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Difference between accountant and IT person

Eleison Zeitgeist
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
With all the talk of outsourcing, are people seeing accounting jobs being offshored? If not, why not? I would assume that an IT job and an accounting job would provide the same amount of valuable to a company; they would also be simliar in terms of offshoreablity(accounting can be done via computers), but yet we do not here of companies outsourcing accounting jobs to india, etc... Why?
This is my conjecture: if accounting and IT are about the same, then this current offshoring of IT is just a fad. I have yet to see the differences that would preclude offshoring accounting jobs to India, etc. The reasons that accounting jobs should NOT be offshored is about the same reason IT should NOT be offshored.
-Eleison
stara szkapa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2003
Posts: 321
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.
[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]
Eleison Zeitgeist
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
Originally posted by stara szkapa:
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.
[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]

Isn't a degree from a good univerisity, qualification enough? Actually, wouldn't your resume be used as a metric for your qualification? Also, how would one regulate IT? Knowing a syntax of a certain language with regards to employment is ephemeral - new languages come in vogue frequently. What "bar" would one need to pass before he is considered a professional. I think your degree is good enough....

-Eleison
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by stara szkapa:
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.
[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]

Hi,
Accounting is a profession but IT is not. What???
Accountant monitor the country blood line -- money. Therefore, they are tightly control by government body. That does not mean all accountants are not screwy, scheming, a total baddest. Not all accountants must have CPA though. They only need to have CPA when they open their own practice and involve with tax. Then, by law they must post their certification where patron can see. Some accountants not even have their own practices but opt to have CPA because some companies give them a monetary incentive in 93 was $500. Not so sure now. They probably worth as Java Cert.
IT does not have government tightly control because the darn thing changing too darn fast for every body. Soon, IT will under control of the government body too. You should not be feel left out. When many lawsuits related to technology occupies too much time of the courts. During the boom time many start up companies rushing out products without thoroughly tested, I saw many of them collapses not because off lacking funds but they saw their future were in the courtroom more often than making profits. The biggy ones, the household names were settled out of court. There are many of cases related to technology still locking in the courts in Silicon Valley.
Regards,
MCao
[ November 26, 2003: Message edited by: Matt Cao ]
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Eleison,
Not all the accountant and IT person jobs are offshored. People who got hit, their tasks were not into the customer face all the times. Offshore is not a FAD. It is an alternative route, the tool to bring valuable workers back into the table. It is not a must neither. It is only a tool. It have been done before to other industries. Just the term offshore is only been use recently.
Did you remember during the Silicon Valley boomtime? Did you see or hear the way IT people bragged about their quality of lives that many of people in other industry just want a piece of that action? Some brought the state of California to their knees with constantly blackouts. Well offshore let those people know who is truely in control.
I personally do not think we hit the equilibrum point yet. As Tim H demonstrated sometimes ago and I think it made a lot of senses.
As individuals some will have jobs in the industry as others will continue struggle. Even the ones have jobs, your day will not cut short just because some of your tasks will handle overseas. Some of you will have teammate overseas and you will get use to work, eat lunch, eat dinner or carry your weekly meeting with all forms of communications. Is technology great! Is there a time limit. Sure, but you will have to reorganize your work schedule so the time you crank out code will be your sharpest time of the day.
The only thing that waiting on the wing is someone creating a software that crankout another softwares. Just like in the hardware industry, they have machine crank out and assemble your computers together. Dare to see that far.
Regards,
MCao
Tim Baker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 04, 2003
Posts: 541
Out of all the things you can offshore I think software is probably the easiest. Tangible goods need to be shipped, and even call centres have phone connections to pay. Software though is something that can be done anywhere without affecting the costs involved to develop. (ie the cost for software is almost 100% people time and there are people everywhere). software will never be controlled like accountancy because software is a product, if some software gets screwed up millions of people don't lose their pensions. It's the same with important software, defense contracts aren't going to go offshore, because security checks need to be done on all the staff. I actually see very little the same between what IT staff do and accountants.


