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Accounting Discourse Community


Annabell Lipworth

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Accounting Discourse Community

Accounting Discourse Community Discourse Community Becoming apart and joining the Accounting discourse community is not an easy task. Discourse community, as defined by Webster’s dictionary, is a community that has a particular pattern of speech and actions limited to its members only. Discourse Community A member of a discourse community share characteristic in “ways of speaking,” that is accepted linguistically, intellectually, and socially (Stranger, pg. 234) and use specific communication which is considered appropriate by member of a specific community (Stranger, pg. 235). Discourse Community Swales proposed six defining characteristics that are necessary and sufficient for identifying a group of individuals as a discourse community. These are that a discourse community has broadly agreed set of common public goals, has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members, uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback, utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the community to furtherance its aims, acquire specific lexis and has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discourse expertise. Interview I interviewed two current employees at different Accounting firms to get a better understanding and aspect to the Accounting discourse, which I am interested in joining. Jennifer Seltzer has been working at Rothstein Kass for only one year now in the Commercial Services Auditing department, while Sandra Pena has been apart of the Weil Gotshal and Management for the last fifteen years. Interview- Goals The goals of an Accounting community is to provide the best of the services to our clients while keeping accurate accounting records and bringing assets (cash) to the firm and to keep expenses down.

Another main goal of any accounting firm would be to have a strong commitment to customers and the service the firm provides to them. Interview- Genres The Accounting discourse uses many genres; also know as types of documents or texts that are recognizable to readers and writers, and that meet the needs of the rhetorical situations in which they function (Swales, pg. 467).

These genres may be unfamiliar to other academic discourses such as Nursing or even other Business fields such as Marketing. Interview- Genres An important document for an auditor and CPA firm is the Engagement letter, which accountants prepare and send to the client for approval and signature before the audit starts. The engagement letter confirms the auditor’s responsibilities, the clients’ responsibilities, and other key details regarding the audit. This is prepared so there is no confusion about who is responsible for what. Interview- Genres The client prepares the Management Representation letter to the auditor at the end of the audit stating that all required information was submitted to the auditors and that the financial statements are not materially misstated.

Another would be a Letter of Inquiry from the client’s attorney assuring us of no pending or threatening litigation for the year under audit. Interview- Genres Other genres include monthly statements or invoices for clients, wire transfers or checks for vendors. Vendor invoices to be paid, letters from clients requesting accounting figures. Bank statements, Bank reconciliations, checks, general ledger reports, Financial statements, Real state closing binders. Interview-
Genres In Depth Having clear and understandable financial statements is what accounting is all about. Financial statements are the most comprehensive way of communicating financial information about a business enterprise, and a wide array of users—from investors and creditors to budget directors—use the data it contains to guide their actions and business decisions.

Financial statements are balance sheets, income statements, statement of cash flows, statement of retained earnings and statement of changes in stockholder’s equity. Interview-
Genres In Depth Balance sheet (or statement of financial position) summarizes the financial position of an accounting entity at a particular point in time as represented by its economic resources (assets), economic obligations (liabilities), and equity. Interview-
Genres In Depth Income statement summarizes the results of operations for a given period of time. Interview-
Genres In Depth Statement of cash flows summarizes the impact of an enterprise's cash flows on its operating, financing, and investing activities over a given period of time. Interview-
Genres In Depth Statement of retained earnings shows the increases and decreases in earnings retained by the company over a given period of time.

Statement of changes in stockholders' equity discloses the changes in the separate stockholders' equity account of an entity, including investments by distributions to owners during the period. Interview-
Genre and Language In accounting, using appropriate genres is vital and an understanding of the financial data in accounting documents is regarded as essential to reaching an accurate picture of a business's true finances, which would benefit the company.

