Posted by: LYF | January 18, 2010

Random thought Sunday

I may start doing these more often.  Sometimes I have a bunch of things running through my head that don’t fit narrowly into a typical “accounting post.”  Or lack the semblance of what someone may call coherency.  But they’re somewhat interesting – to me at least – so I feel other people may think so too.

How to wake-up feeling energized everyday.  Without fail.

I stumbled onto this one accidentally.  A few weeks ago my parents came downtown to take me out for dinner.   Apart from leftovers, my dinosaur garbage can and a few pieces of mail, they also brought my Ikea lamp.  Now my apartment is very small.  It’s a bachelor with about 600 square feet.  It faces south and gets a fair amount of light during the day, which is fine during the weekends.  But during the week when I’m at home – in the morning and at night – it can get pretty dark.

Now enter my Ikea lamp.  The first morning after receiving it I turned it on along with all my other lights, while getting ready for work.  I noticed a few things that day.  One, I wasn’t angry during my commute via the subway.  If you’re not from Toronto you won’t get this.  But if you are and you ride the rocket each morning, then you’ll understand the general expression of, “angry defeatism” on most commuters’ faces.  My lack of hate was personally noticeable.  I also noticed that I didn’t need my usual green tea when I got into work.  Even crazier I was alert when I got in, the type of mental alertness that often doesn’t show up until roughly 11am.

I really thought about this for a while.  I couldn’t figure it out until I remembered this post by Seth Roberts.  It’s very short.  I thought about it for a few days and made a little experiment.  I went from turning on all my lights every morning to a few, to none.  My “awakeness” varied positively with the quantity and duration of morning light.  Along with morning light, I’ve also found that having the tv on and taking vitamin D amplifies this effect.

It’s not a small impact.  It’s had a huge effect on my day-to-day.  Give it a try.

The Structure of the new Canadian Auditing Standards.  How to get a talking knowledge in roughly 2 hours.

I’ve spent the past few Sundays getting used to the new Canadian Auditing Standards.  I was actually pretty surprised with how well they’re structured.  And how learning that structure is far easier and less time consuming than thoughtlessly trudging through each standard with the grim hope of walking away with a “big picture understanding” of Canada’s new audit approach.

Here’s what you need to know.  First, there are 7 sections – CASs 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 & 800.  You only have to remember 7 things.

Now lets get a little more focused.  Each section, with a few exceptions, has an opening standard that sets the tone for the remainder of that section.  For example, CAS 200 is “the overall objectives of the independent auditor and the conduct of an audit in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards.  This CAS is thematic throughout the 200 sub-sections.  You can feel its impact in the other CAS like CAS 220 “Quality control for an audit of financial statements” and CAS 230 “audit documentation.”  Here’s what I mean, it’s technically not possible to have “quality control for an audit of financial statements” without understanding “the overall objectives of the independent auditor in the conduct of an audit in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards.”  See what I mean?  CAS _00s standards are contextual.

Within each standard the CAS’s sub-topics usually go up by 10s.  And sub-sub-topics fit into units of 10.  CAS 265 “communicating deficiencies in internal control to those charged with governance and management” fits very nicely in CAS 260 “communication with those charged with governance” which fits snugly into CAS 200.  Understand the babushka logic?  The levels following a CAS ending in the 10s fit into that standard and the 10s embody the context or the theme of the _00 level.

The CAS’s in a set of 10 almost always relate to each other.  They may explain a step-wise process or go from vague to specific.  Whatever the case there’s a logic to it.

That’s a very quick macro to micro explanation of how the pieces fit.  Now, they don’t always fit nicely.  Section 400 seems strangely out of place starting at 402, which only contains 2 standards that could have easily been placed in more commonsensical places.  But I’m sure the entire business of putting together the CASs was difficult and small inconsistencies like that one aren’t important in the grand scheme of things.

Zooming out, we can take a look at the standards as a whole.  The 7 levels look like this;

200 – Overall objectives of the independent auditor and the conduct of an audit in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards

300 – Planning an audit of financial statements

400 – I think this section is very out of place – audit considerations relating to an entity using a service organization and evaluation of misstatements identified during the audit

500 – audit evidence

600 – special considerations – audits of group financial statements (including the work of incumbent auditors)

700 – forming an opinion and reporting on financial statements

800 – special considerations – audits of financial statements prepared in accordance with special purpose frameworks

Can you see it?  How they’re arranged.  It’s pretty obvious when you write the standards out like this.  The Canadian Auditing Standards are organized as an audit approach.  I thought it was pretty smart.

Now combine that macro view with the micro view I explained above highlighting how a section is structured.  If you can recall this without thinking about it, you’ll have a pretty good talking knowledge of the new CASs.  This should take roughly 2-3 hours.  The time is spent on understanding the structure of the CASs.  How they fit together and why and what that says about how we’re supposed to audit.  This will make things much easier when you read each individual standard in detail.

My buddy likes chips on sandwiches

I worked at a camp in Pennsylvania a few years ago.  A lot of the campers ate chips on sandwiches.  I wrote this off as a real life case study in American obesity, something particular to our neighbours to the south.  Well I was wrong.  Type in “chips on sandwich” in google and you’ll get roughly 5 million results.  5 million people actually want to know about chips on sandwiches.  My friend is planning on making a website to allow fellow chips on sandwich fans to share stories and pairings.  If Fuck, You Penguin and Look at this fucking hipster can get a book deal and make tons of cash there’s no reason why this can’t.  I’m all for it.  My friend’s favourite?  Corned beef on rye with salt and vinegar Miss Vickie’s.

Vibram five fingers

I’ve been talking about these ninja-esque shoes for the past few weeks.  I’ll probably buy them at the end of the month.

That’s all I got for now.  Let me leave you with this clip from Daniel Tosh.



  1. Tell me more about your Ikea lamp.

    • Here’s the link

      It’s not some crazy expensive, high-tech lamp. It costs $10 and gets the job done. It has three settings – low medium and high. I crank it up to high in the mornings for maximum awakeness. I think it’s far more economical than buying a $100+ light box from amazon.

      I also noticed the opposite effect. That if I dim my lights at night, I get to sleep easier. I go from all my lights, to half, to none, to just my tv. And when I turn off my tv I read some of my rss feeds. It’s a nice gradual progression.

      I also started eating more animal fat. I’ve been buying pancetta and medium ground beef. If I eat medium ground beef before I go to bed my sleep is a lot more sporadic. It’s more sporadic because I’m not tired. Last night I woke up at midnight, 4am and 5:30 am. Each time I just walked around or read some stuff online. And it didn’t really impact how I felt in the morning. I’m not sure if this is a direct result of the animal fat or something else. I have to do more testing before I’m completely sure.

  2. Enjoying reading your blog. I’m still an accounting student, but this blog definitely helps bridge that gap between an accounting class and the real world.

    By the way, chips on sandwiches is genius. I’m definitely going to start doing that. Maybe even fries on hot dogs. American obesity indeed….

  3. If you are interested in health related products, my friend created zeo,

    On another note, if you want to get away from the mundane everyday life, check out for a fun and crazy day.

    good luck and hope to see you there!

    • Looks fucking epic!

      I’ll likely sign up for the Toronto Race.

      Have you heard of Warrior Dash? It’s similar but equally awesome –

      …and the Vibrams are solid/amazing for meeting girls

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