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Not looking forward to this:

Another article from the CPA Daily Email. I can understand why, but cities do need funding help. I am hoping both of my libraries can stay open. They are very much needed in these communities. At the very least, I can donate a couple of my magazines to help with their collections (two magazines, many issues, just need to look through them first).

Article:

Cities are next to feel effects of states' budget pain:

Financially stressed states are passing their problems along to cities in the form of sharp cuts in aid, experts said. Reduced garbage collection, library closings, layoffs of police and firefighters, and property-tax increases might be unavoidable if help doesn't come from states, some mayors said. Credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service said 2011 will be "the toughest year for local governments since the economic downturn began." The New York Times (free registration) (3/23)

Auditing the Auditors

I had to re-read this a couple times to make sure I read it correctly. For a moment, I was worried that the PCAOB needed a reminder of what auditors are supposed to do. Thankfully, that was not the case. Many people tend to forget that auditors do not verify that a company is a good investment, just that the financial statements follow GAAP and do not mislead investors. The PCAOB is looking into why auditors did not catch the information which would mislead investors.

This article would also connect well with the one I posted about FASB changing regulations about requiring notes about banks lowering interest rates to increase their mortgage amounts.

Article:

PCAOB advisory group head calls for investigations into audit firms:

Audit firms failed to identify the risks at financial institutions that led to the financial crisis, and the U.S. needs to do more to find out why that happened, said Barbara Roper, who heads a working group for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. "There's a need to figure out why they failed to perform that function and what can be done to fix that problem," she said.
Reuters (3/16)

FASB News

I saw this on my AICPA email this morning:

FASB Considers New Requirements on Bank Lending:

The Financial Accounting Standards Board is reconsidering proposals that would require U.S. banks to disclose when they give clients below-market rates on loans in the hopes of securing more business. The rule would call for banks to account for the difference between the transaction price of a loan and its fair-market value. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (3/20)

The Financial Times was recommended by my economics professor for a good summary of market conditions. Sadly, I was unable to register for free - website timed out on me.

Personally, I think this would be a great idea for companies. It would indeed influence investors with whether or not they would want to invest in that bank. Go FASB!

More accounting blogs

I learned of a couple other accounting blogs through the most recent ACFE magazine.

The ACFE has the following blogs related to accounting fraud:
ACFEInsights.com
FraudInfo.com

In another magazine (I finally have the time to look at the older ones I have held onto), the ACFE has mentioned a website created by the American Accounting Association (AAA) that focuses on forensic and investigative accounting:
http://aaahq.org

The updates from the AICPA feed works nicely. They cover all sorts of business information with relation to accounting.

Sign up!

In connection with my last post, I would like to mention that I have signed up for the AICPA news feed. It sends the top 10 stories of the day to my inbox so I can keep track of the most popular and current news. All accounting related.

It looks like the Bernie Madoff case has some interesting twists and turns with it involving JP Morgan Chase. I have only seen bits and snip-its but I will do more research later on. I need to work on my assignment for tomorrow's class: explaining the role of ethics in accounting :D (This is for my strategic management class).

That strikes me as odd...

So I decided to check out the feed on the AICPA.org website and one of the articles it linked was about the decrease in Household debt. Within the article, it lists defaulting on a loan as a way to decrease household debt...

Why are we encouraging people to default on debt?

I don't see how that should be touted as a good thing. Spending less makes sense to me because people can do that responsibly. How is defaulting on a loan supposed to be positive?

The article continued to say that it would increase spending by people. I really hope that this new spending is done wisely. At least at the end, they bring up a place to control spending.

It was rather disheartening to read. Hopefully I can find something more positive as I browse.

Presentation Tip

Studies have shown that people would rather die than present in front of a group of people. It is the number one fear of people. I have talked about this before from when I read a book to improve my skills. This post is about one tip I received from my economics teacher, who had an interesting experience with presenting to his boss.

He and his associates had spent 2 weeks constantly preparing a savvy presentation for their bosses about whether or not the company should close down a branch. My teacher appeared for his presentation and was about to go into it when he was stopped by his boss. He told my teacher that he wanted only one slide that said the following:
1. What the presentation was for
2. Key facts
3. Recommendation

While talking with me about it, my teacher gave me the following tips:

Place a summary on the first page of the slideshow
Make sure that the recommendation is on the front page
Never more than 3 lines of text per slide
Ask the people you are presenting to whether they would like to jump to a section for specifics

I think this is good advice and I think I will do that. It will not work so well for every situation, but it is a good outline to keep in mind.

Something to think about

Many people use Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Livejournal, and all other sorts of social media to keep in contact with friends and family. From what I have seen, not many people think about what they send out and how it might affect them in a business setting.

For example, if you have a Facebook account and anyone can access your information, I would hope that you spell in proper English (or whatever language you regularly converse in) because employers can see that information from a simple Google search. The same thing applies to any email account you give your employer because so many of the social websites use that information. I ended up cleaning up my YouTube account because one of my previous employers had access to all of my favorites. The only thing I did not touch was my play list for music I listen to while doing homework.

Another thing to consider - linking accounts. The YouTube account received a cleaning because I could not remember my regular password, so I linked it with my gmail account. While it does provide a great deal of convenience, it does mean you might mix groups of people that you might not want to mix. For example, I use a yahoo account for my hobbies and religious practices and one of my two gmail accounts for professional usage. I do not really need to have my professional contacts know some of that private information.

So anyway, I just thought it might be nice to post something about this. I have had a friend freak out it because he sees it as an invasion of privacy. I see it more as "if you don't want it known, don't post it where everyone can see it."

I See The Light!

I am on my last week of Economics, a class that has tested my patience with regard to teacher-student communication and assignments. I have improved in my ability to communicate with him, mostly from me just refusing to back down from asking questions and demanding responses. It really helped when I managed to pull out all the information I needed to do my assignments properly. Most of this class covers information I learned in high school and undergraduate studies, so a lot of my grade involves figuring out what he wants me to do to show him I know this information.

Today was enlightening when we were talking prior to class because he helped me to remember the differences between accounting and economics. I have heard about the “war” between economics and accounting but I usually try to ignore it. Our discussion helped me to see the differences in thinking: we accountants crunch numbers but we don't have to consider opportunity costs like economists do. It is something that we touch on, but have been trained to not focus on. When I revise my final paper, I will have to pay closer attention to those kind of things.

Fun Game – Space Excel

One of my friends who almost went into accounting but was sidetracked by his love for computers has told me a great deal about a fun game that appeals to the accounting mind. He's called it Space Excel because he has to balance his spreadsheets, arrange contracts, and follow demand and supply basics.

Ironically, this name is actually called Eve Online – a game I have laughed about in the past.

I had thought that it was focused on attacking ships and stealing cargo, which is why I have never felt interested in it. However, the way that my friend has described it has caught my attention.

Regardless of it blowing up things or contracting the living daylights out of objects appeal to you, I am definitely thinking it could provide an enjoyable game play.

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