Godfather of tax gimmicks Herman Cain has a bit of tax trouble in his past, reports the Daily Beast. In 2006, while Herm was undergoing treatment for cancer, taxes due to the state of Georgia were not paid in a timely fashion and this resulted in the GOP hopeful being served with a tax lien. It took a couple of years to sort everything which was probably longer than necessary since it sounds like extensions were filed on time but the campaign is using this non-issue to remind everyone that we need to fix this mess that is controlled by computers and deadlines and things that drive the system:
The Republican’s campaign late Tuesday confirmed the lien, portraying the unpaid taxes as an oversight while Cain was undergoing cancer treatment and the state’s lien as an excessive response that shows the need for tax reform.
“The experience serves as an example of how broken our federal and state bureaucracies are with respect to the collection of revenue,” Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon told The Beast. “The entire process is driven by automated letters generated in response to deadlines.”
Right. Because allowing citizens to file taxes whenever it’s convenient, using hand-written letters delivered by carrier pigeon would be a much better way to administer our tax system.
Cain’s Tax Delinquency [TDB]
Lots of you in-house accountants have the unenviable task of magically closing your company’s books on a monthly basis come hell or Hurricane Katrina. Unit4 Coda’s recent survey found that this can be a stressful time (shock!) but, despite what you hear from that dick technical accounting manager, it’s not all your fault.
One problem, according to the survey, is that several accountants are still relying on spreadsheets for many of their closing processes. Now we realize that your Excel addiction may not be something you’re interested in kicking to the curb but it really might be for the best.
But your resistance to change isn’t the only problem; you can blame management’s bullshit deadlines too and the fact that they don’t listen to you when you try to tell them (via whispers to yourself in your cubicle) that said deadlines are completely unrealistic:
Contributing factors include being held to unrealistic deadlines, ineffective processes, an over-reliance on spreadsheets and inaccurate reporting. The survey also revealed that among the top contributors to stress was the apparent disconnect between executive management teams and accountants.
Over 66 percent of the survey’s respondents(1) said an average close period takes over five days to complete, but the survey also revealed that more than 55 percent of accountants are expected to complete a close in a maximum of five days.
With tight management deadlines to meet, efficient systems and processes need to be in place in order to ensure accuracy and speed. However, the survey results also revealed that 53 percent of finance departments do more than 20 percent of their close period activity manually via spreadsheets, leaving larger room for error and a requirement to improve automation.
So if this sounds remotely like your work environment you have a couple of options: 1) have a frank discussion with shot callers in your office about investing in some technology from the 21st Century so the deadlines can be met or 2) continue with the current approach until you go postal. Choose wisely.