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Archive for the ‘Pondering’ Category

California starts first few steps to start opening up the stalled economy.

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Economic doors will start to open on Friday – Opening or closing? by Paolo Gamba is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Friday of this week, 5/8, California will take the first baby steps to revive the state’s economy. Some retail stores will be able to provide curb-side delivery of products.

I don’t quite know how many people will order clothes online in order to pick them up at a store’s curb, but that is a first step.

At least half the value of a bookstore is browsing the shelves to see what book you really have to read right but that you previously didn’t even know existed.

Well, it’s a baby step.

Several articles describe the beginning here in the state. First article describes that government officials better start opening up quick or they will find the everyone already has done so.

5/1/20 – Forbes – Apple Data Shows Shelter-In-Place Is Ending, Whether Governments Want It To Or Not – Apple and Foursquare are tracking data that show people are getting out more.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

May 6, 2020, 21:54 pm at 9:54 pm

Posted in Economics, Pondering

The shutdown will be relaxed, one way or another.

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Time to use the other side of those signs. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If the politicians don’t start relaxing the lockdown and letting people pay their rapidly accumulating bills, bunches of people are going to take the initiative and do so on their own.

I sense there is a limited time for those in power to start loosening the extreme restrictions or people are going to start ignoring parts of the rules.

At a deeper level, the concern I have is what’s referred to as the “social contract.” Government gets its authority from consent of the governed.

If a large number of people get to the point of concluding the rules in places like California and Virginia are unnecessarily severe and are causing more health, mental, social, and economic damage than they prevent, people will conclude our leaders have broken the contract.

If we get to that point, respect for law and respect for public officials will decline. That is not a good place to go.

 

Next two articles point out a small number of people who have already reached that conclusion:

4/20/20 – Daily Wire – “Social Shredding”: Defiant Residents Grab Shovels, Dirt Bikes After Cali Authorities Dump Tons of Sand In Skateparks For ‘Social Distancing’ – Officials in San Clemente California noticed teenagers were committing the grave sin of skating in the city’s skate park. Well, that is patently unacceptable, so the city dumped 37 tons of sand into the skate park in an effort to shut down the skating. Since the park is at the beach, sand was readily available.

Well, the city officials did not take into consideration the incredible level of creativity present in humans, especially Americans.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 27, 2020, 10:35 am at 10:35 am

Posted in Economics, Pondering

Good news in some states for people who like to pay their rent and put food on the table. Bad news for California and Virginia.

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A deep freezer, used for keeping large volumes of meat and vegetables frozen. That’s where the economies of California and Virginia are going to be stored for a long time. Image (but not commentary) courtesy of Adobe Stock

Many states are starting to open up their economy.

Virginia may be closed down tight for up to 24 more months.

California may not open up until August.

August.

There will be incalculable medical, emotional, and financial damage in California and Virginia from the lockdown. More on that momentarily.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Good news

On the bright side, getting most attention for opening are:

  • Texas
  • Georgia

Other states are thawing because they also don’t want to bankrupt everyone, destroy all the hospitals, further tear down overall health levels, and permanently cripple their economy. List includes:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

And then there is Virginia and California.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 25, 2020, 15:05 pm at 3:05 pm

Other damage from pandemic

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Tornado damage. Image courtesy of
Adobe Stock.

Warnings are surfacing about the damage from the stay-at-home orders.  There are mental health repercussions from isolation.  There are also negative health implications from rapidly dropping income and disappearing wealth, such as missed medical screening and delayed or skipped treatment.

4/9/20 – Wall Street Journal – Coronavirus Pandemic Takes Toll On Mental Health – Article describes how the forced isolation and disruptions are starting to cause distress in terms of mental health. There will be a severe Ripple effect from the stay-at-home orders and shutting down the economy.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 11, 2020, 8:13 am at 8:13 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

Economic damage from pandemic is severe and will continue to be severe.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are starting to see some guesses about the economic damage from the shutdowns driven by the pandemic.

