August 18, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Management Accounting and ‘I figured I could get a job.’ | 07.14.16

Management accounting

Now that the AICPA and CIMA are merging or whatever, the incumbent management accounting organization, the Institute of Management Accountants, seems to be working double time on some things. Namely, an exposure draft of a "proposed Management Accounting Competency Framework." The purpose of this framework is to "fill the skills gaps for accountants who choose careers in private industry" and it covers quite a bit: 

The framework includes a number of areas under the broad categories of planning and reporting, decision-making, technology, operations and leadership. Under those categories are various competencies and skills such as financial recordkeeping, strategic and tactical planning, forecasting, budgeting, performance management, cost accounting and cost management, internal controls, financial statement analysis, operational decision analysis, enterprise risk management and more.

Here's where I get a little skeptical of the motives. If the purpose of this framework is to "fill the skills gaps" for those pursuing an industry accounting job, why now? It's not like people just started noticing that accounting education is a little deficient in some areas:

The exposure draft coincides with the 30th anniversary of a 1986 report from the American Accounting Association in 1986 predicting a “growing gap between what accountants do and what accounting educators teach.”

In other words, the problem has been festering for more than three decades and, uh, it doesn't appear that anyone has done much about it, at least at the academic level. “For three decades, IMA has been focused on real-world solutions to the growing talent gap that has evolved with the expectations of the CFO growing beyond value preservation to include value creation,” IMA president and CEO Jeff Thomson said.

Still, why put out the framework now? Why didn't the IMA do this 29 years ago?

Elsewhere in the management accounting kerfuffle: CIMA's CEO is stepping down to become the executive chairman of the new CGMA Research Foundation.

Why choose accounting?

It's a question many of us hear often  — why did you choose accounting? Nobody seems to have a burning desire to master the dark arts of debits, credits, et al., but so many people end up in the field. Why? I found this Q&A with Steve Cogan, managing principal REDW, an Albuquerque firm, that included this exchange:

Q: What put you on the track to being an accountant?

A: I figured I could get a job.

I love it: "I figured I could get a job." It's the perfect response. It's such a banal reason but in this day and age, it's the best endorsement for a career path that a student (and her parents) could hope for. A job! Right out of school! And you won't even have to wait tables at night! Are we all choosing accounting because it's so damn practical? My guess is: probably.

Accountants behaving badly

The current rash of accountants ripping off nonprofits has gone international:

An accountant alleged to have diverted some €161,000 of a State-funded charity’s funds for his own use is not co-operating enough over his promises to provide information, the High Court has heard.

Greg Walsh, of Walsh and Co Accountants, Walkinstown, Dublin, is alleged to have diverted funds belonging to Carline Learning Centre, Clondalkin, Dublin, which provides education and training for teenagers.

When robot accountants finally start taking our jobs, at least it will, conceivably, put an end to the nonprofit sector's fraud problems.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote about Millennials' desire for peace and quiet at work, but there was also a bunch of new threads on Open Items. One person who wants to jump from associate with one firm to senior with another in just a few weeks. Someone else asked about accounting advisory and valuation practices at the Big 4.

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

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.