• Let’s Play ‘Spot the Cliché!’ Drinking Game with This Email From the AICPA

    By | February 20, 2015

    In an email — presumably — sent out to AICPA members, AICPA President, CEO, and founding member of Hall, Oates & Melancon Barry Melancon wants to remind public accountants what everyone is supposed to be doing here. Namely: providing trustworthy services with objectivity and integrity. You know, all that stuff buried in the Code of Professional Conduct that you read once and forgot about.

    He also doesn't miss the opportunity to throw out as many clichés as possible. Therefore, let's make this a drinking game. For every cliché, we'll take a virtual shot with a [SHOT]. Ready? It's 5 o'clock somewhere so feel free to play along for real but be careful, this could get dangerous.

    Here we go:

    To Members in Public Accounting:

    Quality [SHOT] is the bedrock of our profession. Trust in our services [SHOT] depends on our ability to perform competently, with objectivity [SHOT] and integrity [SHOT]. How we serve clients [SHOT] and the public — and their confidence in the excellence of CPA services — determines the continued relevance of our profession in today's complex, ever-changing environment [SHOT].

    Man, we're getting off to a rough start here. According to this blood alcohol content calculator, I'm already legally wasted and we're only on the first two sentences.

    No worries, I'm not writing this from the car. Let's keep going:

    The accelerating pace of change [SHOT] in business, complexity in standards of practice [SHOT], heightened regulatory scrutiny, and other issues emerging in the marketplace raise the bar [SHOT] on delivering quality performance [SHOT] and challenge us to critically review audit practices. We need to strengthen our resolve and reinforce our profession's mission.

    At this point, my BAC has reached "STUPOR" level and I'm probably blacked out, therefore unable to continue reading.

    To remain a profession that earns the public's trust [SHOT], each and every one of us has an obligation to continually invest time, resources and energies into maintaining quality. Our Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative launched last May takes a fresh look [SHOT] at addressing audit quality issues [SHOT], such as those uncovered from our peer review and ethics enforcement programs, as well as federal agency inspections.

    A major component of EAQ includes substantive changes [SHOT] to the peer review program, but the comprehensive initiative also takes a critical look at auditing and quality control standards and guidance, learning and development content and methodologies, and ethics enforcement. EAQ focuses on quality broadly, but also specifically on audits in regulated industries, such as employee benefit plans and governments.

    As you may have guessed, by now I'm probably dead of alcohol poisoning. Anything over .40 and you're likely going to die of respiratory arrest, or at least end up in a coma. Which is sort of fitting for this email.

    Carry on without me, brave souls! But put down the bottle, you don't want to end up in a coma too.

    We also released a concept paper on evolving the peer review program into an ongoing, near real-time process that will help firms identify and fix audit quality issues before an engagement is completed. I encourage you to read the paper and build on the thought-provoking concept. Feedback and insights from members and firms is an important part of the development process. Practice monitoring is a critical component of how we assist firms with their public interest mandate and monitor performance, and all audit stakeholders should contribute to its alignment with tomorrow's expectations.

    You mean audit rooms with windows? Robots that have the capability to audit 100% of transactions? Death to SALY? Well, he doesn't say exactly but he does warn that taking this new direction might ruffle a few feathers. *hiccup*

    Some of our initiatives are a departure from current procedures or practices. Some might require additional resources, and we are mindful of potential burdens. But, we simply cannot retain the status quo in the new normal of today's environment. Our commitment to quality needs to be stronger than ever, from each and every CPA. The AICPA stands ready to support members as the profession meets the challenges ahead.

    Let's take action together. We must shape our future for ourselves and remain the profession we always have been.

    I'll see you in 30 days when I get out of rehab.

    • The Horniest Partner

      No “most trusted business advisor” isn’t that the cliché of clichés for the profession.

    • Management Assertion

      The accounting scandals aside, the AICPA is a force for good in society. A force against the financial illiteracy this is so prevalent amongst the lower and middle classes.

      • Point and Clique

        Some of which is intentional, like forbidding peasants to read the Bible back in the day. Inventing schemes so complex no one can figure out how if they’re getting screwed or not, let alone how to tax or regulate them, doesn’t seem that different.

    • Barry Melancon

      First of all, I’m a CGMA and I see no mention of that. Second of all, if all of you doofus CPAs had let me make you Cognitors, you’d be smart enough not to need all of this peer review business. Third of all, if the IPO of CPA2Biz hadn’t fallen through, I’d be rich and you wouldn’t be having to read claptrap like the email that I wrote above. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing quite nicely riding on the backs of hard-working CPAs everywhere, but, dammit, I want my IPO.)

    • Bloviator

      Cliché shmeeshay. Check out the tone of desperation and terror in Barry’s missive. The PCAOB has really put the fear of God into these tools. And what’s their radical plan for overturning the status quo? More procedures, more resources, more of the same. These busybodies have all the vision of a pinhole camera. When you’ve devoted your life to seeing tiny details in front of your face, you tend to miss things like an entire business model becoming obsolete.