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Atrocities of learning confuse and infuriate Chartered Accountants
Something that helped me immensely when I was preparing for the CKE , and should be helpful to anyone taking a multiple choice test designed by halfwits, was to realize that the test was probably designed by someone who wasn't thinking things through very much. Reading too much into a question is a recipie for anguish and anger. If you make it all the way through this rant you'll pick up a tip that will prove invaluable on your next multiple choice test. Yes, you may be right when presented with all the possible exceptions to a scenario, but in an ordinary multiple choice question, go with the answer they're "looking for" rather than the answer that shows off how smart you are. It's sad but true: learning more facts and gaining more knowledge than expected of you can actually end up harming you, when you're presented what the test writer would consider to be a "simple" question. Right lane, left lane : right answer, left answer. Step away from the...
The G20 police state comes to Toronto: shenanigans!
Globally I'm sure this is still off the radar, but in Canada we're all in a state of shock, having learned that the government plans to spend a billion dollars hosting the G8 and G20 summits this month: the G8 in the rural town of Huntsville, and the G20 in downtown Toronto. $1,000,000,000. Nice. I've seen the first wave of spending allocated to installing more security cameras, presumably temporarily removing the garbage cans downtown and replacing them with transparent bags taped to lamp posts - which just look fabulous in a ghetto chic sort of way - and let's not forget the coup de grace. They're scraping all the posters and political propaganda stickers off the lamp posts as well. I've seen it on my bike rides to work. Heaven forbid Obama learn that Paul Oakenfold had a show at the Koolhaus in March and they didn't invite Barry to check it out. Newspapers are hot on the trail of this unfolding fiasco. The Post asked the ten federal agencies getting this...
Can you get your 51 CA credits in a year and a half?
If you started, say, an engineering program at one given university, could you switch partway through to a Chartered Accountant prep program instead in the same university's business school, and quickly get all the credits you need to graduate in a mere year and a half? One of the regular CA 'commentators' on the blogs and forums, sardaukar - who does an excellent public service in opening people's eyes to the "hell years" that await them as CA students, incidentally - did just that, and people wondered how this is even possible. Since I'm not really into Sudoku, and this is just the sort of "puzzle" I enjoy solving, I'll answer the question for the writer of comment #427. The funny thing about this exercise is that when you review the list of courses needed - I include links at the end of this article - many courses will count for "3 hours" even though they're full year, or half year. That means you can't divide 51 by 3 and...
Saving the world with smart meters
I once alluded to instances of ignorant rants being granted precious space in newspapers. The most recent guilty party was written by a Toronto Sun columnist who misunderstands what "smart meters" are supposed to accomplish. Before you ask why I bothered with the Sun, I must explain that I'm willing to read pretty much any newspaper if you give it to me for free. It's in some ways a bad habit, although I've learned to fight it by skimming over the worst whiners. I'm exposed to enough poorly thought out thought processes as it stands when I travel by air. Who was, after all, the genius who designed this sign at O'Hare? Closer to home, an angry letter writer lauded this column , blasting the provincial government of Ontario for having the audacity to try and get people to conserve energy for all the right reasons. The angry protests about forthcoming doom caused by power prices going up by a fraction of a penny was simply too much to take. Let's not talk...
Posted: Jan 26 2010, 09:03 AM by Krupo | with 1 comment(s)
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Bell Sympatico's default wireless security settings are incredibly... insecure
In case you're new here, I work as an IT auditor. And she's a "warfighter" in a Washington DC ad who has pretty much nothing to do with today's article. It sounds really sexy when you picture hackers running around performing penetration tests on big fancy computers guarding trade secrets and billions of dollars. And while there's some of that, I can't really write about it - confidentiality, you know. I can, however, give you some free advice that you can use, especially if you're a customer of Bell Sympatico internet access - though this advice is equally useful for people who just bought themselves a new wireless router, or even those studying for the CISA - they expect you to know this sort of thing on the exam. If you are given the choice of WEP or WPA encryption, always pick WPA . Why do I find it so important to write about this? Because despite some relatively clear instructions to enable WPA, it seems like people persist in the practice of "leaving...
Epic levels of whinging about work in AuditLand - did someone not know what they were getting into?
Recently there's been a spate of people getting really depressed about their lot in life. No doubt this has a lot to do with the fact that the audit busy season is in high gear for a lot of people right now - many people are working 6 or 7 days a week, waking up too early and staying at audit sites until far too late. I refer to a conversation I've been keeping an eye on - this relatively big thread featuring these unhappy, mostly young auditors. Although the 250 comments in the conversation comprise a lot since the conversation started in late 2006, with over half a million people working for the Big Four firms around the world, not to mention all the small and medium sized firms I'm not counting, there's a lot of people in this line of work. Some even enjoy what they're doing and drop in to see what people are saying. And so I don't feel like letting people indulge in their little pity party today. Because it's a pretty damned interesting year to be an auditor...
Posted: Feb 21 2009, 01:27 AM by Krupo | with 3 comment(s)
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Banned by PwC - again?! This time with Big Four job application advice
Another one of my intelligent comments to the PwC blog got blocked . This is getting a bit annoying . This time, I had some free job application advice to share. The pumpkins sum up my feelings about this shabby treatment rather succinctly. Here's the advice, for those of you looking for tips on how to prepare your resume and cover letter for that CA student position you're trying to land: "For most candidates the one page cover letter is a good call, but I've said before and had success personally with the mythical two page cover letter. It only works if you have very strong writing skills and know you're actually going to deliver a solid message - that means, no buzzwords or filler, but strong selling points that show why you're a good candidate. Maybe one out of a hundred candidates can pull it off, so make sure you know what you're doing if go down this route. Checking with your university career centre is a very good idea no matter what - but sharing your...
