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Archive for August, 2012

#AAADC Day -3 Arrival

[Friday, August 3, 2012]  I’m at the Gaylord National Hotel in the Washington metro area for the American Accounting Association (AAA) Annual Meeting.  The AAA is the professional group for accounting professors.

Confused by the title?  #AAADC is the Twitter hashtag used to tweet about the conference.  Day -3 refers to three days before the conference start.  Arrival is what I’m writing about.

I love going to conferences with other accounting professors.  They are dull and boring, and shall we say eccentric.  But so am I.  For a few days I’m normal!

Just before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3, the AAA staff was setting up the registration stand and getting ready for the 5:00 opening.  In these two photos, you can see the staff nervously pacing, summoning energy for the frenzied start to registration.

Then the first eight arrivals rushed up to receive their registration packets.  Eventually, over 3,000 would register to attend the conference.

Friday is the first of three preliminary days of the annual meeting.  There are continuing professional education (CPE) sessions on each of these three days.  On Saturday is the CTLA conference.  CTLA is the Conference for Teaching & Learning in Accounting.  I only get involved on Sunday, the final preliminary day.  On Friday and Saturday I get ready for my presentations, and I rest.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Usually I write about very serious topics:  financial reporting and auditing and how the government regulates them, accounting education, and social media usage in higher education and in financial services industries.

When I go off topic, however, I pass along something cool.  Very cool.

Today’s video is all that.  Starring Suzanne Senna as Brooke Alvarez, host of FactZone on the Onion News Network.  Alvarez interviews industry experts who opine that Facebook is a CIA initiative, on a FactZone video released on March 19, 2011.

Of course it is.

Enjoy!

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Miscellany — interesting items that caught my eye during the week.


Francine McKenna is the dean of the accounting bloggers with her re: The Auditors blog.  She never disappoints.  Her comments in “More Sarbanes-Oxley Anniversary Thoughts, ” should be read.


Mark Holtzman, Accounting Department chair at Seton Hall, is an exceptional example of today’s social media enabled professor.  He has three blogs, a twitter feed and a YouTube channel.  Wow.  You don’t want to miss the essay I asked him to write, “Rise and Fall of the Gatekeepers -or- Why I Blog.”  I write more on this later.


Edith Orenstein, FEI Financial Reporting Blog, has published her thoughts following a blogging panel at the American Accounting Association Annual Meeting earlier this week.  Please read, “What Catanach, Albrecht, Holtzman and I Had to Say at AAA.”


Rick Broida at PCWorld writes, “Save a Web Page as a PDF with Just One Click.” He recommends Web2PDF. It’s handy.


Bob Jensen (retired professor from Trinity U) writes, “As the textbook purchasing season begins, I noticed that Amazon.com has free two-day shipping for college students.  I did not investigate the terms and limitations of this offer or whether it applies to used books and food items as well as new books.”  I’ll be sure to e-mail my students about this.  Why don’t you?


Some of you might like, “Top 100 Motivational Quotes of All Time!”  Any more, I need motivation to get out of bed in the morning.


Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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In both 2011 and 2012 I presented a continuing education workshop at the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association.  The title of my workshop is, “Using Social Media in the Classroom.”

Using blogs in a classroom is a very good vehicle for students to practice their critical thinking skills.  Critical thinking can be exercised through analyzing what another person says, or using its principles to structure commentaries or essays for a more profound impact.

In my most recent workshop, a few of the participants mentioned their intention to have students write blog posts for class.  I agree that this is an excellent way for students to practice the use of writing for professional expression.

But let’s think about the strategic placement of writing blog posts.  Should this be done in a single course or throughout an educational program?

In my opinion, the benefit from writing comes from repeatedly having to do it over a longer period of time.  For sure, there is some benefit from having a student write an isolated paper.  That benefit, though, is limited mostly to learning more about the topic of the paper.  Having a student write only a single paper does not help him or her work on strengthening writing and/or critical thinking skills.  Developing and strengthening such skills takes repeated practice by the student and insightful feedback from the professor.

Such practice and feedback can occur either in a single course if it is dedicated to blogging, or throughout the entirety of an educational program if it is incorporated into every course.  Today’s e-mail brings notice of the University of Calgary incorporating blogging throughout the entirety of a graduate education program.  Students are expected to write blog posts in every course they take.  Wow!

Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton writes the following in her blog post at Literacy, Languages and Leadership, “12 Tips to Incorporate Blogging into Your Classes.”

In a recent Master’s of Education course I taught at the University of Calgary, blogging was a required assignment for the students. The program coordinator (my boss) urged me to have the students blog as part of their course. She let me know that the students were enrolled in a graduate certificate program and that the course I was teaching was the first course of their certificate. She said that the certificate had been set up so that students would blog throughout their entire learning experience, as part of every course in their certificate.

I’ve heard some business professors mention that blogging might simply be incorporated as a component of their school’s course in business communications.  I, however, think the benefit is much greater if using the approach employed at the University of Calgary.

Eaton’s blog post, “12 Tips to Incorporate Blogging into Your Classes,” serves as a useful reminder of implementation issues once the decision has been made to go ahead with blogging over a longer period of time.  Students will need a blog site (I recommend WordPress.com). Although there are many issues, Eaton provides advice on the basics.  It’s worth a read.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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I’m currently at the American Accounting Association annual meeting in the Washington metro area. A year ago (August 3, 2011), I wrote the following essay. To make it easier for this year’s attendees to read this message, I’m republishing it today.


