Don’t Forget Your Assignments!

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I hope you’re enjoying your final two weeks on campus … but please don’t forget about your final assignments!

Your individual homework assignment is due via email at the time that was assigned to your class section as the starting time of your final examination period. That is 11:00 am on Wednesday for our 1:30 pm section, 8:30 am on Thursday for our 11:30 am section, and 11:00 am on Friday for our 12:30 pm section.

Regardless of your class section, your term project #5 assignment is due via upload to Google Drive at 11:00 am on Wednesday.

And then … see you at Graduation!

The Final Week!

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We’ve done it … we’ve reached the final week of the semester!

I am delighted to confirm that we do not have any assignments due this week. Nevertheless, we will take quizzes 26, 27, and 28 this week, which will enable me to drop the three lowest quiz scores when computing your course grades.

In advance of our class on Monday, please review a document entitled Entrepreneur.pdf, a presentation that I utilize to help professionals decide whether to “quit” their corporate jobs and start their own businesses. You can find it in our Virtual Library.

Then, in advance of our class on Wednesday, please review the Congressional testimony of Mel Dick, the Arthur Andersen partner who managed the Worldcom audit shortly before the firm’s collapse.

Finally, in advance of our class on Friday, please watch a brief video clip that was recorded the day after Worldcom and Arthur Andersen executives testified before Congress. Please keep in mind that the Sarbanes Oxley regulations were still under debate in Congress at this time.

And then … we will conclude our accounting course!

Sleazy Tax Shelters!

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I hope that you’re enjoying the long holiday weekend! This week’s pair of sessions will be dedicated to my final advanced accounting topic of the semester: sleazy tax shelters!

In fact, our topic is so advanced that it cannot possibly be covered in a single class session. So Episode 1, on Wednesday, will cover the “nuts and bolts” construction of a tax shelter. And Episode 2, on Friday, will cover my own personal experience with the tax shelter that we’ll construct on Wednesday.

Although you are always welcome to attend any of the three daily sessions of our capstone course, the unique “two episode” nature of this week’s session might make it worthwhile for you to attend a specific session on both dates.

In other words, if you choose to attend the 11:30 am session on Wednesday, please try to attend the 11:30 am session on Friday. Likewise, 12:30 pm session attendees on Wednesday should try to attend the 12:30 pm session on Friday, and 1:30 pm attendees on Wednesday should try for the 1:30 pm Friday session as well.

So how shall we prepare for our sessions? In advance of our Wednesday session, please read a brief article about Connecticut’s estate (i.e. “death”) tax. Although you should read the entire article, please focus on paragraphs 3 through 6, which fall under the section heading “Connecticut.”

Then, in advance of our Friday session, please read a pair of brief articles about tax shelter prosecutions at KPMG and BDO Seidman. The first article, published in 2002, describes the launch of a pair of federal prosecutions. And the second article, published a few months ago, describes the resolution of one of the prosecutions.

Although we have completed our set of 25 quizzes for the semester, I have decided to offer a pair of extra credit quizzes next week. The quizzes will adhere to our normal quiz practices, and for each of the questions that you answer correctly, I will add a single point to your final course grade.

By the way, I uploaded copies of Anne Lipsitz’s documents to our Virtual Library. You may wish to review them before our quiz on Wednesday!

And what of our term project? Your next submission is due on Friday evening, April 25th at 11:59 pm. Details are listed in the Project 4 page of our course blog. You can access the page by clicking on the Project 4 link under the masthead of our blog’s home page.

The following “hints” may be helpful as well:

1. Although the heart of the previous Project 3 exercise was the Investment Value section, some of the student groups only placed limited emphasis on the components of that section. Please keep in mind that a full set of financial statements, accompanied by financial ratios and some nonfinancial ratios as well, must be prepared for the Project 4 and 5 submissions.

2. Although I added a note about Enterprise Risk Management at the bottom of the Project 4 web page, we will not focus on risk (except for the inclusion of a “brief sketch” in Project 4)  until the fifth and final project submission. Please focus your Project 4 submission on the three questions that define each of the five sections of the business plan, and on referencing each of your answers to the financial statements.

3. Please use our Google Drive software platform to create your multi-media presentation for Project 4. Instead of sending me your document(s) via email messages, please upload all of your documents to Google Drive and send me a Gmail message to confirm that you have done so. If you have misplaced an email message that I sent several weeks ago about your team’s dedicated online file box, please let me know … I shall send you another message immediately.

Our Final Guest Speakers!

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This week, we will welcome two more guest speakers to our classroom. On Monday, Kirk Kamien will discuss Fatima Hospital’s recent flirtation with bankruptcy. And on Wednesday, Anne Lipsitz will join us for a follow-up discussion of Mark Zampino’s presentation regarding professional networking activities.

In advance of our Monday session, please review the financial statements of St. Joseph Health Services, the parent corporation of Fatima Hospital. You can access it by downloading the file entitled Fatima.pdf from our Virtual Library.

Please focus on the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows, taking note of the organization’s financial status. We will discuss relevant aspects of the footnotes to the financial statements when we meet in class.

Then, in advance of our Wednesday session, please read an article entitled “Secrets To Interview Success.” You can access it by downloading the file entitled Interview Success.pdf from our Virtual Library.

There is no class on the Friday or Monday immediately surrounding Easter Sunday, and no project submission deadline this week. Our next project submission deadline is Friday, April 25th, when Project #4 will be due at 11:59 pm.

I am spending the weekend with your Project #3 submissions, and hope to send my grades and comments to you before we meet on Monday. Based on my initial “skim” of your submissions, though, a couple of (relatively) common errors are worth our attention.

