Voices

Art of Accounting: A day in Manhattan

Last Wednesday I spent the day in Manhattan and some things occurred that I would like to share here.

My primary reason was to attend a lunch meeting of the Accountants Club of America with a speaker I thought would be interesting. I also arranged to drop into the office of a new client with whom I was doing some valuation and succession planning consulting. I also planned the “route” so I could walk everywhere and allow time to do some window shopping. The day ended up far better than I could ever have hoped for.

I was early so I decided to stop for a few minutes at the Morgan Library Gift Shop that was right near the lunch meeting location. I saw more books there I would like to read than I could ever hope to have the time to read. I also flipped through the pages of some art books and saw some really cool gift items I could consider for some friends. Further some of the book topics gave me ideas for books or projects that I put on my “ought to do” or “to think about doing someday” lists. A well spent quarter of an hour.

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From left to right: Margaret Pearson; W. Robert Pearson; Stanley Goldstein, founder of Goldstein Golub & Kessler; and Ed Mendlowitz, partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC

Next I went to the ACA meeting and enjoyed networking with many friends and colleagues and some guests. The speaker was a real treat and not someone you would expect to see at a meeting of accountants. Former U.S. Ambassador W. Robert Pearson spoke about “The Current State of U.S. Diplomacy.” As an FYI, he is a scholar at the Middle East Institute and president of American Diplomacy Publishers and was formerly ambassador to Turkey from 2000-2003 and director general of the U.S. Foreign Service. He bears many additional credentials and is a prolific author. He was a career diplomat and he shared some of his experiences, but more importantly his very well informed opinions, giving us an inside glimpse into the state of current world affairs. Ambassador Pearson began with a summary of the importance of the role and global reach of our Foreign Diplomatic Service. He used some numbers to describe its size. They were certainly eye opening and much appreciated by the crowded room of accountants.

His talk was riveting. He shared many personal insights and identified major areas of concern, with particular emphasis on the Middle East, but also gave rundowns of the major global players and interactions between them. I am not giving any specifics since I would do a disservice by not putting it in the context of his entire presentation, but the main thrust of what I am sharing here is the opportunity to learn from experts unrelated to our profession and the importance of opening our minds to new ideas, different perspectives on world events and the opportunity to hear something firsthand rather than from reporters or commentators.

His wife Margaret accompanied him. She is also a retired senior Foreign Service officer. By the way he referred to her, it was evident that she was a full partner in his diplomatic career and activities. I also got to chat with her and Mr. Pearson. Besides being dignified people, they were warm and charming. In my minuscule experience with the diplomatic corps, they gave me a great feeling about the ability, competence and care of those serving and representing our country.

The ACA is a membership organization of accountants and those in related fields that meets about six times a year. Its purpose is to foster the exchange of ideas to enhance the development and growth of the profession in social settings. If readers are interested in additional information, they are welcome to contact me and to view ACA’s website: https://accountantsclubofamerica.org/.

After the meeting, I walked uptown to meet my new client, tour his offices and shop at a Barnes & Noble store. All in all, I had an enjoyable day and heartily recommend meeting and listening to new types of people.

Do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com with your practice management questions.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition.” Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at www.partners-network.com along with the Pay-Less-Tax Man blog for Bottom Line. Ed is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching end user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 743-4582 or emendlowitz@withum.com.