What in the world could accounting have in common with Tim Tebow? This morning I want to explore how demented our society has become, at least as evidenced by our civic response to Tim Tebow, a man who is living his faith in front of the world.
I teach principles of accounting to Freshman and Sophomore students at Warner Pacific College. I love teaching the fundamentals of accounting, while Shelly Hartzell, a CPA, teaches the more complex elements of the profession. It works well.
Accountants are professionals, and as professionals they have a responsibility to be gatekeepers. Gatekeepers ensure that right behavior occurs within the city, and thus Accountants make sure that appropriate financial controls, and managerial behavior, are maintained. If the Accountant profession does not do its job, organizational failure can occur, as evidenced by Enron, Worldcom, and even the FBI. Evidence of this important role was given on December 30, 2002 when Time Magazine designated Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rawley, and Sherron Watkins with the Persons of the Year Award. They received this award for blowing the whistle on shady practices by leadership in their organizations. They did their job.
Arthur Anderson was an accounting firm, but it was also a consulting firm helping Enron, etc. to be financially progressive. While acting in this role they turned a blind eye to some of the more creative accounting processes used by Enron, and others. Subsequently, Anderson is no longer in existence. Therefore, I agree with Jason Zweig’s comment this morning in the Wall Street Journal about Accountants having term limits.
Accountants act as internal auditors for corporations. Having been an internal auditor for a company, the lines can become blurred. Rather than pointing out possible discrepancies, our human limitations will often cause us to overlook minor problems that can grow to major issues. Zweig states, “Auditors work for the same company for so long that instead of being independent, they end up being co-dependent.” In my case, we had the FAA coming in to audit us in addition to another corporate audit system, demonstrating appropriate controls to ensure co-dependency does not happen. However, in some companies their system is not conducive to control.
“30% of the 1,000 leading U.S. companies have used the same firm to audit their books for at least a quarter-century.” In addition, “11% have used the same audit firm continuously for 50 years or more.” The large auditing firms such as PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Deloitte discount the seriousness of this concern. I would not be so quick to belittle this concern. My reasoning is centered in a knowledge of the heart of humankind. We all have the ability to be a bit shady.
This is where Tebow comes in. First of all, I like Tebow and I respect the fact that he is living his faith in front of everyone. I pray that he keeps a level head and not go down the road that other public Christians had travelled. We all make mistakes, and I am convinced that God has a plan for Tebow’s life, but I hope Tebow’s lessons are not as dramatic as Ted Haggard, Miley Cyrus, or any of the other recent celebrities who have lost their way.
The connection between Tebow and Accounting controls involves the heart of humankind. We are desperately wicked. We are sinners. Rotating Auditors recognizes there is a need to mitigate greed, or laziness. However, where I really see the weirdness of our society is in the Tebow hating that is so prevalent.
Can you believe there is a website, TebowHaters.com? Tebow has been clear about staying a virgin until marriage. He wears a promise ring that declares this desire. WJRR in Orlando, Florida is promoting a campaign to terminate Tebow’s virginity, and “break his pledge to save himself for marriage.” Drew Magary has declared “Not only is it ok to root against Tim Tebow, its practically your duty as cynical Americans.” Bill Maher, has tweeted some pretty bad stuff about Tebow.
In this age of sports figures who declare they are not role models for kids, Barkley, or have issues with dogs, Vick, it is wonderful to see sports figures who are not only good on the field, but good in life. Football players like Kurt Warner and Tim Tebow are positive role models that instead of attacking we should be praising.
Our world needs positive role models, not people like Bill Maher who are cynical apostles of a demented humor that undermines our humanity.
And that is my thought for the day!