• Accounting News Roundup: Hack ‘Impact’ and The ‘Accountant’ Brand | 10.12.17

    By | October 12, 2017

    Hacks

    Earlier this week, The Guardian reported more details on the hack of Deloitte’s email server. The story listed several U.S. government agencies, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and many unnamed multinational companies as being “made vulnerable.” In that account, “Deloitte did not deny any of these clients had information in the system that was the target of the hack, but it said none of the companies or government departments had been ‘impacted.'” Now it’s been reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, have all confirmed that they haven’t been “impacted.”

    If I was a Deloitte client, I think I’d want to know the difference. Like, if my company’s data is vulnerable or exposed, how is that not an “impact”? I suppose if you’re Deloitte, you might say, “Well, your data was vulnerable but ultimately not violated,” and then I’d wonder, “Isn’t the vulnerability the violation?” It seems that Deloitte is saying, “No, they’re different,” and then we’d have one of those Curb Your Enthusiasm staredowns, until I finally say, “Okay, Deloitte. We’ll see.”

    Words

    “Accountants need a better brand to win more attention from small businesses ” is this Accounting Today headline, and this isn’t so much about “brand” as it is “the meaning of words.” An Indeed survey found that the most in-demand jobs for small businesses are things like “Business Analyst” and “Audit Manager” and “Business Systems Analyst” but “Accountant” wasn’t in the top 10. This makes people sad, I guess:

    “I saw the Indeed study, and I actually thought this was consistent with an ongoing trend, which is a branding issue that exists for accountants,” said Div Bhansali, vice president of marketing at AccountantsWorld, a provider of cloud-based accounting software.

    “[A]ccountants, especially with modern cloud technology, can absolutely serve the role of business analysts for their small business clients, but the opposite does not hold true. Business analysts cannot serve the role of an accountant, particularly when it comes to regulatory demands,” Bhansali went on to say.

    I think one problem with “accountants” is that they get too hung up on things don’t matter very much. There is no “accountant” brand. It’s just a word. Just like “analyst” is just a word. You don’t hear people boasting about the “analyst” brand after this Indeed survey, do you? Call yourself whatever you want! Make it up! Have you seen the meaningless titles in corporate America today? “Hello, I’m Stan, the Chief Digital Diversity Discourse Officer at PwC.” No one cares, Stan.

    Clients, small business or otherwise, only care if you can do the thing they need done. “Oh, you can analyze the business? Great. Oh, you can do the accounting, too? Great. You say your previous title was Partner-in-Charge of Academy Awards Envelope Quality Control. Sure, whatever.”

    Previously, on Going Concern…

    In Open Items, an MSA tax student wants some career advice, and someone else wants to transfer service groups before starting with a Big 4 firm.

    In other news:

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    • Point and Clique

      The tone deaf replies of Deloitte on this issue are about what I’d expect from advisory computer jockeys. If this had been an audit issue, there’d definitely have been more of a vague sense of accountability, unclear references to what happened, and language around an enduring commitment to ethics, but this Deloitte thing — it’s just like “nope, no problem here. Worry about your own shit.”