I’ll admit, I’ve never watched a single episode of Survivor, Big Brother or The Great Race. Deep down, I’m much more a CSI or Law and Order guy than actually pretending to care who’s backstabbing whom to avoid getting voted off.
I have, however, become hooked on The Restaurant but the reason for that is two-fold.
Because I’m of Italian descent, I have a cultural love for food. And the other reason being that years ago, in another life, I interviewed a then-up-and-coming Rocco DiSpirito, the show’s star, as he was struggling to make a name for himself in the competitive cauldron known as the New York restaurant scene.
But that got me to thinking.
How feasible would it be to submit a “treatment,” as screenwriters like to say, proposing a reality show about CPAs?
In the three years I’ve served as editor of Accounting Today, our publication has published offbeat pieces on CPAs who are struggling stand-up comics, playwrights, authors and even rock musicians.
So how much of a reach would it be to audition several hundred CPAs (with many of them being photogenic enough for the glare of TV cameras), rent an office space, wire them with mikes, have them sign releases that state anything they say is fair game for the viewers and let them run a firm?
You could have the icy and insensitive managing partner — I’m thinking someone along the lines of American Idol’s Simon Cowell — and the conflicted auditor who discovers the firm’s marquee client is actually a better cook than Rocco DiSpirito. Throw in a forbidden office romance, hardened government regulators who make occasional visits and the requisite stepping over bodies to make partner and I can safely issue an opinion that it would be a hit.
The profession constantly bemoaned the fact that it has, over the years, been unfairly stereotyped as a career with no glitz and glamour — you know, the green eye shades image and all. What a perfect opportunity to cast a new image, just as the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act celebrates its first anniversary.
But, in “reality,” the profession is very different because of Sarbanes-Oxley than it was one year ago. There are no staged scenarios and no retakes in the new era of federal oversight. And unlike the wrist slap days of self-regulation, there are actual repercussions for non-compliance. In essence, the law is basically changing the business dynamics of the accounting firm as we know it.
One top executive of a Big Four firm aptly described Sarbanes-Oxley as “the wall between the past and the present.” Not an unfair description.
Yes there are a great many issues to be resolved, the rising costs of compliance for one and, of course, the debate over “Big” GAAP vs. “Little” GAAP.
In any event it might be worth a pitch to a network executive. Maybe, I’ll just do that. I’ve always liked the title of “executive producer.”
Hey, you could always say you used to read me when.
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