Kim Jong II (North Korea's Dear Leader) said:Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people.
Alenka Shtykel
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 24, 2003
Posts: 16
Originally posted by stara szkapa:
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.
[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]

Why would you say that IT is not a profession? If you apply principles of software engineering, then programming is a science with quality standards, ethics, etc.
shay Aluko
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 01, 2002
Posts: 167
Originally posted by stara szkapa:
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.
[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]

I think you got it wrong, you really don't appreciate the scale of the offshore challenge. Accounting work CAN be offshored and is being offshored as we speak. Perhaps a reading of the latest edition of businessweek will be instructive here:http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_49/b3861001_mz001.htm
Anything that does not require face-to-face contact can be offshored so anyone who is an accountant should not feel too smug. As a matter of fact the payroll and a lot of accounting functions where i work is already being transferred.
Eleison Zeitgeist
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
Originally posted by shay Aluko:

...anyone who is an accountant should not feel too smug. As a matter of fact the payroll and a lot of accounting functions where i work is already being transferred.

If this is true, why do we not hear accountants complaining as much as IT folk? If I'm not mistaken, there a quite a few number of accountants in the US.

-Eleison
Jamie Robertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 09, 2001
Posts: 1879

Originally posted by stara szkapa:
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.
[ November 25, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]

Stara: I agree whole heartedly agree with you that programming is not a profession. Professions have governing boards, standard practices, regulation, entrance requirements ( ie board exams ). Now some may say that applying patterns and using engineering principles make it like a profession, and this is true. But to be a profession, every programmer would have to ensure that these engineering principles outlined by the governing body is adhered to. The penalty being loss of membership if there are any violations of these principles.
Note: If programming/IT would ever become a profession( regulated ), I think it would be extremely beneficial to the success of our industry.
Jamie
Steven Broadbent
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2002
Posts: 400
Accountancy and basic legal work is being outsourced from the uk. See my earlier post about a programme I saw on TV here.

When will the briefcase brigade start squealing about their jobs being moved overseas?
Accountancy a more serious profession than programming? Anyone seen the number of big lawsuits against the big Accountancy consultancy, who like the software consultancies are responsible for some huge cock-ups?


"....bigmouth strikes again, and I've got no right to take my place with the human race...."<p>SCJP 1.4
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16098
    
  21

Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:

If this is true, why do we not hear accountants complaining as much as IT folk? If I'm not mistaken, there a quite a few number of accountants in the US.

-Eleison

Well, they may be doing so in whatever serves accountants for a "JavaRanch". I just don't hang out with them to heard them complain. Accountants don't make as good press as programmers, however, since they didn't rise to an affluent prominence leading the Dot-com bubble.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Nathan Thurm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2003
Posts: 36
There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.

In a previous career, I worked as a CPA for a couple years and this is what I learned from my experience.
Accounting is self-regulated by the AICPA which does raise the barrier to entry into the profession to a certain extent by encouraging and even requiring public accountants to be certified depending on the work to be performed.
As for liability, yes, that's absolutely crucial, but by the same token most of the liability is in the hands of the partners and managers who sign off on the work (audits/tax returns) to be performed. The people who actually do the work (supervisors, in-charges, and the staff accountants) have very little liability if any because they are not the one's signing off on it. This arrangement would actually work pretty well from an outsourcing perspective, because the partners/managers in the US could maintain the contacts with clients in the US then electronically transmit the work to be done to India/Philippines wherever. All the accountants in these countries would need would be an accredited degree and preferably the CPA designation from passing the exam. The partner could facilitate the communication by being the intermediary between the client and the CPA performing the work. It wouldn't be too difficult.
Audits would seem to be more involved,but CPA's could easily have a few staff accountants who perform any hands-on work at the site inspecting inventory and verifying invoices, once those items were confirmed. Much of the remaining work could be handled at the CPA office, whether it be in the US or in another country. An example of this, was when I was a CPA that for New York audits, they'd fly us out from the midwest (Iowa) to NY to perform the audit because our rates in the midwest were so much lower. We'd be out there for a few days or so, then come back and work on the audit and tax return for the next couple weeks and be done. I can see something similar working for outsourcing.
It's not something I want to see happen, but it seems like it would be actually easier that IT, especially since most audits and tax returns are more of a commodity than a software project and it would be easier to manage these through outsourcing. I am very surprised that we have not heard more about this.
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Steven Broadbent:

Accountancy a more serious profession than programming? Anyone seen the number of big lawsuits against the big Accountancy consultancy, who like the software consultancies are responsible for some huge cock-ups?

But accountants don't have license agreements like:
Microsoft EULA taken as given at this site:
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall Microsoft or its suppliers be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising out of the use of or inability to use the SOFTWARE PRODUCT or the provision of or failure to provide Support Services, even if Microsoft has been advised of the possibility of such damages. In any case, Microsoft?s entire liability under any provision of this EULA shall be limited to the greater of the amount actually paid by you for the SOFTWARE PRODUCT or U.S.$5.00; provided, however, if you have entered into a Microsoft Support Services Agreement, Microsoft?s entire liability regarding Support Services shall be governed by the terms of that agreement. Because some states and jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability, the above limitation may not apply to you.

