I’m going to take a look at finances of the Viking era.
Before doing so, I’d like to provide some context of the horrid barbarity of warfare in ancient times.
Previous post mentions the slaughter during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.
Next I’ll describe the gathering of slaves by Alexander the Great accompanying his path of destruction across the ancient world. Today we would call that human trafficking.
People taken away into slavery by Alexander the Great
I previously made some guesses how many slaves were taken by Alexander the Great. See my post on 2/2/17: Wild guess on the tally of people enslaved by Alexander the Great.
Professor Frank Holt did a lot of research on the plunder taken by Alexander: The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World.
In Appendix 2, the professor tallied the known and unknown references to plunder and slaves.
The recent news on two different firms claiming the Andersen name is subtle. If you are really interested in stories such as this, the news is actually quite interesting.
The latest developments…
3/8 – Crain’s Chicago Business – It’s Andersen vs. Andersen in bizarre trademark fight – More background on the two firms claiming rights to the Andersen name.
I’m going to take a look at finances of the Viking era, similar to what I’ve done on legionnaires during the Roman Empire and the plunder gathered by Alexander the Great. There isn’t a lot of information available, but I’ll look at some I was able to find.
The Viking era has recently captured my interest, leading me to read a fair amount on the history of the times.
This is the first time I have dived deep into the adventures of the Norwegians, Danes, and Swedes back then.
My paternal grandfather and grandmother both emigrated from Norway, settling in South Dakota before meeting each other, marrying, and starting a large family.
So it is appropriate to dive into my ancient legacy, later in life though it may be than for most of my cousins.
Why a series of posts on finance in the Viking world? Because I want to.
One of the things I learned early on in blogging is that a person should write on what is of interest. An audience will develop or not, but cannot be predicted. Thus, a blogger should write on what is of interest.
Why post this discussion on this blog? Because this is where I write of accounting issues and it is a short jump into financial issues such banking in general because I am interested in banking and finance. From there is a very short trip to the wide, ever expanding world of banking fiascos. From there, it is possible to jump back a couple of millenniums to ancient finances of Rome and Alexander. From Rome it is merely a few centuries forward to the Vikings. All of that fits within a blog on accounting.
Before I get started
One of the aspects of the Viking era that jumps out is the violence and the widespread plundering.
Several accounts I’ve read say that capturing slaves on raids and selling them into the Arab worlds was more lucrative that making off with all the gold and silver you can find and the loot you can carry.
The ancient world was astoundingly violent.
I’d like to offer two of many possible illustrations.
Roman destruction of Jerusalem
In 70 A.D. the Roman Empire laid siege to Jerusalem, sacked it, and destroyed the entire city, killing essentially everyone crowded behind the city wall at the time. The euphemism is that apart from one wall and one tower, there was not so much as one stone left on top of another anywhere in the city.
The wall and tower were left so that for centuries to come, everyone can see this is what will be left if you go too far in irritating Rome.
Remember forever: Rome did this.
Don’t. Mess. With. Rome.
So you can keep it filed in the back of your mind, a bill has been introduced in California which would level a sales tax on services. This would include all the services provided by CPAs.
CalCPA sent out a note today pointing to the draft legislation:
To keep from getting caught in a jam with your clients, you might consider adding a clause to your engagement letters that says any quoted fees will be adjusted based on any new taxes imposed by the state.
A current trial alleging arson and insurance fraud provides CPAs an educational read on the fraud triangle.
Consider these articles if you want more background or to see my sources:
- 3/20/17 – MarketWatch – What drives people to arson? Falling house prices
- 1/27/17 – WLWT – Middletown man’s electronic heart monitor leads to his arrest
- 2/8/17 – Washington Post – A man detailed his escape from a burning house. His pacemaker told police a different story.
A fellow woke to fire in his home, packed a few belongings, called 911, tossed a couple suitcases out the window he broke with his cane, then climbed out the window to save his life.
That’s what he told fire officials and his insurance company.
The fully involved fire, which from a photo looks to have destroyed the home, caused around $400,000 of damages.
Technology can rat you out
His pacemaker told a different story.
The Wells Fargo fake account fiasco doesn’t seem to be generating any more major headlines. Still some notable news if you go several pages into the second section of the WSJ. Also, the WF living trust plan got a failing grade.
2/21/17 – MarketWatch – Wells Fargo fires 4 managers as part of investigation into sales scandal – Titles of fired senior managers shows decent level of seriousness in accountability:
In the short-term, looks like a shortage is emerging for experience accountants. In the longer term, the massive change surrounding us means we need to keep learning and adapting.
As CPAs, we need to keep learning new skills and focus on things computers can’t do.
1/30/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute of MACPA – Want to beat the machines? Learn to do what they can’t do – Here is a way to think about automation that you might be able to wrap your brain around – How will you adapt then 30% of the work you do is automated, done faster, quicker, cheaper, and more accurately than you can do? Not 99% of what you do, not 10%, but 30%?
I can’t get my arms around audit or tax or consulting completely going away. I just can’t picture that. However, I can imagine 30% or 40% of my work as an auditor becoming completely automated. Actually, I sort of like that idea.
Computers don’t do well at applying professional judgment, courage, empathy, flexibility, and reacting to body language.
Point of article is learn to do those things better.
1/31/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute of MACPA – Change is a choice. So are relevance … and your future – Each of us has a choice. We can keep doing what we are doing. Or we can decide to change and grow and learn new things.