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Swamped With E-Mail

From the data I’ve seen, we receive twice as much daily e-mail in 2012 than in 2008.  And yes it has hit me too, like an elephant dart square to the face.

email_overload

Pic credit: Holly Riesem of Ragan.com: News and Ideas for Communicators, “7 ways to manage email overload.”

It gets started for me in the morning upon waking up.  Not yet out of bed, I pull a laptop onto my lap and start checking e-mail.  Today there were 1,000+ e-mails to download.  A few hundred more arrive in the next six hours.

At one time I budgeted three hours per day to deal with all my e-mail.  Now, I’m afraid to tally up the time.  It’s getting more difficult to process it all before lunch time.

Why do I receive so much e-mail?  Mostly it is related to my job.  As a professor, I must keep up with developments in the accounting world so I can stay current in my classes.  I receive news alerts from Google (about 60 key terms related to accounting), newsletters from major national and international newspapers, Twitter notifications, LinkedIn group notifications, etc.

As a blogger, I keep up with the latest essays from influential professors, economists, writers, social media gurus, etc.  Most e-mail contains a link to a news article or blog post.  Reading a paper newspaper takes way too much time.  Everything I read is online.

Holly Riesem of Ragan.com: News and Ideas for Communicators has a nice piece titled, “7 ways to manage email overload.”   She suggests the following.

  1. Create an e-mail schedule.
  2. Create these folders: follow-up, hold and archive.  Then add sub and sub-sub folders as necessary.
  3. Two minute rule–immediately deal with anything that will take two minutes or less.  Otherwise, put it in the follow up folder.
  4. Unsubscribe from lists and alerts as you no longer need them.
  5. Responses should be brief.
  6. Use templates for frequently used responses.
  7. Read each e-mail, don’t just quickly skim it.

Debit and credit –  David Albrecht

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Explaining My Absence

ProfAlbrecht hopes this is true.
Pic credit – Zazzle.com

Dear reader,

You’ve noticed that my posting frequency took a big dip in August.  That’s what happens when a professor takes a new job.  I am now a full professor at the University of South Carolina – Upstate, in Spartanburg, SC.  Specifically, I’m at the George Dean Johnson, Jr., College of Business and Economics.  How has this disrupted my blogging routine?

First, there is the moving.  In this case, from my Fargo, ND, apartment back to the family in Bowling Green, OH.  Then, my work stuff from Bowling Green down to Spartanburg, SC.  Eventually, I will be able to move everything and everybody from the family home in Bowling Green down here to Spartanburg.

Second, there is the start of a new semester.  Every university seems to have its own way of doing things.  In addition, there are new colleagues to befriend and new work routines to learn.  Oh, and new students to develop relationships with.  I intend to write about the Upstate students who are great!

Third, there is learning how to live in a new city.  I love it down here.  I especially love playing in the local bridge clubs in Spartanburg and nearby Greenville and Tryon.

I’ve been keeping a list of blog posts to write, and it just hit 30.  I better start working on the backlog.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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Hot, hot, hot.  In most of the USA, above average temperatures and below average rain have parched both the ground and the spirits of good citizens.  This is especially true for me.

Look at this, then tell me what you think.

For the past few weeks I’ve felt hot and tired.  My never ending condition of exhaustion comes from the fast pace of teaching summer classes at the U, and not yet being acclimated to the heat of South Carolina.  To compound matters, my old laptop died.  To my dismay, I discovered that my backups got messed up.  Consequently, I’m lost my archived e-mail from before June.

Look for a flood of blog posts in the near future.  I’ll clear out a backlog of partially written posts I’ve worked on during the past three weeks.  Then, I’ll turn to the Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association to be held in Washington DC, starting this coming weekend.  I expect I’ll have quite a bit to say about IFRS adoption, government regulation of financial reporting, and the fatally flawed audit model used in North America and Europe.  Then, I’ll be turning to social media usage.  Just for kicks, I’ll write a bit about some developments in higher education.

I’m glad to be back.

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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Thanksgiving

I’m an accounting professor in America, so I celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.

In earlier times, human societies celebrated at the conclusion of a harvest.  Economies have evolved from agricultural to manufacturing to service to information, so most of us have no direct connection to a harvest, anymore.  But in my part of the world, Thanksgiving is still celebrated by all.

For accountants, the inventory count is wrapping up.  We can scan the ledger for the past year, looking over the the journal entries of events both large and small.  For many of us assets still exceed liabilities.

I’m thankful for my family.  It carries the largest value on the asset side of my personal balance sheet.  Even accounting nerds can have them, and my family is wonderful.

I’m thankful for my career as an accounting professor.  After teaching more than 10,000 students, my retained earnings figure is the largest it’s ever been.

And I’m thankful for The Summa and its readers.  You magnify my comprehensive income.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

 

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Accountants are stereotyped as being dull and boring. It is accounting professors who have taught them so well.

We are sharing nostalgic stories of the old days of AECM, from back in the mid 90s.

Today, Bob Jensen (emeritus, Trinity University) said,

In the very early days of the AECM I sometimes strayed a bit too far off the accounting-topic path. I recall being chewed out royally by Barry because I posted a link to the early history of commodes. “What does that have to do with accounting?” Barry asked. In reality I think commodes are where a lot of accounting theory and research should be flushed!

