November 2007 - Posts
There's a relatively new site commenting on accounting for accountants, students and the like, The Accounting Onion.
It took me a moment to realize there's no relation to The Onion, America's Finest News Source, but it looks just as interesting, and perhaps more useful to CAs, CPAs, and allied folk.
The same lack of time that has caused my postings to nosedive will keep me from going through all the entries there, but this one caught my eye - it's about PCAOB inspections.
Basically, all audit firms in the US are subject to inspection, but it's the big 4 that take care of 99% of the revenue being churned through the US economy. So spending more than 1% of your time auditing companies that represent 1% of US corporate revenue - to simply things - is, according to Tom Selling, a misallocation of resources.
It would, of course, make more sense to more efficiently focus on areas where you're going to have the biggest hurt - larger companies.
Then again, if a large company interacts with small and medium sized firms, isn't it possible that the smaller entity can just as easily have instances of fraud, which somehow affect the larger firm, which it may be supplying?
Yet another one of many questions that bears more thought. I could write at length about it, but if this at all interests you I've said enough already to make you think.
Inflammatory but true.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Dziekanski.
Never have I been more ashamed of the police or Canada.
Strange that the cops' names don't seem to have been released.
I'm looking for support for this claim - ah, thank you Google, found it - Mr. Pritchard had to sue to get his video back.
This doesn't surprise me at all, sadly. I was doing some freelance journalism photographing nearby a crime scene recently and had a cop on his high horse chase me right off, once he finally arrived on the scene and tried to impose control.
Police cover-up? Yes.
And there's news that there was already a report in 2005 telling them not to go around killing people with tasers. As
if you need a report to know that only highly trained officers should
be using devices like this! When tasers first came out they pointed out
that only the tactical response unit in Toronto - the Emergency Task
Force - was equipped with tasers, the devices being too experimental
and dangerous for the rank and file to wield.
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott is an evil man for daring to say something as ridiculous as "The RCMP remains of the view that Tasers are effective law enforcement tools and are safe," unless this means he admits that the device was improperly used and the conduct of the officers themselves is what was responsible for Robert Dziekanski's death, in which case I applaud his Goodness and Honesty.
Sadly, I fear that the latter scenario is probably not the case, and that's distressing.
Kudos to the BC Civil Liberties Association for not letting the RCMP get away with the travesty of suppressing evidence which Pritchard lent to the cops solely because they promised to return it within 48 hours (rather naive to ever believe you'll get your tapes or film back!):
"The BCCLA is concerned that the RCMP attempted to misrepresent facts
and spin a story of the event that would place their officers in a
favourable light," civil liberties president Jason Gratl said in a news
"Added to this, the RCMP sought to suppress public disclosure of a
video that will likely cast their officers' actions in a very negative
light," he added.
"This kind of public manipulation is not appropriate nor dignified for Canada's national police force."
Today, Pritchard said he is just happy to have gotten the videos
back, and even more pleased the public will finally get to see exactly
"I think the police have to be accountable ... there was absolutely no need to use the Taser here," he said.
"Now things can happen and the public can do what they need to do
to change the policies and procedures so this never happens again."
Before the video even hit the news I knew something smelled. And now there's proof.
As much as I like the suggestion to try washing more things to see if they survive, the charm in my recent experiment was to see if my mistake would end up not costing me too much. And, fortunately, it did - my earbuds have served me well all week, keeping my bopping my head as I write up various audit papers.
One unfortunate development, though, is the fact Firefox is acting strange. I love it and its AdBlocking ways, but it's not acting the way it should on my home computer. My work laptop is running it great, but I don't take it home and shouldn't need to.
I could re-install the program and everything would probably fix itself. But why do the boring solution when you can do something marginally more interesting? I've downloaded the Alpha Test (meaning it's still a 'rough draft', in software terms) of Firefox 3, code named Gran Paradiso. Should be interesting to see how it works.
Download is available here - funny how tricky it was to find the link - since it's not meant for consumption by the general public, seeing as how they're still testing it out to see if breaks itself or Windows that makes sense. And if you want to try it for yourself, now you have another convenient link to it.
The ones supplied with the iPod Nano I scored this year survived a surprise visit to the laundry. The sound is also much cleaner now.
I'm about to learn something the infamous ‘fun way’.
It all started when I wondered where my arbutus were. I couldn’t find them on my desk, so perhaps they were in my bag at work.
I went to the office, looked inside the pockets, and still couldn’t find them.
I was puzzled but resigned to the fact that they would eventually show up. Somewhere.