I’m a throwback accounting professor, yet I use social media (not afraid to admit it). Social media helps me do my job.

A few months ago, I queried members of my LinkedIn network who are accounting professors (n=70). I already knew most of them didn’t blog, tweet, create videos, friend students or have FB pages. They admitted that they don’t actually use LinkedIn, either. Am I weird, or are they behind the curve?

Social media is a true force in the world today. People who participate in online social media sites have more and deeper relationships than those who do not. Social media adds to the quality of life. It has revolutionized marketing. It even has been used to foster revolt and topple governments. Some are arguing causality, using social media will help make a person more social. I’ve looked around, and the business world is using social media–both companies and business people. The professional world of accounting is also flocking to social media–both firms and individual accountants.

So, I don’t think I’m weird for using social media when my colleagues don’t. Here are seven reasons for professors to use social media (henceforth referred to as SM) and improve their professional effectiveness. (more…)

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Gwen Jorgensen is a tax accountant for Ernst and Young.  She is a leading contender for Olympic Gold in the women’s triathlon, having won the 2011 and 2012 Triathlon World Cup.

Her race starts tomorrow (Saturday, August 4, 2012)  at about 9 a.m. London time, 3:55 a.m. in the USA eastern time zone.  It will be streamed live at the NBC Olympics site.

The race should take a little less than 2 hours to complete.  The triathlon starts with a 1,500m swim, followed by 40k  on the bike, with a 10k run concluding the race.

Go Team Accounting.  Go Olympic Accountant.  Go Gwen Jorgensen.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Sometimes I get asked questions by media representatives.  The answers, naturally, are posted here.

Why?  Well, in academia a professor must publish, or perish.  Professors learn to write down everything and try to get it into print.

Should you be interested in my answers to these questions?  Probably not.  However, a writer for one publication was interested enough to inquire.

What is the most important issue currently facing the accounting profession?

In my opinion, it is the loss of investor confidence in audit firms and their opinions.  A close second is loss of investor confidence in financial statements.  Related is the loss of investor confidence in the fairness of capital markets (Mary Schapiro has made speeches about this very issue).  Unfortunately, much of this has been caused by large firm audit opinions somehow being associated with accounting scandals and audit failures.

I’m an industry insider, and I have almost no confidence in audit opinions or published financial statements.

Other than pointing out the problems, I’m not much help here.  I don’t know what to do to fix the problems.

Are we likely to see large-scale tax reform in the next year? If yes, what form do you think it will likely take? If not, why not?

No, Congressional gridlock will not be broken, so nothing pertaining to taxation will change.  We have a history of using taxation to promote political, social and economic policies.  All of a sudden throwing this out onto the trash heap runs in the faces of sound reason and voter desires.  Nothing is going to change, in my opinion.

What digital devices do you use?

I’m a college professor who can’t afford much.  Moreover, American universities are under such budget pressure that I’ve not received anything other than the basic office machine.  Personally, I have a relatively powerful laptop (Dell XPS i7) and a basic digital camera.  I also have a cell phone which is used for texting.

I am hopeful that one day I might acquire

  • iPad
  • webcam
  • really nice mic
  • “air” card for mobile Internet access
  • smart phone
  • someone to teach me how to use all of the above

Who do you feel are the three most influential people in the profession, and why?

There are a lot of influential people.  Last year I was touting several bloggers.  This year, I’m talking about some other people.

Three influential people are:  Michael Rapoport (WSJ), Jonathan Weil (Bloomberg), and Daniel Hood (EIC of Accounting Today).  Reporters and editors of the traditional press wield significant power in this day and age.  They interact with bloggers, and many people are now reading both the key journalists and bloggers.

The dialogue between journalists and bloggers builds, creating a media discourse that has mass, awareness and consciousness.

How involved are you on the social media web?

My blog is The Summa.  I Tweet, am on LinkedIn, and have a Facebook page.

I also have a Klout score, which measures public online profile and influence.  Like many online professionals, I expend effort creating, managing and promoting my  professional brand.  I try to integrate my social media presence, brand and message.

I could go on and on about this.  In this day and age, the influential must be on almost all communication and social media channels in order to have the broadest delivery of message.  Without communication channels, there is no delivery of message.

I believe anyone who is not out there in the social media world is part of the last century, and not a part of this century.  If anyone either wants to have or actually has influence, they absolutely must be part of the new social media world.  If not, then a statement of his/her credibility is simply not believable.

Final comments.

During the past 10-12 months, I think the influence of bloggers and other commentators (like myself) has been shown by publication of the recent SEC report on IFRS.  That the SEC has not already adopted IFRS is due in large part to the bloggers and commentators keeping the issue alive, and convincing readers that (1) it is cool to disagree with the establishment, and (2) there are many others of like mind.

I continue to use social media in an attempt to lead other academics by setting a good example.  I believe I’ve had some impact.  How much would have to be debated.

I am particularly interested in helping other professors to start blogging about accounting.  I seem to be a crusader on this issue.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


Want more of The Summa? Sign up to receive email notification of posts. And please follow me on Twitter (@profalbrecht).

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