A young accountant spends a week at his new office with the retiring accountant he is replacing. Each and every morning as the more experienced accountant begins the day, he opens his desk drawer, takes out a worn envelope, removes a yellowing sheet of paper, reads it, nods his head, looks around the room with renewed vigor, returns the envelope to the drawer, and then begins his days work.After he retires, the new accountant can hardly wait to read for himself the message contained in the envelope in the drawer, particularly since he feels so inadequate in replacing the far wiser and more highly esteemed accountant. Surely, he thinks to himself, it must contain the great secret to his success, a wondrous treasure of inspiration and motivation. His fingers tremble anxiously as he removes the mysterious envelope from the drawer and reads the following message:”Debits in the column toward t he file cabinet.Credits in the column toward the window.”

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 On a sunny afternoon three accountants are standing near a tall pole and wondering about the height of the pole. First accountant, a CPA says, I do not think there is any authoritative guidance on how measure the height of a pole, that is not the job of accountants. Second accountant, a professor at a state university says, well, if we take a survey of similar locations and asked people about the height of poles, then we may be able to deduce height of this pole, it will be a good enough estimate. The third accountant is a professor at an Ivy league university. He confidently claims, if we measure the shadow of the pole under different conditions, then I can run a multivariate regression model and can give a very good estimate of the height. As this conservation is going on, an engineer is passing by, he stops and asks about their discussion. Accountants tell him, you probably can not understand this complex problem. The engineer persists and hears about the problem. He smiles, lifts the pole from the base, measures it, and says, “twelve feet and three inches,” and walks off. Accountants look at him, laugh contemptuously and say in unison – “hell, we wanted to know the height of the pole and he tells us the length.”

An auditor is hard at work auditing a manufacturing plant.  He spots one worker at the end of the shift, that worker is always carrying a wheelbarrow covered with an opaque cloth.  The auditor is certain something is fishy.   He asks the security to check the wheelbarrow.  Many surprise checks, security finds nothing.  On the last day of the audit the auditor goes to the worker and asks, “Alright, I give up.  I know you are taking something.  I cannot prove it .   I do not want to pursue it.  I just want to know.  What are you stealing?”  The worker replies, “Wheelbarrows.”