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Archive for February, 2011

The amazing Terry Fator

It’s Saturday night, and I want to do something fun.

Off Topic blog posts are my way of bringing material to you that is unrelated to financial accounting and auditing.  Why?  There’s more to my life than debits and credits.

There are some videos of amazing performers on YouTube.  Friend Bob Jensen alerted me to Terry Fator, who won America’s Got Talent (AGT) in 2007.  Fator is remarkable because he’s a ventriloquist.  He’s not a comedian like Edgar Bergen or Sherry Lewis.  He’s an impersonator and singer with a sense of humor.  He’s masterful, an absolutely terrific performer.

I’ve selected three videos for your viewing pleasure.  The first is from AGT.

The next two are from the season finale of AGT, when Fator had two performances which resulted in him winning the contest.  The next video does Garth Brooks.

Now for Ray Orbison.  This video has additional footage pertaining to the show.  Please wait around for Fator’s singing.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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Debits are left,
Credits are right,
When first I looked at you,
Love at first sight.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Balanced ledgers have me
Thinking of you.

Unbalanced accounts
Are near misses.
Perfect, though, are
Your hugs and kisses.

Fraud makes me sad,
You make me glad.

Won’t you be my valentine?

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Tax Code App

Rita Keller has done us all an immense favor.  She  has informed on her blog that there is now an iPad/iPhone app for the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regs.  Produced by LawtoGo, a YouTube video tells all about it:

My reply to Rita, LawtoGo, and anyone else who is interested:

Oh, joy!  My life is now complete.

It could, though, help me sleep better.  Not everyone knows that the IRS code is the #1 sleep aid for insomniacs.   Instead of taking the paper version of code to bed with me, I can now simply take my iPhone.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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In recent posts, I’ve argued that non-compliance is a common response when people are required by law or rule to do something, such as when executives are required to submit periodic financial disclosures for their corporations.

To help readers develop a clearer understanding, I’ve frequently used traffic speed limits as an example.  In the U.S., non-compliance with traffic speed limits is the rule rather than the exception.  Of the last 500 people I’ve asked, only two have said that it is their intention to never, ever exceed the speed limit.  The other 498 admit that it is frequently their intention to exceed the speed limits, sometimes by a lot.  Not one of the 498 has ever apologized for his/her behavior.  A study by the Ohio Turnpike Commission reports that the average speed on its highway is 14 mph over the speed limit.

In just a minute, I’ll present another example:  advertising about blueberries in breakfast cereal.

It is that way in the business world.  Corporations (and the people that run them) are charged with accurately complying with required information disclosures (and other rules).  Non-compliance is common.  How common?  We’ll never know for sure, because it is impossible to monitor every action all the time for every person, let alone monitor the monitors.

I had an argument with another professor over it.  She argued that corporate compliance with the rules that govern financial statements (and by implication) was almost absolutely perfect.  She contended that compliance was far in excess of 99%.  I disagreed.  I think the numbers are fudged (sometimes in a small way, sometimes in a major way) in a majority of corporate financial disclosures.  It is, after all, a part of the corporate mentality.

I’m  presenting two video clips by Mike Adams of FoodInvestigations.com which I hope will help you understand the prevalence of the corporate mentality.  In these two clips, it is alleged that certain breakfast cereal producers make misleading claims in their advertising–about the presence of blueberries in their blueberry cereal.  I do not know if these allegations are true.  Since advertising is the product of someone’s corporate mentality, I wouldn’t be surprised if some advertising is in fact misleading.  However, I don’t know and I’m not saying that these allegations are true or false.  All I’m doing is presenting an example of the public perception of the accuracy of  some breakfast cereal advertising.

Wouldn’t it be something if an auditor’s opinion was designed to help us only imagine accuracy in corporate financial statements?

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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Over on AECM, the e-mail listserv for accounting professors, we mostly discuss accounting issues.  It’s all very serious.  Some of the discussions are way over my head, and I’m a pretty good professor.  But every once in a while some crazy prof wants to talk about something unrelated to accounting.   To warn the 700+ members that they might not want to read it, the subject line starts with the words:  Off Topic.

This is an “Off Topic” edition of The Summa.  Here are three performances of the  St. Lukes Bottle Band, from the St. Lukes Lutheran Church of Park Ridge, Illinois.

This description is from their web page:

Founded in 1979 by Professor Paul Phillips, over the past few years the St. Luke’s Bottle Band has been featured on National Public Radio, the NBC Nightly News, Wild Chicago and the Jenny Jones Show. The band has traveled to Atlanta Georgia to perform for the American Lutheran Church Musicians Conference, as well as Door County, Wisconsin, to present a concert at the Fish Creek Auditorium. The Bottle Band has appeared on An American Moment with James Earl Jones and twice on the Late Show with David Letterman.

The first performance is their version of the Peacherine Rag by Scott Joplin:

Next, the Braham’s Lullaby:

Finally, their December 31, 1998 performance on the David Letterman show.

These folks do much more with a bottle than any accountant.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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