The CPA exam is a detriment to my accounting profession. It’s not the root problem. Rather, universities like my alma mater, UGA, teach strictly to the exam’s accounting principles because a high pass-rate is prestigious.
However, the most critical parts of an accountant’s job, like data file organization, reconciling balance sheet accounts, creating checklists and job instructions, using file naming conventions and providing back up for journal entries, are not taught. Simplistically, it is like teaching a carpenter about structural forces of a house but not showing him how to swing a hammer.
Why important? In almost every job I’ve taken over as a manager in accounting over the years it has been difficult, sometimes impossible to follow the previous person’s work. I’ve seen million-dollar errors, complete disorganization and lack of traceability but every one of those accountants can regurgitate GAAP principles. Facts can be googled in a few seconds but work habits and organization cannot, and that is what we are not teaching.
Similarly, high school should in part prepare us for the real world but we aren’t teaching critical, real-life knowledge on relationships, finances, etiquette, health, insurance, etc. needed shortly after graduation. Many kids don’t listen to their parents or have parents that impart this knowledge.
My kids were inspired by the Social Studies teacher who told them about compound interest and IRA’s and the trainer who talked about health care careers. I’ve given some young people basic car insurance tips saving them $100 per month. I’ve reviewed many resumes from Hall County young people and 95 percent are lacking. The divorce rate is 50 percent because our kids get relationship advice from a marriage counselor instead of up front, before they start dating. I suggest a three-minute PowerPoint presentation in high school each day on a real life topic that might inspire, help save money or lead to good marriages.
As a side note I want to respond to the May 30 letter. Francis Lake Sr. stated scientists in 1960-1980 predicted global cooling and so we should not be misled by scientists who study global warming now. The most notable global cooling article appeared in Newsweek on April 28, 1975, page 62. Newsweek retracted the one page article in 2006. The author states global warming is real and that he wrote the article over 40 years ago! (His exclamation point) Let’s start using current and credible sources like NASA or NOAA to argue about climate change.
Let’s say the 99.97 percent of scientists are incorrect. What’s the problem? Clean energy creates more jobs, solar costs are dropping and we can have clean air to breathe.
So here it is. We won’t be here in 75 years. Let’s not leave it to our grandchildren to find out if the threat of global warming is real like we are now racking up trillion-dollar deficits every year in the strongest economy in a lifetime. Hope is not a plan.