Friday, August 28, 2015

The Utterly Uninteresting & Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

Regular viewers of this blog will know that I generally avoid posting 'fun' items that reinforce the age old insulting misconception that all accountants are boring.

Occasionally though I come across items that just have to be featured here despite my best intentions. And this book, written by Drew Hayes and published in 2014,  is one such item.

Frederick Frankford Fletcher ("Fred") was "a mild mannered accountant" in life and in death. First with a heartbeat and then without. As one of the reviews suggests:
"He’s the same undead as he was alive – a boring accountant with low self-esteem. He also learned early on that he is not good at the whole stalking prey, eating straight from the vein thing. So, he gave that up and gets his blood from a hospital as a favor for cooking their books."
I'm no fan of the whole vampire genre but the reviews I have seen of this book were enough to encourage me to download the kindle version (it was free when I did so) from Amazon.

Further review quotes:
Goodreads
Some people are born boring. Some live boring. Some even die boring. Fred managed to do all three, and when he woke up as a vampire, he did so as a boring one. Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort.
Zombie J 
The only small problem I had with this otherwise likeable book is it did get somewhat repetitive. Fred constantly reminded us of how boring, timid, non-confrontational, and non-vampirish he is. But he was one of those characters that is really pretty charming, even if he doesn’t know it himself. He’s quite adorkable, actually.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The value of accountants at awards ceremonies - according to Dr Sheldon Cooper

This clip from the popular TV show, The Big Bang Theory, was shown at the start of the Emmy's in 2012. In the clip the genius Dr Sheldon Cooper explains why accountants are much more than simply adding machines.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Bookkeeping and Accounting in 1945

This vocational guidance video shows what it was all about 70 years ago in 1945. It makes clear the distinction between bookkeepers and accountants, and mentions almost in passing their reliance on 'machines'.

The video also distinguishes the work of private accountants, who work in-house and public accountants who have many different clients. In the US they are still called CPAs (Certified Public Accountants). 

Accountants are also responsible for devising new bookkeeping systems and new methods of cost accounting. Accountants who specialise in this area were known as 'efficiency engineers' as an engineering background was very useful.

There's also career advice relevant to anyone considering bookkeeping or accounting (in 1945!)

Loved these quotes: 
"Because his job takes him form place to place, where he meets all kinds of people he must have a pleasing personality to be successful" NB: There is a clear presumption that all accountants were male in those days.
"Perhaps the most colourful accounting work is that of making special investigations". They worked for the FBI.


What's your favourite element of this old video?

Friday, August 07, 2015

What you might say when you're not trying to make partner.....

What follows are some of the more printable observations shared anonymously online by a US based accountant who describes himself as "a cynical Big 4 audit manager. I love my staff, I love my seniors, I hate this profession. I am not on the partner track."

He also admits to being drunk when he wrote the lengthy post which includes such intriguing observations as:

  • I've made it to Manager by pretty much keeping my head down and playing the game. I have a respect for accounting theory and knowledge. I just no longer give a shit about all the other stuff that accompanies it.
  • I'm convinced the biggest strategy for the Big 4 getting past PCAOB inspections is to over-document EVERYTHING. Memos for any and everything. F**king huge-ass memos filled with fluff language. They'll take one look at that 23-page Word file and nope the f**k out of it.
  • I do respect the knowledge base we have. There are some very intelligent people in our profession.
  • I hate office lingo: "Touch base", "shoot an e-mail", "let's table that discussion".
  • I wish there were more culturally and politically liberal people in our profession.
  • One of the most valuable 'soft' skills you can develop is public speaking.
  • Masturbation is a close second.

Friday, July 31, 2015

An accountant who knows nothing about their client

Rapper star 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, called his accountant to Court in the US to testify
about his finances. But she knew little more about them than he did.

Jackson has already filed for bankruptcy after a jury awarded a $5million penalty against him after deciding he violated a woman's privacy by posting her private sex-tape video online.

A further penalty was in prospect and the amount would depend on Jackson's net worth. He called his accountant to give evidence to support claims his net assets came to less than $5m. Other estimates suggest a figure well over $100m.

The Californian accountant, who, it transpired has never actually met or spoken with her famous client, is employed by his business managers.  She didn't cope well on the stand and said that she doesn't know:
  • who bought the rights when 50 Cent recently sold some of his music catalog for $3 million. 
  • whether the $29 million that 50 Cent loaned to various businesses is recoverable. 
  • how much money he makes from executive-producing the TV show 'Power'. 
  • how many drivers he has on his payroll.
  • how any value could be attributed to new partnerships between his headphone company and Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Intel and Reebok because they could “go nowhere and make no money,” 
  • how much money he made from a recent underwear-endorsement deal. 
  • that he had recently listed his 21-bedroom Connecticut mansion online for $11 million.
  • how much money 50 Cent makes from music royalties on the $38 millions worth of records he has sold.
You'd have thought she might have anticipated such questions and checked out the information beforehand. If only to retain some professional credibility. As it is she was a laughing stock.

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to get past HMRC 's automated phone system

The following appeared on the letters page of The Daily Telegraph on 10th July:
Taxing menu
SIR – I telephoned HMRC about a tax query. I was asked the usual questions by a robot voice and was eventually told to hold and someone would be with me shortly. After 47 minutes waiting, listening to the most awful music, I hung up and tried again.
This time my replies to the robot voice were “lamb vindaloo” and “sweet and sour pork”. To the question: “Are you making an inquiry about your own tax?” I responded: “Walls Cornetto.”
I was put through and spoke to a human adviser within two minutes.
M J AnnettHorley, Surrey
Many thanks to Rebecca Cave, for bringing it to my attention.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What's one plus one?

In a test to establish who was the most worthy to act as his accountant, an entrepreneur asked four candidates for their answer to an easy question: "What's one plus one?"

The first accountant rushed to give the answer "2" and was eliminated.

The second accountant tried to be clever by offering a mathematical approach and was also dismissed. The entrepreneur wasn't interested in hearing about number bases and that "In binary 1+1 = 10 which looks like a ten".

The next accountant tried a different approach and replied by asking the entrepreneur a question. "Are you buying or selling?" He then explained that if he was buying, the answer was 2. If he was selling it was one, one - ie: eleven.

The entrepreneur was impressed but decided to give the last applicant a chance. He was sure would win over the entrepreneur. He went over to the windows and drew the curtains. He then went over to the door, locked and tested it, and went right up to the entrepreneur. Looking him squarely in the eye he said: "What would you like it to be?"

He was hired.