October 17, 2018

Excuses

Are Pets a Legit Excuse for Leaving Work?

Over at the After School Special: Accounting Subreddit, someone might be trolling (sic'd throughout): So I've just accepted a job at KPMG, and I'm so excited about it! However, I'm so worried becasue my start date is in January, and I'm in audit so that would be right at busy season. I have multiple guinea […]

Big 4 Reject Feeling Too Rejected to Network Contemplates His Next Steps

Note: the following email sent in to our advice box is really long and really tedious. Instead of editing it, I will include a TL;DR at the end so we can all pile on and school this fool without subjecting ourselves to actually reading the entire thing. You're welcome. Oh, and if you are a […]

Tax Professionals: Tell Us the Lame Last-minute Excuses Clients Are Giving You on This Extended Filing Deadline Day

It's circa 4:30 pm on the extended filing deadline day for trust, partnership, corporation, and S-corp tax returns and that means there some piss-poor excuses being thrown your way by your most forgetful and slovenly clients who STILL aren't ready to file. Back in April, if clients were behind on getting their books up to […]

Note to Thieving Church CFOs: Sex Scandals Are Not a Good Excuse For Stealing

42-year-old Anita Guzzardi worked at the Philadelphia archdiocese since the ripe old age of 20, rising through the ranks to make $124,000 a year as their CFO until she was canned last year for embezzling $900,000 from the church. Her lawyer says she gave in to gambling and shopping addictions after feeling betrayed by the […]

Chartered Accountant Initially Figured Same Diff Between”Going Abroad” and “Going Away”

Apparently what the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales didn't know (i.e. that one of their members was doing six years for hiring a hit man) wasn't going to hurt them: A member who resigned from ICAEW in 2002 saying he was going abroad, and no longer intended to practise, was in fact […]

FYI: Going Off the Grid for Your Personal Safety Does Not Constitute a Legitimate Reason for Not Paying Taxes

Last week, we learned that musician Lauryn Hill was a little behind on her taxes. Not unusual for a celebrity, many of whom are artists first and taxpaying citizens of the United States second. However, on her Tumblr, Ms. Hill set the record straight that her noncompliance was not willful and malicious, but rather 100% […]

Making Time to Study for the CPA Exam

The number one complaint I would hear back in my CPA review days (besides moans and groans about me being a hard ass) was, without a doubt, “I don’t have time.” Not “I’m too busy,” but “I don’t have time.” Think about the difference between those two statements for a moment. One implies that you have too much going on to make time, while the other more clearly states that you simply cannot jam 25 hours into a 24 hour day.

What many people don’t realize is that you can make time, it’s just a matter of figuring out where it’s hiding in your life.


Cruising Facebook can easily turn into a three-hour stalk-fest if you’re not careful but what about the several, quick check-ins you might make in a single day? That time adds up. Do yourself a favor and shut down TweetDeck, close out your Facebook tab and keep your phone charging in the other room so you aren’t tempted with texts and social media. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to miss anything.

Are you making the most of every break you get during the work day? You might look at me like I just licked a frog and am tripping my non-existent balls off for saying that but you do get breaks, even if you’re getting worked like a dog. They allow you to go to the bathroom, right? Bring your phone in there and do a few MCQ on your favorite app while you’re sitting there. Trust me, no one is going to bring it up if you start spending 10 extra minutes in the restroom a day, no one wants to have that conversation.

What about mornings? I know, it’s horrible to even consider but you could potentially have hours to study that you are wasting with sleep. Start setting your alarm an hour early to get some studying in and do it every day; after 3 weeks, your internal clock will be used to it and it’ll hurt less.

Are there things you’re doing around your house that your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/kids/cat could just as easily do? Try asking them. Maybe you don’t need to make dinner every night or do as much laundry as you do. Hand off a few chores to other people (unless you don’t have any other people to hand them off to, in which case you might consider paying for a little help around the house if you can afford it) and you’ll free up enough hours over the course of a week to get through at least two modules.

To figure out where you can make time in your life for studying, sit down and account for every single hour of every single day for a week, from the time you get up until the time you get to sleep. I bet if you actually add up those 35 minute showers, time spent folding other peoples’ laundry and the 75 different 3 minute Facebook peeks you make, you’ll realize you have more time to study than you thought.

