Why I have known for most of my life that we have serious unresolved racial issues in our society

July 14, 2016, 8:58 am
Maybe we ought to do this with our hands and ears a little more often. Maybe even our hearts. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Maybe we ought to acknowledge there is a gap between us. Maybe each of us should reach out with our ears. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The first time I realized we had racial problems in the U.S. was way back when I was in elementary school.

If I can share my thoughts here without getting tons of hate poured on my head, I will have more to say. If you think this is somehow related to what we have seen in the news this month, you are absolutely correct. Mine is such a tiny, insignificant voice, yet I must speak.

What little I can offer you is one recollection from childhood, brief news reports while in college, and one news report while on active duty.

Take the stories however seriously you wish. Discount them or ignore them or explain them away if you want.  If it is your choice to do so, impute terrible ignorance to me that these feeble stories are what little I have to share. Assume about me whatever you will and paste on me any label you prefer.

So you can put this article into context, please know I am white, male, born into a middle-class family, currently living a middle-class life, and run my own small business. You will shortly be able to estimate my age.

You might want to get a fresh cup of coffee – this will be a long read.

 

Sir, can you call a cab for me?

We lived in a suburb of Wichita, Kansas when I was in elementary school. Don’t recall when this particular event happened, but think it was back in 2nd or 3rd or 4th grade, which would have been the early or mid-’60s. Yes, I know that means you can now calculate my age within a few years. Reason to estimate the timing is so you can put the incident into some sort of context. Think the 1960s.

My family was leaving a grocery store when a woman approached my dad. I remember her as being older (at least to the eyes of a youngster), rotund, black, and with inflection in her voice so thick that any three consecutive words she spoke would have immediately identified her race.

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The overwhelming change you feel today is going to increase. Engage the change.

July 8, 2016, 10:03 am
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they closed their doors.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they closed their doors.

The massive volumes of change you see surrounding you everywhere you look isn’t going to stop. In fact the pace of change is going to increase.

Each of us have a choice. Either figure out how to cope with and embrace the change or ignore it.

The cost of ignoring massive change is that you and your organization will get left behind. That doesn’t just mean you will be a laggard as you continue doing next month what you did last year. Instead that means your organization will radically shrink and before you know it, will disappear.

The downsides are serious. There is an upside and it is exciting.

Four articles I’ve seen lately focus the mind. While these articles are written in either the accounting or church context, they also fully apply in the church and accounting context. They also apply to every individual and organization.

This article will be posted across all my blogs because it applies to all of them.

7/7 – Bill Sheridan at LinkedIn – Embrace change or resist it: Only one option is viable.

The odds are really high that tax preparation will be completely automated in the next two decades. Estimated odds are almost as high that both accounting and auditing will be fully automated.

Consider my business and my core tasks of auditing charities. There is a real possibility those types of audits could be heavily automated in 10 or 15 or 20 years. I am not old enough to bank on retiring before that massive change starts eating away the entire audit profession.

Automation will take over an increasing number of tasks. The world of tax, accounting, and audit will be affected. Mr. Sheridan explains the shelf life of education and experience we have is shrinking.

As the Maryland Association of CPAs routinely points out our learning needs to be greater than the rate of change; L>C is their formula.

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New overtime rules go into effect December 2016

June 10, 2016, 7:00 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

It is only a few months until lots more people must be paid time-and-a-half for the actual hours worked beyond 40 a week. This will likely affect a huge number of charities and churches.

Just so you get the picture, after 12/1/16 your charity will need to track the actual hours for any full-time administrative staff or program managers earning less than about $47K and pay them for all hours worked over 40 per week.

Here are two more articles providing an intro to the issue.

5/23 – Associations Now – Overtime rule released: how organizations can prepare – additional discussion on how to start planning for the new overtime rules.

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To all those serving in the American military or who have served

May 30, 2016, 7:00 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force a mere four years. I never got within 3,000 miles of hostile action against American forces. To top it off, my small contribution was decades ago.

As a result, I am squeamishly uncomfortable accepting the appreciation when someone tells me “Thanks for your service.”

It took me a few years to get to a place where I could accept those comments.

I now graciously and proudly accept those expressions of appreciation from my fellow Americans, not because of what I did so long ago, but on behalf of all those soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who do not have someone looking them in the eye, shaking their hand, and saying “thanks.”

So for all those troops pulling alerts, standing watch, scheduling logistics, or taking fire, please know that vast numbers of Americans are grateful for your service.

I pass on to you their thanks.

You are there, not here, so many people have thanked me instead. It is you they are really thanking.

While today we remember with gratitude those who did not return, I hope those who are serving today hear the appreciation.


Overview of new lease accounting rules

May 27, 2016, 8:16 am
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com before they merged into Adobe Stock.

In about three years there will be a complete overhaul of the accounting rules for leases.

For a quick introduction to the changes, here are a few of the comments in a recent AICPA webinar.  I will keep this nontechnical.

“Right of use” asset

The basic concept is that a lease contract gives you the right to control the use of property, equipment, office space, or some other identified asset for a specific period of time. The economic substance is that the asset is yours to use for the term of the lease.

By creating a “right of use”, the lease contract gives you an asset that needs to be reflected on the balance sheet. In addition the liability for future payments needs to be recognized.

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It is time for charities to focus on the new overtime rules

May 19, 2016, 8:12 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The Department of Labor announced on 5/18/16 that new overtime rules will go into effect on December 1, 2016. That is about six months from now.

In one over-summarized sentence, here is the deal: for employees paid less than $47,476 annually, the employer needs to develop a system to track actual hours worked so employees are paid for overtime hours, with very narrow exceptions for charities.

Employees paid over that amount must still meet the previous requirements for job duties and be paid on salary basis to avoid the overtime requirement. The threshold will be revised every three years.

In case you don’t immediately see some implementation issues, then think about your super-dedicated first level supervisors paid less than $48K and ask yourself if you know how many hours they spend outside the office answering emails and how many extra hours they spend in the office beyond what they are scheduled.

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Initial reactions to Sen. Grassley’s letter to Wounded Warrior Project

May 18, 2016, 8:52 am
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Here are a few of the first reactions I’ve seen to the letter that was released to the media by the Senator’s staff on Monday.

Professor Brian Mittendorf describes what he sees as The Fundamental Issue in the Wounded Warrior Project Inquiry. The underlying issue in the letter from Senator Grassley to WWP is just a different way to look at the core issues in the discussion. The issue: Read the rest of this entry »


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