A Counting School - Hardcore Chartered Accountancy

since 1494

News

"Hardcore Chartered Accountant" does have a nice ring to it

Receive Email Updates

ACS & www.krupo.ca

Other good places

Timesinks

Browse by Tags

All Tags » Learning from Mistakes (RSS)
It's easy to guard downtown Toronto for a simple reason
The most hardcore protesters of the day, June 22: courtesy Toronto Police Service's "LGBT protest on Queen St. W. without incident" album . Photo credit: Kevin Masterman Writer/Photographer for Toronto Police Security guards have a cushy job guarding the lobbies of the big fancy downtown office towers during G20 week. They of course have a solemn duty to make sure anyone getting in the building has a proper security card. I do believe the two gentleman guarding our lobby almost glanced at the card clipped to my belt as I wandered in out of the rain yesterday. If they asked, I would have of course good-naturedly held up my pass for closer inspection. "Yes, it is in fact I, Super Auditor." Or whatever. This is of course unnecessary: since I am able to dress the part of Super Auditor, Defender of Capitalism, or whatever you want to call the productive inhabitants of the downtown core, the hard plastic card I carry with me is almost entirely superfluous - except for...
Failures of multitasking
I could probably come up with an extensive series of articles on how, although multi-tasking is awesome, there are so many glorious ways to fail at it. Or one long article with many examples. I'll settle for shooting off one quick example instead. Consider a busy day, where your computer is chugging because of some new security patch getting automatically downloaded. You go to open one window in your database program. It takes some time. So you're sitting there, waiting for it to finish loading. Getting impatient and thinking, "I'll just work on this other file in the meantime." Half an hour later that other file might be done. And maybe you've taken some phone calls. Perhaps gotten a fresh coffee. Checked out the silly headlines. Oh look, not enough Obama in town. What will Chicago ever do? And the Flavia sourced coffee is rancid as ever. You're back at your computer, the window has loaded in the database program. You have no idea why it's open, so you...
When two companies get together to sell iPads, and one company fails at security
One of the fun assignments in my job is testing a company's security. It sort of looks like this. We specifically look at the security of computer systems, although it'll sometimes include physical security as well - can ninjas break in to your data centre by climbing your barbed-wire fences and feeding strings of sausage to your guard dogs? It also often involves asking question like, "how do you avoid the scenario of people getting access to all the confidential information you have stored on your systems, or shared with a service provider ?" This problem has recently bedevilled AT&T and Apple , and the scariest thing is that they're not the only companies to have ever suffered a security breach, just the most convenient example in the headlines right now. Their situation is especially painful because two companies get dragged through the muck: the vendor of a device, and the service provider offering network access. Ideally the contracts between the companies...
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...
Memo to the accounting market research team
To: Fieldwork Team Lead CC: Fieldwork Research Team From: Lab Executive Management Committee Recent Adverse Events Associated with the Accounting Application Market Research Study It has been brought to our attention that members of our team attempted to conduct research which led to negative publicity for our client and incidentally brought to light certain flaws in the design of the project. The project is halted until further reviews are completed. The Fieldwork Team Lead will be asked to receive approval from the Lab Executive Management Committee prior to resumption of the project. A thorough reevaluation of the research protocols to be employed will be expected, which should include independent research through selection of a random sample of industry participants of a statistically valid testing size that will allow for a more scientific and impartial assessment of market trends which avoids placing undue reliance on unreliable or biased entities. In the future, reading the about...
Hilariously Bad Sports Reporting
Absolutely nothing to do with accounting here, unless you consider the temporary failure to count the number of players on the field. This should make you feel better next time you completely fail at anything. Just think back to this sports report. Thanks Videosift. Oh, and I know the video spills right off the edge of the screen - I was going to fix it, but the Editorial Board declared it looked "awesome."
Can I replace the standard checkmark tick marks with stick-men and other fanciful drawings?
Short answer: depends on your manager. I very much like using the new 3D images in Office 2007 to make my workpapers look a bit more interesting, but I only use them when I know they're going to be appreciated, otherwise it's just standard yellow boxes and red check marks. Good tick marks are easy to draw, and are easily distinguishable from each other. These random thoughts came to mind after reading about Jim Carroll and how he did just that as a young CA student a few decades ago. He realized that being creative and a Chartered Accountant doesn't at all mean dealing with contradiction, and he went on to become a popular speaker on futurism and even writes a regular column in CA Magazine . Oddly enough I didn't think to wander onto his website until just now despite reading about his adventure in creating an app for simplifying that task. Go there , and you'll have a chance to listen to him speak is pretty captivating - and there's a introductory video on his...
What do I do if I find a glaring error in an audit by a Canadian CA firm?
Sometimes you read things online and wonder, "gee, what if someone in charge of this enforcing The Rules found out what's going on?" Would some audit firm get in a mess of trouble if things weren't being done properly? Consider this quote from a lively AuditLand discussion board : " Having worked for Big 4 firms for almost four years, I feel that Big 4 firms often lack ethics. We learn about ethics in different courses in University. I feel that none of the ethics I learned is being applied in the workplace. Generally speaking, managers do not perform all the Audit procedures in gathering evidence. For example, we take data given to us without validating them. The managers don’t offer its workers any directions or help. When I was in my third month at the firm, I went to audit the inventory of a computer hardware warehouse with another auditor. We had no idea what we were doing. We simply made up numbers that we thought made sense and we left. We compiled those numbers...
