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Accountants

Tax time is around the corner, and it got me thinking about accountants.  What is the purpose of an accountant?  To account for things, yes, but what overall purpose do they serve?  My answer would be, To determine how much money a business has made or lost in a given period of time.

Now, if I took 15 accountants and put them in the same room, and gave them the same business to "account", do you think they would all come up with the same answer?  No, of course not.  Accountants bottom line is to inflate profits and reduce debts, that is to make them appear larger and smaller than they really are to appease "the boss".

I guess there's a parallel to programming there.  Take 15 programmers and put them in a room with the same problem and they will all come up with slightly different solutions.  Of course programmers can't necessarily "cheat the books" or be criminally convicted, that is to say, programmers are not likely to be held to the same liabilty as accountants.  Then again there may be circumstances where they are or should be.  Have you ever used software that was so poor you wish you wouldn't have bought it?

My life is pretty plain
Friday, January 02, 2004

There are three basic types of accounting:

Managerial accounting is how you lie to your boss to make your division look much more profitable than it actually is.  If your boss is convinced, you get a raise and a nice bonus.

Financial accounting is how you artifically drive up your stock price by lying to investors.

And tax accounting is...  well, I think we all know what _that_ is.

Alex Chernavsky
Friday, January 02, 2004

Oh yes, I work for 20 accountants (or accountants in training), and sometimes I just pause and look at the office full of them.
All with there snooty private school education (nothing against private schools, I wanted to go to one, and when the time comes I may consider sending my children to them for the right reasons, however I have lived in big cities with private schools, and they are not as snooty as a small city with only a few private schools).
I just feel like saying "hey guys, its a bunch of numbers and you just add them up with a calculator"

One of them (the resident "I have built my own DNS server" computer guru) told me once "I can count to ten in binary". I looked at him stunned, so he repeated it because he thought I was starring at him in disbelief. Note this was after I had to show him a textbook so that he would *believe* there was such a thing as a binary point. "yes my gosh, funny thing, base 10 is not the only base with negative numbers and fractions!".

Yes, I look at them all full of their own importance. My opinion is that they built a world to make themselves feel so far above anyone else, but have never ever been into the real world.
The tea-room conversations amaze me. They have never been poor, they have never had there parents cook them rice for a month because it made for cheap meals, they have never washed clothes by hand because their washing machine broke and couldn't afford to fix it.

Do I sound like a Troll?
Do I hate accountants?
Did I do an accounting minor at university?
Yes to all of the above.

Aussie Chick
Saturday, January 03, 2004

A better question might be, "If all of those accountants can't come up with the same answer then why aren't there any standards they have to comply with so they do come up with the same answer."

I'm afraid if we answered that question, a whole proffession would be put out of business.


Saturday, January 03, 2004

Piffle.  Next you'll be demanding licensure of accountants... ;>

Sam Livingston-Gray
Saturday, January 03, 2004

FYI there are standards, volumes of them.

The reason why they come up with different answers is because a standard can't cover everything.
ie is this capital expidenture or Repairs & Maintanence? I have watched debates over whether a ruler (yes a 30cm wooden ruler) should be classed as a depreciating item or not.

A standard cannot get that nitty gritty, so that accountants must apply the standards to each job, and there will always be grey areas.

Aussie Chick
Saturday, January 03, 2004

Aussie Chick, I share your disdain for the arrogance and privilege you describe at the accounting firm. Keep going with your observations because they show you to be a pretty cluey person.

> The tea-room conversations amaze me. They have never been poor, they have never had there parents cook them rice for a month because it made for cheap meals, they have never washed clothes by hand because their washing machine broke and couldn't afford to fix it.

Make sure you don't become too specific, because those a-holes will probably read JOS one day.

I've been poor
Saturday, January 03, 2004

I can count to 10 in Binary too... 00 10. no wait, that's 2.

100.. no that's 4.

1000... no that's 8.

10000... no that's 16.

How do you count to 10 in Binary and not know how to count to 16?

Full name:
Monday, January 05, 2004

>How do you count to 10 in Binary and not know how to count to 16?

The answer is that you don't really *know* how to count to 10 in binary.

All you know is a cheap party trick, but don't really understand that concepts of base numbers.

Aussie Chick
Monday, January 05, 2004

How about counting to 4(base10) in binary using your fingers?

gives person across the room the finger... ;-)

pdq
Monday, January 05, 2004

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