One is that some of you sent me your document(s) via email messages, instead of by uploading your document(s) to Google Drive. I am not penalizing any one for doing so on this Project #3, but I (regretfully) will do so for Projects #4 and #5.

And two is that, for some of you, the investment value sections appear to be the least detailed sections of your documents. Although a comprehensive set of lengthy financial statement projections is not required until Project #4, it would have been appropriate to include discussions of factors like Operating, Investing, and Financing Cash Flows, as well as various types of financial ratios (beyond simply ROI), in Project #3.

I am deducting a (relatively lenient) point from your Project #3 grade if I identify this situation in your submission. Looking forward, please keep in mind that a full set of financial statements will be required for Projects #4 and #5.

Finally, please keep in mind that we are returning to our customary “quiz per day” schedule this week. Monday’s quiz will cover our discussion of Libor from last Wednesday’s class (as well as the advance reading assignment for Monday), and Wednesday’s quiz will cover our discussion of Fatima Hospital from Monday’s class (as well as the advance reading assignment for Wednesday).

And what of last Friday’s “class” at the Moore Hall conference? We won’t cover it on any quizzes because our students attended different sessions! Nevertheless, Friday’s material will be covered by an upcoming homework assignment.

A Note About Friday 4/11!

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Please note that we will not schedule a “normal” class on Friday! Instead, you are invited to attend a session of our Hybrid Higher Education conference.

Please use the Event Schedule link at the top of the conference web site to select your session. Although you are not required to select my plenary presentation for your session, you are welcome to do so.

By the way, if you do select my session, you may wish to skim our recent reading assignment about Ernst & Young, North Carolina State University, and Second Life before my presentation.

The homework assignment that is associated with Friday’s event is now posted on our course blog. Please use the Homework link near the top of our course blog page to access it.

Our First Guest Speaker!

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I have some exciting news for you! We are about to welcome our first guest speaker to campus. And we’ll also celebrate an historic milestone by — for the first time ever! — combining our course sections with Steve Perreault’s sections.

Can it get any more exciting than that? On Monday, instead of meeting in Room 102 of Harkins Hall, we’ll meet in Room 502. That’s right … the conference room in the luxurious penthouse of our headquarters building!

By the way, several of the staircases in Harkins Hall do not go all the way to the fifth floor. So if your staircase ends on the third or fourth floor, please don’t panic! If you can find the Bursar’s Office on the fourth floor, you can use either one of the two staircases (or the elevator) that is closest to that Office.

Our guest speaker on Monday will be Mark Zampino, the Media Communications Director of the Connecticut Society of CPAs. I’ve asked him to speak about professional networking and career development strategies, a topic that you emphasized in your anonymous feedback surveys. In addition, because he is one of the most effective public speakers I’ve ever met, I’d like to ask you to focus on his presentation techniques as well.

We will not have a quiz on Monday, and we will not complete any advance reading assignments for Monday or Wednesday. Our quiz on Wednesday will include one question about the material that we covered in class on Friday (i.e. April 4th), as well as one question about the material that will be presented by Mark Zampino.

So then … what will we do on Wednesday? Well, we’re going to leap into the home stretch of the semester! Each day, we’re going to address a different “special topic” in each of the disciplines of the accounting profession that you’ve covered during your time in the Accountancy program at PC.

First up, on Wednesday, is forensic accounting. We’ll discuss the Libor global banking scandal.

Our Friday plans are still “up in the air” at the moment. As you know, I am presenting the mini-plenary session at our hybrid education / technology conference, and I am hoping to include all of you in our activities.

I may not know until next week if that is possible … so I’ll keep you posted about our plans for Friday.

Regardless of our plans for our Friday class session, your next term project submission will be due on Friday evening at 11:59 pm. Details are listed in the Project 3 page of our course blog. You can access the page by clicking on the Project 3 link under the masthead of our blog’s home page.

Because you may need to provide me with several files, it would be appropriate to upload your material to your team’s Google Drive box. You can find it by going to the Google Drive web site and logging in with your Gmail address and password.

Look for a file entitled “PC Policy” and your team number, which is a number between 01 and 17. Upload your documents to that file, and then send me an email message before the deadline to confirm that you have done so.

Finally, please note that we reviewed the following exhibits in class from our COSO Enterprise Risk Management text: Exhibits 2.5, 3.1, 3.5, 3.7, 4.1, 4.6, 4.7, 4.10, 4.11, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.11, 5.13, 5.14, 5.15, 6.1, 8.2, 8.11, and 10.1. They all appear in the Applications section of the COSO text, which is the second half of the 246 page PDF file that you obtained from the COSO site.

Enterprise Risk Management

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Because we are not meeting in class on Friday, I thought that I’d post this weekly blog message a little early. After all, you might wish to get a head start on your readings!

Now that we’ve completed our review of the business planning process, it’s time to focus on the task of “trouble shooting” our plan. Thus, in advance of our session on Monday, please read the Executive Summary of the document entitled Enterprise Risk Management – Integrated Framework. It has been placed in our Virtual Library under the title COSO ERM Cube.pdf.

In addition, prior to Monday’s class, please obtain our sole “required text” (i.e. not just the Executive Summary … the entire 200 + page PDF file) entitled COSO Enterprise Risk Management – Integrated Framework (2004). It is described in our syllabus, and is available on the AICPA’s e-commerce web site.

Then, in advance of Wednesday’s session, please review an Enterprise Risk Management document entitled Walmart.pdf. It has also been placed in our Virtual Library.

Finally, in advance of our class on Friday, please review an online press release about a joint venture between EY (i.e. Ernst & Young) and the Accounting Department of North Carolina State University.

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