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100th Episode Extravaganza! The Best of Off the Books

Key Takeaways

We’re celebrating 100 episodes of Off the Books! Hear how it all started, and relive some of the best clips of the accounting podcast you know and love.


Season 4, Episode 7: 100th Episode Extravaganza | Transcript


Drew Deubner: Hello and welcome to Off the Books, where we're surfing the unchartered waters of accounting, finance, and wherever else the waves take us. I'm Drew Deubner, and I'm your host. I'm not an accountant, but I like asking the questions of people who are—finance professionals—so they can do their jobs better.


Catherine Tsai: Oh my gosh, Steve. That was Drew Deubner, the O.G. host of Off the Books.


Steve Soter: Yes, it was. I actually remember when he did that. That was from the second-ever listed episode on Off the Books, but the very first one we recorded, and he is actually making that up as he goes as you could probably tell. Can you believe this is the 100th episode of Off the Books?


Catherine: Wow. Well, I don't want to deprive people of hearing your intro, Steve, so please tell everyone who you are.


Steve: No problem. Hello, everybody. I am Steve Soter, accounting enthusiast and Diet Coke aficionado. I'm looking forward to debiting a great conversation today. Catherine, can you please tell the fine folks who you are?


Catherine: I'm not an accountant or Diet Coke aficionado or even an O.G. host of Off the Books. I kind of just barged into the recording studio several episodes ago and never left. But we're here with Off the Books Producer Mike Gravagno and someone else who's been part of Off the Books, Nick Renkoski.


Steve: Oh my goodness. Nick, welcome back to Off the Books.


Nick Renkoski: Thanks. It's good to be back. It's like riding a bicycle.


Steve: You don't ever forget and then decide you don't want to do it anymore.


Nick: Yeah, I mean, I haven't spoken since I left the show. And so it's interesting to be back, and I can hear my voice again. It's lovely.


Steve: Oh, wonderful. Well, Nick, how have you been? I'm sure the audience would love an update.


Nick: I've been great. Things are very, very good. I still an avid Off the Books listener. Of course, I was like interim host when Drew had a baby, although I don't think he was that involved in the having process. But you know he left the show temporarily, and then I took over for a while and then "took over," I mean, is help Steve with the co-hosting, but I've always wondered because I wasn't there at the beginning. Steve, what is the origin of the show?


Steve: You know, it's a great question. Honestly, it was an experiment about two things. Number one, could we start a podcast? And then, number two, how long could we keep it going before somebody told us to stop? So we were at the Workiva headquarters in Ames, Iowa. We kind of planned out a few episodes. We listened to a lot of intro music, including a lot of surf music, quickly determined that's what we wanted the theme to be, and we just started recording. So far, nobody's told us to stop, at least not yet. Maybe 100 episodes is the cut off, and this will be the last one. I sure hope not because we're going to record another episode today. But it was a great experience. And, you know, so far so good. I'm delighted the podcast is going strong.


Catherine: Well, if this is the last episode, then I'm glad you finally got to see Nick on camera because you definitely have the best suit game of anybody.


Nick: And I think that was one of the big problems with the format of the show earlier is that you weren't taking advantage of this. You know it was limiting the show.


Catherine: Right. Right.


Steve: I think it might be helpful for our audience to know that, Nick, you're not just wearing a jacket disingenuously because you are being recorded. You would regularly wear suits and ties to work, but at home because we were all virtual, of course it was. I got to say you're, you know, devilishly handsome, but it was a little peculiar that you were in a suit on Zoom.


Nick: I started with Workiva in March of 2020, anticipating when I got hired—I got interviewed at the office in Ames at the headquarters in February—assuming that I was going to be working from the office, and you're right. We did 100% of my working for the most part—I think one I went in the office a couple of times much later in the pandemic—from home. For me, this is a uniform in the same way that, you know, a doctor or a janitor would wear a uniform. I can't work not like this, so it's just a totally a psychological thing. You have absolutely no idea if I'm wearing pants or not. That remains consistent, but the jacket always and forever.


Catherine: Nick, what are some of your favorite moments from your time on Off the Books?


Nick: I always like talking to Nick Mazing. I think in the—I don't know how many shows I co-hosted—maybe 15 or 20 in the in the 100-episode length of the show. And we must have talked to Nick three or four times in that span. Like you, Catherine, I am not an accountant. So I like asking questions of people who are, and he made financial—it was clarity was what Nick Mazing was about. It made it very easy to understand what was happening, whether it be about SPACs or interest rates or any number of COVID-related economic things, of which there were many at the time we were talking.


Nick Mazing [00:05:40] And I'm not going to be invited ever again. I'm going to say it. Accounting is mostly fiction.


Nick Renkoski: I also remember really enjoying discussing diversity and representation with Penny Ashley Lawerence. You know, almost every episode, especially for someone who doesn't have a financial background, it was like having front row seats to a world that I had never really understood. You know, it may sound—and this is not me patting myself on the back—I already compared myself to a doctor earlier in the episode. So my questions at least were very genuine out of curiosity, because it's not a world I come from. And there's so much it's such an important world that really does affect how we live our lives and do our jobs. It was like being at the oracle and being able to hear from people who really know these things. They know their stuff. They may not know their memes, but it was really always fascinating to learn something from people who are competent and good at their jobs. It doesn't really happen all the time.


Catherine: Oh, memes.


Mike: Can anyone truly know memes?


Nick: Good point. Philosophical meme right there, I feel like.


Steve: Well, it's funny. Some of my favorite moments from the show, particularly with Nick, were actually memes. I felt like we did that as an experiment with Drew Deubner. We sort of amped it up a little bit. There was one in particular, one episode in particular with Nick Renkoski as host where we actually switched it. So instead of me describing the memes, we actually put Nick in the place to describe the memes. Much like Catherine and Mike, we have and will do with you in the future. So as it happens, I actually have a few clips from one particular episode that I am hoping our audience will remember. I'm going to go ahead and share just a few clips from these episodes. And then, Nick, I'm going to ask you about it. So stand by.


Okay. We are going to have to take a break here because my freaking tablet ran out of batteries when it was fully charged this morning. Gosh.


Mike: Freaking tablet.


Steve: So I need, like, two seconds to run up to grab the charger. I will be right back. I'm so sorry.


Commercial: Today's episode of Off the Books is sponsored by Workiva. Workiva, since it has work in the name was founded to transform the way that people work. A majority of senior accounting and finance professionals that we talk to say their financial reporting still involves lots of manual work. They share Excel documents. They share Word documents, and they all come back in all sorts of garbled sense. Workiva is here to fix that by helping professionals like you modernize the way they work and connect the organization from record to record, from SEC team to SOX team to internal audit. Link those that elements together. The numbers, the narratives, the calculations at the heart of your reporting everywhere you want to use them. When you change data at the source, it's changed at the destination. It's that simple.


Nick: Now, you mentioned you were a fan when you were a kid. Where are you familiar at all or know of—this might be a little bit later—but The Honky Tonk Man.


Steve: The Honky Tonk Man, it rings a bell. But I got to be honest with you, I can't picture it.


Nick: This is really my only connection. The Honky Tonk Man, I think, was sort of a secondary, you know, it wasn't in the Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage stratosphere, but he was part of the universe. And he was our neighbor in Memphis, Tennessee, where I lived when I was a kid. And I knew he was a professional wrestler. And he had a tanning bed in his home, and I thought that was the height of luxury when I was eight or nine years old. I thought, wow, he can he can tan any time he wants. So anyway, there you go. Ric Flair, I think, is also from Memphis, although he did not live near us.


Steve: Did you ever go knock on the door? Excuse me, Mr. Man. Could I borrow the tanning bed?


Nick: Please, man? My dad was Mr. Man. Just call me Honky Tonk. No, it never happened. But he was in the neighborhood and was our local celebrity. So there you go.


Steve: I love it. So Nick, that was you telling us what it was like having The Honky Tonk Man, a professional wrestler, and I'm curious, what was it like growing up with a professional wrestler nearby? Our audience never got to get that insight from you.