While wandering over to put my laundry in the drier the mystery solved itself, and I solved the mystery rather inadvertently - and promptly kicked myself for forgetting to check my shirt pockets for items like headphones before putting them in the washer in the first place.
So now I’m following the Standard Protocol, which is to say, I’m going to give the arbutus a day or so to dry off.
If they do end up working after my fit of brainlessness I’ll promptly issue my announcement on how waterproof the standard arbutus issued with an iPod Nano - whatever they call the mid-2007 edition - actually are.
When computers don't behave, I get rather annoyed. The electronic demons are a form of torment that makes me start to understand how much it must suck to have to fight poltergeists and the like. So I think it's rather ironic that I'm an IT auditor. Or perhaps not ironic, but a "great fit".
My biggest headache recently has been the fact that for the past few days I've had a horrible time with Gmail and Firefox on my home computer. Fortunately I can access it with my laptop from work, which is what I found myself doing because Gmail would suddenly stop working every now and then.
I could also use Internet Explorer, of course, but then, I could also hug and kiss some poisonous snakes.
I would've tried to fix this sooner, but I'm spoiled by Firefox's excellent crash recovery schemes - if the program shuts down unexpectedly, when you reload it auto-magically loads up all the windows you had open.
Tonight I finally got so tired of the Gmail crashes - I could hardly open a message! - that I ran a quick Google search that returned a handful of matches that confirmed that something is affecting various people, but nobody wrote up a real response to the issue - just some sad & lonely pleas in the wilderness for help with no answer in sight.
Knowing that this is affecting a few people, but not enough to generate an "official" response that tells me what to do - not one that I could find easily, anyway - I asked myself, why would my home system be in trouble while my work system is running fine?
The answer was pretty obvious: extensions. Actually, the "lonely pleas in the wilderness" link above suggests it's the reason too. Add-ons that give Firefox various features, some cooler and more useful than others. I installed a bunch at home that weren't on my work laptop.
But as with the "lonely plea" person, I didn't initially spend the time to test a fix. And if this was to be truly priceless advice, I would've had to have done a comprehensive test by uninstalling extensions one-at-atime until I found the one that is giving me trouble.
Life's too short, though, so I pressed "uninstall" on a set of tools that I hardly if ever use, and could conceivably be causing trouble. In addition to a few tabbed browsing extensions, there was an "Advanced Dork" extension that I don't think I've ever used - and it purports to give you access to various Google features. And a few other utilties for good measure. I knew it's not Adblock, though, since I'm running that on both systems with no trouble - and it completely turns your internet experience upside down, which is one of the reasons I shy away from IE.
The excellent news is that one of these measures did the trick. I can use Gmail like a normal person again.
Couple this with a successful resolution to my mail-in rebate issue - it turns out giving your work address to the store you're buying personal computer hardware from can end up screwing up your mail-in rebate request down the road - and this turns out to have been a rather successful day in the battle against minor frustrations that can build up to big trouble. Hurray!
Last month I had the lowest post-count since May, and I was on vacation during most of that entire month - three of the five posts were actually written when I came home.
The reason for the huge drop in activity here was because I’m in the midst of my busiest ‘busy season’ to date.
I liken busy season to “harvest season” to people unfamiliar with accounting firms. It’s an especially apt analogy for my purposes since it coincides with the Western/Northern world’s harvest season.
Moving back to another item that is only loosely connected to food, spam, I thought that I hit a new record number of spams, only to realize that there were about two hundred left over from September. The 2492 fall short of August’s unbeaten record, of 2541, but it’s still back up from last month’s dip down to 2166.
One of the new scams is the fake job offer, using real companies in an attempt to pull in suckers. It’ll be interesting to see how much identity theft occurs because of that lame new trick, a few examples of which snuck past Gmail’s formidable filters.
Speaking of failures of online commerce, a rebate check I was hoping to receive has been denied. The rebate company is kind enough to provide a reason and a scan of the documentation they got from me.
Their reason is that I didn’t include the receipt. The third page of the scan shows my receipt.
I am not amused. The lack of a response from their customer support line is also grating. We’re moving onto day two with no response.
If a game of volleyball with me will teach you anything, it’s that everyone makes mistakes, so I’m willing to forgive. If they straighten their act out. Volleyball is for fun so I’m willing to forgive lots of screw-ups.
I hope they respond to me, and fast. I’m already beginning to ponder my escalation options. The rebate company - a third party, of course - doesn’t show lots of avenues of communication. So I may need to contact the product’s manufacturer directly and ask why I’m being what’s rightfully mine.
This is not a good way to build yourself a good reputation. Let’s hope it works out for the best.