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“In the absence of other members of the committee, the chairman, accompanied by Counsel W. H. Black, attended a meeting of the executive committee of the National Association of State Insurance Commissioners at the Manhattan Hotel, on the 28th of June. In the course of the discussion, which lasted for nearly two hours, the whole subject of the form of accounts and the audit of accounts by public accountants as opposed to their audit by the State Insurance Commissioners, was fully discussed. Much interest was manifested in the form of accounts submitted by several of the members, and the whole committee was particularly interested in ascertaining why the state insurance department could not conduct an audit as efficiently as public accountants.
“The principal reasons advanced on this occasion against this suggestion were finally incorporated in a letter to the chairman of the committee, forwarding him for distribution printed copies of the amended forms of accounts. The detailed report of this conference appears in the August number of THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY.
No definite results have so far attended the efforts of your committee towards the adoption of an improved form of accounts, but the subject has been thoroughly ventilated and interest has been aroused therein among insurance officials and among the general public. It is generally admitted that the form of cash statement which is at present required under the laws by the commissioners of the various states is entirely obsolete, by reason of the fact that it is based upon receipts and disbursements rather than upon income and expense. Your committee believe that before long the advantages of the improved form will be so recognized that a change must be made, but at the present time, with the large amount of work thrown upon insurance companies, particularly in the State of New York, by the new laws recently passed, it has been impossible to make any further progress. Your committee recommend that an insurance committee be again appointed, in order to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise for promoting the views of the association towards a more sound system of accounting, and to urge continually the audit of the accounts of insurance companies by public accountants as a regular practice. Respectfully submitted, (Signed) A. Lowes DICKINSON,
“ Chairman." Report of Committee on Department Methods of the Government.
The report of the committee on department methods of the government, dealing with the progress made towards assisting the government committee (known as the Keep Commission) in its work on the improvement of methods in the government departments, was read and accepted with thanks to the committee.
A complete report of the Committee on Department Methods may be found in the June number of THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY.
Report of Committee on Interstate Commerce Commission. The following report of the committee on the Interstate Commerce Commission, dealing with the proposals of the association for assisting the Interstate Commerce Commission in the preparation of books and forms for the use of railways and other public carriers under the new interstate commerce law, was read and ordered placed on file:
Your committee beg to report that, in accordance with their appointment requiring them to approach the chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission, with a view to advocating the recognition and employment of public accountants in connection with the preparation of forms of accounts and books for the use of railroads under the new law recently passed, the following letter was addressed to the Hon. Martin A. Knapp, the chairman of the said commission:
“ August 20, 1906. “Dear Sir: I enclose herewith a letter of introduction to yourself from Mr. W. A. Day, comptroller of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, and should be much obliged if you would grant to myself and my associates on a committee an interview on the following matter:
" It has recently become known that the Interstate Commerce Commission has instructed Professor Adams to consider the preparation of books and forms of accounts which should be made obligatory upon railway companies in the United States, who would not hereafter be permitted to keep any other books or records than those specified. The American Association of Public Accountants, of which I have the honor at the present time to be secretary, is naturally interested in the adoption by business concerns, including railway companies, of the most efficient and most economical forms of accounting that can be devised. A majority of the members of the association have spent their lives in the practice of their profession of public accountant, and are, therefore, thoroughly qualified, and perhaps more so than any other body in the country, to express their opinions on such a subject. While this association recognizes that Professor Adams' long experience in connection with railroad accounts and statistics has constituted him an authority on this subject, we feel at the same time very strongly that his knowledge has relation more to the statistics and the results to be obtained from books than to the devising of systems for recording original transactions.
“The preparation of forms of accounts and of account keeping for railways is an extremely technical matter, and requires the services of practical accountants, railway or otherwise, who have been engaged in this business for a long number of years and who have acquired a thorough experience in all kinds of accounting methods.
" The American Association has appointed a committee, consisting of its president, Mr. J. R. Loomis, Mr. E. W. Sells (of Messrs. Haskins & Sells), and myself, senior partner of Messrs. Price, Waterhouse & Co., in this city, to put before you the claims of the accounting profession in this country to assist the commission in the work now before them, and should esteem it a favor if you would name some date, say early in September, when this committee could attend before the Interstate Commerce Commission to put their views before them personally.”
