August 10, 2020

Yahoo

Perhaps Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Should Start Sending His Résumé* to Accounting Firms

Yesterday we learned that Third Point boss Dan Loeb wasn't all that impressed with Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson's credentials. It wasn't that he was all "meh" about Thompson's accounting degree, but rather that Scottie's computer science degree was not what one would consider "real." This has a lot of people pointing, laughing, judging, and Yahoo's […]

Sometimes an Accounting Degree Just Isn’t Enough

Like when you've been telling people that you also have a computer science degree, when in fact, you don't have a computer science degree (at least in the traditional sense) and then someone – in this case, Third Point founder Dan Loeb – sorta notices: May 3, 2012   Board of Directors Yahoo! Inc. 701 First Avenue Sunnyvale, […]

Yahoo! Exaggerates Accounting Degree’s Hotness

Check out Yahoo! on in-demand degrees, some of you might recognize #3:

Degree #3 – Bachelor’s in Accounting

The curriculum in this hot degree could prepare grads to pursue number-crunching accountant career opportunities. Courses generally cover basic accounting concepts, preparing financial statements, and research of real-life cases, according to the College Board.

Hot Factor: The numbers don’t lie. The Department of Labor projects 22 percent growth in accounting careers between 2008 and 2018. Career opportunities can include everything from working for companies or individual clients, according to the Department, which notes that the averageccountants was $68,960 in May 2010.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program

If you follow the link to “the right accounting program,” it will take you to an email form so you can be mailed great educational matches for you, apparently.

It appears Yahoo! ran almost the same accounting advertisement before, calling accounting the #2 career built to last, with an average salary earning potential of $67,430.

The BLS says this of accounting’s unusual makeup in its report (keep in mind it was published in May of 2009):

Although accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services employed a relatively small percentage of all bookkeeping clerks, this was the second largest occupation in the accounting services industry, representing about 11.4 percent of industry employment. (See table 6.) Accountants and auditors was by far the largest occupation in the industry, with 286,110 jobs making up about one-third of industry employment. Tax preparers was the third largest occupation in accounting services, with employment of 61,160. Most of the other large occupations in this industry were office and administrative support occupations.

In that same report, the median salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $33,800. Maybe I am reading the statistics wrong but knowing a career has “an average salary earning potential of $67,430” is not the same as hearing that the national average for that career is $33,800. Yes, where you live matters. Yes, your lifetime earning potential is influenced by lots of factors that make you notably non-average, like how hard you try, what skills you pick up along the way, how good you are at playing the game…

Anyway, here’s a snip from the report to see how it all pans out:

I still don’t see how those numbers work out to this being a reason those who are desperate to work should pile into this career option.

Yes, if you are a money-hungry, elite accounting program prick (I’m not berating you, in fact I’m in love with a lot of you, your ruthlessness is hot), you will probably come out of the gate making those $33,800 losers fetch your coffee but average is just that, average.

I find it sort of reckless on the part of Yahoo! to post numbers like this without the context of actual prospects in accounting and the caliber of individual needed to thrive in the sort of environment accounting provides. I say “caliber” with the most seriousness I can muster, I assure you.

Accounting News Roundup: America’s Fiscal Conundrum; FASB Attempting to Price Convergence; Rent and Healthcare Are Both Too Damn High | 10.20.10

Pledging Our Way to Fiscal Disaster [Tax Vox]
Three-quarters of Americans believe that entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security “will create major economic problems” over the next 25 years. But two-thirds are opposed to addressing these challenges by reducing benefits, and 56 percent are against raising taxes.

And congressional candidates, who read the polls, are scrambling to pander to the free-lunch beliefs of their respective bases. As a result, they are locking themselves into opposing both reductions in future benefits and tax increases.

NFIB calls for action on Bush tax cuts [On the Money]
“Increasing the individual rates will mean that business owners have less money for business investment and job creation,” the NFIB stated. “One study found that a 5 percent increase in individual tax rates decreases business investment by 10 percent.”

Democratic leaders have repeatedly promised that rate cuts for all but the top two brackets will be extended into next year, allowing most businesses to avoid a tax increase. The NFIB states their plan will still hit small businesses.

