October 16, 2018

Five Questions

David Cay Johnston Would Just Like to Confirm That Mitt Romney Isn’t Like Richard Nixon, That’s All

And he's so excited to do it, he's throwing digits in Willard's face! Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy [via TaxProf]

Five Questions with the Tax Prof

We’re happy that Paul Caron was able to squeeze a little time in to answer our questions this week. Between April 15th, finals and keeping a regular posting schedule at TaxProf Blog, we’re honored that he took the time to humor us.

After all, the man has been on the Accounting Today’s Most Influential People four years in a row. Not exactly a lightweight.

That being said, since AT’s list isn’t a ranking, it’s difficult to say just how influential Paul is. But we are certain that he carries more favor with the tax and accounting community than, say, Charlie Rangel.

In addition to his star power in the tax community, he is Associate Dean of Faculty and Charles Hartsock Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.


Why do you blog?
I often ask myself that question…Part of the answer is to help create a virtual community of tax professionals (tax lawyers, accountants, students).

How long have you been blogging?
Since (appropriately for a tax blog) April 15, 2004.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
My annual post analyzing presidential tax returns.

What is the biggest benefit you’ve gotten from starting your blog?
Getting to know a variety of tax folks. I’ve written 5 books; over 30 articles; Been cited over 350 times; Been downloaded over 10,000 times; had almost 10 million visitors to my blog. So I guess my blog trumps everything else I’ve done professionally. I’m pretty sure that the first sentence of my obituary will mention my blog, not any of the books or articles that I’ve written.

If you are a tax blogger you must…
Not need sleep.

Five Questions with MACPA’s Bill Sheridan

If you don’t know the MACPA and their quality content machine Bill Sheridan, you’re probably not in accounting, have never used Twitter, and most definitely wouldn’t have any clue what Second Life is. When it comes to social media, the Maryland Association of CPAs was on it long before a certain cable company figured it out and Bill has been just one of the organization’s main “faces” as far back as I can remember.

Bill speaks of using CPA Success as a tool to reach the MACPA’s members in ways they never thought they could and speaks as someone who truly enjoys what he does for a living. He likes posts he’s written in airports (who doesn’t love travel blogging? *cough*) while his co-blogger Tom Hood (I believe you all are familiar with his work as MACPA CEO and CPA) prefers tackling the topic of leadership. Whatever your accounting poison, CPA Success covers it all.

Bill was hard to pin down but finally found a moment to get to our five questions, enjoy.


Why do you blog?
It’s yet another way of connecting with our members. Our blog allows us to present news and analyses much more quickly than we ever could before. It allows us to communicate with members in ways we never had before. We’ve had an opportunity to carve out a niche as a thought leader in the CPA space that we never could have established without blogging.

A good accountant is…
A good CPA is a trusted advisor, strategic thinker and confidant, someone who sees beyond the numbers and helps companies grow and clients understand how their finances impact their personal and professional lives. And at all times, honest and ethical.

A good blogger is…
… observant, and a good story-teller.

What is the biggest benefit you’ve gotten from starting your blog?
Notoriety. But the biggest benefit is this: CPAs have really worked hard to carve out a place for themselves in the social arena. When we first started playing around with this stuff three years ago, there weren’t a lot of accounting and finance folks in there with us; it seemed like we were working in a void. Since then, though CPAs have really taken the social bull by the horns. They’re blogging, they’re using things like Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, and they’re figuring out to put these tools to use in ways that benefit their businesses and their clients. It’s been fun and extremely rewarding to see CPAs make the leap and work with them to figure all of this out.

The biggest issue facing accountants today is…
… complexity. The profession is facing numerous legislative and regulatory changes these days, and that’s in addition to the many changes in accounting standards and other technical rules that have been enacted recently. Keeping up with all of these changes is a monumental task for CPAs, who are busy enough simply serving their clients.

Five Questions with Norman Marks

Norman Marks is an “evangelist for GRC” (that’s governance, risk management and compliance for those of you that can’t do a Google search). He is a CPA, a chartered accountant and vice president, governance, risk, and compliance for SAP’s BusinessObjects division, and has been a chief audit executive of major global corporations for more than 15 years.