A Government Shutdown Is Not an Acceptable Excuse for Blowing Off Your Tax Return

Doug Shulman wants you to put that notion right out of your mind:

Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, said that people who file electronically during a shutdown would likely not face any delays in having their returns – and potential refunds – processed. But taxpayers who file by paper, Shulman added, may see some delays. “We’ve got a 100,000 employees. Not all of them are going to be coming to work. But we’re going to have a complement here,” Shulman said. “The nuances of who is going to be doing what I’m not ready to get into. The most important thing for people to know is: We’re going to be accepting tax returns and people should file.”

So as Adrienne just mentioned, you can either ask the AICPA for help, call your tax advisor or simply curl up into a ball and shudder in the corner until the 18th passes.

IRS commissioner: You still have to file taxes during shutdown [The Hill]

Accounting News Roundup: FASB Takes Another Stab at Mark-to-Market; Property Taxes Are States’ Savior; CFOs Prefer to Get Taxes Right | 05.27.10

Proposed Overhaul of Accounting Standards Contains Mark-to-Market Rule [NYT]
The FASB has rolled out MTM 2.0 and while the usual suspects have already started belly-aching, Bob Herz insisted that “The financial crisis reinforced the need for better accounting in this area.”

The new rule will require loans and loan-related instruments to be valued at their market value immediately, thus accelerating any losses that might occur. Losses will either be booked as a hit to earnings or as a reduction in the value of the asset. The Times quotes Jack T. Ciesielski of Accounting Analyst Observer, who reassures, “It will messier to read, but if you know what you are doing you can figure it out.”


The comment period (which should yield some interesting thoughts) will run through the end of September, after which the FASB will hold roundtables discussing the rule and then make any final changes. Institutions with greater than $1 billion in assets will be required to adopt the rule in 2013 while those with less than $1 billion will have until 2017.

The Property Tax: Unsung Hero [TaxVox]
States have their property tax revenues to thank for their budgets not being in an even bigger mess than they already are, according to TaxVox. “[P]roperty tax revenues have yet to fall both because the levy tends to be backward-looking (it takes a while for assessed values to catch up with reality on both the upside and the downside) and because local governments can raise rates. The strength of the property tax was the main driver of the small positive growth in overall state and local taxes for the fourth quarter of 2009.”

If states are lucky, by the time property tax rates adjust to the reduced home values, sales and income tax revenue may be on their way to recovery. However, it’s unlikely that tax revenues will return to their previous levels which means governments may have to continue (or maybe start?) to – God forbid – cut spending.

“I Didn’t Know What ‘$’ Means” Fails as Tax Defense [TaxProf Blog]
Who let this guy out of the lab? “I am unaware of the meaning of this symbol.”

Yahoo CFO Sees Annual Revenue Growth Of 7%-10% From 2011-2013 [WSJ]
Contrary to what some might believe, Yahoo is still in business and doing quite well, thankyouverymuch. CFO Tim Morse expects things to brighten up with revenue increasing 7-10% from 2011-2013, due mostly to increased advertising business. Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft and Zynga (they make Farmville) are seen as key to the search engine competing with Google.

Survey finds tax departments more concerned with getting it right than aggressive tax planning [GT Press Release]
Grant Thornton’s latest CFO survey finds that they are more concerned with getting their taxes right than with paying less. Obviously the latter is a goal but considering the regulatory environment (i.e. Democrats are running things), it’s not the priority, despite what those people running for re-election might tell you.

Top Five Excuses for Not Studying for the CPA Exam

CPA exam candidates are good at a lot of things; unfortunately, their most common talent is an exceptional ability to procrastinate and make excuses. A career in public accounting, naturally, seems to exacerbate this problem, creating a laundry list of reasons why candidates can’t put in the time to pass the exam.

In the interest of knocking you all around a little bit (out of love, of course) on this, the second day of the 2nd testing window of 2010, I present the top 5 excuses for not studying I’ve heard from candidates over the years. Perhaps you have a favorite of your own?


