Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nairobi: Is that close to Dublin?

I get solicitations all the time, usually from companies in India, offering to handle my clients’ bookkeeping and tax return preparation for a fraction of the cost of utilizing U.S. employees. I sometimes wonder if any of my fellow CPAs have taken them up on their tantalizingly cheap labor and promises of quick turnarounds. One of the larger companies providing this service is Xpitax.

You should know that all CPAs are required to disclose to their clients if any third parties are involved in the preparation of tax returns or with any other services offered by the CPA. Some of the larger firms get around this requirement by having offices and employees in low cost labor markets. “I’d like to introduce you to Deepak Kapoor, who will be preparing your tax return. He goes by Chip.”

IRS regulations prohibit the transmission of federal tax return data to foreign countries, so these service bureaus get around the law by hosting data on a computer located in the United States and providing access to those data via an Internet based VPN (virtual private network). Apparently having the tax returns appear on computer monitors in Mumbai is not technically the same as sending the data overseas. Seems like a very thin line to me.

Today, I received a solicitation from a company in Kenya. To allay my xenophobic fears about dealing with people who have unusual and hard-to-pronounce names, these people decided to adopt the name O’Sullivan Associates Ltd. Talk about pulling my Irish heritage heartstrings.

Hi,

We are qualified and experienced accountants in the BPO business and would like to relief you from routine and repetitive work of form filling, data entry, book-keeping, spreadsheet preparation, financial statements analysis and accounting.

We do receive source documents via internet, work on them confidentially and e-mail back the processed information in terms of datasets, Spreadsheets and final accounts or we can key figures straight into your computer given passwords.

This kind of arrangement will allow you to make use of lower rates of pay in Kenya and make higher profits. You will also be able to take on more clients cost-effectively.

Rgds,
Sosthenes Bichang'a, CFE, CPA(K), Director.

--
O'Sullivan Associates Ltd.,
P.O. Box 9459-00200,
Information House,2nd floor, Room No.11,
Hakati/Mfangamano St., Nairobi-Kenya.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

17 comments:

  1. Sandwich No Place for Crime Group celebrated Black History Month with beautiful poetry and accounts of past struggles. I attended the event to watch my child's friend read poetry addressing the subject matter of the event. Thank you Randy for sharing brother's account of the south long ago. It struck me suddenly how Sandwich has a different and same kind of hate abounding as I, just this week, learned of three families struggling with issues related to severely inequal treatment by the Town government. I keep hearing about battles of the "washashores" vs. those that are "from here" and wonder if there is truth to it or is it by coincidence that I know of three families that currently all seem to be dealing with this issue? It would be one thing for the laypeople to be having the battle, but all three of these families, I have gathered, are dealing with local government mistreatment. The mistreatment is painful for me, as a native, to hear about because I have learned some of these families are scared and doing what they can to leave Sandwich due to the hate and maltreatment resulting from it. Randy, would you kindly pass this question on to the Sandwich No Place for Hate Committee? Is the issue, described above, a reality in our Town? Is there something we can do to address it? We must not tolerate hatred and discrimination in our community for any reason whether, racial, gender-related, or (who would think?) status of residency!

    Just a gesture from my heart to the hearts of those that are hurting in our community on Valentine's Day. Bless you for your strength. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  2. I would like to help if I can. Please contact me, if you are comfortable doing so. It would be confidential. My number is 508.888.2601 or email me at grundmans@comcast.net. A government is only as strong as the trust the people who put it there have in it. I believe we can solve our problems in Sandwich and absolutely no one should live in fear of any aspect of our government.
    Linell Grundman, Selectman

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  3. If there is unequal treatment, hate, prejudice coming from Town employees or Town Leaders, then, as a human, it is more important that you bring out the facts. You can not just go about putting this kind of message out without giving some idea of what it is about. You need to go to the Town employees or board that oversees them and discuss this. If that doesn't fit your desires, maybe you should pass it on to a leader that can be trusted that is outside of the Town government.

    Making these statements, could, and the operative word is could, simply be a baseless statement which in itself spreads anger and hate.

    I don't think that Sandwich is a needs this "no place for hate", although I do not think it can do any harm. Sandwich is a place where there is as much or not as much hate as exists elswhere. What does bothe me more than anything are people who make statments that have to be accepted because they can not be disproven.

    I think that Randy should consider this before putting this out.

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  4. Peacemaker,

    What I am getting out of this is that maybe "bringing out the facts" has produced some type of fear from actions/inaction (by Town personnel or otherwise)that the public would never see. I hesitate to judge the statements as baseless. I have heard of this happening, not so uncommonly, in other towns. I am as interested in the details as you, however. I agree with you that if there is mistreatment, a resource outside of the Town government should be contacted. I would encourage the anonymous poster to gather and confirm details of these cases and take it to the next level. We all pay this government to operate ethically, and if it is not (and I am not saying that I know for sure that it is not), it should be corrected. Town citizens should all support ethical governmental operations. Good ethics prevent...oh dread...lawsuits!

