Today I shine a bright light on some blog posts that are not only interesting, but also imaginative and compelling. More than posts, they truly are articles in the fine tradition of business journalism. They are examples of a powerful force in accounting news.
In a perfect world, everyone would have a focus on current events. I recently wrote the following in “Questions From a Future Blogger” (Jan. 14, 2010).
Accounting and/or financial blogs are a big deal. As the world evolves and becomes faster paced, long-lived jobs will disappear. We accountants will adapt by piecing together a career from many project-length opportunities. I believe it will be a matter of professional life or death for accountants to get on top of evolving current events and stay there. For there to be life, we all need to make life-long learning a lifestyle …
How will we learn to think [new] ways and grow our thinking? Independent blogs commentaries like The Summa, and re: The Auditors, and TaxGirl. Blogs provide input to fuel critical thinking, seeds for creating thinking, and energy for practical thinking.
The purpose of today’s installment of The Summa is to bring a few of last week’s best and smartest to your attention. By doing so, I hope to whet your appetite for the good stories to be written this coming week. These are the must reads.
“Regulating the Avarice of Bankers”, by J. Edward Ketz at The Accounting Cycle of SmartPros (Jan. 30, 2010). Professor Ketz responds to a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Princeton economist Alan S. Binder. Binder is summarized as calling for new legislation to curb banker greed. Ketz then subtlely says, “Well, Alan, that’s more drivel than has been produced over the Leno-Conan shake up.” If this line is not featured at Going Concern as the quote of the month, then Caleb Newquist is off his game. In my opinion, we all need to read Ed Ketz periodically so that we never forget that effective regulation requires strong and thorough enforcement.
“Sachdeva and Koss Corp.: The indictment, the clothes, and the auditors” by Tracy Coenen at The Fraud Files, (Jan. 28, 2010). Tracy takes a flight into fanciful thinking, as she wonders about things such as why Sue Sachdeva would need 461 pairs of shoes (sizes 8-14). Tracy suggests Sue was reselling them. Tracy has so much imagination, her excess is adequate for all the accounting and finance bloggers who have little. Ms. Imagination, I salute you.
“The Big 4 and Shameless Self-Promotion”, by Francine McKenna at Going Concern (Jan. 28, 2010). When I teach about the annual report to shareholders (AR), I show the CEO letter to be an exercise in spin, designed only to get shareholders to vote for nominated directors. The AR CEO letter really serves no informational purpose. Well, Francine shows the same spin exists in surveys conducted and announced by large audit firms. They seemingly are spun out of control, In my opinion, I don’t believe a word in them. Readers should beware. [By-the-way, Francine authors the excellent blog, re: The Auditors]
“Salinger and the Estate Tax”, by Floyd Norris at his New York Times blog, Notions of High and Low Finance (Jan. 29, 2010). He passes along a point sent along by reader Richard A. Behrendt. Behrendt says that with the expiration of the death estate tax, commentators are wondering (1) if a new estate tax law will be passed and applied retroactively (do bruins defecate in the primeval?), and (2) if so, what constitutional challenges might arise. It is pleasurable sometimes to lay back on a hammock, peer into the clouds, and think about what might be.
“Did President Obama Actually Cut Taxes?” by Chad Bordeaux of Our Blog at the Bordeaux & Bordeaux web site (Jan. 28, 2010). Bordeaux starts off with an Obama quote, “We cut taxes for 95% of working families.” Bordeaux then says, “The fact is, there were a few tax cuts that were passed this year. I have no idea how President Obama assumes that it affects 95% of working families … It is funny how our nation’s CEO, our President, can just go out and blurt out unsubstantiated numbers and have the vast majority of people take it as fact.” Funny, Bordeaux unfavorbly compares Obama’s numbers accuracy to that of a corporate CEO. Every now and then, I like a good tax policy piece, especially when it’s on a blog. Go get ‘em, Chad.
“Former Overstock.com Insider David Chidester in the Hot Seat”, by Sam Antar at White Collar Fraud (Jan. 28, 2010). I believe the color scheme of the blog is purposeful: it is laid out in black and white (with a few splashes of red for emphasis). As only Sam can, the Overstock.com fraud situation is dissected. Sliced and diced. This is a must read for any honest person who is curious about just how fraudsters go about their business.
“Merrily We Roll Along — Forward and Up”, by Tom Selling at The Accounting Onion (Jan. 30, 2010). In this article, Selling produces his fifth piece on the IASB/FASB joint project on new formats for financial statements. This is a must read for any future accounting professors. Selling says, “There is no investor value created from allowing management to determine how a transaction is classified on the financial statements…rudimentary delineation of the non-financial category into ‘operating’ and ‘investing’ activities has proven futile, and should be abandoned.” I had been readying my own post on issues related to the proposed new financial statement organization. After reading Tom’s, I wonder why I bothered. He says everything that needs saying.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht
Albrecht, David. (2010). Questions from a Future Blogger, The Summa, Jan. 14, 2010. http://profalbrecht.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/questions-from-a-future-blogger/
Coenen, Tracy. (2010). Sachdeva and Koss Corp.: The indictment, the clothes, and the auditors, The Fraud Files Blog, Jan. 28, 2010. http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2010/01/28/sachdeva-koss-indictment-clothes-auditors/
Ketz, J. Edward. (2010). Regulating the Avarice of Bankers, The Accounting Cycle at SmartPros.com, Jan. 30, 2010. http://accounting.smartpros.com/x68678.xml