Tag Archives: AICPA insights

Fare Thee Well!


“2017 was an intense year”. That’s the news alert that I received on 26 December. You’re not kidding me! – that was my response. This year has been a more challenging year than I expected it to be. Last year, I decided to do a year in review. Looking back helped me think more about my plans for the future. I have decided to do the same thing again. It is important to take stock. Without that, how can one think about the future?

As the year began, I decided to deal with minor health issues that turned out to be way more tedious and drawn out than I ever expected. Something that I thought would not take much time at all ended up lasting through July. What a drag. A trip that my husband and I had been planning, to visit my grandmother, was postponed. Then, on 10 June, my grandmother passed away. It was devastating news and made more so because, being in the midst of my own treatments, I could not travel for her funeral. The silver lining in this was that I discovered something I had never known. My family in Zimbabwe shared the above photo and I was stunned to see just how much I look like my grandmother.

Despite the challenges that came with the new year, I was honored and excited to be an instrumental part of a new committee with the New York State Society of CPAs – the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. It has been an eye-opening and insightful year, working to provide programming to our members to improve diversity & inclusion in our profession and to have frank and enlightening discussions and events around the topic. I have had fun times with members and those who have attended events and I like to think that, one little step at a time, we are making progress.

I have continued with the cello lessons that I started a year ago. I have woken up on Saturday mornings, exhausted after a long week at work, drained and not looking forward to the long drive back to downtown Brooklyn and the horror that is looking for a parking spot. However, once I get into class, I find joy. Our cello instructor started an adult orchestra and I have already had two recitals. A year ago I was learning how to play “Twinkle, Twinkle” and that was an important milestone. A couple of weeks ago, our orchestra played the theme to Jurassic Park AND I played a solo!! I’m no Yo-yo Ma (and never plan to be) but I always welcome the opportunity to work my brain and heart in new ways. I believe it makes me a better person, a happier person and a much better CPA!

I have continued to be inspired by high school and college students. These interactions renew my energy to work to build the pipeline to our profession – there is so much incredible talent out there and some of that talent should be a part of our profession. I speak with young people who are full of passion and promise and it fills me with joy!

I spoke at the AICPA’s Forensic & Valuation Services Conference. I met an incredible range of fellow professionals and came away feeling as though my brain had expanded a little bit. Every year, I look forward to sharing thoughts and insights and learning from Forensic & Valuation professionals and this year did not disappoint.

During the year, something I struggled to do was run. A couple of years ago, while taking out the trash, I tripped over a concrete block in my parking lot and fell, hard. I fell hard enough to fracture my leg and spent several months in a brace. As I failed to make a comeback, I went to see a doctor and found out that I had a torn meniscus. I closed out the year a procedure to fix the meniscus. That is all sorted out, but it turns out that, through that fall, where I wasn’t even running away from a rabid raccoon, I managed to do more damage to my knee that may need to be sorted out. The sad part of this is that I have been told to give up running. Honestly, I was gutted. Running has become a large part of who I am. My runs are my quiet time, they are my meditation and my medication. I have run through a Times Square that is cleared of traffic and pretended that I am trying to escape zombies. I have run through all five boroughs of New York City, during the marathon, and found delight and strength from those lining the route. To be told, “no more” is a difficult thing to swallow. I keep faith that I shall find new adventures and hold the secret (not so much now) hope in my heart that I shall run again.

  • I skated in Bryant Park and even let go of the railing!
  • I spent time with friends and family at the beach (I live here now!)
  • I went to an interactive screening of The Big Lebowski. There were a lot of bathrobes and even more spandex.
  • I have met new people who have made my life better.
  • I continue to be extremely grateful for all those I have known, who have given me hope, joy and support, sometimes even when they don’t realize they are doing so.

Yes, 2017 was a year with pain and disappointment but 2017 was also a year of inspiration and joy and it is important to see the progress that we have made, the work that has been done and the relationships that have been formed and built upon. I am ready for next year because I know I have great things to carry forward with me.

It is two days before 2018 – a year that will bring the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup! I already have three words for 2018 – Bring It On!!!

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Say It Clear


Recently I blogged, at AICPA Insights, about the importance of social media and getting ahead of it, instead of it overwhelming you. Social media is not just a way for people to share photos of their kids and pets with friends (and the internet at large) it is also a powerful business tool that is proving to be essential to the long-term survival of a business. Because of this intersection of the personal and profession on such a public platform and especially because of the sensitive nature of  a lot what the forensic accountant is involved in, it is vital to have a corporate social media policy in place.

It is nowhere near enough (and sometimes not necessarily good for business) for a company to declare that employees are not allowed to use social media while at work. In an age where most people have personal access to the internet through smartphones and tablets, a company blocking internet access on their computers is not enough to keep an employee silent on the web. And, is silence what a company wants at a time where having a social media profile is of the utmost importance to a business? Also, blanket policies are coming under fire from federal regulators. As reported in the New York Times, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has stated that workers have the right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether this conversation takes place in the workplace or via social media.

It makes more sense to figure out a way to manage the risks of social media and, as shown by the recent NLRB cases, the policy a business comes up with should be legal and specific. Beyond keeping in mind the wise words, “don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to your mother, here are some things to think about:

  • Forensic accountants can begin by tying their social media policy to the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct. In the same way that their work should be directed by this, so too should their social media interactions.
  • The social media policy should make very clear that confidential information cannot be be disclosed. This is particularly important for practitioners involved in litigation, where a good deal of information is privileged, to be clear that this information cannot be published in social media.
  • A follow up to the previous point was brought to mind by a friend who is in litigation. When working on a case where even the location of a meeting is confidential, practitioners must turn off GeoTagging in their social media. For example, someone posting a completely innocent post on Facebook may not realise that the GeoTagging that declares that he is at the Waldorf Astoria has just revealed the location of the confidential meeting he is attending.
  • The social media policies of IBM and the MACPA are a good place to start. The MACPA is of particular usefulness to those in accounting, be it in litigation support or elsewhere.
  • A social media policy is not set in stone; it should be updated as technologies and privacy issues change.

What is most important is to start out ahead with a social media policy, instead of trying to create rules once things have spiraled out of control. A straightforward, specific policy that recognizes the importance of social media, makes clear what is on and off limits, is legal and encourages those in the business to be innovative with the tools offered by these new and emerging technologies.

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