June 19, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Let’s Try This Tax Day Thing Again | 04.18.18

I.R.S. Website Crashes on Tax Day as Millions Tried to File Returns [NYT]
Yesterday was Tax Day and everyone’s worst nightmare came true:

Millions of taxpayers who waited until Tuesday to file their 2017 tax returns and make payments through the Internal Revenue Service’s website were thwarted by a systemwide computer failure that advised last-minute filers to “come back on Dec. 31, 9999.”

The message on the IRS website also said, “Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available,” and haha, just kidding, they’re giving everyone until today to file their returns. This was a pretty epic disaster, and, yes, people overuse “epic” but come on, I think it’s warranted:

The website malfunction, which began in the early hours of Tuesday morning and was not resolved until early evening, crippled a crucial part of the agency’s website that allows taxpayers to file returns electronically and make their tax payments directly through their bank accounts. The technology failure essentially brought the nation’s tax machinery to a halt on a day when millions of Americans were expected to file their tax returns, undermining the Trump administration’s plan to use Tax Day to promote its recent $1.5 trillion tax overhaul.

This “catastrophic” malfunction came as a surprise to precisely no one since the IRS has been running the same hardware since the Kennedy Administration, and the GOP Congress has spent the last several years cutting its budget. Perhaps this is just the type of meltdown we needed.

Related: The IRS Really Needs Some New Computers

A Quick and Futile Reminder That TurboTax Is Pure Fucking Evil [Splinter]
This is your annual hate read about Intuit and H&R Block’s obstruction of return-free filing and keeping the tax law sufficiently complex. We first reported on this five years ago, and many other outlets have given plenty of attention to it as well. It’s gotten to the point that Vox is just updating its original “I’m boycotting TurboTax” post from two years ago. For the record, Libby Watson reports that Intuit spent $2 million on lobbying last year.

Trump Requests Extension to File 2017 Taxes [NYT]
Speaking of reminders, squishy creep and President of the United States, Donald Trump, filed an extension. Oh, and another reminder: He’s the first president since Gerald Ford to not release his tax returns to the public.

Survey says…

We launched a survey yesterday to learn about your experiences with the month-end close process. Your participation is appreciated. That is all.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote about Levi’s accounting and jean ripping robots.

Megan Lewcyzk wrote about KPMG’s Master’s of Accounting program.

In Open Items, someone wants to know how to prepare for a Big 4 audit position.

From the archives: What Accounting Firm Logos Say About Those Firms. See also: I’m Calling BS on Your Cliched Career Aspirations

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.