Many Prayers Answered!

Today was an absolutely brilliant day, aside from a brief shower early in the afternoon which blew through rather quickly. After dodging that potential bullet, I made excellent use of the daylight and decided I would string up my hammock and conquer my third and final relaxation technique outside. Gorgeous in the sun!

Though I finished my last relaxation session as well as the adjoining lab report, I didn’t feel as productive today as I did on Saturday. Eh, you work hard you play hard, right? Not that I’m “playing” today, but I’m definitely taking the day much slower than yesterday. I kind of this routine I’m in lately where I will work really hard and cross off a great deal from my “To Do” list, and then downshift the following day(s) to a much slower pace.

I feel if I manage my time properly, I can achieve a reasonable balance between work, play, and personal stress level. If I work too fast for too long, I burn out. If I work too slowly, my agenda fills up faster than I can work it down. Therefore, a good balance is to work hard to achieve the goals I set, and then reward myself with slower paced days enjoying some leisure time. I intend to bring this ideal more into practice in the very near future. 🙂

It really all boils down to effective time management and responsible use of one’s time to achieve reasonably set and attainable goals. Hey, I like that quote! 🙂

On a much more personal note, many prayers were answered today when I learned that there had been an arrest made in the murder of my schoolmate, Lindsay Graygo! Absolute exuberance filled my heart when I read of this in an e-mail sent to me by another one of the members on the committee to raise funds for the scholarship in Lindsay’s honour. I can’t think of a better way to put a cap on a day, or weekend for that matter, than for positive and uplifting news to be discovered! 🙂

Entrepreneur Traits.

[Sigh] Well, I’ve arrived at the second to last week of my stress management class, and the last week of journal entries! I’m excited, not because the journal entries are expiring, but because I’m nearing the end of a short-term goal for the summer – much to be celebrated and excited about!

Speaking of summer, yesterday was the first official day of summer, though it sure felt more like Spring. Today was much warmer and I spent a fair amount of my waking hours outdoors finishing up some more woodworking projects.

I finally finished all the bedroom baseboard trim!! What an odyssey that had been – almost a 7 month project! I actually felt incredibly satisfied once I stood back and admired the finished bedroom. Whoever said much pleasure is derived from the simplest of things was spot on.

My overall happiness carried into the early evening when I decided I would do my neighbour a favour and mow his lawn, since he was out of town. It definitely feels good when you’re doing good. And, the 15 minutes that it took me to mow and edge his lawn seemed effortless to boot. I really didn’t even realize how fast I had completed the work until I was putting away my mower and trimmer!

I had made a list of things I wanted to accomplish for the day, and I got a fair amount of them done, leaving just a few things for Sunday. ‘Twas a very productive but relaxing day! I’m definitely recognizing how I’m happier and more satisfied when I’m productive than when I sit around and wittle away my hours on meaningless tasks.

I wonder if that’s a personality trait of all business people and/or entrepreneurs… 🙂

Occupation: Learner.

I worked mainly on preparing my NY sales tax return for the 1Q08 today.

Random thought, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned about me, it’s that when I get bored, I check out mentally. I need intellectual stimulation to survive. Not so much stuff to do, but I need stuff to learn. I crave knowledge!

I’ve often said that if I were ever to come into a large windfall of cash, that I would consider becoming a full-time student. Think about that – learning, full-time. And, always learning something completely new and different. I know that’s not a dream job to some, but to me it would be fantastic! How could one ever become bored with an infinite amount of knowledge to attain? If I got tired of learning one subject, I’d invest my time in another!

That’s when I know it’s time for me to move on from one thing to the next, when it become routine. I’m not saying that I don’t like routine, I just don’t like feeling as though my mind is being subjected to repetitive tasks. That is one of the main reasons that many of my friends have said I would make a good lawyer – there is always something to be researched or learned or discovered. 🙂

Tomorrow, I’m meeting my friend Craig for breakfast at Bruegger’s, it’s great that we’ve gotten back in the habit of getting together for breakfast at least once a week to solve the world’s problems. 🙂 It’s really a great way to not only start the day, but to also kick start the weekend. I’ve completed not only my personal journal, but also 2 out of my 3 relaxation technique lab reports, leaving just my final report for the weekend. I feel very on top of things and as though I can take on anything!! 🙂

If it’s nice this weekend, I’d like to devote some time to researching some cutting edge wedding photography techniques – something that’s really new and exciting and different! That’s one way I try and set myself apart from the other Rochester, New York wedding photographers – I’m always learning and trying new ways of photographing weddings in the Rochester area!