When you read about the 10 million people who have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks and consider there will be millions more and the unemployment will continue for another month or two, ponder the ripple effects.

That shock of unemployment translates into cars not purchased, summer & Christmas vacations not taken, conferences not attended, college enrollment delayed a year, fancy wedding receptions never planned, and house renovations postponed by a decade.

4/5/20 – Wall Street Journal – State Shutdowns Have Taken at Least a Quarter of U.S. Economy Offline – Study by Moody’s Analytics estimates that 29% of the U.S. economy has shut down. That is the estimated drop in output we have already seen.

Some of the staggeringly dangerous hits to U.S. output and wealth:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 8, 2020, 6:09 am at 6:09 am

Posted in Economics, Pondering

When will this mess from the pandemic be over? Focus on the idea that it will end, not what that date will be.

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We will prevail. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

When will we be done with this stay-at-home restriction?

When will the economy recover?

When will we be back to “normal?”

 

I don’t know the dates for any of those transitions.

I have a suggestion for you.

 

Don’t set a specific date in your mind. Instead firmly set in your mind that this mess will end, we will get through it, we will survive, and we will thrive at the end.

What is the danger of setting a date in your mind and having faith it will be over on that date?

Let me introduce you to the Stockdale paradox.

Admiral James Stockdale was an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam war. He was a prisoner in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, routinely subject to brutal torture, legs broken twice during interrogation, and held in solitary confinement during four of those years with his legs locked in a metal stock each night. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor a few years after his release.

I think we should listen to him. His physical courage and moral courage are a role model for all of us.

For one explanation of the phenomenon he described check out article titled The Stockdale Paradox.

 

Who did not come home from captivity?

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Written by Jim Ulvog

March 25, 2020, 11:36 am at 11:36 am

Posted in Pondering

Pondering impact of coronavirus prevention steps on financial statements. An auditor’s perspective.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If you are an auditor getting ready to issue opinions on client financial statements, you might want to ponder the subsequent event implications of the U.S. shutting down large portions of the economy this week. Might want to take a closer look at going concern assumptions.

If you happened to have slept well last night, you might ponder the impact on the financial statements you released a couple weeks ago.

Subsequent events

Here are some initial thoughts for consideration as disclosable material subsequent events and perhaps contingent liabilities:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

March 14, 2020, 9:26 am at 9:26 am

Comments from recent continuing education classes worth repeating: “get in or get out”

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If you are an auditor and that is a diagram of new audit rules, then you need to completely understand the graph. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are some fun or interesting or useful tidbits from the October 2018 A&A and the June 2019 Not-for-profit conferences presented by California Society of CPAs.

Previous posts had comments on accounting and auditing as well as peer review.

“Get in or get out”

The second speaker who discussed peer review in previous post also said that if you are doing A&A work you need to “get in or get out.”

Let me translate that…

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 1, 2019, 6:31 am at 6:31 am

Comments from recent continuing education classes worth repeating: accounting and auditing

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

To get ready for a writing project this summer, I’ve been going over my notes from some CPE conferences and classes.

Thought I’d share some of the fun or interesting or useful tidbits from the October 2018 A&A and the June 2019 Not-for-profit conferences presented by California Society of CPAs.

Auditing

The auditor’s report will be completely reworked with implementation first required for 12/31/20 reports. The statement has been issued. Check out SAS-134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements if  you want to get a head start on the overhaul to audit rules.

By the way, an omnibus standard, SAS 135, makes lots of little changes you need to know about.

An exposure draft is out which addresses audit evidence. Final document expected in late 2019.

Accounting

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 27, 2019, 6:58 am at 6:58 am

Memorial Day: gratitude for those who did not return

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

 

To family and friends of those who did not return, I humbly say:

My deepest condolences on your loss.

From someone who appreciates the price paid for the freedom I cherish everyday, please accept my thank you on behalf of your loved one who paid the price that my family and I can live free.