On October 16, 1906, the following reply was received from the Hon. Martin A. Knapp:
“October 16, 1906. “Dear Sir: You are entitled to an apology for the delay in answering your letter.
“ The letter of August 20 came when I was taking a little vacation, and for some reason was not brought to my attention upon my return. I have allowed your letter of September 29 to remain unanswered in order that I might confer with Professor Adams, who did not come to Washington until a few days ago.
“ The commission will, of course, be pleased to receive your committee and will name a fairly early date for that purpose, if it appears to you that a conference in the near future is desirable. The steps already taken to administer the new law in relation to railway accounts and bookkeeping have consisted mainly, up to this time, in efforts to obtain information, and those efforts will be continued for some time to come. It rather seems to me that we are hardly in position to discuss the matter to any practical result until certain tentative propositions have been formulated. It goes without saying that the commission desires to have all the light that can be thrown upon this somewhat intricate subject, and that suggestion and criticism will be welcomed. The task in hand is one of large dimensions, and it is not expected that anything can be done to change the methods now in use until the beginning of the next fiscal year.
“You are doubtless aware that Professor Adams is taking the matter up with a sub-committee of the Association of American Railway Accounting Officers, and it occurs to me that it would be desirable to have a conference with your committee when Professor Adams and this subcommittee can be present. However, as stated above, an earlier interview will be cheerfully accorded your committee if that seems to you the preferable course." This reply was acknowledged as follows:
October 18, 1906. “Dear Sir: I have to thank you for your letter of October 16th with reference to the request made by my association, that a committee of that body might appear before your commission in relation to railway accounting. There is a meeting of my board of trustees next week, when this letter will be placed before them and a reply to the suggestions made in your letter will be forwarded.
"I may perhaps add that the desire of this association is to help the Interstate Commerce Commission in any way that they can."
And your committee now await the instructions of the board of trustees before taking further action.
(Signed) A. LOWES DICKINSON,
E. W. SELLS. Report of Committee on Arrangements. The following report of the committee on annual meeting, 1906, dealing with the arrangements made for this meeting, was read and adopted :
Gentlemen : We beg to report that we have held several meetings and conducted a considerable amount of correspondence, and have arrived at a plan for the conduct of the annual meeting to be held October 23, 24, 25, 1906, copy of which is attached hereto.
In preparing this program we have endeavored to arrange proceedings so that during the progress of the meetings of the board of trustees and the executive and other committees, there may be entertainment provided for the unofficial members of the association. We have received the greatest possible assistance from the various committees appointed by the Ohio State Society of Public Accountants, to whose hospitality and public spirit the success with which the annual meeting will most certainly be attended is largely due. The entertainments provided, with the exception of the annual banquet, are on the invitation of that society, and the whole burden of arranging for those entertainments has been assumed by its members. The arrangements for the annual banquet, which is the official entertainment of the American Association, have also been largely made by committees of the Ohio State Society, who have, by the kindness of the officials, been able to arrange to hold the banquet in the rooms of the Columbus Club.
In the lists of toasts which form part of the menu card we have endeavored to insure an interesting and instructive entertainment, dealing with subjects all of which are of considerable interest to the members.
Debates have been arranged, as part of the proceedings of the annual meeting, on the following subjects: Report of committee on uniform tariff rates; advertising by public accountants; is it desirable that the practice of accountancy should be conducted by corporations ?
Certain members, whose names are given on the program, have been requested to open these debates. We felt that these were subjects of the greatest importance to the future of the profession and well worth a full and complete discussion, and we would suggest that, as a result of the discussion, definite resolutions should be submitted to the meeting, expressing the views of the majority of the members.
In concluding this report we have to recommend to the board of trustees a change in the procedure followed at the last annual meeting. You will be aware that the election of officers of the association and the filling of vacancies on the board of trustees for the year 1906-1907 cannot take place until a few hours before the annual banquet. This procedure, on the occasion of the last meeting, caused considerable inconvenience by reason of the impossibility of giving due weight in the proceedings of the annual meeting or the banquet to the officers whose names were not known beforehand. We accordingly recommend that on the present occasion and in future the new officers and members of the board do not take up their official positions until the conclusion of the annual meeting on the morning of the third day of the convention; that the last proceeding of the annual meeting be the induction of the new officers, who will then take over the administration of the association for the ensuing year and render their account of it at the annual meeting in 1907. We believe that this change in the procedure will tend to a more dignified winding up of the association's fiscal year, and will place the officers in a position in which they can properly complete their labors and hand over the affairs of the Association to their successors in due and proper order. Respectfully submitted,
J. S. M. GOODLOE,
A. LOWES DICKINSON. Committee on Journal. The report of the committee on JOURNAL, dealing with the control exercised by the association through this committee on the editorial policy of THE JOURNAL, was read and placed on file.
Committee on Standard Schedules. The report of the committee on standard schedules for uniform reports on municipal industries and public service corporations, dealing with the forms in which such schedules should be prepared, was read and received, and a standing vote of thanks was extended to the committee for their labors.
(Owing to the length of the report of the committee on standard schedules, and to the detailed tables contained therein, it is impracticable to reprint it in The JOURNAL OF AC
Copies may be had, however, on application to the Chairman, Mr. Harvey S. Chase, 27 State St., Boston, Mass.)
Reports of State Societies. The reports of presidents of the following state societies were read and accepted with thanks, and ordered to be spread on the minutes :
California Society of Certified Public Accountants, Colorado Society of Public Accountants, Georgia State Association of Public Accountants, Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants, Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, Incorporated Public Accountants of Massachusetts, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Minnesota Society of Public Accountants, Missouri Society of Public Accountants, Society of Certified Public Accountants of the State of New Jersey, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, Ohio State Society of Public Accountants, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Tennessee Society of Public Accountants.
Mr. John B. Geijsbeek, of the Colorado Society of Public Accountants, addressed the Association, as follows:
We have a strong society, and it is stronger than it appears by the report. It has fourteen fellows and forty-one associates, and, if it were not so strong, most of the forty-one associates would be fellows also. We believe in drawing the lines very strongly, and therefore we have so few fellows and so many associates.
I want to repeat that we want to get a closer connection between you fellows in the east and what we have out in the west. We have a fine climate out there, but we have no business, and, above all, we have a very loose way of doing business; naturally the old systems prevail. The less kind of books a man has the better he is off. That is one of the great difficulties we have to overcome. We have to overcome the difficulty of defeats. It is a common occurrence that an accountant in Colorado is considered a bookkeeper out of a job.
We have no standing whatever, as Mr. Wright, the attorney from California, remarked before the trustees; we have no standing as a profession, but we are fighting hard to get it; but we feel that we are isolated and we feel that we need assistance-really we feel that you do not need our assistance, but that we need your assistance. And, feeling that way, if any man comes out to Colorado we want him to feel that that is the feeling and that we want to meet with him and we want to know how he does things. And that is one of the main reasons why I finally decided to leave my business for ten days and come out here, to see what I could learn, and make a report as to just what this illustrious gathering means. (Applause.)
It seems to strike you as funny that we should have a dinner at each meeting; and that is why I will give you the history of that. There were two societies, one of the bookkeepers, who attempted to call themselves accountants. They were slighted, to make them think they were not. They worked with accounts and in that respect they are accountants, but they are on no account public accountants. This was a very strong society of one hundred and fifteen or one hundred and sixteen members in Denver. But we never could get the attendance. There was always a clique of about twenty or twenty-five that attended the meetings, and we thought, what is the use of having the tail, and we cut the tail off, and that is the way with all the members, except the twenty-five that stood together.
We have no by-laws, we have no officers, absolutely nothing, but we are pledged that we shall not miss the monthly m ngs three times in succession unless there is a good reason, such as sickness or long absence. In that way we have supper once a month at six o'clock in one of the hotels, and there are twenty or twenty-five or thirty of us who will gather, pay our dollar a plate and have a good time until eleven o'clock. That same plan has been adopted in the accountant association now, after I had to fight for about a year in the accountant society to institute the monthly meetings, but it is impossible to get us together monthly, so we have it quarterly, and we take our supper and pay for it so that the treasurer don't have to do it. We pay only a dollar a plate, and after we are all through we talk it over; and I believe that is the finest thing you could do to know each other, because Colorado is very unfortunate in having so much jealousy among the public accountants. But it is disappearing now. (Cries of “Good, good.”)
Then I have to mention something about the bill. We bodily stole the Ohio bill and got together and revised it, because we thought there were some mistakes in it. (Laughter.) The first mistake we found was in the fee. The accountancy bill provided for a fee for the board of only five dollars; we raised it promptly to fifteen. There is no provision made in the bill for a report to the governor. This may be