Ed Ketz, Penn State accounting professor and late of the Accounting Cycle column at Smartpros, has moved to an independent blog. Co-authored with Anthony Catanach (Villanova accounting professor), his new blog is titled Grumpy Old Accountants. The blog’s URL is:
Being aware of Ed’s intentions, I asked him a few questions. His answers provide a great introduction to the new blog:
(1) The Summa: Why the move to an independent blog?
Ed Ketz: While happy with the folks at SmartPros, I thought this move would give me greater control over the writing and publishing process. I can upload as many essays as I wish, as often as I wish, with whatever length I wish, and so on. Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch, so it comes at a cost of dealing with the mechanics of blogging instead of having others do that for me.
(2) The Summa: What is the theme for this blog? What is it to be about?
Ed Ketz: The theme will be essentially as the same for “Spirit of Accounting” or “Accounting Annotations” or “The Accounting Cycle,” my earlier delivery vehicles for opinion pieces: financial accounting and reporting, which includes financial statement and internal control auditing. We hope to provide constructive criticism about financial reporting issues from the perspective of users—not managers and not shills for managers, of which there are many.
(3) The Summa: What was your favorite post from “The Accounting Cycle”?
Ed Ketz: I have several favorites, but I’ll limit myself to two related ones. The first was “Computer Associates: A Reprise” (2004), in which I reviewed why I told a New York Times reporter in May 2001 that I felt Computer Associates was purposely and aggressively overstating its revenues and why the SEC should have investigated the case earlier. The related piece (also written in 2004) was “Conversations with Ira Zar,” who was the CFO of Computer Associates in the early 2000s. In this piece I told the story of his flying to State College to meet me on two different occasions. During the first, in 2001, Ira tried to convince me that I was wrong and that the accounts were properly kept; he reiterated these claims in our 2003 meeting. I ended the column wondering what Ira and I would talk about if we ever meet a third time.
(4) The Summa: Why did you take on a co-author?
Ed Ketz: I decided to ask a friend to co-write these pieces to ease the burden of writing these essays in sufficient number, especially if I would like a vacation now and then. More importantly, I like to debate these issues privately before going public. Finally, since I am often criticized for not having any audit experience, I wanted a partner with the appropriate “credentials” to satisfy these naysayers.
The question for me was whom to ask. But, that narrowed down very quickly as I wanted somebody who thought similarly and had the courage of his convictions, and top of the list was Tony Catanach. Tony would add that he is charming, but as I am not a CPA, I cannot audit his attestations.
(5) The Summa: What else would you like to tell us?
Ed Ketz: Be careful with your investments. As society dithers with Enrons and Lehmans and refuses to make substantive changes in accounting and auditing institutions, there will be future meltdowns in the future. The next major scandal is not far away and your equity investments make take more hits.
A new feature of the blog is e-mail subscription, which was not available at SmartPros.
On the downside, there is no online index of Ketz’s previous work for the Accounting Cycle. As of this writing, his previous essays are still on-line, but you need to locate them first via web search.
Ed Ketz and Anthony Catanach have a winner in Grumpy Old Accountants. And they aren’t grumpy toward me. Please go on over and subscribe to e-mail alerts.
Debit and credit – – David Albrecht