He blogs at the IIA website and keeps a personal blog on governance, risk management and internal controls. He is also the contributing editor of Internal Auditor’s “Governance Perspectives.”

If you read a few Norman’s posts you’ll understand his passion for internal audit, GRC and helping companies find solutions for these issues. Simply stated, Norman is one of the good guys and is doing more than his fair share to help take on the challenges in these areas.


Why should accountants read your blog?
My blog is for anybody with an interest in monitoring events and sharing views around governance, risk management, and internal audit. Accountants are more than people who maintain the books: they are businessmen and women interested in advancing and protecting their organization. That makes them natural leaders in each of these areas.

What are your three must-read accounting blogs and one must-read non-accounting blog?
I read the occasional business blog (aren’t all the better so-called accounting blogs really business blogs) when the topics are interesting. Certainly reTheAuditors by Francine McKenna is interesting. But I really enjoy Mike Jacka (an auditor/humorist) and Richard Chambers, President and CEO of the IIA.

A good accounting blogger is…
Not somebody who writes about (yawn) accounting, but about the accountant’s role in business and advancing the success of his or her organization.

The biggest issue facing accountants today is…
Will the inevitable court cases around Lehman and the principle of ‘fair presentation’ change the nature of external auditing, so that compliance with the rules of US GAAP is no longer sufficient?

Best accounting firm we’ve never heard of (and why they’re great)…
The firm that John Cleese worked in Monty Python (accounting is not boring). Seriously, though, the best accounting firm is the one that puts the interests of its customers first and foremost, consistently performs quality work, exercises fine judgment, provides sound and valuable advice, and sets fees that are reasonable by eliminating unnecessary work and recognizing that fees should not rise faster than wage inflation. You have never heard of them, because I have yet to see them. Sorry, sad, but true.

Five Questions with Sara McIntosh

Sara McIntosh’s (a pen name) blog is described as “Devoted To Rocking the Worlds Of Finance, Accounting and Auditing.” And if you’ve read any of her posts you’ll know that by “Rocking” she means in the carnal sense.

She is a lifelong writer and accounting/finance industry expert and entrepreneur. After earning an MBA at Northwestern, she started her own finance and accounting consulting business specializing in acquisitions, implementing worldwide accounting systems, haltingg systems malfunctions in global financial operations.

Having conquered all her professional goals she now focuses on writing, having completed her first novel Shell Games in the Summer of 2009. She is currently working on her second novel, Tricks of the Trade.


Accountants are . . .
Sexiest when thinking outside the box.

What are your three must-read accounting blogs and one must-read non-accounting blog?
Francine McKenna’s posts here at GoingConcern and at her own blog, re:TheAuditors – There is no one else that I’ve read that tears apart the accounting essentials from complex 10Ks and 10Qs and scours board minutes to report on the indisputable facts about frauds and other financial shenanigans behind the recent financial crisis and pointing toward future blowouts waiting to happen.

Professor David Albrecht’s The Summa – Hands-down his posts are the most interesting briefs on everything you need to know about accounting standards. That world is going through some crazy, most-likely-not-in-out-best-interest changes right now and he is one of the few voices in the industry trying to stop the decline in U.S. financial reporting standards.

Edith Orenstein’s FEI (Financial Executives International) blog – What can I say, Edith is everywhere! If you only could go one place to find out everything going on in the accounting, finance and audit industries her blog posts would be the place to go, period.

Chris Brogan – He blogs about blogging and other social media galore. He is an amazingly high-energy, extremely warm and witty guy—and it comes across in his posts, making them all the more memorable. He also has a best-selling book on the subject entitled, Trust Agents.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
According to the rest of the internet universe, “Handcuffed Without Consent.”

The biggest issue facing accountants today is . . .
How to restructure the audit industry to become a profession based upon integrity (auditors no longer selected, managed and paid for by the companies they audit) versus what we have today—an environment too often based on greed. If we get the restructuring of the audit industry right, the crooks who ruin it for the rest of the public audit professionals will leave the industry for more lucrative pastimes elsewhere—you’ll most likely find them in the executive suites of their former clients.