“Thank you” is so little, but it is all I have to give you.

 

 

“Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God” Tomb of Unknown Soldier 002 – Arlington National Cemetery – 2012 by Tim Evanson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California. Photo by James Ulvog.

Written by Jim Ulvog

May 27, 2019, 9:28 am at 9:28 am

Posted in Pondering

Tips on how to apologize

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Sorry by HypnoArt is in the public domain (CC0 1.0)

Let’s face it, we all goof up sometimes whether by insulting a client, dropping the ball on a project, or the good ol’ engage mouth before engaging brain routine.

To repair the damage, especially in the work environment, an apology is needed.

The Journal of Accountancy on 9/25/17 offered some great suggestions on How to make a professional apology.

Here are a few of the multiple tips suggested.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 2, 2017, 7:58 am at 7:58 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

The story on Silk Road, an on-line drug bazaar, shows the power of rationalization and self-deception

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Cover of “American Kingpin” from Amazon. Used under fair use.

The sad tale of Ross Ulbricht and his on-line drug bazaar called Silk Road is a good study of the outer limits of how far rationalization can carry a person.

It is also a frightening illustration of Jeremiah 17:9. From the New International Version, ponder:

The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Considering the tale of Silk Road is useful for accountants wanting to learn about the outer fringe of the internet and he investigative power of the federal government, believers who would like an illustration of the frightening level of deceit that lives in the human heart, and anyone else wanting to learn more about the dark worlds that normal people will never see.

My posts are gathered into two collections on my other blog, Outrun Change:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 26, 2017, 16:22 pm at 4:22 pm

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

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More explanations of virtual currencies and possible applications

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bitcoin” by komersreal is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Several recent articles provide more background on Bitcoin and other blockchain tools. For your daily brain stretching:

  • Blockchain as a possible tool for fast and cheap international payments
  • China is working to restrict blockchain transactions
  • Central banks ponder issuing of their own virtual currencies
  • Tax status of blockchain transactions and the IRS is out fishing for tax evaders
  • Description of blockchain as being the internet of money, comparable to how the internet moves and stores information

8/28/17 – Journal of Accountancy – Blockchain opens new era for cross-border payments – Moving money from one country to another is time-consuming and costly. There are fees at both ends. It takes several days for the money to arrive. An error in one digit of the routing or account information means the transfer will go astray and take more time and money to locate.

Blockchain offers the opportunity to make international transfers near immediate and at a fraction of the cost.

For an illustration, picture a company paying international vendors. Or an international worker sending part of his paycheck back to his parents in his home country. Or a mission organization moving funds to its many field offices.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 26, 2017, 10:34 am at 10:34 am

Posted in Pondering

Another overview of blockchain technology; time to start figuring out this stuff.

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Sure does look like this blockchain technology is going to be a big deal. Might be time to start getting our minds wrapped around the concept.

For starters, check out this short overview:

 

 

For a bit more detail:

8/4/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute – Block chain might remake accounting. The opportunities are huge. – Introductory article is one of the better overviews I have read. It introduces the video shown above.

One sentence description of Block chain, quoting from the article:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 15, 2017, 7:31 am at 7:31 am

Suggestion for coping with massive change that could replace your job: Take full responsibility for developing new skills for yourself.

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Embrace Change” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The rate of change we are seeing around us is massive. There are threats of automation or artificial intelligence even eating into what is called the white-collar world.

Here’s a suggestion on how you might cope with this overwhelming change:  Take on full responsibility for keeping your skills and abilities current.

8/1/17 – Stephanie Kasriel at Medium – Skill, re-skill, and re-skill again. How to keep up with the future of work. – The rate of change is accelerating and the skills needed to do work in the new economy are changing as well.

Article provides a brief summary of our education system. I will expand that with what I have learned elsewhere. Then I’ll mention a plan to dealing with this turmoil.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 7, 2017, 8:45 am at 8:45 am

Posted in Pondering

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