Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sometimes it doesn’t add up

More years ago than I care to remember, I toiled at a local newspaper covering high school sports – and I mean every sport – from football to field hockey. I staffed games in wind chills of 10 below zero and others in drenching rains.

But my most frustrating undertaking in that job encompassed basketball game coverage because you had to rely on a school’s official “statistician” to provide the correct information.

So the basic accounting function of reconciling the box score was often an adventure in itself. Too many times, the players’ scoring did not recap to the actual game result. So, just to balance the books – especially if there were 10 games on the schedule that night- you would award free of charge, a foul shot or field goal here and there to a random, but nonetheless, deserving player.

I recalled those episodes of numerical futility recently when the managing partner of a Northeastern CPA firm said he was interested in merging with a neighboring practice which had two of the three partners ready to exit within a year.

The owner estimated that pending due diligence and the seller’s acceptance of the term sheet; the deal would be consummated in six to nine months.

Excuse me?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Arguing Influence

At one time or another we’ve all participated in what I call “bar arguments.”

Whether debating over who was the best centerfielder or quarterback of all time, to who was the worst (add your own noun here – i.e. athlete, politician, musician).

As a 25 year veteran of the publishing industry, I’ve participated in compiling a number of issues in several industries that attempted to rank spheres of influence usually in groups of 50 or 100. They ranged from companies to individuals to products and, as with any ranking, it was admittedly part concrete and other parts subjective.

At my former stop before landing here, we put out an annual ranking of whom we considered the 100 most influential people in the accounting profession. Those selections were drawn from fairly diverse fields of pursuit from practitioners to vendors as well as politicians and educators.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On Demand: Cyber Security

As someone who has been a member of Facebook since 2008, one of the most oft-asked questions on that interactive site is “What film have you watched at least five times and are still entertained?”

Now I could go on for an hour minimum on that subject, as I’m sure we all could but one movie that ultimately ceases my incessant channel surfing is “War Games.” For those too young to remember that perhaps forgotten 1983 gem, a teenaged Matthew Broderick (this was pre-Ferris Bueller) is a high school computer nerd who, when attempting to hack into a California-based software gaming company, accidently penetrates the NORAD missile defense system and nearly triggers a nuclear Armageddon with pre-Glastnost Russia.

Now I’m sure not more than a handful of those who saw the movie envisioned the scale and scope of what online hacking would eventually become years later in terms of online thieves stealing personal information, accounts and Social Security numbers.

But over the past five years or so, we’ve seen too many examples of online piracy of personal data at retailers such as Target and Home Depot, health care conglomerates Blue Cross and Anthem and financial concerns like JP Morgan.

In fact since 2005, there have been some 75 data breaches where more than 1 million or so personal records were compromised. Let that number sink in for a while.

Friday, September 8, 2017

As if Hiring Wasn’t Hard Enough!

There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t receive at least one call from a firm owner bemoaning the degree of difficulty and frustration he/she has endured to hire good young people and to get them to remain.

Yes, I get it. Believe me I do.

But then again as I’ve warned them, oh, about 2,000 times, you can’t pin a serious succession plan on the chance that some young high performer will show up at your door ready to lead the practice into the future. And it still amazes me how that advice is treated as seriously as asking my daughter to clean up her room.

But I digress.

I bring up the often painful subject of hiring because I came across an article the other day about a hiring scam that has wended its way into the accounting profession.