan’s Famous in Brooklyn.

Upon hearing that news I felt slightly ill. I wonder if the terrifying Indominus Rex of Jurassic World could even approach that number.

But I digress.