After my first day here as editor of WebCPA, I wanted to take the opportunity to both introduce myself and extend an invitation.

Home for a visit to Rhode Island this past weekend, a college roommate congratulated me on my new position, mostly as an excuse to gleefully retell the saga of my junior year struggle to make it through Accounting 201. But as we got to talking, I considered that there's actually a part of my Rhode Island upbringing that's fairly applicable when it comes to covering much of the accounting news that is driving recent headlines.

Growing up during the reign of one of the state's more infamous characters, former Providence Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci Jr., along with the rest of the state, I had a firsthand view of what can happen when ethical lapses meet poor safeguards. Cianci is currently serving out a 64-month federal sentence on racketeering-conspiracy charges after his and his administration's penchant for bribes and kickbacks were showcased in a months-long trial and a variety of leaked videotapes.

Of course, those lapses at Rhode Island's state capital created nowhere near the economic turmoil felt in the wake of the failings of the Enrons and WorldComs of the world. Nonetheless, the lesson is the same: Failings of public trust can happen anywhere.

Most recently, I was working in public relations for the New York State Society of CPAs, writing press releases and pitching tax tips before the opportunity to become editor of WebCPA presented itself. While I enjoyed my time with the NYSSCPA and have great respect for the political standards and educational work they were advocating and advancing, I'm very excited to get back to business writing and reporting on how the government and CPAs are working to ensure that accounting scandals remain a thing of the past.

Most of my career has been spent as a reporter. Prior to relocating to New York City last year, I covered the health care and technology industries for Rhode Island's business journal. And before, my first job after graduating from the University of Rhode Island was working as a writer for a community newspaper in the southern part of the state, where my beat included everything imaginable - from, town budget hearings to profiles of local vegetable farmers.

The ramifications of Sarbanes-Oxley, and President Bush's plans for exploring Social Security alternatives and overhauling the country's tax code will obviously continue to be a huge part of this space, as will breaking news of the scandals and trials, but I'm hopeful there'll be plenty of opportunities to move beyond those topics and talk about issues affecting small and midsized firms. Tips and comments about what you see in this space are always welcome at alicia.korney@sourcemedia.com.

And in one way or another, Buddy Cianci proved that there is always hope wherever big business and small entrepreneurs are concerned. The economic development in Providence's center continues under a new mayor with an administration rooted in public dealings, while Cianci's legend lives on in the city storefronts selling "Free Buddy" t-shirts featuring an unflattering caricature of the former mayor.

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