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  5. Ihrtsndwich, I agree with you completely. People being treated badly by parts of government I'm sure happens in many other towns, at the state level, and at the federal level. Often when folks come to me with a difficult issue, I urge them to go to a higher authority or to the media. That is the realist in me. Exposing unethical behavior can lead to a solution, but of course it puts the person who takes a stand in a vulnerable place, especially in a "small town mentality" enviroment. What I think is so very damaging in such things in the effect on the victims and the town as a whole, is the hypocricy of it all, where government is concerned. And of course there is no step forward when remedy is not found.

    The culture of some aspects of how our government operates is intrenched and probably still based on who you know more than a raised bar. Rapid growth has created I think some cynisism in government as the town continues to struggle to provide services. Sadly cynisism seems common for many in government. I recall the same being true when I started my professional life in the Department of Defense in 1974.

    Government is not exempt from bullying. "That's the way it's always been and that's the way it's always going to be" is a terrible energy no matter where it is applied. The act of dismissing folks is a common human reaction to not wanting to be bothered or to not wanted to try and understand and help. At any level in the human experience it does no good. I'm sorry there are people in our town that have fears about aspects of our government, but I know it is true. It is a problem not easily solved from either side. The cynic would say it can never be solved, but I give human beings much more credit than that. Our form of government allows a great deal of abiguity where such matters are concerned. Again, I would like to help, but I will point out that there are state agencies that can and some are confidential like the Ethic Commission. Most all can be done on line, so I suspect many are confidential. Also the Sandwich Police has a new confidential tip line.

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  6. A new tip line. What we need are people who do not fear pointing out was is wrong. If you can't put the specifics, then don't say anything. As an example, look at the school committee. They fired someone, but the majority won't say why. Anonymous makes accussations that something is wrong but will not tell us what. Some people may think its the Police, others one of the Selectmen, yet others one of the Finance people, etc, etc. Stop damaging Sandwich. Make it a place for love not hate.

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  7. I agree with the last anonymous of 2/16. I know that the person who started this thread has done a great job for herself in getting people going back and forth, but what are we talking about. Some folks think they have been abused, some are actually abused, but the bottom line is that if you don't come forward, you really don't have a case. How can I call the complaint baseless? Because I do not see any basis. In fact, unless I do, there is no problem. Let's move on, but bring it back once we know facts.

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  8. Sorry folks, I don't buy into this last string of remarks concerning the 'town' being out to get someone. Linnel, forgive me, your attempt to reach out from the very local level that the blogger is condemning....doesn't pass the litmus test, sorry. In this litigious society we live in everyone knows they can sue for ANYTHING, particularly if it is in the human rights category. If someone in this town (Camelot) is truly having a problem of this nature...call the Attorney Generals office or a Federal Agency or even the ACLU...the internet is a world of knowledge here...if in fact your personal freedoms have been violated. A blog is not the right forum to start a fire in the rumor pool, we get enough of that just within the School Committee meetings. One thing for sure, if the problem is real, the one way for it to get buried locally, is to keep it local. One more point Linell, the power of a whistleblower in federal employment/government is real. You (the whistleblower) will eventually leave your job, one way or the other because of the system. On a local level, anyone who blows the whistle does not receive the same protection and can actually suffer more harm, again on THE local level, if in fact the events are true. I would compare this line of discussion to the CC Times relentless pursuit of the State Trooper who was involved in an accident. Who investigates who when the organization is so entrenched? You need a higher authority in a case like this, if it is based on fact. Just my two cents worth of opinion after many years of federal work experience. My most trusted friends were my JAG and my auditors, two groups of people who represented truth to my superiors and subordinates alike.

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  9. Greg my dear man, we are almost in complete agreement. I think that we should just bring the discussion to a halt unless we know what the alleged violation of rights actually was. The JAG yes, the auditors, no. They only make a living fighting everyone and everything. Dear husband is one and all he does is fight with the organization he works for.

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  10. Greg,
    I did mention the AG. I'm not sure what you are talking about in terms of a litmus test, that I did not pass. I agree with your wistle blower theory. That issue is legit to be sure especially in a small town. I think that is part of the issue. While I agree that there are other places to go besides a blog, I think the person has a right to say what they want on the blog. That is the point of it. Randy does an excellent job of monitoring the comments. He doesn't allow ugly hateful things and I'm grateful for that.

    People vent on a blog as I would say you know. Maybe this person will get the courage up to go to the proper authorities by first coming here with concerns. I hate the rumor mill and agree it does no good. For me though, when someone has an issue, I am willing to help if I can.

