Friday, December 19, 2008

Party Time

In a break from our regular news (which so far this week has consisted of Madoff: Mystique or Mistake? FASB to Release Proposed Amendment to EITF 99-20 This Week, To Address Concerns About Impairment; SEC Votes to Mandate XBRL, Launches IDEA; SEC Launches Survey of Section 404 Costs, Benefits; and Mary L. Schapiro Named SEC Chair by President-Elect Obama, Subject to Senate Confirm, and FEI Names Marie Hollein President & CEO) we at FEI had our annual Holiday Party (actually, Holiday Luncheon) yesterday.

The office holiday party is a time honored tradition in many firms and associations, although there have been various reports (like this one from CNN) that some firms (particularly TARP bailees) have cut out their parties entirely, and others have cut back.

Maybe not surprisingly, some law firms have taken to distributing memos reminding their employees of the rules of conduct at their holidays, like this one posted on Above The Law (which I'm pretty sure I first saw posted on one of the blogs on Securities Mosaic Blogwatch). There are still some reports of over-the-top parties taking place, but there seem to be more reports of firms cutting back and in some cases redirecting a more limited amount of dollars to charities instead of parties, and encouraging their employees to do the same, as noted in this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This Year's Most Popular Gift: The Barack Obama Action Figure!
FEI’s holiday party was pretty much in keeping with our past tradition, which is fun but totally professional. As noted in my post earlier today, FEI staff were the first given the news of our new President and CEO, Marie Hollein being appointed. Our holiday gift from FEI was a shirt (FEI emblem of course) and service awards are given out. The highlight of the party is the gift exchange - and by ‘gift exchange’ - I mean its one of those party activities where you bring in a present you might have received from somebody else at some point and would really like to exchange for something else in some other nicely wrapped package. To add an element of drama, people can ‘steal’ each other’s presents and make the person you ‘steal’ from go back to the table to pick another present.

I was pretty happy with the gift I got in the gift exchange, a Barack Obama Action Figure , until somebody ‘stole’ it from me – I won’t name any names (but it was the Director of Tax and Economic Policy in our Washington D.C. office) - and it was stolen from him as well – a very popular item this year! Although I don’t have a photo from the office party (not that photos were banned as I assume they may be at some office parties…) here’s a photo of some of my colleagues at our staff breakfast this morning – notice how we came in bright and early before the expected 6-12 inches of snow falls!

Music For Your Office Party!
Another perennial item in the gift exchange is a CD from The Singing CPA – whose real name I learned only last year when I picked his CD in the gift exhange -is Steven Zelin. Zelin was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on April 15 this year, and in a related video segment on . This morning, he was interviewed on NPR.

“No Accounting for the Holidays” is the new CD issued this year by Zelin, and it provides some great holiday music that would be appreciated by accountants and others who can relate to the profession. I recommend it for your holiday parties (your office parties, at least) and Zelin has been gracious enough to provide some exclusive clips to us to share with you.

Imagine opening your party with Deck The Halls With Calculators, followed by The Most Deductible Time of the Year. Let’s not forget that favorite, Joy To The World, The Client's Paid, and for a little variety, try Hava Tequila. After all the frivolity, when its time to close (the party, or the books), you can play Go Home Ye Weary CPAs.

If you’d like to order “No Accounting for the Holidays,” priced at $10.40 - you can order it as an mp3 download or CD via here . Zelin also told us that if you have a rush order for a CD, he’ll fed ex it to you if you add the shipping fee, his contact info (email, phone) are on his website

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