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The Accounting Oracle

Anthony H. Catanach, Jr., Ph.D.
Cary M. Maguire Fellow

The Accounting Oracle provides biweekly commentary (every two weeks) on contemporary accounting, auditing, and financial reporting issues “ripped from the headlines” of major business publications.  This video and print platform is dedicated to promoting ethical and transparent financial reporting, common sense standard-setting, and effective auditing.   Content is provided by Anthony H. Catanach Jr., formerly of the Grumpy Old Accountants, who is a Fellow with the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services at the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

The Accounting Oracle resides at the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics in Financial Services website at http://ethics.theamericancollege.edu/.  Beginning on January 1, 2013, you will find links to biweekly video and text postings.  Each topic will be introduced by a 3 to 5 minute video (which will also be posted on You Tube) so Accounting Oracle followers can decide if the week’s commentary is of interest.  Additionally, each video is complemented and supported by a more detailed narrative (essentially blog content without the blog interaction).  The Accounting Oracle site will also house the archives of past Grumpy Old Accountant blogs.

Why Accounting Oracle? As a grumpy old accountant, Tony (together with his now retired Grumpy Old Accountant colleague Ed Ketz) has identified and reported on financial reporting anomalies at a number of well-known public companies, which all too often have come to pass.  Tony’s 35 years of practical business and academic experience gives him a unique historical perspective missing in many large accounting and finance organizations that suffer from management and staff turnover.  He has witnessed almost four decades of financial reporting irregularities, and can quickly recognize these “games” in today’s financial reports.  Most of today’s shenanigans have been played in scandals from yesteryear.  He has seen them before; he can spot replications of old frauds, misrepresentations and exaggerations. Given the predictive ability of his fundamental financial analysis, coupled with the business wisdom only a grumpy old accountant could possess, the title Accounting Oracle seemed a natural fit.

Continuing in the tradition of Grumpy Old Accountants, the Accounting Oracle will:

  • Critically review the audit quality of large accounting firms and discuss the appropriateness of what they do and whether they contribute to the financial reporting process.
  • Comment on standard setters such as the FASB and the IASB—whether their exposure drafts and new standards are improvements or dysfunctional will-o’-the-wisps.
  • Track activities by the SEC, the PCAOB, Congress, the White House, and credit rating agencies and discuss whether they are improving financial reporting or whether they are hurting the investment communityl
  • Apply academic models and tools useful in conducting detailed financial analyses.

Viewers and readers will find the Accounting Oracle’s commentary not only controversial and topical, but very readable and understandable, traits uncommon to most accounting discourse.  The video and narrative also will provide supporting Web-links to facilitate research of the issues discussed.