Master Grill Chef Ryan.

Well, last night was an amazing time at the Chase Challenge, where I took some excellent photographs. I actually ended up neither running or walking, but instead I took over 300 photos and grilling for my wife’s company, Lenel, at their tent.

Until last night, I had never really grilled for more than 4 people, but last night I ended up grilling for 30 people! I was slightly apprehensive about grilling for so many people (well, many as far as I’m concerned), but it was a lot of fun – many thanks to the Lenel team!

There was a brief period of time where demand outpaced my supply of burgers, but only for a few minutes. After that passed, I had a moment to relax, enjoy a sampling of my own cooking, and looked around to see many happy, smiling, and satisfied individuals. Now, I don’t claim to know anything about the food service industry (I’m much more in tune with photography :)), but I can’t think of a better reward or compliment than to see every plate clean and folks coming back for seconds. 🙂

Turns out, I’m not only good at eating food, I’m also quite handy in a pinch for a grill-chef. 🙂

Ahhhhhhhhhh. [Big stretch]

I’m all caught up with my accounting class, so I’ll be able to spend some time relaxing on Sunday before moving forward a few clicks to the next stage of my stress management class. I’d like to keep about a week or two ahead of the schedule so I can adequately respond to any “bumps” in the road.

Happy grillin’!


For my next online class, which satisfies my health requirements, I’ve started taking Stress Management PEC 253. I hope to find useful information and practice from this course that I will be able to apply directly to my day to day life.

For our first assignment, we had to breathe. No, seriously that was the assignment. Ok, perhaps I’m distilling down the work a bit. Specifically, the assignment was to practice diaphragmatic or deep breathing exercises. I have to admit, I’m very green when it comes to “breathing” – in the scope that we’re discussing here. 🙂

After a moderately stressful day at work, I decided to get a jump start on this course in an attempt to NOT be so stressed when I start my other accounting course in 2 weeks. Hopefully, this course will prevent future stress.

As I find myself most relaxed in the shower, and in the water in general, I decided to try my diaphragmatic breathing there. It took a few tries to engage my abdomen in my deep breathing, but once I got it, it was very easy – and very relaxing!

Breathing sounds easy, and somewhat involuntary, but deep breathing does take some concentration. Though, I imagine after a few weeks of regular breathing exercises, it will become quite effortless. As the exercises suggested, I envisioned inhaling clouds of clean, white air, and imagined exhaling nasty, putrescent clouds of black air. This took a few tries, concentrating on breathing through my diaphragm AND simultaneously focusing on visions of contrasting puffy clouds. This will be an interesting 5 weeks! 🙂

Once the weather warms up, I’ll try my deep breathing exercises laying down in a hammock that I bought just a few weeks ago. In April. When the temperature was 20 degrees warmer than it is now! 🙂 This weekend will be a good time to try it.

School is out. Kind of.

Howdy folks, it’s been about a week and the blog is way overdue for an update. Hopefully you’ll all forgive me after I fill you in on the last week. 🙂

I finished my last 4 papers for the two business classes I was taking during the spring semester, last weekend. I have only a test for my BUS-104 class that I’ll take on May 12. I ended up with a 123% in my Entrepreneurial Studies class – though there might be a glitch with the online system the school is using. If not, kudos to me!

Other exciting news: I filed my Articles of Organization for my limited liability company which effectively made my photography a legitament business on May 5, 2008. Not exciting for most, but quite exciting to me, as I begin to implement my business plan and start marketing my photography business.

Finally, I wrote a few months ago about submitting an application to be on the show, “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” well kiddies – today my application is going in the mail! I’m not sure how long it will take to receive a response, but I’d guess that I’ll hear something within a few weeks. 🙂 Keep your prayers coming!

With school done, for now, I hope to have a little more time to keep up the posts on the blog for everyone. Keep your feedback coming too!


Case: Putting Accountability Back Into Public Accounting


How did a vocation such as accounting, which is heavily rooted in being accountable for one’s actions become mauled in copious, public scandals over the past decade? Obviously, people are people, and people are fallible creatures; however, the recent string of financial abuses can be likened to corrupt cops or government pilfering. Much trust is instilled in an accountant to be honest and forthright, reporting true and accurate financial information about a company. When that trust is broken, stakeholders demand answers: Which factors lead to such blatant disregard for the core mantra of the accounting world?

