Betsy's Pretty Good Blog

It's going to be a great ride!

December 21, 2015

The public accounting profession and its professional associations, the AICPA and State Societies, are on the brink of major change.   In October, AICPA Council voted to open up the CGMA credential to “other qualified accounting professionals”.  Up until then, the CGMA was only an option for CPAs in the U.S.   Working together, State Societies and the AICPA will be introducing the CGMA to the broad business community and implementing and supporting the path to CGMA for accounting professionals who are not CPAs.  This also means new CGMAs will become members of State Societies and the AICPA.   Who are “other qualified accounting professionals”?   The major group is those with accounting degrees who choose to go directly into business and who do not pursue the CPA.   That’s roughly 2/3 of current accounting graduates.  They might also be graduates in finance or economics, or even liberal arts.  The path varies with the degree you hold, with a longer path for those without a business-related degree.  The shortest path is for the CPA. 

Another change proposed by the AICPA and requiring an AICPA member vote, is the “evolution” of the joint venture between the AICPA and CIMA.   It is proposed that these two organizations, which have been working together since 2011, join forces to create a new accounting association that would integrate management, strategy and operations while maintaining the respective membership bodies.  The AICPA would still maintain its emphasis on CPAs while CIMA would maintain its worldwide emphasis on management accounting and CGMAs.   Yes, it’s complicated and I urge you to go to the AICPA website to learn more.  

The MNCPA Board of Directors has considered the evolution in depth and has voted to support it. 

The future of the accounting profession is very exciting and I am sad that I won’t be around to be an involved participant.  But I’ll be cheerleading for the change from the sidelines.  Happy New Year!

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Rebecca Otto Goes Too Far

June 11, 2015

If you've been following the tirades of State Auditor Rebecca Otto over the last weeks, you have probably been appalled at her attacks on the integrity of "private CPA firms". In Tweets, interviews on radio and TV, she has blatantly lied about CPAs. At first when the conversation started at the end of session I gave her the benefit of the doubt and attributed the comments to the stress and craziness that takes place at the end of a legislative session. But now, almost a month later, the misstatements and slams on the profession continue. To me she sounds desperate.

She clearly makes "misstatements" and goes out of her way to insult CPAs. She says private auditors can be bought, essentially that they will give you the outcome you want.

  • "Do you want cheap audits?" Otto asked. "You get what you pay for." MPR, Otto, June 10
  • "Auditor shopping for some can be like a child parent shopping to see which one will give them the answer they want." Otto Tweet May 19
  • "Who would you rather have audit you -- the nice guy on Main St or the IRS? I know the answer and so do you." Otto Tweet May 18
  • "Have nice guy on Main audit you or the state? Bet you chose neighbor. Gvt auditors audit with your interests in mind not bottom line." Otto Tweet May 18
  • "Who would you rather have audit you - the nice guy down the street or the IRS? I'm sure first one. Gov ensures acctblty." Otto Tweet May 18
  • "I would rather have audits done by someone accountable to MN'S than some third-rate outfit that's lowest bidder." , retweet by Otto May 18

CPAs don't sit down with clients and say "Tell me how you want this audit to come out." (I can't believe I have to write this!) Standards and Ethics demand independence and CPAs support the actions taken against rogue CPAs who violate those standards. In addition, County Commissioners who choose the private auditor are accountable to the voters. Ms. Otto thinks that she's the only one who serves the public.

Private CPA firms, who currently do 28 county audits, have to follow the "Audit Guide for Financial and Compliance Audits of Minnesota Counties" issued by the State Auditor's office. Page 1 -- "The specifications in this manual apply to all audits of counties, whether conducted by the Office of the State Auditor or a certified public accounting (CPA) firm." So CPA firms and the auditors in the State Auditor's office are doing EXACTLY the same work in EXACTLY the same way.

Shame on Rebecca Otto for attacking the honesty and independence of CPAs. Sliming others doesn't make you look good.

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Looking for a job?

October 14, 2011
Looking for a job

Twice this past week I’ve heard from knowledgeable people that if you’re having problems landing that CPA job or a position in business/industry, a really smart thing to do is to sign up with a temporary help agency and get experience via that route. You need to build your resume and this is a good way to do it. There are a number of excellent firms you can approach:

Building your resume this ways show your exceptional motivation to employers and you’ll have an opportunity to experience a number of positions/projects. That will help you clarify your talents and aspirations.

The two people who told me about this are high level CPAs – one in public accounting and one in Business & Industry. It’s good advice.

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KPMG report 'Who is a typical fraudster?'

October 10, 2011
cuffs

If you’re like me, you’re always fascinated by stories about “finance people gone bad”. KPMG has a 2011 report in which they analyzed 348 actual corporate fraud investigations conducted by KPMG in 69 countries and here is their profile of a typical fraudster.

  • Male
  • 36 – 45 years old
  • Commits fraud against his own employer
  • Works in the finance function or in a finance related role
  • Holds a senior management position
  • Employed by the company for more than 10 years
  • Works in collusion with another perpetrator

The report states that, “unsurprisingly, the overriding motivation for fraud is personal greed, followed by pressures on individuals to reach tough profit and budget targets.” It also points out that weakening control structures make fraud easier.

Changing the personal greed factor is a tough challenge, but the report does point out that organizations need to consider their role in fraud “by setting overly onerous targets.”

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A cautionary tale...

