A Counting School - Hardcore Chartered Accountancy

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Don't be too proud to admit you've made a mistake
It's good to be proud of your work. If you've done a good job, you can take pleasure in the fact that it's error free. And yet, people may say things like, "are you sure you didn't double-count those items?" You may be 100% correct in saying, "of course I didn't," with a self-righteous huff. That doesn't mean you should , though. Let's assume that you are in fact correct. Rather than scorn those who are helping you by examining your work to avoid embarassing mistakes, thank them for their concern and interest. Then let's assume that the people asking you are very knowledgeable, and they aren't just asking the question to give you a hard time. Now stop and ask yourself, "why are they asking me this?" Is it, perhaps, because your work may in fact be entirely correct, but you didn't present your thought process in a very clear and logical manner? Are you hiding some important facts or assumptions which cause people to second...
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...
All the tablets are back on sale: the Playbook is back, 32GB is on sale for $249 this weekend
Good news! Especially if you were on the fence about getting a Playbook when it went on sale last month, hemmed and hawed, and then realized it was too late to order one, only to find out you could still get one from Shopblackberry.com, just to endure a cycle of cancellation, re-ordering, more cancellation, frustration with a coda of "well, you can mail us a cheque and then we'll send you one." Ridiculous. Fortunately Future Shop, Best Buy, and presumably other fine retailers have it online for their Boxing Day sales, which started last night already. $249 for a Playbook, which I can use to easily sahre the photos I took the with 5 megapixel camera on my phone? Works for me. Better than the $20 off sale for the $499 Apple tablet - there's many good things about the iOS and iPad products, including legendary customer service, but affordability isn't one of them. I'd rather pay less and solve problems myself, no matter how insane. Merry Christmas to all!
Posted: Dec 25 2011, 02:57 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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G20 Saturday: Violent Rumble
I missed out on the madness downtown today. I followed it on my phone, but missed all the live TV footage which no doubt justifiably enraged my friends. I did catch stills like this one which from a local Toronto photographer show why the city was on edge all week long. It's perhaps best I wasn't around - I could've had my camera smacked down to the ground by an imported officer from Peel region. Of course he might've been on edge - not sure if this was before or after one of those police cars was set on fire. The you'll "be on Youtube" response, while accurate, was rather snarky to the point of inviting an assault. Not justifying, of course - this is clearly a criminal offence by a police officer. Also freakish: random arrest videos by plainclothes officers. I should point out that some well-meaning people naively claim that when store windows got smashed in, the "peaceful" protesters should've taken action to stop the anarchists and ne'er...
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...
It's cheaper to contact a space telescope than to text message people
BBM station domination campaign at the TTC's Yonge-Bloor subway station Having alluded to Eurocents , I managed to trip over an interesting little article that came out two years ago and yet is still oddly relevant: a scientists decided to poke the cell phone industry with a sharp pointy stick and calculate the price per megabyte for transmitting a text message. He then compared that to the cost of transmitting data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Verdict? “ The maximum size for a text message is 160 characters, which takes 140 bytes because there are only 7 bits per character in the text messaging system, and we assume the average price for a text message is 5p. There are 1,048,576 bytes in a megabyte, so that's 1 million/140 = 7490 text messages to transmit one megabyte. At 5p each, that's £374.49 per MB - or about 4.4 times more expensive than the ‘most pessimistic’ estimate for Hubble Space Telescope transmission costs. ” Transmission from space only costs about £8.85...
This G20 business is getting ridiculous
G20 garbage receptacles. Classy. Way to great the world, Toronto. I recently noticed, and wrote about , how the "street furniture", specifically the garbage cans, are disappearing from downtown Toronto. Transit Toronto reports that in addition to those shenanigans , transit shelters and newspaper boxes are also being removed for most of June, until the conference is over. How completely ridiculous. A very rational risk management move in the face of "suspicious packages" and shards of glass getting tossed about in case protests get Pittsburghy. But still ridiculous, as others write . It's almost as zany as shutting down national rail traffic to downtown Toronto. Note to whoever paid contractors a whole bunch of money to clean up the poles: they got lazy and never got around to cleaning the top part. Fail.
Posted: Jun 07 2010, 07:39 AM by Krupo | with 1 comment(s)
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CA Magazine: Afraid of the "L" word!
This month's CA magazine features a mention of Stefano Picone, CA , founder of mycasite , but before you can read that you may read the following unrelated trainwreck of a paragraph - read it and guess what went wrong here : " Firms only interested in training CA students who wish to practise public accounting but lack the audit hours to do so should also consider hiring experienced CA students who have already completed the required chargeable audit hours at another firm. CA students can complete their practical experience requirements for qualification at your firm and may be eligible to practise public accounting. The current economic situation has resulted in the availability of a number of experienced CA students ready and able to take on new opportunities. " Did you see it? Avert your eyes children! Did they just casually say "current economic situation"? I'm sorry, I think the editors must have accidentally hit "find and replace" on the more...
