TWILAP, Two Weeks in the Life of an Accounting Professor. Most people think I only work a few hours per week, just the time spent in the classroom. They aren’t aware of all the behind the scenes activity. In this series, I’ll journalize on what it’s like to be a professor.
Today doesn’t start too unusually. I’ve always been a night owl. I started at midnight, which is an unusual perspective to the phrase, “Getting an early start.” Actually, I carried over from Saturday night, when I got in a few hours of work.
12:00-3:00 a.m. Wrote blog essay, “Europe and Accounting Standards.”
10:50-11:10 a.m. Blog maintenance.
11:10-1:05 p.m. Blogged on TWILAP.
1:25-1:50 p.m. In transit to coffee shop where I frequently work.
1:50-4:10 p.m. Checking e-mail. There are a few items of interest. AECM readers answered my call for updates and informed me of nearly 10 blogs maintained by accounting professors.
In Avoidance By The Numbers (New York Times), Rutgers accounting professor Jacob Soll writes that “the fear of bad news often leads to bad accounting.” At the Journal of Accountancy, Paul Volcker is on video explaining advantages to the U.S. adopting IFRS.
Bob Jensen from AECM posted a series of intriguing articles about the litigation threat to audit firms and the Moodys Rating Agency: “Ohio Sues Rating Firms for Losses in Funds,” by David Segal, The New York Times. Also Bob quotes a study:
There are two superpowers in the world today in my opinion. There’s the United States and there’s Moody’s Bond Rating Service. The United States can destroy you by dropping bombs, and Moody’s can destroy you by down grading your bonds. And believe me, it’s not clear sometimes who’s more powerful. The most that we can safely assert about the evolutionary process underlying market equilibrium is that harmful heuristics, like harmful mutations in nature, will die out. [Martin Miller, Debt and Taxes as quoted by Frank Partnoy, "The Siskel and Ebert of Financial Matters: Two Thumbs Down for Credit Reporting Agencies," Washington University Law Quarterly, Volume 77, No. 3, 1999]
And, “How Moody’s sold its ratings – and sold out investors,” by Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers, October 18, 2009. Bob explains the risk to auditors:
The credit raters will rely heavily on the claim that they relied on the external auditors who, in turn, are being sued for playing along with fraudulent banks that grossly underestimated loan loss reserve on poisoned subprime loan portfolios and poisoned tranches sold to investors — http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/2008Bailout.htm#AuditFirms
Bad things happen in court where three or more parties start blaming each other for billions of dollars of losses that in many cases led to total bank failures and the wiping out of all the shareholders in those banks, including the pension funds that invested in those banks. A real test is the massive lawsuit against Deloitte’s auditors in the huge Washington Mutual (WaMu) shareholder lawsuit.
4:10-5:00 p.m. Class preparation for both Managerial Accounting. Why not more? I’ve been teaching these courses for years, and already did some prep. I’ve decided to use on-line books (instead of the paper required book) for ABC and operations budgeting. Will see how this works out. If nothing else, this will teach students about sunk cost. I’ll use Dennis Caplan’s (U of Albany) Management Accounting Concepts and Techniques.
5:00-5:20 p.m. E-mail again. Had an interesting question posed, what are the tangible and intangible benefits to blogging if it takes so much time. Answer? It’s only feel good. It does not help tangibly an accounting professor. It isn’t even part of my job responsibilities.
5:20-5:30 p.m. Blogging, updating Twilap page.
5:30-5:50 p.m. Class stuff, responding to student e-mails from Intermediate Accounting class. I have them send weekly an evaluation of their most recent week of study. That is, what topics and concepts are the still muddy on, and what do they really get. I have about 30 e-mails to read and potentially respond to.
8:15-8:50 p.m. Travel back home.
9:00-10:00 p.m. Continued reading the e-mails from Intermediate Accounting students. they had difficulties where Iexpcted then.
1000-11:59 p.m. Decided I was too tired to grade. Grading takes so much effort, I really need to be in top shape for it. So, I worked on getting ready for Tuesday’s interview.
Wow, what a long day! Instead of working until 3 am, I’m off to bed. I didn’t get projects graded for Intermediate Accounting students. It has taken way too long to get them back. When this happens, college students in general usually burn their professors on the class evaluations. I’m not looking forward to them.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht