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The newly elected Treasurer, Mr. Westermann (Mo.), was installed, and addressed the Association, the President and Secretary continuing in office.
Resolutions expressing the appreciation and thanks of the Association to our host, the Minnesota Society of Public Accountants, for the cordial hospitality and generous entertainment given, and to the 1907 Meeting Committee for the arrangements, were enthusiastically and unanimously adopted.
The meeting then adjourned. The trolley ride was resumed, and a visit made to Minnehaha Falls. On the return the members were entertained at luncheon by the Minnesota State Society at the St. Paul Town and Country Club. AFTERNOON Session:
The Board of Trustees held a meeting and appointed the following Executive Committee: The President, as Chairman; the Secretary, the Treasurer, Franklin Allen (N. Y.), Thomas P. Ryan (N. Y.), J. E. Sterrett (Penn.), A. A. Ross, Jr. (Penn.).
In a book arranged for the purpose by the Minnesota Society, over fifty delegates, members, and guests were registered. A number of ladies also attended the meetings.
The meetings were generally conceded to have been the most interesting and profitable for the profession of accountancy ever held in this country.
A resolution was passed authorizing the issuance of a bound Year Book for 1907, at $1.00 per copy, and Mr. H. T. Westermann, Treasurer, address, Chemical Building, St. Louis, Missouri, was appointed to receive subscriptions.
The Accountancy Publishing Company will issue in book form a full report of the proceedings and discussions at the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the American Association of Public Accountants. To members of the Association the book will be sold for $1. Subscriptions should be sent to Mr. Westermann or to Mr. T. Cullen Roberts, 56 Pine Street, New York City. As few extra copies will be printed, members desiring the book should not delay their subscriptions.
City Government by Commission.*
By HARVEY S. CHASE. Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:
If I can add anything to your discussion it should be along the lines of accountancy.
There are in my opinion no matters more important than those of prompt and correct accounting in municipal affairs. Were the facts of maladministration, of wastes of public money and of comparative costs of municipal work properly brought out into full publicity it is my opinion that the greater part of our present evils would disappear.
Therefore in any discussion of government by commission, which I prefer to call “government by executive council,” or “government by municipal directors,” the necessity for standardizing and unifying the methods of accounting and the forms of municipal reports is fundamental. We cannot efficiently bring about reforms until we have been fully informed of the conditions which we desire to improve.
Nothing is so efficacious in financial matters as comparisons of results which should be similar but which are found to vary greatly. The deadly parallel is the accountant's most powerful weapon. The success of all great businesses are based upon promptly made comparisons backed up by standard and uniform systems of accounts.
We need such systems in all cities. We need them in Massachusetts as in other states, we need them in Boston under present conditions and we shall need them still more if Boston should finally come under a “government by executive council.”
Emphasis cannot be laid too heavily upon this requirement. Without it the city would be wholly at the mercy of unscrupulous men should such be put in control of the council. With an effective accounting and reporting system, properly supervised by the state if necessary, so arranged that complete publicity must be given to all actions of the council and to all financial results, such a concentration of power and responsibility in a small council would be reasonable and safe. Especially would this be the case if the power of recall is retained by the electorate as provided in the Des Moines charter.
In preparing for government by municipal directors the division of city functions among the directors should be carefully considered. Particularly so for the reason that a uniform classification of municipal functions and a grouping of these under divisional heads has already been provided by the United States Census Bureau, which is applied by it to all cities throughout the country.
This classification is based upon the earlier distribution of the National Municipal League, which has been adopted not only by the Census, but by a number of states and by many individual cities.
In the division of functions as made at Galveston, Houston, and even at Des Moines, sufficient attention has not been given to the requirements
* Abstract of address befcre the Boston City Club, October 24, 1907.
of the Census plan, and modification of these charter functions may be expected later. My point to-night, then, is this: When charters are prepared for “government by executive council" for Massachusetts cities, let us begin at the beginning, and arrange the division of functions in accordance with the necessities of accounting, and so group the departments that reports uniform with the Census schedules will automatically come forth, needing no changes, no reclassification and no long delays before being put in the hands of those who can and will use them to the great advantage of every class of citizen, whether taxpaying or nontaxpaying.
Pennsylvania. The regular quarterly meeting of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants was held in Philadelphia at the office of President Ross, on October 21st.
The members were particularly interested in receiving the report of the delegates who had just returned from the meeting of The American Association of Public Accountants at St. Paul. The delegates were President Adam A. Ross, Jr., C. N. Vollum, and Robert H. Montgomery.
Mr. Vollum gave a very complete account of the proceedings. He also reported that the next Annual Meeting of the American Association would convene at Atlantic City on the third Tuesday of October, 1908, upon the invitation of the Pennsylvania Institute.
He further reported that the New York and New Jersey State Societies of Certified Public Accountants would join with the Pennsylvania Institute in providing for the care and entertainment of delegates and guests who may assemble at Atlantic City.
The President was directed to appoint a general committee on entertainment.
The following members were present: President Adam A. Ross, Jr., T. Edward Ross, William M. Lybrand, J. M. Pugh, Charles N. Vollum. James W. Fernley, Robert B. Vollum, Dr. A. R. Barrett, J. E. Sterrett, J. D. Stinger, Alfred L. Sellers, Herbert G. Stockwell, E. Elmer Staub, George Wilkinson, and William W. Rorer.
The members of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants were the guests of the Faculty of the Evening School of Accounts and Firance at a dinner at the University Club of Philadelphia on Saturday evening, October 26th.
The dinner was in recognition of the part which the Pennsylvania Institute had taken in the establishment of the Evening School, and that the members might be advised of the graduation of the first class of students.
The dinner was presided over by Dr. Edward Sherwood Meade, Director of the Evening School. The other speakers were: President Adam A. Ross, Jr., C. P. A., of the Pennsylvania Institute; C. N. Vollum, C. P. A., President of the State Board of Examiners; J. J. Sullivan, Esq., William M. Lybrand, C. P. A.; Charles Weisinger, C. P. A., a graduate of the Evening School, and Professor Hatfield of the University of California.
Regulations of New C. P. A. Boards.
1. Theory of Accounts.
5. Commercial Law. The Board also promulgates “to avoid misunderstanding " the following interesting definition of a practicing public accountant:
“One who is skilled in the science of accounts, both in theory and practice, who maintains an office, advertises and caters to the public for accounting business (a clerk or bookkeeper, or one holding a salaried position only, is not a practicing public accountant).”
The Colorado State Board of Accountancy, consisting of A. E. Fowlie, President, J. B. Geijsbeek, Secretary, and J. H. Kingwill, Treasurer, announces that its examinations may include questions on:
(a) Theoretical Accounting.
(e) Auditing The Board has issued a circular letter to applicants, from which the following paragraphs are taken:
We would not feel at liberty to grant certificates to any applicant, however expert or experienced he might be in certain limited fields of accounting practice, whose knowledge of the fundamental principles of accounting and their application to modern conditions and whose general experience would not qualify him to make reliable examinations or audits, or to install and conduct practical and efficient systems of accounts adapted to different lines of business upon being furnished with the facts and figures pertaining to the particular business in question. By this we would not be understood as requiring or expecting that the applicant should be as expert in every line of business as the person who had made that particular business a specialty, but that he should be well qualified to do good and reliable work therein.
As regards “ Commercial Law,” we can only consider it “as affecting accountancy," and do not require any applicant to pass such an examination therein or to show such knowledge thereof as would be required of a candidate for admission to the bar, however valuable such knowledge might be to any practicing accountant.
As regards the educational standard required by Section 8, it is certainly the least that could be expected, and is practically required by the accountancy laws of all the states. If the applicant is a graduate of a high school, college or university, we shall expect proper evidence of that fact. , !| claiming an “equivalent education,” we shall expect the preparation of his application and of the documents accompanying it, and of his examination papers to bear out the claim. We regard the diploma merely as one evidence of fitness, and the fitness itself, when exhibited, as evidence of the equivalent education."
Under the strict legal definition of “good moral character," any person is considered to possess this who has not been convicted of crime or fraud, and the applications prepared by the accountancy boards in most of the states require evidence of this negative fact. But more than this is due from the applicant for a certificate as a qualified public accountant, and will be required in order to obtain such a certificate in Colorado. On the other hand, no certificate will be refused on account of any mere rumor or hearsay reports against the character or ability of any applicant coming to the knowledge of the Board, until such charges have been definitely made and supported by proper evidence, and the applicant against whom they may be directed has had every possible opportunity to meet and disprove the same.
The "three years' experience in the practice of accounting ” required by Section 8, is considered by the Board to include much more than mere bookkeeping, and to be such experience as will qualify the applicant to perform with credit the work expected of a public accountant.
It is the intention of the Board to base all the questions covered by this examination, so far as possible, on actual transactions of comparatively recent date in various lines of business, and we would be pleased to receive from any of the parties to whom this may be addressed, any questions which may have occurred in the actual course of their experience and which they deem may be of use to us in this connection. We do not desire or intend to use any mere puzzles or catch questions, but those which will most clearly bring out the ability of the applicant to meet the problems which must come to him in the course of his practice—both usual and unusual ones.
The foregoing remarks, regarding applications for certificates by examination, under Section 8 of the law, will apply generally to those applying under the waiver clause, contained in Section 13, and the reciprocity clause, contained in Section 14.
In general, it may be said that while this Board does not consider it part of its duties to refuse to issue its certificates to candidates who may show themselves fully qualified to practice as public accountants, but who may be at present employed exclusively by a single party, it does not expect or intend to encourage the application for such certificates by persons who have no expectation of engaging in public practice, but merely wish them as exhibits of their proficiency, and as perhaps enhancing the supposed value of their services to their present or prospective employers. It is our desire to do everything in our power to increase the value of a Colorado certificate to its holder, and to do nothing to disparage it.
Michigan. The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants held an open meeting for accountants and bookkeepers on October 9. The speakers were: Prof. D. W. Springer, of Ann Arbor, president of the Michigan association, who spoke on "The Accountancy Profession in the United States"; Wilton C. Eddis, of Toronto, whose subject was “ The Work of an Accountant"; Hon. H. M. Zimmerman, State Bank Commissioner, on "The Accountant, the Lawyer, and the Business Man.”
Newspaper reports state that N. G. Hawkins of Detroit is to be made a member of the Michigan State Board of Accountancy to succeed the late John R. H. Clegg. Mr. Hawkins is head of the accountancy firm of N. A. Hawkins and Company.