October 23, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Yes Robots and Sexually Oriented Business Fees | 10.05.17

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The Institute of Management Accountants, proving again that an accounting trade group can have a sense of humor about itself, released a new ad earlier this week. This time it took on the coming robot apocalypse:

Are they sure that no robots will be sitting at the big conference table with the humans? Will robots be content to stand idly by while the CMA humans keep screwing up the strategy and the decisions? That lack of proactive behavior won’t sit well when performance reviews come around.

Part of the blindspot that humans have, I think, is that we believe we’re indispensable. But artificial intelligence is designed to learn things better than CMA humans can. So eventually, even if the robots are a bunch of white yes men now, they’ll perform better than CMA humans, eventually. The only thing they won’t do is eat the entire platter of danishes. The robots will never eclipse us in eating. Anyway, once we’re all preoccupied with eating pastries and drinking coffee, then the robots will enslave us and we’ll have The Matrix. It’s hard to believe this hasn’t played out sooner.


Nothing throws cold water on anything quite like the tax law. This Bloomberg BNA post discusses various developments in Texas’ “pole tax” aka “sexually oriented business fee” including the especially tedious exercise of defining “nudity” and whether “entertainers were nude enough for the SOBF to apply.” Texas law was changed in January to explain that “some substances, such as latex and paint ‘applied to the body in a liquid or semi-liquid state,'” were not clothing.

It only took a few months for a case to come up in court:

[T]he regulatory change guided the ruling in Texas Comptroller’s Decision, Hearing No. 112,984 (June 27, 2017). The dancers in that case wore opaque latex tops applied in a liquid form, in addition to shorts. The petitioner asserted that the latex tops counted as clothes, meaning the dancers were not dancing in the nude and the SOBF did not apply. The department relied on the new definition of clothing to argue that the establishment offered nude dancing and was thus a sexually oriented business; the administrative law judge agreed.

I guess these are the kinds of things that keep a tax court busy when your state doesn’t have an income tax.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Greg Kyte’s Exposure Drafts cartoon shows real examples of auditor pride. In Open Items, some asks, “Does anyone have experience with changing from tax to advisory?

In other news:

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Image: iStock/jejim

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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.