Power. Greed. Control. Money. These vices are all contributing factors leading imperfect people to commit fraud and perjury, leading to the collapse and fall of such once-mighty titans as Arthur Anderson, WorldCom, and Enron. Some auditors are misled on purpose by their clients; others turn a blind eye in exchange for lucrative consulting services contracts. Still, other auditors may be putting forth an honest effort to examine a client’s books, but may not be performing due diligence – and as some claim, may not be looking in all the right places for erroneous bookkeeping entries.

Prevailing legislation aims to put a clamp on financial reporting transgressions and develop quality of earnings with such efforts as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and numerous other SEC stipulations. As with most intensely debated issues, the best methods for achieving an honest and fair accounting standard are argued from both sides of the fence. Government officials believe the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is taking sides with the members it represents; accountants feel they are the best educated to scribe the most effective accounting rules. Somewhere in the middle lies an answer.

Just as the accounting equation needs to remain balanced on both sides, so does the accounting world and the numerous clients it serves. Accountants cannot be chartered reliably if they are so easily corrupted, and businesses can’t project a trustworthy image to its shareholders when the business engages in questionable accounting practices. That is one equation that is not in balance.

If accounting firms are to remain objective and fair, providing accurate and reliable analysis of a company’s financial information, they can’t do so consistently if they are concurrently offering management consultations to their clients. When a business enlists an accounting firm to provide management consulting services and audit the company’s books, a conflict of interest occurs. The auditors aren’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The auditors want to retain the consulting business of the firm, so the accountants are more likely to be influenced to doctor books or turn a blind eye to compliance infractions. Just as WorldCom executives felt a pressure from stakeholders to continue being a profitable venture, accounting firms entangled in consulting contracts with clients they are responsible for auditing can be pressured to make unethical decisions that benefit those clients and, ultimately secure the contracts coming in.

In the near-term, one could argue that the services would increase revenues of the accounting firm, thereby creating higher paying jobs, injecting more money into the economy and such. Unfortunately, one bad onion spoils the soup. With the rash of recent accounting scandals, and an already bruised reputation among the general populous, the accounting system simply cannot risk any more “back door back-scratching.” Pure and simple: the risk of performing the management consulting services is arguably too high, when compared to the summation of the perceived benefits. The most effective way to avoid a potentially corrupt scenario is to abstain from it altogether.

All of society has needs. To meet these needs, businesses exist to provide society with jobs, necessities such as building materials, water, and food, and payment for goods and services in the form of cash as a means to prosper. Businesses also contribute to the economic system by paying taxes, and reinvesting any profits back into the economy in the form of either payments to shareholders, capital expenditures, or charity donations, thus increasing a nation’s wealth and standard of living.

The accounting system ultimately assists managers make informed decisions about controlling a company’s operation and aids stakeholders assess the business. Other business institutions such as lenders, investors, suppliers, and even employees rely on accurate accounting information in their dealings with the company. Employees may examine a balance sheet to see if the company is expanding or to determine whether or not executives are receiving raises while the worker bees are not. Investors may rely on accurate financial information such as an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement to ascertain if the company is a viable investment vehicle.

With so many individuals and corporations relying on each other, the auditing function is vitally important to the global economy because it serves as a check and balance system – ensuring companies are reporting accurate, non-manipulated financial information. While an individual company may stand to benefit in the short-term by “cooking its books,” in the long-term hundreds of millions of people stand to lose. Case in point, the effect of Enron’s erroneous accounting reporting affected the lives of hundreds of thousands, from individual employees, to investors, to suppliers, manufactures, city, county, state, and federal governments who rely on tax payment revenues, and the entire U.S. population who had to absorb some of the costs related to unemployment programs.

Additionally, WorldCom’s bankruptcy put 55,000 individual employees at risk for losing their job and, along with it, their means to prosper, ability to pay taxes, and reinvestment of money back into the economic system. Protecting those jobs was so important that it was part of the WorldCom bankruptcy agreement in 2002. It’s in everybody’s best interest to keep unemployment rates as low as possible as this reduces the tax burden on citizens, injects money back into the economy, and provides a means for people to purchase more goods and services – ultimately creating or sustaining jobs.

Without accurate accounting or auditing functions, the current economic state is blurred and it is nearly impossible to gauge just how well or poor the economy fairing. An altered or inaccurate audit report is akin to a building foundation that is comprised of straw and mud. While a foundation exists, it belies the actual stability of the building that stands on that foundation. Eventually, pressure and time will erode the counterfeit underpinning and, depending on how large the infrastructure is, the entire global economic system will feel the rippling effect of the foundation’s collapse.