Archive for November, 2012

At first glance, this blog post appears to be fluff put forth to get a chuckle or laugh from you. There is a serious side to it, though.  Social media should be a subject of keen and intense interest for all financial professionals, be they out working or still at college.  Opinions, thoughts, ideas can go viral in this social media world.  Memes are one such channel for these opinions, thoughts and ideas.

In this blog post I exhibit a collection of memes on studying for tests.  Working professionals probably remember taking their own exams.  Current professors and students are now in crunch time just prior to final exams.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”  In 2012, many of us think of it as an image or video passed from one social media user to another.

The study of memes is important, because memes open a window into the popular culture.  Memes that spread quickly reveal what a large number of  people think or believe.

I am an accounting professor, and what students think is of interest to me.  I performed Google image searches on key words related to studying.  Google results are structured to reveal the most clicked on images first.  All images presented in this blog post are thought to be in the public domain.

Most of these memes convey what older generations have called gallows humor.  Those who are about to be hanged are somehow able to find humor in their situation.

A consistent theme running through the various memes is that studying is painful.


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Although officially called Thanksgiving Day in the USA, many call it Turkey Day. Ever wonder why?

I have many fond childhood memories of Thanksgiving in Iowa.  It was always spent with Mom’s side of the family.  Each year there was always a huge turkey and many pumpkin pies to eat.   There were so many pies, we kids were allowed to cut our own slices, as large as we wanted.  And Aunt Bessie’s whipped cream was the absolute best.

Thanksgiving feasts have changed quite a bit since then.  In America they are all standardized.  How so?  They all start at the same time–halftime.  And now we have space turkeys who go “Hubble, hubble, hubble.”

Ever wonder why a turkey is called a turkey?  Mignon Forgarty, the Grammar Girl, has the answer.  It turns out we should call it a Mexico.

One of my favorite TV shows was The Smothers Brothers.  Regular Jim Stafford always had a funny song for Thanksgiving.  Hope you enjoy.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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It’s official, I’m a flipper. The Accounting Today commented on my work in flipping the classroom. I’ve been doing it for years, predating the 2007 figure in the image below. In this post, I explain what is flipping the classroom.

What is a flipper? I’m not talking about the dolphin named Flipper. Nor am I talking about a 1920s flapper, nor a basketball flopper.

In a flipped classroom, students study theory at home and come to class for the how-to. To give the students the theory (and the why), professors digitize their lectures (usually via video or audio). Students are supposed to study these.
Now to present an infographic by Knewton and Column Five Media that does a fine job of summarizing the approach.

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Flipping the classroom works well in college, and it works great in collegiate accounting courses. It is the foundation of my becoming a master teacher.

by David Albrecht

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Accountant Day is fast approaching.

November 10 is the day we accountants commemorate a top 25 event in the world’s history–publishing the first book on accounting.

On November 10, 1494, volume 2 of Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita (Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion) was published. It is in volume 2 of the Summa that Luca Pacioli included a description of the bookkeeping/accounting system of Venice. In honor of this contribution, Pacioli has carried for centuries the title of Father of Accounting.

This year, I’ve decided to exhibit a collection of pencil stubs.

Pic credit – Heather, at A Penchant for Paper

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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

Michelle Golden headlines this week’s gems.  Her recent post, “It’s Time to Stop Talking About ‘Women’s Issues’ in Business,” makes a good and valid point.

Torben Rick posted a link to this story on a SMinOrgs, a LinkedIn group to which I belong.   Although he published it in April, 2011, it is as interesting today as it was back then.  “3 Types of Twitter Failure and Disasters.

SMinOrgs (Social Media in Organizations) has several boards at Pinterest, one of which is devoted to social media infographics.  It has now pinned 100 of these to its board.  It’s kind of fun to look through these.

Although SMinOrgs (Social Media in Organizations) has a web site and blog, it chose to publish “Managing Employer Risks in the Digital Era: 4 Recent Stories” on its Tumblr site.  Very interesting choice of location.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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In the United States, today is election day.  In the last presidential election, the candidates were clearly divided on accounting issues.  But what about 2012?

In 2008, Barak Obama was solidly behind moving the U.S. to IFRS.  During his first term he was unsuccessful, and earlier this year the SEC waved the white flag on moving the country to IFRS.  So far in this campaign, Obama has not signaled his intentions with respect to future actions on the issue.

In 2008, John McCain emphatically endorsed American control of its own accounting standards.  However, this appeared to be a personal stance as opposed to a Republican political position.

I have not been able to uncover any statement by Mitt Romney revealing his position on global accounting standards.

Most Washington observers expect SEC Chair Mary Schapiro to step down shortly after today’s election.  The appointment of her successor (and we have had no clues) would say a lot about future U.S. government intentions on who is to set American accounting standards.

With respect to auditor rotation, both candidates are mum. Although it is true that several Democrats threatened legislation banning a PCAOB rule requiring auditor rotation, President Obama has not commented on the issue.  Mitt Romney is a client of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  In 2008, the large auditing firms heavily favored Obama with political contributions.

