Saturday, March 18, 2006

Get it right the first time

Let’s make a list of notable corporations with accounting issues: Tyco, Enron, World Com, and Adelphia. And then there’s the countless number of corporations that have had to restate the financial statements for less significant accounting errors. Today I read that GM has had to restate its financial statements. Obviously GM’s restatement should not be considered in the same degree of significance of the previously mentioned firms. However, I find a restatement by such a stalwart firm disturbing.

Let’s make something clear – restatement of financial statements due to a correction is a bad thing. Years ago when I was an accounting student, restatement of financial statements for an accounting correction was a rare event. And so it should be. The fundamental concept is that financial statements are to be issued in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Translation – get in right the first time!

I deeply believe that the fundamental approach to full and proper disclosure should be to properly classify all transactions, regardless of effect on the income statement. You do not allow your judgment of the treatment of an accounting transaction to be affected by its ability to satisfy some performance goal or quarterly performance. In a single word – ethics.

The accounting professional is always ultimately accountable to society. This can range from externally published financial statements to the preparation of internal financial statements that are used to prepare the organization’s tax return. Ultimately society relies on the full and proper disclosure of financial information.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mac Mini Intel Core Solo and Mac Mini Intel Core Duo

Well, they did it and it looks like a great deal. You can buy a new Mac Mini 1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo for $599 and a new Mac Mini 1.65 GHz Intel Core Duo for $799. They come with 60GB and 80GB hard drives, respectively. They also come with Combo Drive and Super Drive, respectively. Both come with built-in Airport Extreme, Bluetooth 2.0, 512MB RAM, Front Row, Apple Remote, iLife ’06, integrated Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM, 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, four external USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 port, optical digital and analog audio in/out, built-in mono speaker and Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger.

The optical digital out makes this the missing component to your media center.

iPod Hi-Fi

Apple has announced a shelve style external speaker system for the iPod. It’s primarily designed to sit on shelve, however, it can run on D cell batteries. As you would expect it charges your iPod while in the dock on the top of the unit. And it comes with an Apple Remote.

I wonder why Apple would enter this market. There are already numerous solutions in place. Apple’s expertise is in digital technology, not sound technology.

That being said, I will consider this product. I love having my iPod in the office connected to a decent set of speakers. I’m currently using a set up is a MegaWorks 3 speaker system from Cambridge SoundWorks and I love it. This thoroughly enhances my iPod experience. However, it’s not portable and it lacks a remote. I’ll definitely look at this product when I start my next job.

Dubai Ports World - Security is a government issue

Dubai Ports World – A business perspective

I believe that Congress is significantly over reacting to the Dubai Ports World deal.

Security is the responsibility of various government organizations, most notably, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs. The deal was reviewed and signed off by several U.S. government departments including the Department of Homeland Security.

Port management, namely, movement of the cargo is the responsibility of the port management company and the company does not have authority to open the containers nor does the firm have knowledge of what is in the containers. That knowledge falls in the hands of U.S. Customs.

The problem with port security is the lack of government resources to thoroughly inspect every container. Keep in mind the throughput volume that occurs at ports. It can be upwards of a million containers a year in a single port. This volume prohibits inspectors from removing and examining the contents of every container. Therefore, other inspection techniques must be used including modern and highly effective uses of technology. Based on a recent television reports, U.S. port security does not possess sufficient technological and personnel resources to provide adequate security.

Port security is independent from the ownership of the firm responsible for the movement of the sealed cargo containers. Longshoremen are responsible for container movement. Longshoremen aid security by recognizing and reporting suspicious containers.

True port security begins with cargo inspection and container security at the point of origination. What real difference would it make if a WMD is released when the container is still on the docked ship versus in the container yard?

Congress is overreacting and has made this a politic issue that is damaging our relations with middle-eastern businesses.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hey! What's been going on?

Hi folks! I’ve been absent for a while. So what have I been doing? Well, I left the firm I had been working back at the end of August. With the free time on my hands I’ve been involved in four things, two of which you already know about, namely blogging and podcasting. The other two items are conducting a job search and working for HR Block.

The job search – My dream job is to be a Powerball winner. Unfortunately I haven’t obtained that yet I need to take a more conventional route. Ideally I would like to obtain a controllership position will a small or medium sized company. Keep me in mind if you know of any opportunities in eastern Massachusetts.

HR Block – I first got this idea from a colleague when I was working as a financial planner. My colleague was a CPA and wanted to start a part time tax practice but lacked the hands-on experience. He compensated by taking the HR Block income tax course.

I took the course this fall. The cost was $150 – a real steal. I’m a Bentley College grad and took Income Tax as a senior. The HR Block course is competitive with the Bentley course. I was very impressed. To be come a Tax Professional for HR Block you need to score an 80 or higher on the final. My score was in the 90s. The next step was to go through 30 hours of training on the tax software and then start as a tax preparer. As you may imagine, studying for taxes, working at HR Block, working as a bartender on Friday nights and attempting to conduct a job search has kept me away from blogging.