Best Accounting firm we’ve never heard of . . .
The Johnsson Group, based in Chicago. Their specialty is improving the internal financial operations of some of the largest corporations in the world. They’re the been-there, done-that consultants every major corporation wishes they had in their back pocket long before the regulators started knocking . . .

Five Questions with Tracy Coenen

If you’re currently engaged in fraudulent activity at your company, eventually you’re going to find yourself in Tracy Coenen’s Fraud Files Blog. She has published two books on the subject, Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide and Essentials of Corporate Fraud and more than a 100 articles in industry publications.

When she’s not writing about all things fraud, Tracy runs Sequence, Inc., providing forensic accounting and fraud examination services. The Sue Sachdeva/Koss fiasco happened in her backyard of Milwaukee and she’s been all over it, providing fine quotes on the matter.


Why do you blog?
Somebody has to expose the frauds and scams!

Why should you accountants read your blog?
Because I have interesting insights and I’m not afraid to state my very strong opinions.

Who is your favorite blogger?
Mike Masnick at Techdirt

Best thing about blogging for accountants?
There is a wide open market for accounting bloggers to be thought leaders (and to market themselves) because so few accounting and finance professionals are blogging about their profession.

The biggest issue facing accountants today is…
Truly understanding how fraud happens and how to find and prevent it.

Five Questions with Accounting Professor David Albrecht

You might know him as Professor Albrecht (at least I still call him that) or you may read The Summa and have no idea who the guy is.

JDA recently forced him to answer some questions to get to the man behind the adamantly anti-IFRS curtain we love so much and discovered he’s proud to be a dissenting voice in the argument over global accounting standards convergence and then some.

First of all, Prof Albrecht is way more old school than just about anyone. He was “blogging” on listservs before there was a such thing as a blog and Caleb and I were still playing 8-bit Super Mario Bros.


Alright, maybe we’d advanced to AOL by the time Professor Albrecht was set loose among hundreds of accounting professors from around the world, the point is he’s been around. The Summa is only about a year and a half old but if you’ve ever read an accounting blog, chances are you’ve seen his work.

Secondly, he’s got opinions and lots of them. Better yet, he enjoys being a teacher; spreading the knowledge both to his own students and the “students” around the world who read The Summa regularly. That means he’d be happy to teach you why he feels the way he does but won’t hold it against you if you feel differently. That’s an admirable quality, and only part of what makes him one of my favorite accounting bloggers.

He also takes interrogation well.

Why do you blog?
I believe that writing something down helps you put your thoughts in order. Writing actually helps me figure out what I think about something. I want to make a difference. Blogging about IFRS is a way of drawing attention to the “other” side of the issue, the one you don’t hear from the large accounting firms or the SEC or the IASB or the EU.

Why should you accountants read your blog?
To find out an accounting professor take on accounting/business/finance issues. I’ve been on an e-mail listserv with hundreds of accounting professors from around the world for 14 years in the thick of many discussions. I take what I learn from these discussions and bring them to The Summa.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
I’ve written dozens of posts on IFRS, and you want just one? Dave Albrecht–IFRS Critic

A good accountant is…
Someone who can tell left from right.

Best Accounting firm program we’ve never heard of…
The Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) accounting major.

Five Questions with Edith Orenstein of FEI Blog

Anyone out there have to comply and/or pay attention to the anything and everything that is dropped by the SEC, IASB, FASB, or PCAOB? Does the mere thought of reading anything that these bodies cause you consider drowning yourself in the nearest toilet? Us too.

That’s why we like Edith Orenstein so much. She is the Director of Accounting Policy Analysis & Communications at Financial Executives International and the author of the FEI Financial Reporting Blog. Edith has the amazing ability to take all this regulatory wonky goodness and put it into a wonderfully concise package. She saves you to the trouble of drowning in minutiae and gives you what you need to know.

Plus, she’s really nice. Think of it this way: in terms of temperament, Edith sits on one end of the accounting blogger spectrum; on the other end is the Jr. Deputy Accountant.


Why should accountants read your blog?
To learn about what FASB, the IASB, the SEC, or the PCAOB decided yesterday or today, and why it matters. And when Congress, Treasury, GAO or another agency gets into the fray, that’s always something of interest.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
Auditors in Love (which links to an ‘accounting music video’ which has received over 5,000 views, by the way.) No! Just kidding! It would be “Why Accounting Matters.” But, in all seriousness, some of my personal favorite posts are the ones in which I could tie in a musical theme, like Under Pressure, Unstuck From the Moment, and Say-Say-Say On Pay.

