ASA Norcal President’s Message for January 2011 – Robert P. Lentz III, ASA


Dinosaurs and 2011


Happy New Year to all !!!


As we begin the Calendar New Year for our Chapter, it is critical that we focus on what is important now, rather than distract ourselves with what is no longer important.


Our Chapter has had many successes in the past few years, including record membership, the return of ASA educational offerings to the Bay Area, and record positive cash balances, the latter allowing our Chapter to “experiment” with new ideas that will be attractive to our membership.  And as our Officers, Directors and Discipline Chairs are well aware, there is no shortage of new ideas.  We welcome your ideas too!


Most unusual in our monthly Chapter offerings, we were forced to postpone our January 13th meeting regarding Professor Baht of San Francisco State University and “Marketing the ASA Brand.”  Professor Baht had a last minute change in his schedule and will be out of the country.  Though he will not be able to join us in January, we are rescheduling his presentation for a later (but as yet undetermined) date.


For our February 10th program, your Chapter leadership has scheduled the website program at Il Fonaio in Walnut Creek.  Please watch your Chapter Newsletters for what will be a very popular program, and get your reservations to Jack Young early!


For March, our monthly Chapter meeting returns to L’Olivier in San Francisco for “Convergence of International and GAAP Accounting Standards,” presented by Professor Rodney Hurd of Golden Gate University.


As you all should know, there is a “convergence” plan afoot that will bring closer together global and U.S. accounting standards.  The International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) are used in virtually all major non-U.S. countries, while we now use “FASB” (Financial Accounting Standards Board) rules.


The Securities & Exchange Commission is currently wrestling with whether U.S. companies must switch to IFRS, thus allowing companies world-wide to operate under a single set of accounting rules.  Regarding timing: watch for some decisions to be made by as early as the second half of calendar 2011.  (Happy New Year!)


One of the seven deadly sins of business is omission --- what you don’t know can and generally will hurt you.  In the early 1970s, James M. Gavin (former Army Lieutenant General, Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII, and then Chairman of Arthur D. Little, Inc., the Boston-based international management consulting firm) told an audience of business executives:


The American business community is the most highly respected, highly regarded, indeed highly copied of any in the world.  It has been hard-nosed.  But when it has had to be, it has proven to be receptive, sensitive and responsive.  When it had to be as tender as a kitten in its sensitivity, it could be.


I do not use that analogy carelessly.  Anthropologists will tell you that the soft fuzzy animal is the one which has survived, not the animal like the triceratops, which had built heavy bony structures about itself, being constantly reactive and trying to find some way to protect itself instead of being sensitive, intelligent and adaptable to the future.  So, too, the corporations that survive will not only be tough and hard-nosed, but also sensitive to the changes that are swirling about.


In this global, information-based economy, now more than ever, you must be well informed.  Are you prepared for all the changes coming in our chosen profession?  Why not take advantage of the valuable educational offerings by the ASA and our local Chapter?  The ASA’s continuing education programs will be valuable to you, …but only if you choose to take advantage of them.


We look forward to seeing you soon.  Happy New Year!