October 23, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: ‘Tesla of Accounting’ and Artificial Intelligence | 10.23.17

Grant Thornton

Mike McGuire aims to make Grant Thornton the Tesla of accounting” is the Accounting Today headline, and I guess that means GT is going electric? Or will start throwing estimates to the wind? I kid, I kid. McGuire explains:

[H]e doesn’t see his firm as just positioning itself against the Big Four. “Tesla does not go out and market themselves by saying we’re not a Big Three automaker, but they say we’re Tesla,” said McGuire. “That’s the way we are at Grant Thornton. We’re innovative. We want to lead the industry. We don’t want to be the biggest. We don’t want to be compared to anybody. We just want to be Grant Thornton. That’s it. We don’t consider ourselves anything other than who we are and who we want to be, and as Grant Thornton as the most innovative accounting firm that can help our clients transform through all the disruption that they’re starting to see in the industry. And we’re structured differently to make quick decisions and get on with it, and I think that’s a big difference. We actually think that our size is a big advantage for us.”

I guess I’d buy this analogy a bit more if the Big 4 were like the Big Three automakers in terms of not going bankrupt or not needing bailouts. Which isn’t to say that the Big 4 don’t have their own existential problems; most people just don’t seem to care about the possibility of accounting firms biting the dust. But anyway, McGuire says, “[W]e aspire to be Grant Thornton, and we are Grant Thornton,” so there doesn’t seem to be too much of an identity crisis here.


Here’s a thing artificial intelligence expert Calum Chace said at the AICPA fall Council:

“I think accountants’ main role in the context of AI is in their capacity as humans rather than in their capacity as accountants,” he said. “… They are very well-respected, and many of them can play a leadership role in their communities.”

The trick, of course, is convincing accountants that their “main role in the context of AI is in their capacity of humans rather than in their capacity as accountants.” In other words, stop worrying about the threat to your livelihood and start getting esoteric about it. That seems…like a hard sell? Perhaps I’m wrong, but accountants getting all “How to stop worrying and love the robots” strikes me as unlikely. Elsewhere in machines taking over: PwC creates drone data application for power sector

Previously, on Going Concern…

In Open Items: Masters in IT? And Deloitte or EY audit?

In other news:

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Accounting News Roundup | 01.21.10

How to find the “best and brightest” [CPA Success]
This may be a better topic for the friendly HR professional but figuring out who these future accounting rock stars are before they show up on their first day is “more art than science”, as Tom Hood notes.
Popular to some old-school thought, GPA does not always indicate who’s going to dominate in the real world and “soft skills” — besides being a terrible term — are in more demand than ever.
Help The The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Help Haiti [Re: The Auditors]
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is having a drive today and since Francine’s friend is the CFO, we’ll be glad pass around the news:

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Guillermo Becerra, is the CFO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I asked him how I could help him, and the Red Cross, during what must be an incredibly busy time post-Haiti earthquake.

“The Chicagoland community will come together on Thursday, January 21 to give to the American Red Cross as we help the people of Haiti recover from the catastrophic earthquake that devastated their country last week.
The Chicago Helps Haiti media relief drive begins at 5 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Nearly every TV and radio station in our area will be promoting this fundraising effort throughout the day. You can help too, by giving via phone or online, and sharing your thoughts here, on Facebook or Twitter, and by asking others to give.
To give from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. CALL 1 (877) 565-5000 or visit www.chicagoredcross.org/haiti

Plus, we’re guessing that if you give, your 2009 tax return isn’t much of a concern.
If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe [NYT]
The Times is concerned that you have a shitty password which puts you at a huge risk of being hacked by someone sitting in their parents’ basement.

Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used “123456” as a password. The second-most-popular password was “12345.” Others in the top 20 included “qwerty,” “abc123” and “princess.”

You know who you are, ye with stupid passwords. Also, don’t even think of changing it to “654321” because that drops in at #19.

Accounting News Roundup: Haiti Relief Passes Senate; Accounting Job Surge? CPAs Basically Control People’s Lives | 01.22.10

Senate votes for faster tax breaks for Haiti gifts [WaPo]
As expected, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation yesterday that allows taxpayers to deduct donations made for Haiti relief efforts. You have until the end of February to donate so that it may be included on your 2009 return.

Maybe it’s bad legislation but we’ve been over that.

CPA Jobs Set for Surge. But When? [CPA Trendlines]
That’s the question, isn’t it? Rick Telberg, who has done a great job of tracking the Bureau of Labor Statistics on accountants, points out that while the latest BLS forecasts a 22% increase (279,400 jobs) by 2018, there’s no indication that it’s happening now:

[M]any tax, accounting and finance professionals are still slogging through the Great Recession. The Association for Financial Professionals, for instance, reported that about one in four respondents say their organizations will contract in 2010. At the same time, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of private companies found 43 percent of CEOs and CFOs still budgeting no expansion over the next 12 months to 18 months. The data just seem to reinforce economic uncertainties and a weak outlook.

The BLS is looking past the past the recession for the jump in opportunities but just when the hell will that be? Just because the economy isn’t contracting currently, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future and this “recovery” has been tepid at best.

Theismann to CPAs: You Are the Conscience of America [Web CPA]
Joe Theismann gets it. He knows that without all of you out there in CPA land, your clients don’t stand a chance. They’d be finished. Finished!

“You’re the conscience of America,” Theismann told conference-goers. “You are the survivors in tough times. With accountants, I’m not looking for someone to file taxes and do my financials. I can do that myself online. In your position you can basically control people’s lives.”

So get out there and control somebody’s life. Joe Theismann is expecting it.