Monday, June 29, 2009

But if the Accountants Were Nude, on the Other Hand...

Nearly five years ago, when I first received my Israeli CPA (certification as an accountant), I also applied for, and received, membership in the Lishkat Roai Heshbon, a professional society for accountants. I did this because: 1) they offered continuing education seminars and 2) I was just so over the moon at having survived the process of becoming an Israeli CPA that of course I had to have the matching professional society membership. After two years, during which time 1) I did not attend a single seminar and 2) I got over myself, I let my membership lapse.

Or at least, I thought I let it lapse.

In the States, non-payment of any given organization’s annual dues will result in an end to one’s financial obligations to said organization. Yes, you will be subject to a a never-ending stream of letters trying to convince you that your life will be so much better if you would just come back to the fold but that is it, really. Here, as it turns out, the matter is not so simple. The Lishkat continued to bill me for two more years, and when I did not pay, they (finally) revoked my membership. But –and here is the rub—the 2006 and 2007 annual dues are still out there, lurking.

Anyway, up until about a year ago I was working for a Big Accounting Firm that provided me with loads and loads of continuing professional education. Now that I am working for a company, I have to arrange my own continuing professional education. Recently, I got it into my mind that “gosh, if I were to join the Lishkat Roai Heshbon again, I could go to their seminars. And conferences. And that would be my continuing education! Plus, I could network with other accountants! How fun!” This was such an exciting prospect that I immediately called the Lishkat to find out how I could re-activate my membership. I was referred to Nir, a very nice man who handles membership services.

Me: So, I was told I would have to pay all the prior year annual dues in order to renew my membership.

Nir: Yes, that is correct. You have annual dues for 2006 and 2007 outstanding.

Me: But I did not do anything with the Lishkat during that time.

Nir: Those are the rules. If you want to cancel your membership, you have to write in and cancel it—it is not automatic.

Me: Well, is there any other option? Can I just pay a non-member rate for seminars and materials?

Nir: No, the seminars, conferences and materials are for members only. Oh--wait, actually, there is another option.

Me: What is that?

Nir: We have a non-membership option. The annual fee is 500 a year and you receive the monthly accounting newsletter.

Me: (Interested, but wary) Ummm…is this a newsletter about accountancy or about accountants? Like, does it have articles about tax laws and accounting pronouncements and that sort of stuff or articles about accountants?

Nir: About accountants.

Me: (Am so appalled that I am speechless. For a few seconds).

Me: Nir, out of curiosity, are you an accountant?

Nir: No.

Me: Tell me, honestly….would you want to read a magazine about accountants? With articles about accountants? And photos of accountants? Accountants giving lectures…. Accountants shooting the shit with other accountants…. Accountants thinking deep thoughts. Accountants standing in groups and smiling.

Nir: (trying hard not to laugh because he really is very nice and very professional).

Me: We are boring! We are anal-retentive! We are dorks! We dress badly! I mean, I would know--I am one.

Nir: (Has given up the battle and is laughing his head off).

Me: Who in the name of God would want to read about accountants? Okay, the guys who actually appear in the magazine, maybe. But anyone else? Honestly, I think this is one of the levels of Dante’s Hell—a magazine all about accountants.

Nir: I see your point.

Me: Yes, well, thanks anyway!

Nir: No problem!

No seminars for me, it would seem. sigh....


Safranit said...

Ahhh, now I know why hubby hasn't joined yet!

How much are the back payments?

Ahuva said...

You, Gila, are fabulous. I wish I could have heard this!

Unknown said...

I have yet to see an accountant I would like to see nude.

aliyah06 said...

Maybe that's what the magazine needs! Centerfolds!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Naked CPA. Hmm... never thought about it. And you know why? Cause somehow CPA automatically associates with a man. An underfed, dorky character in a jacket, tie and elbow protection sleeves (or whatever the heck they are called). Shortly - the last person I would like to see naked.

Hmm again. Now this post has started a completely new area of er...investigation for me. Thanks.

victory4angela said...

Henry, the accountant on America's version of Ugly Betty is cute in a dorky, nerdy way. He's the only one who comes to mind though!

teddy said...

Loved your post!

Asher said...

where did you learn "anal-retentive" in Hebrew?

EN said...

Hi, I am a CPA in the US, what would I have to do to become certified in Israel? Is there reciprocity?