Whereupon, Barry Rice (emeritus, Loyola University-Baltimore) shared a long-ago picture of his office.

Then Bob shared a picture of his home bathroom:

I googled “toilet office” and came across mention that 10% have used the Internet while on a toilet.  With the proliferation of smart phones and tablet computers, I expect this percentage to increase.

My office is a bit more conventional,

Prof Albrecht hard at work on his couch, even on a Saturday night.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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A few months ago, my surfing activity carried me to some astonishing videos.  Using the new technology of iPads, iPhones and Touchpads, musicians were using musical instrument apps to create music in a form never seen before.  I wrote about this in “iCreativity.”  I linked their inherent creativity and imagination to education:

The essence of education, in my humble opinion, is for students to play around with new-to-them things and push past boundaries.  Imagination and creativity are the keys to learning.

Imagination and creativity burst out every day, of course.  But I’ve been waiting for the next expression that I found so undeniably cool that I must share it with you.  Here it is.

Thanks to good friend Bob Jensen, I’m now aware of the work of Eric Whitacre.  It is super impressively cool.

Eric Whitacre (41) is an American classical composer and conductor, specializing in choral works.  In 2009, his imagination birthed the idea of a virtual choir.  A virtual choir involves vocal recordings of individual singers performing their parts alone and a capella in front of a web cam.  The recordings are compiled and synched to form a powerfully large choir.  His 2009 choir had 185 singers, the 2010 choir had 2,052 singers.

Virtual singing groups aren’t new, of course.  Playing for Change’s recording of Stand By Me is definitely cool.  Feature vocalists are Roger Ridley, Grandpa Elliott and Clarence Bekker, as well as instrumentalists Twin Eagle Drum Group, Dimitri Dolganov, Roberto Luti and Stefano Tomaselli.

Whitacre’s work, though, is different.  Where Stand By Me is cool, Whitacre’s work is unbelievable.  I’m embedding four short videos of his work.  The first is a Ted Talk in which Whatacre explains how the project came together.  The second and third videos show the virtual choir in 2009 performing Lux Aurumque and in 2010 performing Whitacre’s Sleep.  The fourth video shows Melody Myers, Lux Aurumque’s soloist, performing all parts in her own virtual choir.  Don’t miss any of these.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we accountants could sing in harmony.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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The Summa has a birthday, today.

Yesterday, The Summa completed three years of blogging.  Today, it is starting a new year, its fourth.  Happy birthday!

I appreciate my readers and fellow bloggers.  Being a part of the online world of accounting and auditing is a great place to be.

Thanks to each one of you, for your continued readership is an incentive to keep these blog posts coming.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Miscellany

Auditor rotation – where you pick one up and spin it around.

When rotating auditors, I prefer to skewer mine from head to toe.


Has anyone asked if auditor rotation could make matters worse?  I didn’t think anyone had, but it is possible.

In an environment with mandatory rotation, auditors will no longer be able to threaten, “Not as long as we’re the auditor.”


I’m sure by now everyone in the business social media world has heard that their LinkedIn privacy settings need to be updated, click here.


Caleb Newquist at Going Concern reports the hottest story of the day–that of an accounting instructor arrested for pandering (aka pimping).  Quoting from the article:

The reader who pointed us to the story simply had this to say, “And he was my favorite accounting professor when I was in school… who knew?”


At the Denver AAA, a Kennesaw State accounting professor passed along a rumor that the stripping instructor had done it before!

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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If you missed this NOVA special, please watch it now.  Thanks to Bob Jensen on the tip to this video.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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This post is not for accounting or entertainment purposes.  I cry for my fellow humans living in Japan.

Videos and still are emerging from Japan about the sixth worst earthquake in history and the tsunami that follow. It is a terrible tragedy.

During the school year, I live in an are prone to massive flooding, but I am grateful that the experience is many, many times less intensive as a tsunami.

Here are the most striking videos I could find about the Japan tsunami:

(more…)

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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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Being Thankful

Many bloggers write about the things for which they are grateful.  I’ve already done so over at Pondering the Classroom’sThanksgiving at College, 2010.”

Over here at The Summa, I have a separate list of things for which to be grateful.

  • My favorite bloggers:  Francine McKenna (re: The Auditors), Jim Peterson (re:Balance), Sara McIntosh (Sara McIntosh), Caleb Newquist (Going Concern), Tom Selling (Accounting Onion), Adrienne Gonzalez (Jr. Deputy Accountant), Ed Ketz (Accounting Cycle) and Edith Orenstein (FEI Blog).  Gang, you are all my favorites, so the order is meaningless.  You each inspire me.  As a group, you have been so kind as to let me join your world.
  • Bob Jensen and AECM.  My colleagues in the world of academic accounting.  I would know nothing about accounting of any importance if it weren’t for Bob and AECM.
  • The House of Lords, and its grilling of the audit industry (aka Big 4).  It’s about time someone in government embarrassed these big firms.
  • My readers, who remain faithful despite my inability to post on a regular basis.
  • My students, who keep me connected to the good in accounting.
  • Skype, which keeps me connected to my family.


Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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