Hey Media, Leave the Accounting To Us Mmmkay?

When Going Concern first launched a year ago, I know we heard more than a few chortles from the audience at the very idea of an accounting news site (or tabloid, depending on who you ask) because, really, how interesting can accounting be? Of course we’ve since learned that cube-dwellers, financial professionals, college kids and accounting enthusiasts are totally into what we do because no one was doing it before and someone had to.

It’s easy to forget that we’re not only utilizing this avenue to rip on obvious boneheads who try to manipulate our precious accounting (we’re talking to you, Patrick Byrne) and make fun of idiot celebrities who don’t pay their taxes but also to bring an accounting awareness to the world at large. It’s not all number-crunching and despite the stereotypes that we ourselves perpetuate, we’re also providing a service by making the obscure world of accounting digestible to non-accountants.

Which is pretty much the entire reason why other media outlets need to back off and leave the really super complicated reporting to us if they’re going to get into things they don’t understand.

Case in point, American Apparel.


The headline was really that American Apparel has been taking the active accounting defense stance lately, getting fired by Deloitte (hint if you’re not into the accounting: that doesn’t happen very often. The other way, perhaps, but the auditors very rarely get spooked and bail like that), rapidly bleeding precious capital and sort of “forgetting” to file important check-ins with the SEC. Oops. That’s where the doubt arises in “going concern doubt”.

In fairness to some media outlets, not everyone bumbled the headline. But for these two, we need to define the term “going concern.” This might be too hipster ironic, even for me.

Thanks, InvestorWords, I’m too lazy to type out this definition myself:

The idea that a company will continue to operate indefinitely, and will not go out of business and liquidate its assets. For this to happen, the company must be able to generate and/or raise enough resources to stay operational.

And then we can get into American Apparel’s future a ‘going concern’ via Marketplace and American Apparel Warns of ‘Going Concern’ via the Los Angeles Business Journal. Yeah, to clarify: that’s what we want, American Apparel has the doubt part to worry about, which was conveniently linked to directly from AA’s preliminary 10-Q to the SEC. See, it’s laid out there for you, all you have to do is read it.

Anyway, I’m not annoyed when people like Emily Chasan write stories about this stuff because she knows what she’s doing. Caleb gets away with it because he knows what he’s talking about. I stick to what I know – ripping on regulatory agencies and bitching about the general state of the industry – and pull it off. There are a ton more accounting writers I could name (Bill at CPA Success, Rick at CPA Trendlines, Francine at Re: the Auditors, Professor David Albrecht, Jim Peterson at Re:Balance, blah blah blah) but I would end up leaving out quite a few talents and I’d hate to offend anyone. Ha.

My point is that you don’t have to be one of them to get the story right. That’s all I’m saying.

The irony of this is not lost on me. I don’t wear American Apparel dammit but I half dress like this awful stereotypical hipster. Don’t ask me what to wear on CPA exam day, I stick to what I know.

When Going Concern first launched a year ago, I know we heard more than a few chortles from the audience at the very idea of an accounting news site (or tabloid, depending on who you ask) because, really, how interesting can accounting be? Of course we’ve since learned that cube-dwellers, financial professionals, college kids and accounting enthusiasts are totally into what we do because no one was doing it before and someone had to.

It’s easy to forget that we’re not only utilizing this avenue to rip on obvious boneheads who try to manipulate our precious accounting (we’re talking to you, Patrick Byrne) and make fun of idiot celebrities who don’t pay their taxes but also to bring an accounting awareness to the world at large. It’s not all number-crunching and despite the stereotypes that we ourselves perpetuate, we’re also providing a service by making the obscure world of accounting digestible to non-accountants.

Which is pretty much the entire reason why other media outlets need to back off and leave the really super complicated reporting to us if they’re going to get into things they don’t understand.

Case in point, American Apparel.


The headline was really that American Apparel has been taking the active accounting defense stance lately, getting fired by Deloitte (hint if you’re not into the accounting: that doesn’t happen very often. The other way, perhaps, but the auditors very rarely get spooked and bail like that), rapidly bleeding precious capital and sort of “forgetting” to file important check-ins with the SEC. Oops. That’s where the doubt arises in “going concern doubt”.

In fairness to some media outlets, not everyone bumbled the headline. But for these two, we need to define the term “going concern.” This might be too hipster ironic, even for me.

Thanks, InvestorWords, I’m too lazy to type out this definition myself:

The idea that a company will continue to operate indefinitely, and will not go out of business and liquidate its assets. For this to happen, the company must be able to generate and/or raise enough resources to stay operational.

And then we can get into American Apparel’s future a ‘going concern’ via Marketplace and American Apparel Warns of ‘Going Concern’ via the Los Angeles Business Journal. Yeah, to clarify: that’s what we want, American Apparel has the doubt part to worry about, which was conveniently linked to directly from AA’s preliminary 10-Q to the SEC. See, it’s laid out there for you, all you have to do is read it.

Anyway, I’m not annoyed when people like Emily Chasan write stories about this stuff because she knows what she’s doing. Caleb gets away with it because he knows what he’s talking about. I stick to what I know – ripping on regulatory agencies and bitching about the general state of the industry – and pull it off. There are a ton more accounting writers I could name (Bill at CPA Success, Rick at CPA Trendlines, Francine at Re: the Auditors, Professor David Albrecht, Jim Peterson at Re:Balance, blah blah blah) but I would end up leaving out quite a few talents and I’d hate to offend anyone. Ha.

My point is that you don’t have to be one of them to get the story right. That’s all I’m saying.

The irony of this is not lost on me. I don’t wear American Apparel dammit but I half dress like this awful stereotypical hipster. Don’t ask me what to wear on CPA exam day, I stick to what I know.

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