October 6, 2011
Girl-money

Know any college students or soon to be college students? If so, this story is for you.

We all know that being off at college is a big change for young people and they are intoxicated by the freedom to be making their own decisions. Unfortunately, many times they aren’t well prepared to make financial decisions and they dig themselves into a really deep hole.

The beauty of this story is that it’s written by a young person and the sound financial advice is based on her experience and the mistakes she made.

So do that college student in your life a favor and share this with him/her. It may just help them avoid some big financial pitfalls while they’re finding their way to meaningful independence.

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Mobility marches on...maybe to Canada

September 26, 2011

New York just became the 48th state to pass mobility when the governor signed the bill August 17. Washington DC also joined the group when their city council passed the law on Sept. 20 (The mayor has indicated he will sign it. It then goes to Congress for review).

Guess who might join the mobility parade in the not-too-distant future? Canada! This gets a bit complex, so bear with me.

A proposal has been put forth to unify the accounting profession in Canada. Canada currently has three types of accountants: Chartered Accountants, Certified Management Accountants and Certified General Accountants. At first the existing CA, CMA and CGA designations will be combined with the new “CPA”, Chartered Professional Accountant. Then after a transition period (approximately 10 years) just CPA will be used.

It may take awhile to implement, but it isn’t unreasonable to think that mobility with Canada could become a reality after unification has taken place.

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Open position? Consider the unemployed

September 13, 2011

 

unemployed

This post is my plea to all of you CPAs who are hiring for open positions at your firms or businesses. Consider the unemployed for your vacant position.

A recent NY Times story made us aware that blatant discrimination is taking place against workers who have been laid off, particularly those out of work for more than 6 months. We’ve all seen ads that specify that applicants must be currently employed or recently laid off.

Besides being just plain old stupid, this strikes as a really bad business practice. So many people have been laid off during the recession for reasons that have nothing to do with their performance. Many of these good people are making a point of keeping up to date with their skills, so that they can provide immediate value to a new employer. To refuse to look at a resume and cover letter because someone is unemployed makes no sense at all.

It would be refreshing to see some ads that state “Applications from the unemployed welcome”. There are CPAs out there looking, both new grads and the laid-off. You can find yourself some great people by opening your mind. I encourage you to do so.

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The Post Labor Day Depression...or not!

September 9, 2011
Autumn leaves

I just came back to work after a two-week vacation and I expected to feel let down and maybe a little blue. But I’m not. In fact, I feel energized and raring to go. Maybe it's because I love fall – it’s my favorite season. Everything about it -- the smell of the air, the crisp temperatures, the beautiful trees, and the mood of my horses (plus I look better in sweaters) – is a positive for me.

Apparently my feelings aren’t universal. Post Vacation Syndrome (PVS) seems to be a real thing and includes irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating and a feeling of emptiness (some experience a similar situation after each weekend.)

If you hate your job, that would certainly make the post Labor Day adjustment harder. Assuming you like what you do, fall is a new beginning. Here in Minnesota, the end of the State Fair on Labor Day is our main marker for the change. No more fried cheese curds on a stick.

So, do you like fall or are you relying on chocolate to see you through?

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How to know if you're loved

August 30, 2011
Betsy the calf

I’m off to the farm again for the final “big” vacation of the summer. It got me to thinking about how lucky I am to have great neighbors out there, particularly, Ted, who has a cattle farm just to the north of me.

Ted raises Black Angus cattle. His specialty is breeding the best and selling them to others. Ted is a big, tall man, about 74 years old, and the best friend a city girl could have. When I first met him four years ago, he crossed his arms, rocked back and forth a few times, looked down at me and said, “Well, I hope you like cows.” Fortunately, I do like cows – a lot! I even like them when the roving adolescent boy cow gang sneaks under the electric fence and decides my pasture tastes best. Bon appétit!

The ultimate thrill came when Ted asked permission to name one of his babies after me a couple of years ago. So meet Betsy – in all her adorable cuteness. In another year or two she’ll be ready to have her own baby and I’ll have a Grandcow. How amazingly cool is that?

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The obese wallet

August 24, 2011
Fat wallet

I just read an article about all the junk we lug around in our wallets. It made me curious about what I’m carrying around. So here’s my list:

  • Driver’s license
  • Appointment card for doctor
  • Staples Gift Card
  • Lund’s Pharmacy card
  • Delta American Express Card
  • Visa Signature Card
  • Wells Fargo Debit Card
  • Corporate MasterCard
  • Macy’s American Express Card
  • Health Savings Account MasterCard
  • Toyota roadside assistance card
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield member card
  • Expired Walser Toyota Rewards card
  • Scrap of paper with Delta Skymiles number
  • DSW rewards card (a girl’s gotta have shoes!)
  • Premier Video Card
  • Pet Supplies Plus Club card
  • Barnes & Noble Member card
  • United Properties Bldg. card
  • Second Debut 10% off card
  • Walser Toyota car wash hours card
  • Auto insurance card
  • American Saddlebred Horse Association membership card
  • United States Equestrian Federation membership card
  • Passport services information card
  • Chico’s passport card
  • Sprint prepaid phone card
  • Two Starbucks gift cards
  • One Target gift card
  • Avis Preferred Card
  • My physician’s business card
  • United Airlines Mileage Plus card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest card
  • Four postage stamps

All I can say is “good grief”!!!!! That’s 34 items. It’s time to clean house.

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