I’m too busy – This is a CPA exam candidate’s favorite lifeline. Busy season, pursuing a Masters, brown-nosing management and balancing a drinking habit with a dysfunctional relationship is hard work. We all know how many hours you work a week but some of you forget everyone else can see what you’re doing on Facebook. That hour you spent finding stray ducks in Farmville could have easily been an hour worth of MCQ practice. Stop deluding yourself – if you are too busy to study, maybe you’re too busy to be a CPA. I hear Starbucks is hiring.

It’s too hard – Really? A professional license is hard? You don’t say! Listen, if this were easy, everyone would be a CPA. It’s hard for a reason but it’s also manageable if you attack it with knowledge and preparedness. Go in there like a boy scout amped up on espresso and you’ll get your BEC merit badge in no time.

I’m really bad at tests – Jealous of that asshat you went to school with who could drink all weekend, cram for seven hours and ace finals while you studied your ass off only to get a D? Guess what, you’re in luck. The CPA exam isn’t like college exams and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to pass. Look around your office at some of the CPAs you work with and try to tell me otherwise. That’s what I thought.

I never took auditing (economics/tax/government accounting/et-effing-cetera) in college – So? I bet the guy who wrote the CPA exam questions you’re panicking over didn’t take auditing/econ/tax/etc either. The CPA exam requires you to know a lot about a little, no one is saying you need to be an expert in ANY subject. Again, look around your office and tell me some of those geniuses you work with are experts in anything, let alone subjects like advanced and governmental accounting.

I’m too old – This one is always funny to me, as if there’s an expiration date on your brain. Taking on the exam later in life actually puts one at an advantage: I don’t have official statistics on the matter but my professional experience has been that older candidates actually do better than younger ones. Think about it – if you’re over 30 now, look back to how you were at 22 fresh out of college. Do you really think 22 year old you was better equipped to be disciplined enough to commit 400 hours to studying? Exactly.

The reality is that excuses are more plentiful than CPAs – unfortunately there could be more but the potential future CPAs that could have been obviously got consumed with coming up with excuses instead of coming up with real study plans and goals to pass the exam.

If you’re a candidate struggling to create one yourself, get in touch and >75 would be happy to help. Seriously. Just don’t start making excuses or I’ll front you off on Facebook next time I catch you playing Farmville when you should be learning pensions.

Home Depot CFO: We Don’t Want to Blame the Weather But We Are Blaming the Weather

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Most investors appreciate seasonality. They get that retail peaks around Christmas and that your big back to school sale will be in August.

Still, some executives like to remind us that their business is busier at certain times of the year than at others. And it’s not uncommon for execs to claim the weather ate their earnings.


All in all, these explanations are pretty lame. Either investors already understand the business cycle or they don’t want to hear the excuse.

Given that, I like the approach of Carol Tome, CFO of Home Depot.

At a retail conference sponsored by Citigroup, “Tome said that while the retailer hates to be one that cites the weather for sales trends variability, Home Depot does experience that, and it has seen ‘great variability’ in weather conditions across the country so far this year.”

So, there you go. Tome agrees that blaming the weather is lame. But, at the same time, you have to agree that the weather this year has been pretty outrageous, right?

Then again, Tome isn’t totally going to hide behind the clouds.

“Nothing has come to our attention that suggests we can’t hit the financial objectives that we’ve set forth,” she said, according to Dow Jones.

In the end, if you’re a Home Depot investor, pray we don’t have a June like last year.

“When the sun is shining, we’re very, very pleased with our performance,” Tome said.

Offshore Account Holdouts Better Start Coming Up with Excuses

Thumbnail image for IRS_logo-thumb-150x140.jpgThe jig is finally up for 500 UBS customers. The Swiss bank has notified the first group of the 4,000 some-odd clients that UBS said they would turn over to the IRS. This is one of those, “Have you ever had to deliver bad news to someone and if so, how did you handle it?” moments.
The good news for you holdouts is that you can still appeal:

Those taxpayers whose names have been selected have 30 days to appeal to Switzerland’s administrative court. Um, good luck with that. Part of the criteria for determining whether to turn over the names involved instances of “clear fraudulent actions” including the production of false documents. I’m not sure you could argue your way out of that one – even in Switzerland.

Never mind. You people are screwed.
UBS Set To Turn Over First Set of Names [Tax Girl]