There appears to be no desire from either candidate about changing the status quo on the position of audit firms in the American capital markets.  Sigh.

Both candidates have been active in discussing tax policy, but that is not the focus of The Summa.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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To commemorate Accountant Day on Saturday, November 10, 2012, The Summa is conducting its third annual Bean Counters Contest.

If you can correctly guess the total number of candies in this jar, you can win one of two $25 gift certificate from Amazon.

This year I have a chocolate and peanut theme.  I purchased fairly large bags of M&M’s Peanuts, Reese’s Pieces, and Ghirardelli Squares, along with a not-big-enough jar.  I scooped handfuls of each candy into the jar, in a combination that only I know.  I admit to having some of each candy left over, which added to the enjoyment of the day.

Entries are accepted by commenting to this blog post or by e-mail to albrecht@profalbrecht.com.  Entries must be time-stamped by 11:59 p.m. ET, Monday, November 12, 2012 Saturday, November 10, 2012.  Entries must contain contestant’s name and e-mail address.

If no entry correctly guesses the actual number of candies in the jar, the closest guesses will be declared winner.

Number of expected winning entries:  two.  In case of multiple winning entries, the two winners will be chosen randomly.  The jar contains no items other than peanut M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, and Ghirardelli Squares.  Maximum of one entry per person accepted.

University of South Carolina Upstate student Jeff holds the contest jar.

Accountant Day is for all accountants, auditors and bean counters to celebrate being a part of the accounting profession.  November 10 is chosen as the day of celebration.

On November 10, 1494, volume 2 of Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita (Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion) by Fr. Luca Pacioli was published.  It is in volume 2 of the Summa that Pacioli included a description of the bookkeeping/accounting system of Venice.   In honor of this contribution, Pacioli has carried for centuries the title of Father of Accounting.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Professor Alexandra Samuel has an extremely interesting piece in the Monday, October 29,2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal (page B7), “Your Employee Is an Online Celebrity. Now What Do You Do?

It also strikes pretty close to home. Because of my efforts on The Summa and Pondering the Classroom, I’ve been named twice to the Accounting Today list of “Top 100 Most Influential People.”  My name is recognized by accountants in many countries, and I have a respectable Klout score.  I have a lot of followers.  Does all this make me an online celebrity?  Compared to most business professors and many accountants, I dare say it does.

In several blog posts, I’ve written of the need for financial and other professionals to work on their personal professional brand.  A professional brand is a succinct description of who is a particular accountant, lawyer or professor.  Getting a professional brand out there (on the Internet) is important because others are using the Internet to search for such professionals.  If one’s professional brand isn’t out there, then potential opportunity losses can add up.  Also, modern social media platforms aid in managing the brand.  Having a professional brand is an important asset when looking for a new job, as employers seek new professionals who can add value.

Online professional brands are created, developed and managed through the major social media portals, such as blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.  The goal is to become known as an authority.  Followers are attracted to those who either create or pass along the most insightful information.  Being able to engage or interact with followers is essential.

This is an emerging issue that more and more companies and professional firms will need to deal with, if they don’t already have to deal with it.

So, what does Dr. Samuel say about the phenomenon?  She lists pluses and minuses, which I quote verbatim.  The pluses are:

  1. Prestige.  The company that can claim the top-ranked blogger, tweeter or influencer on a subject will be the go-to shop for customers.
  2. Leads. The employee who engages in regular online conversations is building relationships that can be converted into new customers.
  3. Free Media.  Employees with a significant online following will get inexpensive attention for your company from journalists looking for experts.
  4. Recruitment.  Companies that employ social media starts will attract other high-achieving, driven professionals.

The minuses are:

  1. Prima Donnas.  A few thousand Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections can lead to inflated egos–and inflated salary expectations.
  2. Distraction. Co-branded employees may devote so much time to cultivating their own global brand that they neglect their core duties.
  3. Leaks.  Employees may deliberately or accidentally use internal or client information as social media fodder.
  4. Resentment.  Social media celebrities may damage team cohesion or inspire complaints.

Dr. Samuel suggests the following questions need to be properly addressed:

  1. Can they tweet/blog/facebook on the job?
  2. Should the online celebrity credit co-workers?
  3. How much should brands align?
  4. What is a social media presence worth?
  5. Who owns that blog?

The presence of online active professors surely makes for problems in academia.  In accredited business schools, getting peer-reviewed journal articles is the base and most important requirement for pay, promotion and tenure.  Some schools also require teaching in addition to the publications.  Some schools may reward committee work in addition to publications and teaching, but only in a minor way.  Never-the-less, getting journal articles in difficult to find, rarely read journals is the primary responsibility for business professors.

At the present time, social media activity does not count for a business academic.  Yet it has value.  When a B-school has an online celebrity emerge, then the question of what to do with the celebrity must be addressed.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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