FASB Seeking Input on the Costs of Convergence [JofA]
FASB issued a discussion paper to gather input from stakeholders about the time and effort that will be involved in adapting to several anticipated new accounting and reporting standards and when those standards, which are part of the FASB and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) convergence projects, should be effective. The board said it will use the input it receives to develop an implementation plan that helps companies and other stakeholders manage both the pace and cost of change.

“We issued this discussion paper to gather the information we need to create a realistic, cost-effective plan for transitioning to the new standards,” Acting FASB Chairman Leslie F. Seidman said in a press release.

Paul V. Stahlin Elected Chairman of the AICPA [PR Newswire]
Stahlin said the United States is emerging from a period of economic turmoil that has “driven demand for new business practices, new regulations, new oversight and new solutions,” in his inaugural speech, titled “Seize the Future.” He said CPAs have been finding solutions for more than 100 years.

“We as CPAs have the unique ability to make sense of a constantly changing complex world,” Stahlin said. “Employers, our clients and our country turn to us to make sense of the most complex developments in business and regulation. We best understand how a business ticks.”

Bob Evans Financial Chief To Depart At Year’s End [Dow Jones]
Tod Spornhauer wants to do something different.


Yahoo 3Q profit doubles, revenue still lackluster [AP]
Bartz and CFO Tim Morse are still in process of turning this thing around.

J&J CFO: Healthcare Spending Growth Is Decelerating [Dow Jones]
Certain medical expenses are simply too damn high.

Jimmy McMillan: Rent is Too Damn High! [CBS]
Speaking of, in case you missed it yesterday (or Monday night):

Accounting News Roundup: Quasi-Exodus at H&R Block?; National Taxpayer Advocate Issues Report That Congress Won’t Read; SEC Might Want to Take a Closer Look at Amedisys | 07.08.10

H&R Block names Alan Bennett as CEO [AP]
This all came about since Russ Smyth resigned, made official by a two sentence 8-K filing, “On June 30, 2010, Russell P. Smyth provided H&R Block, Inc. (the “Company”) with notice of his resignation as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, and as a director of the Company. The effective date of Mr. Smyth’s resignation from these positions is August 29, 2010, unless the Board of Directors selects an earlier date.”

It seems like there’s a quasi-exodus in the C-Suite at HRB as General Counsned on Friday and the company is still on the hunt for a CFO after Becky Shulman left in April.

Yahoo CFO Aims to End Buy-High, Sell-Low Record on Deals [Bloomberg]
Tim Morse told Bloomberg that the company has been doing things completely bassackwards, “You’ve seen our track record on M&A with buying really high and selling pretty low,” Morse said in an interview. “We’ve got to be careful.”

Some examples of doing things exactly wrong include, “Yahoo, the second-biggest U.S. search engine, agreed to sell its HotJobs website for $225 million in February after paying about $436 million for it in 2002. In January, Yahoo sold Zimbra, an e-mail and collaboration unit, netting $100 million. Yahoo bought it in 2007 for $350 million.”

Auditors could face grillings from analysts [Accountancy Age]
“Steve Maslin, chair of the partnership oversight board at Grant Thornton, envisages an expanded audit role which may involve greater face-to-face time with stakeholders, including question and answer sessions at annual general meetings.

‘Many investors believe there is valuable information that gets discussed by the auditors with management and audit committees to which investors do not have access – and I think they are right,’ he said.”


Legg Mason CFO resigns [Baltimore Sun]
Get your resumé in now.

FEI Announces 2010 Hall of Fame Inductees [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
Come on down! “FEI’s 2010 Hall of Fame inductees: Karl M. von der Heyden, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo, Inc., and Ulyesse J. LeGrange, retired Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of ExxonMobil Corporation’s U.S. Oil and Gas Operations.”

National Taxpayer Advocate Submits Mid-Year Report to Congress [IRS]
Nina Olson’s mid-year report to Congress has plenty to wade through so that means none of the members will likely read it. Fortunately the IRS narrowed the three biggies (Taxpayer Services, New Business and Tax-Exempt Organization Reporting Requirements, IRS Collection Practices) into a much more consumable version.

