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Today's Funny Stuff: Darn Programmers and Fake Numbers

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September 01, 2009 – Comments (1)

I got a good chuckle out of a couple of things this morning and it's not even 9:30 AM yet. 

First, I received an e-mail from a programmer that my company is using as an independent contractor to redesign a number of the systems that we use.  Here's his message first, followed by my response:

PROGRAMMER:  

An account was created for you on BugNET so that issues with the new site can be tracked better than via email. Your username and initial password are both your first name. The login link is at the top left of this page: http://XYZ (I edited this part out to protect the innocent).

Please try to add the new site bugs in your word doc so we can update their statuses and provide better completion times.

ME:

Ahhh, Mr. Programmer (name omitted to protect the innocent), Bugnet has a bug that prevents it from loading.  I clicked on the link that you provided in this message and got the following response: "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage."  I also cut and pasted the link into IE and the same thing happened.

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A little while later I received an e-mail from someone who I know that works in the auto industry.  It was a forward from someone who works at a major automaker (not anyone high up).  Here's what it said verbatim:

Well yesterday was an interesting day.  Apparently there was a lot of new business, since most of your results exceeded your forecasts by a good amount.  Nice job.  The market, the region, and the nation reported above objective and the vast majority were real.

HAHAHAHAHAAH.  The lesson that one can take away from this is always take any numbers, even those that are reported by the most reputable sources, with a huge grain of salt.

This message made me think of something funny that Barry Ritholtz posted over on The Big Picture yesterday.  A public company that I am not familiar with named NZ Farming (NZX) accidentally included the suggestion of “fudging depreciation” in the account statement that they sent out to regulators.  Oops.

Deej

1 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 01, 2009 at 11:13 AM, outoffocus (22.84) wrote:

Depreciation isn't real anyway.  For all the trouble we go through over depreciation, it isn't even a tangible expense.  And before all the accountants yell at me, I know the reason for recording depreciation expense.  It is integral to the accrual accounting method. Depreciation takes into account the deterioration in value over time of an asset.  But in the grand scheme of things, its not a real expense.  No one "pays" depreciation.  Depreciation is nothing but a plug.  Which is why it can be so easily manipulated.  Now granted, I'm sure whoever wrote that into the financial statements is fired (after all if those statements were originally in Excel, a cell comment would have been more appropriate).  But I'm sure that the practice highlighted above is more common that people (especially accountants) may want to admit.

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