A good blogger is…
Someone who can give you really good facts on a timely basis, or really good insights, or both.

Who is your favorite blogger?
Francine McKenna of Re: The Auditors. I don’t always agree with what Francine says, and it’s not unusual for us to have opposing points of view or perspective on certain matters, but I respect what she writes given her extensive background in practice, and I enjoy reading her blog; let’s face it, she’s got that tabloid quality that makes reading about auditing fun.

The biggest issue facing accountants today is…
The volume and complexity of accounting literature (GAAP), throw in a dash of SEC, PCAOB, AICPA regulations and standards, and a pinch of COSO, (not to mention IRS rules and regs and other regs) and I have to give a lot of credit to practicing accountants and auditors who are faced with keeping current on and correctly applying all of these standards and rules. And IFRS is looming over the horizon; as someone said recently on an academic listserv I read (the AECM listserv), IFRS is significant whether or not the U.S. moves to adopt it, given that most of the rest of the world has.

Five Questions with the Jr. Deputy Accountant

You’re probably not aware of this but the Jr. Deputy Accountant (aka Adrienne Gonzalez) has been working outside her normal confines of the Bay Area this week in an undisclosed location.

While her current location is a mystery, what’s not up for debate is her ability to opine (frequently with too many words) on all things Federal Reserve, church accounting or the CPA Exam.

Besides her daily chores at GC, JDA has been published at a plethora of other blogs including Goldman Sachs 666 and BankFailFriday
.

Why do you blog?
For the same reason people play Grand Theft Auto; it helps to have a productive outlet for my frustration with our regulatory and banking system. That and I’m an attention whore.


What are your three must-read accounting blogs and one must-read non-accounting blog?
I love Krupo.ca, Skeptical CPA, and The Summa. For non-accounting, I’d have to say either Lew Rockwell or Daily Reckoning for my daily dose of doom and gloom. I’m obviously a miserable bastard.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
I’m partial to my recent “Fed Year in Review” but with almost 2000 posts, how the hell am I supposed to pick favorites? “You Want to Audit the Fed But Why?” is also a favorite of mine.

Accountants are…
Awesome because they pay my bills.

The biggest issue facing accountants today is…
Globalization. It’s the vampire lurking outside of accounting’s window whispering “let me in” and too few accountants are focused on the impact. IFRS adoption in the United States is a perfect example of what happens when we bow to global expectations in financial reporting and accounting. I of course don’t believe we need to bow to anyone.

Five Questions with Jim Peterson of Re:Balance

We’re going to be frank; Jim Peterson is a cerebral guy. When you read his posts over at Re:Balance you never get the impression that he just rolls out of bed after a night in Wrigleyville and pounds out a post. His blogging can turn your head in knots and we think that’s a good thing.

Jim is an attorney that has spent “thirty-five years on complex multi-national matters involving corporate financial information.” He spent 19 years as in-house counsel and partner at a national accounting firm working on policy and risk management strategies.

He also spent five-plus years penning “Balance Sheet” a column for the International Herald Tribune. He now spends his time teaching risk management to MBA candidates at DePaul University in Chicago and ISEG in Paris.


Are you a CPA – Y/N?:
I am not a CPA – frequently mistaken for one, but only by those who miss the evidence that a “words guy” is on the loose in a numbers business.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
From May 17, 2009: “Which Accounting Firm Will Be ‘Next to Fail?’ It’s the Wrong Question” – an attempt to capture in a single post my central theme, which is the threatened survivability of the large-firm assurance franchise, the perilous condition of the Big Four business model, and the absence of real dialog on achievable solutions short of their catastrophic disintegration.

Bloggers on accounting are…
By and large driven by an instinct for the capillary. I happily give respect to those focused on the technical and operational minutia – although they are mainly keeping the deck chairs neatly arrayed on the deck of a sinking ship.