Is it PwC's UFE prep program or the related viral marketing campaign that's truly unique?
I found another CA blog out there - the first French Canadian one I've come across . If you have trouble reading Julien's French, run it through Google Translate. The translation's not perfect, but it'll do. The newest posting caught my eye ; in the spirit of hyper-critical UFE prep, here's some analysis. His writing's pretty good - the post about travel is a good read , and it's amusing to note that he looks forward to the chance to perfect his English in his travels, whereas I could say the same about improving my French when I'm sent on the road to the francophone parts of the world. Going back to his newest post about the UFE process, however, Julien talks about two factors that he claims make his program unique compared to those experienced at other firms - any message like that delivered on an official blog deserves closer scrutiny since new recruits are going to put some weight into what they're being told. Special Educators The first claim is...
I got banned by PwC, for offering UFE case writing tips
I try to help people, they turn me down. That's about par for the course, I should say - auditors are used to not getting much respect. With the exception that other auditors usually listen to what we have to say. If I offer help to someone, they're usually happy to get it. My UFE mentees are a prime example. They listen carefully to my suggestions, and pass their exams. It's a strong symbiotic relationship - I'm happy to share knowledge. With that in mind, imagine my surprise when, while stationed a day's drive north of the city, I checked my mail in the morning to find an unusual e-mail from another writer. What I received was a polite e-mail from PriceWaterhouseCoopers explaining why my commentary isn't welcome at Nisha's PwC blog , part of the new "PwC Connect" recruiting site that's gradually rolling out. That they don't want to permit my voice to be heard at their site doesn't concern me too greatly as I have - oh, my own little soapbox...
No photos at the train station now? What for?
I'm not really in the mood to argue. I mean, I've had some excellent food lately, which should really put anyone in a good mood. But I'm still shocked and appalled. And I really should've replied to the news that photography is banned from the station with a chilly, "what for?" You see, according to the best guess of the Montreal train station's security, I apparently must look like a terrorist. Wow, they should've seen me when I was all scruffy and bearded in university. One of my friends from back then thought I was a History, rather than a Commerce student, for that simple fact. This is the second time in two months that I've been witness to an instruction from security to stop taking photos in a government-owned facility. And it's so stupid I wish I got drop the hammer on someone the way America's Henry Waxman does two and a half minutes into this video . Waxman is understandably annoyed with the stonewalling he gets from the EPA about...
1158 pieces of mail, but I only opened one piece
A week after they sent me the e-mail making it official, my certificate finally showed up at the office, proudly proclaiming to the world that I'm a CA. Whee! The other 1157 pieces of 'mail' where spams that hit me - roughly as much as last month . Although the ICAO should probably be ashamed of itself for actually INCLUDING some old fashioned junk mail with the certificate - an offer for insurance with TD Meloche Monex. How. Incredibly. Tacky. Whoever thought of that idea should be stripped of their CA, if they have one, for bringing disrepute upon the profession. We have a bylaw along those lines which mandates for an expulsion or a flogging of some sort. I say we enforce the rules, even if the offender does work for the Institute. Scratch that. Especially. I exaggerate a bit - they're quite nice and friendly people at the ICAO. Their procedures could use some efficiency improvements, though. You see, I noticed that although my e-mail arrived last Friday, but it was the...
Posted: May 01 2008, 08:30 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Don't you wish you could leave work anytime like American politicians?
Some thoughts on flex-time popped up after seeing a this clip on Videosift with a bunch of American politicians walking out after a grandstanding speech making some spurious claims of support for disgraced Bush administration officials. What amused me about the video was thinking, well, actually, I can do that too. Not so much defend disgraced officials, but make my own hours. Of course, I leave for home either because I'm done work for the day or because I can finish it at home if I need to, and it does eventually gets done - on time. That's the nice thing about working "flexibly", from management's point of view - I get stuff done well and on time. The upside to me is that if we have 30 cm of snow on the way, I can just go home, or stay home for the whole day, spending some time shoveling the snow, and the rest with my laptop getting work done. I've seen things done the wrong way - at least the way I've read Cordie present her situation at PWC: I would argue...
Corporate work environments: comparing Google and Microsoft to accountancy's Big Four
I saw a stream of fresh-faced kids wandering through the office today. They were too young to be summer interns - to highlight that fact, one of my intern friends was actually leading the group along with a manager - I knew what it was, because I was one of them not too long ago. It was a bunch of university students taking summer tours of accounting firms. I only went on two tours in university. Ironically, my firm was one of those two. I never thought I would end up working here at the time - in fact, I didn't even know that my department existed back then. You learn a lot in university. And even more after graduating, really. Anyway, I was bemused to see that group wandering through our offices. They were even younger than I would have been, since I'm a product of Ontario's 5-year high school system, which ended shortly after I graduated. All these kids had 4-year high school programs, so they looked even younger than hardened 20-something veterans like myself. Oh, and don't...
Posted: Jun 28 2007, 11:33 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Fishing season is back
Just checked my mail and found a relatively novel twist to phishing - jargon for an attempt to trick you into giving away confidential information online. I'm too lazy to write up the details today, though, so check out this excellent summary of what just happened . It's so well done it's almost (almost!) a shame that it'll no doubt be reported to the major mail providers which will then probably kill the new attempt - but no matter how elegant the attempt, this kind of activity really can't be allowed to continue. It's curious thing to speculate about, though: will this hack allow financial information to get stolen? Odds are that it may happen, but at the same time, I wonder how you would be able to get away with such an attempt - I suppose you'd have to be ready to siphon off the cash to an anonymous spending source of some sort, since transferring back to an account you registered in your name would make it pretty easy for the authorities to track you down...
Posted: Jun 04 2007, 08:56 AM by Krupo | with no comments
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