Friday, October 28, 2016

These Firms are a-Changing

For nearly a quarter century I made the weekday commute from my leafy suburb to Manhattan. First a 45-minute ride on the railroad, followed by a lengthy subway ride. As a remote worker, let me tell you that daily grind is not one of the things I miss about my old office.

As anyone who has ever done an overlong apprenticeship as a commuter knows, each train and subway car is overrun with billboard advertising – whether it is for medical or dental practices, banks and financial institutions or even the state lottery.

Since I began my involvement with the accounting profession more than 16 years ago, I always paid special attention to the advertisements trumpeting both the regional and global CPA firms – from those on the cusp of cracking the Top 100 to the behemoths of the Big Four.

As an advertising and marketing reporter in a former life, old habits die hard as with any ad I pay close attention to the copy.

And do you know what word the copywriters almost never use in those ads for those firms?


Let me repeat that for emphasis.

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.