Brace yourself for big bills Telus customers: incoming Twitter messages are being tracked as outgoing.
If you're a Telus customer using twitter to get SMS updates, and you don't have an unlimited text messaging plan, get ready for a potentially nasty bill. Although the USA has enjoyed this feature since the dawn of time , for the past few months Canadians weren't able to receive updates from twitter on their cell phones until the Canadian cell phone companies and Twitter sorted things out amongst themselves. Last month Telus caught up to the other major players and reintroduced incoming messages, which was wonderful. There's just one catch - someone screwed up on the code in Telus' billing software, and it started reading incoming messages from twitter as outgoing messages. Ironically I know the people who were behind the unvandalized original version of this ad campaign. Read this painful account on HowardForums if you want to see what happens when you're the first person to get hit by the billing issue . Thank goodness I wasn't the first person to report this...
Thank you for not wishing me any particular harm
Somewhere over the Rockies Someone out there must be wishing me luck. And it’s working. Flying to California for a short vacation, I tried to do online check-in only to find that the website declared this sort of thing forbidden. Perhaps due to the fact I was using frequent flier points - or, more likely - it could've been because of my connection on an American partner airline - I would have to check in at the airport. Okay, fair enough. Arriving at the airport the check-in computer reported a rather full plane - the only empty seats were singles, and my row was full with three people. Oh nuts. Well someone must’ve decided they’re scared of H1N1 - or perhaps they just moved to another spot on the plane.Whatever the reason, I found myself enjoying one and a half seats. I can easily fit in one, but it’s nice to stretch your legs laterally. Of course, me being me, I somehow crashed the in-flight entertainment system. I guess the system does a soft reboot while it’s on the ground. Before...
My one year CA anniversary... spent trying to vote in the ICAO 2009 election
If anyone stumbles across this helpful post, here's the link to click to get to the actual ICAO 2009 election is you have all your voter info . That link dies after May 8, 2009, so enjoy it while it's on. Chartered Accountants are members of an Institute - in Canada there's a national Institute, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants , and regionally provinces have their own associations. Ontario has its own, of course, the ICAO - the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario , and the executives of these organizations end up landing in their positions through free and fair elections. Though it feels like it's been ages, it's actually only been a year - precisely a year in fact - since I got my CA . Wow. Anyway, due to the timing of my admission to full membership a year ago, I wasn't able to vote in the 2008 ICAO election - this is my first time receiving the Annual General Meeting and Council Election package. Having studied the impressive biographies...
Posted: Apr 27 2009, 11:38 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Canadian CA Dominating Greg Mankiw
My title, though technically accurate, is completely unfair though - Dr. Mankiw is way more experienced than I am - he's a PhD damnit - and he's written books and many other wonderful things . But it's also very fun. It all stems from a webcast for CAs, to teach them how to use social media effectively. They showed Chartered Accountants how to make it easier to set up their "online brand" and to appear like more of an authority by making it easier for people to find you online. And with that I got an excuse for a short excursion into navel gazing and teasing of a distinguished academic, the former being something I generally avoid unless I can put some good spin on it, and the latter always serving as an excellent way to get yourself blacklisted from Harvard. So onwards, to the patting of ourselves on the back. How do you make yourself easier to find online and look like the authority figure you basically are? Write about something you consider important and add some...
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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Bad clients & office cleaning: where you should (and shouldn't) make cuts, or torture staff
Dennis , the online business guru - go read his collected wisdom - wrote a little article listing ways companies can save money. It's a quick and clever little list. But one point made me shudder: cutting back on cleaning expenses. "Consider the frequency of janitorial services. Does the office really need cleaning every night? Might staff at least partially fulfill that service?" Some random statistic I stumbled across ages ago said that offices are some of the worst places in terms of germs. Accounting firms lead the pack according to the study. Perhaps it was just advanced internal fear mongering to generate sales of hand sanitizer. Perhaps not. Regardless, I continue to wash my hands, but I also appreciate the hard work of the cleaning staff. I also know for a fact that people would revolt if they were confronted with overflowing mounds of rubbish in the office. It'd be nice to thing everyone can pitch in and help, but unless you work in a very small office that's...
This is why I drove a rental car to my last client
Just when you thought Air Canada couldn't get any cheaper, or callous: sweet merciful crap. That link takes you to a CNN story this site picked up, explaining that Air Canada's regional operator, Jazz, has decided to save 25 kilograms of weight from each flight by getting rid of the life vests. The rules state that as long as your plane is flying within 50 miles of land, it's okay to do this - you can use the seat cushion as a flotation device instead. So as long as I can swim 50 miles I'll be okay? Oh sweet mother - I think I have to sign up for some advanced swimming lessons before going to my next client, which happens to be on the coast. Let's pray and hope - and assume for argument's sake - that in the unlikely event a plane needs to make an emergency landing it doesn't crash and crumple and otherwise disintegrate catastrophically. If you were to look for a place to land and there were no roads in the area, what would be a better touch-down pad? A bunch...
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