Favorite non-accounting blog…
The Soay Sheep Chronicles – by a retired couple, a big-city lawyer and an academic, who rescued and now operate a sheep farm in Oregon. Writes rings around Verlyn Klinkenborg’s pastorals in the NY Times, and teaches those of us ignorant of the subject about the opportunities for personal life-change and renewal. Full disclosure: the author is my sister.

Best accounting firm we’ve never heard of…
Financial Reporting Advisors, LLC – A Chicago boutique — alumni of the Arthur Andersen professional standards group – with a business model beautifully adapted to the hazards of today’s practice. They do no audit work, and issue no opinions. They advise global-scale companies on the intricacies of accounting standards, literature and requirements – while leaving ultimate decision-making to reside with their clients.

So they deliver wisdom and value, with virtually no litigation exposure. Their practice is one example of the available ways the profession might re-engineer its way out of the presently untenable survivability tensions in which it is entangled.

Five Questions with Joe Kristan

Joe Kristan is the newest regular contributor to Going Concern but he’s been blogging on his own since 2001. For some of you, this predates your own lover affair with the American tax system.

Joe is a shareholder of Roth & Company, P.C. and also serves as the firm’s technical director. He works with a variety of clients on partnership issues, corporate restructurings, and acquisitions.

Between his professional responsibilities and discussing tax deductible sex change expenses and charities founded by pederasts, Joe also manages to find time to teach classes to other tax professionals and write articles for both professional and general publications.


Why do you blog?
Because I can’t golf or play an instrument.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
Local CPA Firm vows to swallow pride, accept $28 million

If you’re an accounting blogger you must…
…have understanding or clueless partners

Accountants are…
…people too.

Best Accounting firm we’ve never heard of
Roth Company, P.C. of course! It’s where I work, for starters. Also, we look a lot like a law firm, with 9 shareholders in a staff of about 35, with the non-shareholders weighted towards the highly-experienced. I think it’s a business model suited for an era of difficult tax and accounting rules and advancing technology.

Five Questions with Francine McKenna

Our contributor Francine McKenna takes her job very seriously. When we asked her to participate in our little exercise she insisted that all her answers be as long of some of her posts but we managed to explain to her that none of these questions would be related to the Big 4.

She backed down.

As you know, Francine is the and Founder and Managing Editor of Re: The Auditors and a furious Tweeter. Prior to launching RTA, Francine worked for more than twenty years working for in consulting and professional services here in the States and abroad.

Why should you accountants read your blog?
Do they really have something more stimulating to do?


If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
Too Few To Fail Or Something More?” tells you everything you need to know about how the current regulatory regime works against the shareholder and for the perpetuation of the myth of the current audit firm business model. It’s my first post with original reporting, it’s where I coined the term “too few to fail,” and still one of my most popular.

Who is your favorite blogger?
So many favorites now, but the guy that told me blogging could make me famous is Mr. Clublife, the guy who stands on the box at your favorite club in NYC.

Best thing about blogging for accountants?
They are, for the most part, too introverted to complain or harass me too much.

The biggest issue facing accountants/auditors today is…
They’ve, for the most part, forgotten that their client is the shareholder and that, as professionals, they owe their first professional duty to that client, not their firms, not their partners, not their colleagues and not the management of the companies they audit.

Five Questions with The Exuberant Accountant

Thumbnail image for confidence.jpgWe here at GC love accountants, contrary to what some of you might think. Starting today, we’ll occasionally introduce you to a few of the finest accountants in the blogosphere.

Our debut is with Scott Heintzelman, The Exuberant Accountant. Scott is a partner at McKonly & Asbury an accounting and consultaning firm in Camp Hill, PA. And make no mistake, this is one EXUBERANT accountant. The fact that he is a CPA, CMA, and a CFE should be enough to convince you. If you’re still not sure and follow him on Twitter and that should it.

Here are Scott’s answers to a few questions we threw his way earlier this week:


Why do you blog?
A passion to educate and arm busy organizational leaders with trends, best practices, and updates.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
Is Our Country on a Collision Course?

Accountants are…
Great lovers – at least that is what Mrs. Exuberant Accountant tells me!

If you’re an accounting blogger you must…
Hopefully understand assets less liabilities equals equity

What’s best accounting firm we’ve never heard of?
McKonly & Asbury – hands down the best kept secret!