All accountants write memos to supervisors, colleagues, and subordinates to request or provide information, letters to clients, agencies, and a variety of readers, technical, and narratives of financial statements Interview-
Genre and Language A report usually involves analysis of an accounting problem and application of accounting principles to a particular situation Interview-
Genre and Language Memos are often used for communication within an organization and are now written in the form of e-mail messages. Interview-
Genre and Language Accountants may write letters to a variety of people including clients, government agencies, and fellow professionals. They may write letters seeking data about a client's tax situation or information needed for an audit.

They may also write to communicate the results of research into a technical accounting problem. Other letters an account might write include engagement letters and management advisory letters. Interview-
Communication Communication in accounting is crucial. Both interviewees agreed that since they both have offices all over the US and even worldwide, the main use of communication is via e-mail, memos or phone calls to reach one another Interview-
Communication Face to face in the office works, too. Members within this discourse community must communicate daily since it is mandatory to keep your managers and supervisors informed of your schedule and availability.

Ms. Seltzer said that the second she arrive at the office she e-mails the scheduling department to tell them she has arrived at work and is available to work. Interview-
Communication Within the community, Mrs. Pena is constantly in contact with CEO, lawyers, partners, administrators, managers, supervisors, staff, vendors, clients, and bank representatives. She uses professional writing style regardless whom she is writing to. Interview-
Communication Ms. Seltzer reports every day to her superior to inform them of my availability throughout the day and of other activities she is working on. This is can be done via email or face to face.She usually does through email if they are busy working on something else or in a meeting.
Ms. Seltzer, realistically answered my question of if her writing changes depending who it is and said “Honestly, yes. Usually I am more formal and straight to the point with my superior. When speaking with my coworkers, we tend to have a more casual tone. “ Interview-
Terminology Members of this discourse community will only understand some specific terminology and acronyms. These may include accounting system terms that may change depending the program a company is using. Interview-
Terminology When Ms. Seltzer began working at RKCO she was asked to ‘foot a spreadsheet,’ which she was unsure about. Now, after practice and working along side co-workers she knows that ‘footing’ means to recalculate to make sure the sum is correct. Interview-
Terminology Both Mrs. Pena and Ms. Seltzer agreed that I should become familiar with the names and formats on the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows and Financial terms. Interview-
Feedback Receiving feedback and reviews in accounting differs from accounting firm and companies.

Ms. Seltzers review process for auditing is very strict. A second staff reviews any work that a staff performs. A senior reviews any work the second staff performs and the cycle continues going up the chain until it reaches the partner, who performs an overall review and signs off on the financial statements. Interview-
Feedback Ms. Seltzer said she receives feedback throughout the entire process of the audit engagement. It is a team effort. Then, at the end of the engagement, their superior about how they did on the particular assignment evaluates everyone. Suggestions for improvement are included. Interview-
Feedback In Mrs. Pena’s firm a review process is done twice a year and receives feedback via email, person to person or memo and includes information, which is captured and combined for the semi annual, and annual reviews and comments are given to the employee in person. Prezi I decided to present the Accounting Discourse community using a Prezi because it is very rare to see an accounting firm use visuals and innovation to show their financial statements. Prezi It is understandable why firms would decide not to use this type of genre to present their statements because it is time consuming and probably inefficient. Prezi Most of the firm’s customers would just be pleased with receiving paper reports, but by going the extra step and creating an individual presentation for each customer would show them that the accounting firm is willing to go that extra mile and be creative. Bibliography Sandra, Pena. E-Mail Interview. 9 November 2012. Bibliography Jennifer Seltzer. E-Mail Interview. 10 November 2012 Bibliography "Reference for Business." Accounting. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. <http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/A-Bo/Accounting.html>. Bibliography "Writing in Accounting." George Mason University Classweb. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. <http://classweb.gmu.edu/WAC/somguide/accounting.htm>. Bibliography McCarthy, Lucille Parkinson. A Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing across the Curriculum. N.p.: n.p., 1985. Print. Bibliography Swales, John. ''The Concept of Discourse Community." Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990.21-32. Print. Annabell Lipworth
Fall 2012
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