Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rachel vs. The CPA

Congratulations, Rachel, on passing part 2 (of 4 parts) of your CPA. Passing the first time, again! Beginners luck, or just super-smart? Deloitte is luckier than a drunken lottery winner for landing you. BEC and REG down, FAR and AUD to go.

CPA current events: A few years ago, accounting geeks complained that the "all-or-nothing" 1-weekend CPA exam was too gruelling. If the student didn't pass all 4 sections of the exam over the 2-day period, the student had to retake the exam months later. Everyone thinks they love the new system, whereby prospective CPAs have up to 18 months to complete the four sections at their own pace. Sounds great, and so think the students (including Rachel). I (Rob) have another theory - now that students have 18 months to take 4 separate tests, the level of business acumen and financial analysis required to exceed the 75th percentile passing score has increased commensurately. Students have more time to focus their energy on a specific test, and test-makers have more leeway to intensify each test's scope and difficulty. My own anecdotal evidence reveals that fewer people are passing the CPA, either from fatigue, indifference, or intensified difficulty and competition. What does this mean for the future of the accounting world? I predict that the CPA will be both more distinguished if you have it, and less necessary if you don't. Those who have a CPA will end up being managers who oversee business decisions and subordinates. However, it will also be more unnecessary on a daily-basis as fewer people manage to acquire the designation.

Big 4 firms spend million of dollars training bright-eyed youngsters to pass the exam, but increasingly their victory does not outweigh the Pyrrhic (self-inflicted) battle. I predict that more emphasis will be placed on obtaining a masters in accounting. Whereas today it is required to have a CPA to become a senior, in the future the only requirement will be "masters degree and 2 years of experience." Are these observations wrong? Any accountants want to comment?

299,022,231 Americans and Counting...

Congratulations, Kelleigh, on successfully bringing a beating heart into this world. Cole ROBERT Ratzlaff was born June 14th after a lengthy labor. Kelleigh is already hopping around and jazzercizing. Alright, that might be stretching the truth, but she (and Mitch) are looking great.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Summer Vacation (pt 1)

Trying to make the most of our summer apart, we (Rob and Rachel) fill our days with hard work and whatever social activities we can find. Rob's living with Chris and Jeanne this summer. Chris & Jeanne just bought a new home in the Cedar Mills area of Portland. Thankfully the place is a mere 15 minutes from Intel - commutes are a breeze. Random note: today I saw a poor driver spin out on the freeway when the road came to a sudden halt... did a complete 180 right in front of me... very interesting... he was okay... My evenings are typically spent chillin' with C-Dawg and Green Jeans.

Rachel was brutally bored the first week I was gone. She worked from home half the day, which added to her under-stimulated state. Rachel gets to pack up our apartment this July for our move to a cheaper and better apartment. Our new place will be in the same parking lot as Central Market (like a really good Whole Foods). I
t's also in the same parking lot as PF Changs, Banana Republic, Pottery Barn, Gap, Williams Sonoma, etc. After spending a year in Houston, we discovered the very best place to stay. Just our part to entice would-be visitors to our stoop. On a separate note, we just found out our only friends in Texas (Jarrod & Katherine - of the fishing story below) are moving from Austin to Houston. Tangent: many months ago J & K mentioned they wanted to travel to Napa Valley for their honeymoon, but it was overpriced. We implored them to consider the Willamette Valley instead. After some research, they concluded they would do the Oregon wine country and coast. Good call, guys! Remember to check out Portland City Grill if it's a nice day! Back to story...

Rachel is severely lacking stimulation for over a week, so she gets up here to Oregon to visit and she's a little ball of energy (pictured). Rob and Rachel go crazy doing all the things we've been wanting to do up here ... most of which involves food and coffee. On one occasion, Rob (me) g
et's a nasty bout of food poisoning from one of our very favorite restaurants (no names mentioned... I still love that wonderful Bavarian restaurant). Rob spends Memorial Day worshiping the ceramic god until he breaks down and goes to urgent care ... doctor is impressed I'm still standing and I.V.'s 2 liters of fluid (and happy medicine) in my itty-bitty vein. The worst part was that I missed my dad who was in town for only the weekend. The Mardock clan was meeting in Dallas (Oregon) at Mitch and Kelleigh's place. Kelleigh is about to have boy # 2. Evidently the Ratzlaff's haven't given birth to a girl since the Pilgrim times. Some mutant gene or something. Kelleigh rocks though, a great mother and hilarious like her brother.

A couple of days later we give food another try - visiting our favorite Thai restaurant (Typhoon). Andy orders up the spiciest pad thai known to man. We all make him eat it - the results are illustrated in the nearby photo.

During all this, Rachel gets suckered into painting C & J's home - but she does such a good job. Rob (me) did a great job with the roller - that's my weapon of choice. Afterwards, the entire Bellamy clan jaunts off to Medford for Heather's high school graduation (pictured - it's the best I could do!). Our clan also passed the time at the go-kart track, in Jacksonville, and generally having a great time in S. Oregon. Heather's graduation ended at 9:30pm, we all socialized for another couple of hours. Then Rachel, Rob, and Mom (Linda) drove up to Portland. Poor Rachel's cheap flight left at 8:00am. We arrived in Portland with enough time to catch 2 hours of shut-eye. The next part of the story is very fuzzy - I was probably not okay to drive to the airport, but whatever. We evidently said our goodbyes. I remember it was the closest to crying I've felt in several years (something you never cared about: I can't cry. It's psychosomatic).

The story continues... Mom (Linda) flew to Houston 4 hours later (my 2nd trip to the airport that morning). Mom is spending a week down in Houston keeping Rachel company and generally enjoying a quiet week away from family and friends in Medford. Rachel is happy to have a friend in Houston. Rob plays Mario Kart with Chris. We both seem to be doing okay. I'll write more in a few weeks should there be something neat-o to write about.