Open Letter to the [SEC]: Investigate Troubling Issues at Amedisys Missed by Wall Street Journal [White Collar Fraud]
In Sam Antar’s latest WTFU letter to the SEC, he details some issues at Amedisys which weren’t covered in the Journal‘s report from back in April. Since we are into the whole brevity thing, we won’t get into the number crunching here but things look fishy. Plus there’s this:

On September 3, 2009, Amedisys President and COO Larry Graham and Alice Ann Schwartz, its chief information officer, suddenly resigned from the company. Amedisys provided no reason for their resignations and simply said that the two execs “are leaving the company to pursue other interests.”

In my experience, sudden, unexpected executive departures are often a sign of problems beneath the surface. And while it could be entirely coincidental, the trends at Amedisys appear to be consistent with my experience.

But Sam doesn’t believe in coincidences.

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.

But Does She Get a Key to the Bathroom?

porta.jpgOne of the best things about making partner is that, if you’re lucky, you’ll end up on a board of directors someday. You get a nice chunk of change for sitting in some meetings pretending like you’re responsible for a company. Pretty simple.
Just like Sue James, a former E&Y partner. She was introduced as one of the new directors at Yahoo! The 8-K filed by Yahoo lays out her comp:

Ms. James will participate in the current director compensation arrangements applicable to non-employee directors. Under the terms of those arrangements, Ms. James will receive an annual retainer of $80,000 for her service on the Board, an additional annual retainer of $35,000 for serving as Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board, and will participate in Yahoo!’s other compensation programs for its non-employee directors. In addition, Ms. James is expected to receive in February, subject to Board approval, a grant of restricted stock units under the Company’s 1996 Directors’ Stock Plan with the number of such units to be determined by the Board at the time of the grant

Not too shabby. The filing doesn’t outline her rights to the facilities but for that kind of money she could, at the very least, arrange to have a rent-a-john parked outside Yahoo! HQ.

Yahoo and Microsoft Partnership Talk Continues to Annoy Us

yahoo.pngIn a follow-up to the most annoying potential corporate partnership in recent memory, Yahoo’s directors actually met with one another yesterday, after just yapping on the phone about it, to decide if they like Microsoft. Microsoft has been putting the moves on the search engine company for over a year now and some directors still aren’t sure they’re ready to put out.
Some directors are still grossed out and think that Microsoft will do naughty things like, “paying Yahoo for selling ads next to its search results”. GROSS. Other directors also don’t think that regulators would like the two companies getting together because it wouldn’t look very good.
No doubt we’ll be hearing more about these two flirting which will continue to make us nauseous.
Yahoo Board to Meet on Microsoft Search Deal [WSJ]

Review Comments | 07.21.09

Ben_Bernanke.jpgBernanke Sheds Light on Exit Strategy – “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke shed light Tuesday on the toolkit the central bank can employ to unwind its crisis measures, but he made clear to lawmakers that the economy remains too weak to start tightening monetary policy.” Better than no exit strategy [WSJ]
CIT Expects Loss of $1.5 Billion, May Seek Bankruptcy – “CIT Group Inc., the 101-year-old commercial lender seeking to avoid collapse, said it expects to report a loss of more than $1.5 billion for the second quarter and may need to file for bankruptcy if it’s unable to tender for notes maturing next month.” [Bloomberg]
Apple’s quarterly profit tops forecasts – The good results… [Reuters]
Yahoo sees drop in income from operations this quarter – …and the bad. [Reuters]
Which Of Alan Greenspan’s More Quotable Quotes Will Bite Him In The Ass On The Big Screen? [DealBreaker]
The Goldman Way to Celebrate: a Parody – Well played LB. Well played. [DealBook]

Microsoft and Yahoo Return to Shamelessly Flirting in Front of Everyone

In rumored merger talk news, apparently Microsoft and Yahoo have started playing footsie again which annoys the living crap out of us. According to Bits Blog:

A handful of top Microsoft executives are in Silicon Valley meeting with their Yahoo counterparts to try to iron out remaining wrinkles in a proposed partnership, according to people briefed on the talks who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential.

Get it over with you two! T. Boone Pickens isn’t cock-blocking anymore so you don’t have any excuses. We’d all really prefer if you just got down to biznass instead of flirting in front of everyone and then saying that you’re not interested in each other. Nobody is buying it.
Yahoo and Microsoft Said to Be Closer to Search Deal [Bits via DealBook]