New guide: how to successfully wait in line at a Polish deli
I really do wish the following tutorial was not necessary, but recent events have showed me that our education system has clearly failed us. Now that there is an influx of people with absolutely zero life skills arriving in my neighbourhood, I have, as usual, found it thrust upon my shoulders to deliver a new guide on How to Survive Life. Long-time readers will recall this site's brief master class on business travel . The only thing it lacked to be considered the peer of workplace training was an introductory " You should be able to " Goals section, and a instructions at the conclusion regarding how to get your Continuing Professional Education credits. The new and improved courses delivered by A Counting School address those concerns. How to successfully wait in line at a Polish deli Upon completion of this course, you should able to: know how to stand in line to be served in a Polish deli, and not look like a cursed fool. Lesson one: arrival. Upon arrival, gauge the line...
Hope for 2009's unsuccessful UFE writers
Every December, about a quarter or a fifth of the UFE writers from the previous September get the bad news - despite their best efforts, they didn't pass the exam. It sucks, but there's no reason to give up. Much advice will then flow forth, and one of the most repeated points - "figure out what went wrong" - will mean more than just asking yourself, "what happened during the three days of the exam?" Equally important, if not moreso, if figuring out what happened before the exam. Speaking very broadly, you have two groups - the people who studied the "right way", and people who studied the "wrong way." Figuring out which group you 'belong' to can help you debrief what went wrong. I'm not really sure what they're trying to warn you about doing with that cable car. If you studied the "right way" - with a study buddy marking your cases, following a well-planned schedule up to the exam, avoiding spending too much or...
Shocker: CA firm lays off staff immediately after the 2009 UFE
My dear readers have reported experiencing something horrible: layoffs immediately after the UFE! Although it's one thing to decide, "we have too many young staff, let's tell some of them not to come into the office on Monday", saying, "well, let's get it over with quickly and call them to the office immedately after they have finished their 13 hour exam." Seriously - calling someone in on a Thursday afternoon to tell them they're being let go? Is that someone's idea of a sick joke? It's marginally better than doing it before the exam itself - that's a cardinal sin which I decry even more loudly, since it throws people off their game for preparing for the exam - but you would think that firms would realize that, "hey, we're doing campus recruiting right now." What does that mean? It means that students across Canada and in other parts of the world are currently applying to work for accounting firms. If students find out that...
Getting mauled by a lion: surely there's an allegory about Big 4 life
Thanks Videosift, you always brighten my day. I'll let you come up with your own story for how this compares to the adventure in AuditLand so many young people go through, hopefully with less claw marks. I nominate Neil to give it a first shot, considering he's now technically in the allegorical doctor's office stage of the video. It's been ages since I posted a video here just for fun, so let's do two while we're at it. This hits the " Learning from Mistakes " category: avoid walking behind horses, especially if you're an idiot.
What did the Livent fraud teach us about IT audits, frauds, and financial audits in general?
Livent was a Canadian theatre company which imploded in a massive accounting scandal in the 1990's which we learned about in university as a case study in how not to do several things on an audit. The people involved are heading off to prison , at the end of a lengthy and drawn out legal proceeding, but that's okay because I only now noticed this article in Canadian Business shed some light on the IT side of things . During one audit in 1996, computer experts from Deloitte & Touche – the accounting firm that audited Livent’s financial statements – spent at least 28 hours evaluating the company’s information systems, but failed to detect the changes, the court heard. Any inquiries from the auditors about changes were referred to Eckstein, Cheong said. A Deloitte report on Livent’s computer systems, however, noted the company’s lack of data security and warned: “The lack of sufficient logical security may result in unauthorized access to programs or data.” What this article doesn't...
Hiring high school students to run audits and treating your staff like... prostitutes?
Tick Marks has an article that's hard to believe - someone hired high school students to work on his audits . His name happened to be Michael Moore, but the guy punished by the SEC wasn't that Moore. Not a big surprise. I've found the grave of Michael Moore in Victoria. No, not that Moore either. Then comes the story which made our jaws drop just a bit when shared with friends: " Accountant ‘treated like a prostitute’ sues City firm for £40 million. " The article states that, while working for PwC, the accountant claimed to be on the receiving end of racist and sexist comments, and she's suing for damages. There's a curious claim in the article that she "claims that the discrimination prevented her becoming a PwC partner earning at least £500,000 a year plus bonuses." I presume that this was phrased more delicately, in the sense that "she could have one day become a partner, had she not been subject to this treatment." Being 31 years old...
Going to Kitchener for food, fun, and sometimes audits
The summer of road trip adventures and weddings continues - a week ago sending ACS to a wedding in Waterloo, with a stop on the way at Kitchener's Golden Hearth Baking Company . I've been out there many times for audits, but this weekend had nothing to do with auditing anyone, unless witnessing people get married is a form of auditing. Damnit, this work nevers escapes me. Oh well, at least we make it fun. And delicious, as I explain below. Although the wedding was a fun way to fill up on said deliciousness, it only lasted one night, so I loaded up on some of the wonderful baked goods for Sunday by stopping there on the way. Read a little about them, courtesy of their own website : "They have been at it ever since. The bakery makes everything from scratch including the croissants. They use only the finest quality local and organic ingredients. They do not use preservatives or artificial ingredients. They bake the old fashioned way with butter, fresh milled flour, farm eggs...
« Previous page - Next page »