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  11. Anon at 3:13pm...my sympathy to your husband. If he was well liked, spoon fed and loved within his organization then he wasn't doing his job! Its amazing how people react when 'the' auditor walks in and says Hi I am here to help you...hee hee. Seriously, that is a job that earns my highest respect, particularly if the auditor isn't afraid to tell the truth. The leader, owner, CEO, CFO, Commander....all learn to listen to these pains in the neck. They keep people honest. My kudo of the day goes to your spouse. Now I bet Linel will want to strangle me, however, knowing just how the Dept of Defense operates...you just can't apply that level of government ineptitude to our tiny village. Parts of it may be valid...but in this case....I am not sure a local elected official should be the help this person needs. I understand the olive branch she is extending....however, I hope she passes the issue on to a higher authority, quickly....so the law suit can begin.

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  12. Linel, I need to stop speed reading the blog. I missed your reference to the AG and it was good advice. It isn't you who fails the litmus test, its the town government. You are part of the very problem (government) that seems to be a problem to this person. In the end I do believe you have done the correct thing, giving them the right person to contract. In spite of your good intentions, there is a mistrust of some town government elected officials and I will be specific here....the school committee. And I hate to drag up old bones, however, the last attempt by the Board of Selectmen to pass that debt exclusion was not exactly good faith material that the town can be proud of. Hope this explains my comment.

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  13. I don't quite understand. Someone says that somehting happened and we all talk about it as if it were fact. When someone accuses, then are they not telling us something is fact. If they are telling us something is fact, then we could make a judgement. If I were to say that, in my personal experience, I saw a police officer hit a young girl, does that make it fact or should go to the level of discussion, or rather, should I have to at very least, give some idea of what happaned. Maybe we could have a better idea if we knew what department. Its rather odd that the person who brought this up does no longer write about it. Makes me wonder.

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  14. Good Morning Mr. Hunt we have a very interesting discussion going on here, about all sorts of sunject matters as it relates to town emplyees using there authority in ways that hurt the citizens of Sandwich.

    Is it true or is it false?

    Words have been used to enlighten those so abused to contact the AG office and that is a primary detertant to stop in many cases the abuse.

    On the other hand those so abused also need to maker contact with the Board of Selectmen and the local Police.

    Say what you want, but as Of today we do have some whom have followed that advise here in Sandwich, yet it still continues.
    It takes time to properly present facts, as to these abuses and accusations.

    When the local board of Selectman cannot resolve this type of situation, it goes to the next level of enforcement.

    Here in Sandwich, we do have a deticated leader in charge of the Police.

    Call it small town politics or any other thing, the facts will show at some point in time, that we do have a reason to be concerned in regards to how our fellow citizens are being treated. Just like the drug problems, we face as a town and people of color and different backgrounds.

    If no one is willing to take responsiabilty for the actions of a few misguided citizens[when they have the power to so] in the end, we all get to pay the price and a civilized society is lost.


    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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  15. If there is no value in having laws then why put the time, energy, money and effort into having them? If those laws only apply to some and not others, then who will be the some and who will be the others? Law, purposefully misapplied, is nothing more than a facade that punishes some for the unearned privileges of others. Laws are in place to maintain a civilized order and to preserve freedom for all.

    Let us be a more observant citizenship within the Town of Sandwich for the concerns that are being discussed above. Many instances have arisen in the Town indicating there is truth behind the concerns. If there are concerns without publicized specifics, due to a fear of retribution, what does that say about our "Camelot"? Stepped up vigilance is free. The time is now.

    "Those who deny freedom to others,deserve it not for themselves." Abraham Lincoln

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  16. Personaly Abe's friend, I think that your writing is discusting.

    How can we do anything if we don't know what has been done. Even some of the elected officials that "are hearing from people" don't say anything, not even naming the departmenrt involved, do how can we know what is going on. To me its sounds like a lot of liberal poppycock.

    Spiro

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  17. Carl Johansen would agree with Abe's Friend in your commants and anaylisis.

    Freedom doesa not come easy and when other's attempt to place there will upon you, no matter whom or what it may be, we must challenge the issue.

    I can assure Shameless Veep that issues mentioned above, have been brought to the attention of the jurisdicational power in the issues I have been involved with.

    Does that mean that the issue is solved? Does that mean the issue will brought to the publics attention?

    In time, the public will be made aware of issues brought by some above.

    Once that is done, does that mean it will go away> Pergaps in some cases it may and in others it may not.

    When a town has a good old boy network in place it takes many hours of investigation to put every thing in its proper context and the process can be very conflicted. Change never will happen until those being affected, will stand up and be accounted for.

    Keep your eyes on the newspaper over the next several weeks and perhaps we will all be enlightened and informed to what some citizens of Sandwich have had to endure, because they made an attempt to defend what the law does or does not allow.

    Carl Johansen
    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

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