--Mark
stara szkapa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2003
Posts: 321
Originally posted by Nathan Thurm:

As for liability, yes, that's absolutely crucial, but by the same token most of the liability is in the hands of the partners and managers who sign off on the work (audits/tax returns) to be performed. The people who actually do the work (supervisors, in-charges, and the staff accountants) have very little liability if any because they are not the one's signing off on it.


In accounting people performing the work have to do quality work otherwise it will not be signed by the certified/licensed manager.
In software industry even managers and owners don�t have professional liability. Corporate lawyer handles potential lawsuits, and as long as business is profitable, lawsuits are just another business expense. All that counts is profit, but quality is compromised. What it does is, it lowers the status and prestige of a programmer, because quality work is not valued as much as speed and productivity. It also means that any programmer will do. If we had personal liability like in accounting or any other profession the cost of outsourcing will go up and it would not be financially feasible.
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]
Eleison Zeitgeist
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
Originally posted by Nathan Thurm:

In a previous career, I worked as a CPA for a couple years and this is what I learned from my experience.
<bla.. bla... blaaa:->
It's not something I want to see happen, but it seems like it would be actually easier that IT, especially since most audits and tax returns are more of a commodity than a software project and it would be easier to manage these through outsourcing. I am very surprised that we have not heard more about this.
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]

My point exactly. I too have a few friends in the CPA field. Don't hear them complaining... not sure why.....................
-Eleison
Eleison Zeitgeist
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
Originally posted by stara szkapa:


In accounting people performing the work have to do quality work otherwise it will not be signed by the certified/licensed manager.
In software industry even managers and owners don�t have professional liability. Corporate lawyer handles potential lawsuits, and as long as business is profitable, lawsuits are just another business expense. All that counts is profit, but quality is compromised. What it does is, it lowers the status and prestige of a programmer, because quality work is not valued as much as speed and productivity. It also means that any programmer will do. If we had personal liability like in accounting or any other profession the cost of outsourcing will go up and it would not be financially feasible.
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: stara szkapa ]

Personal liability for a manager of a programming group:
If the callcenter application does not run for one day, lost revenue:
$1mill
Two days:
$2mill
Three days:
$3mill + manager is fired
Seems like personal liablity for me :-)
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
I read sometimes back that accounting is also being outsourced, for the same reason[low wages].
http://www.junosoftware.com/bpo.htm
[ December 02, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]

"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
stara szkapa
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2003
Posts: 321
Originally posted by Eleison Zeitgeist:

Personal liability for a manager of a programming group:
If the callcenter application does not run for one day, lost revenue:
$1mill
Two days:
$2mill
Three days:
$3mill + manager is fired
Seems like personal liablity for me :-)

Even if fired he goes to another company and does the same. This is different from a disgraced professional who to continue practice has to move to another jurisdiction, that is another state, country, or continent.
Your example is not realistic, because in reality manager has decision power but if something goes wrong everyone is to blame. He doesn�t sign anything, and doesn�t promise anything.
It is quite common that companies release new version of software even if there are serious bugs and everyone inside the company knows it and accepts it. Responsibility gets diluted.
Eleison Zeitgeist
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 115
Originally posted by R K Singh:
I read sometimes back that accounting is also being outsourced, for the same reason[low wages].
http://www.junosoftware.com/bpo.htm
[ December 02, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]

My personal experience is different. Almost everyone in the CPA field seems to be better off then the IT field -- I know a person who works at Grant thorton (#4-5 accounting firm in the nation)who told me that they were still hiring at her company. If there is outsourcing of accountants, it seems very miniscule inspite of the fact that I would consider their jobs to be very outsourcable -- more so than most IT jobs...
-Eleison
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
I think accountant is a necessity position in any organization, the minimum is a bookkeeper. If a company is a low-tech company what compelling them to hire an IT person? The majority of participants in this site are IT people; therefore, it is understandable that they preach necessity. In reality, some companies I visited only have 5 PCs and 1 MAC. They are still in my list of suppliers. As long as they provide me a good quality products, I am happy. One company has an accountant assistant also serves as a computer guy. But I have not see the other way around.
As far as I care, it is not fair to compare the two professions because one is user and the other is producer.
Regards,
MCao
 
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