Let’s Chat – Week 2

Better late than never, right?

The podcast assigned for week 2’s discussion post was Thriveal Podcast episode # 83, “Accountants are Heroes ft. Jacob Soll”. I assigned this cast because 1) Who really knows how accounting began?, and 2) I believe it’s important for students to know that what we do as accountants matters more than just being a safe career choice.

Here are the points I asked my students to consider:

  1. Soll posits that Nations rise and fall because of transparency in accounting. Do you agree? Do you think this also applies to companies?
  2. Soll gives a quote that accrual accounting is “financial gravity.” How do you interpret that quote?
  3. In his book (which I’d recommend everyone read), Soll discusses the history of accounting dating back into the 1200/1300’s. Did you realize that accounting was performed that far back in history?
  4. Do your own Google search for a famous accountant, and post a link to the article you found. What did this person accomplish, and what are they famous for?

Here’s my answers and/or a few of my favorites from the students:

  1. Obviously since I chose this topic I agree with the statement, and the subsequent notion that is applies to companies as well. Dr. Soll talks about how he was excited about the audit of the DoD, and I’ll admit this is something I have been incredibly interested in as well. In fact, recently there was an article written by CNN that indicates the DoD has spent over $500 million on “audit remediation” and “financial system fixes”. Politics aside, it’s easy to see how a more robust accounting of the DoD would be beneficial, and that is something most accountants know. Even small businesses realize they need their accountants. In an article published on Accounting Today, a survey showed small businesses that utilize their accountants have higher profits than those that don’t, and expect to grow more.
  2. The students all had pretty similar interpretations of “financial gravity,” such as it being the “foundation” or the part of business that “holds everything together.” My personal interpretation is that gravity is a law of physics, tested repeatedly and shown to always occur; it is fundamental. Like gravity, accounting is a law of business. Repeatedly it has been shown to be essential to successful businesses and organizations. And in its absence? Chaos. Can successful businesses truly exist without accounting? Can the universe exist without gravity?
  3. I had read about the Medici’s and their banking empire, but that’s really as far back in accounting history as I’d known to go. Who knew it all began with the Dutch? On a personal note, this did enlighten me as to why I may have been drawn to accounting in the first place.. My father’s family is from the Netherlands! 😀
  4. Here are a few of my favorite famous accountants chosen by the students: Josiah Wedgwood, Sir David Tweedie, and Mary Addison Hamilton. If you’re not sure who these individuals are, consider this your history homework for the day!