Technology has always been something I have been really passionate about- hence, when I became an MPA, I kept MIS as my minor here at McCombs. I look at websites, read blogs, etc. and just love to hear the fascinating stories about how technology is shaping and improving the world we live in. However, something else very crucial to the changing world is communication. I am a strong believer in the importance of honest communication and believe that communicating, itself, also shapes and improves the world we live in.
That being said, I was intrigued when I came across a NYTimes article this morning that contrasts ‘communication’ with ‘connection,’ and discusses the role that technology has in the “sacrificing of communication.”
The article goes on to explain the notion of being “alone together.” In a world where we are attached to our smart phones and computers, we feel constantly connected to all of the people in our lives. Sherry Turkle, the author, goes on to explain how we expect more from technology and less from each other. We feel like, because we could send an email or text message at any time, we are all connected. Of course, this is important in a world that is getting smaller and I am not trying to downplay any of the amazing technologies that help business communication today. I just think it is important to remember that there is a difference in what you get out of a face-to-face conversation vs. one online or via email. Continue reading Sacrificed communication→
On Monday, April 16, MPA Council screened “An Inconvenient Tax” to celebrate the end of tax season. For those of you who have not seen the video, I highly encourage you watch it. The film did a great job capturing the complexity of the US tax code, and explaining the most popular theories of ways to reform it. I feel this video is important to everyone, not just those interested in accounting and tax, because tax reform is going to be a major point of debate in the upcoming presidential election. Many of these theories of reform come up often in current events, and I now understand them better thanks to the documentary.
After the film was screened, the MPA Program Director Jim Franklin led a discussion amongst the council members present. Jim brought up many questions that sparked a healthy debate, the most memorable one being “What do you think will happen regarding the tax code in the future?”
There were many good and valid answers to this question, and this question continues to make me think. Here is my very personal opinion about the future of the tax code, based on my current knowledge:
I hear many people talking about simplifying the tax code and implementing a flat or fair tax to replace our current complicated system. I completely agree the code needs to be simplified, and here are some facts to back up that opinion:
The current tax code is four times the length of Shakespeare’s complete volume of works
Over 16,000 changes have been made to the tax code in the past 20 years
American taxpayers spend $200 billion and 5.4 billion hours working to comply with federal taxes each year, more than it takes to produce every car, truck, and van in the United States.
The IRS sends out 8 billion pages of forms and instructions each year. Laid end to end, they would stretch 28 times around the earth. Nearly 300,000 trees are cut down yearly to produce the paper for all the IRS forms and instructions. (there are many more facts not included here that will blow your mind!)
The code in my mind has gotten out of hand. One of the reasons why is because congressmen continually use the tax code to please constituents and donors. They soften the blow of their poor performance by creating loopholes for their major donors or try to create tax credits and deductions their constituents can use. If we replace our current system with a simpler tax policy, I don’t see why congressmen won’t continue to try to create tax breaks and changing the code until it eventually becomes as complicated as it is today. Continue reading “An Inconvenient Tax”→
Most people that know me know that I feel that President Obama is very hit-or-miss with his policies; however, I think his administration’s recent actions hit the nail right on the head. Over a dozen officers created a stir from possible activity with prostitution, and they were all sent home immediately. One officer, General Fraser, commented that it was behavior “not in keeping with the professional standards expected.”
More poignant, though, was a comment by a street vendor named Edwin Yepes, who said in a CBS article, “They are supposed to come here and set the example….it’s better if they don’t come than if they damage our image of them.”
What a stain on the United States!
And yet, recent conversations I have had seem to indicate that many people don’t see a connection between personal judgment and professional performance. The classic examples are Kennedy and Clinton; one acquaintance told me it was okay for these men to X-Y-Z as long as they were doing their job. While there is no denying that these men performed superbly on the job, their judgment has to be questioned. Continue reading Morality in Business and Politics→
Ms. Cook started off describing what MyYearbook was all about. When I hear about social media sites, I assume they are destined to fail since they are competing with the powerful network effects of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But Catherine Cook explained how these three social media giants don’t cover the entire span of the social media market. Facebook is for people you already know, Twitter is primarily used for news and entertainment feed, and LinkedIn is for the professional sphere of social media.
None of these sites are for meeting new people. That is the goal of MyYearbook. Cat Cook told us she got the idea at 15 when she moved to a new high school and didn’t know anybody. One of the purposes of the site is to help people who move to a new city engage with new people within a certain mile radius of them. Continue reading MPA Council Hosts Catherine Cook, Founder of MyYearbook→
Last week, a group of MPA students, myself included, who are recruiting with one of the Big 4, had the opportunity to participate in an activity co-sponsored by TOMS shoes. For those of you who may not know the story behind TOMS, essentially they donate one pair of shoes to someone in need everytime a pair is purchased.
At the recruiting event, the donations were two-fold. First, because of the buy one-give one strategy at TOMS, one pair of shoes was donated to someone in need for every student attending the event. Second, we also donated our decorated TOMS to a local Austin charity.
The community service aspect of public accounting certainly increases my desire to work in the industry. All of the Big 4 have multiple ways of helping to serve and improve the community. Midcaps and regional firms definitely participate in community service as well- I am just focusing on the Big 4 for the sake of this blog.
Here are some of my favorite community service efforts by the Big 4:
Deloitte’s big community service event is called IMPACT day. On IMPACT day, Deloitte professionals across the country all set aside their work and work for a nonprofit in their community. Just to put this in perspective, there are OVER 50,000 Deloitte employees nationwide and almost all of them will participate in this special day- that’s a lot of community service!