Nick: Well, I mean, I sort of mentioned that he had a child my age. So, we ran around and I was only there in the summertime. So its not like I went to school with his children, but we lived in a very nice suburban community, and there was a communal pool in the neighborhood. And so we'd see him there every once in a while. My parents weren't friends with him personally. But again, you know, for the kids who watched wrestling, they were very, very impressed. Memphis, though, is a unique place in that local celebrities, or even if they're national, feel like local celebrities. I remember distinctly thinking that big name musical acts who live there—you know Al Green was a pastor and still is in an actual church not too far from where I grew up. And I just remember thinking that he was a local act, the same as any other just musician trying to make it. William Bell, again, if you're a '60s soul fan, is a really big deal. He shopped and bought suits where my dad bought suits, and you'd see him every once in a while. And I just thought again that he was just sort of like a lounge act in the area. So both The Honky Tonk Man—again I had no interest in professional wrestling, so I wasn't obsessed with him. And Ric Flair—whose story is really interesting, I think he was an orphan who's dropped off on somebody's doorstep and really out of the movies type of thing—the city had this ownership of these guys who in hindsight were national names, but to us it felt very Memphian, like they only belonged us. It seemed to a 9-year-old, I just assumed that everybody had a professional wrestler down the street and this was ours, you know? It wasn't till later that I got a context that that was an unusual thing.


Steve: Well, you bring up professionalism. So I'm going to go to the next clip, and I have a follow-up question for you after this. So here we go.


Nick: Of course. And I believe you brought a clip.


Steve: I did. Now, this involves Christopher Walken, and I can't get enough Christopher Walken, just like he couldn't get enough cowbell. Let me play a clip here for our audience. And I think they'll know exactly which meme we're talking about.


Clip: “Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell."


Nick: Okay.


Steve: Classic. It's a classic, but that's the original from Saturday Night Live. Nick, why don't you go ahead and describe the meme here that you're looking at.


Nick: So we again, we've got a picture of Mr. Walken in there with the aviator sunglasses in the booth from that skit from Saturday Night Live. And the text says, and I'll do my best here, "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more top sides."


Steve: So Nick, you did a really good job on that impersonation. How long have you been impersonating Christopher Walken professionally?


Nick: The pay isn't as good as you think, especially for people at my level. I will tell you since becoming a father just now—my oldest is four years old—I've embraced dad jokes to be sure, but really, really have embraced impressions because you talk to your kids all day and you've got to mix it up a little bit. So Walken is a good one, and it's fun because they don't have any idea who you're doing because they're four and two, and The Deer Hunter isn't their favorite movie yet, so it's not like they know who Christopher Walken is. But to break things up at bedtime, we'll do Arnold Schwarzen-daddy with something like, "You've got to put your clothes in the hamper, get to the hamper. Brush your teeth. It's time." Or Orson Welles will read their nighttime stories. "Now, goodnight moon, goodnight." You know, I'm doing too much Christopher Walken there. And sort of at breakfast. "Well, yeah. Got to get your applesauce." And then again, they've got no idea what I'm doing and then either would anyone else because I'm not good at this, but it's what breaks up the monotony of routine day after day after day after day. So, you know, Christopher Walken is again, it's just another way to a) instill in your children that dads are lame and b) entertain yourself, which is a lot of what you're doing with really young kids.


Steve: Well, let's talk about movies, actually, because now we've got Mike here, and we have you here. I think you're both maybe the biggest fans of movies and cinema in general. I understand, Nick, you have some thoughts about some of our conclusions with the movie episodes we've been doing.


If you had an excuse to watch Ghostbusters, especially for like a "work-related thing," I say that in air quotes for our audience. Why wouldn't you watch Ghostbusters? Right?


Mike: Where else can we talk about ghost bleep in a work setting then if we talk about Ghostbusters?


Catherine: Earmuffs, everybody, earmuffs.


Nick: Well, they're mostly pointed at Mike to be quite frank with you. I love the series because it's such an interesting angle to look at these things. And I will, you know, address one of the big questions is this an accounting movies, it is this not an accounting movie? That's such a nebulous idea. And if I recall, Mike, was it that you didn't like The Shawshank Redemption because it's too sentimental or treacly or...


Mike: Oh, yeah. It's a bad movie.


Nick: You know, that's indefensible. But the—


Mike: I think any movie that relies on 75% of screen time a narrator explaining what's happening, it means they don't know how to make a movie.


Nick: And now that you say, it has been such a long time since I've seen a lot of the movies you mentioned, although some of them are some of my favorites, Shawshank in particular. But funnily, you know, where it used to be on TNT 24 hours a day, it may still be. We just don't consume—I don't in my house—television the same way. Is Midnight Run on one of the movies on the list?


Mike: I tried to get it on the list, and Steve said, "No."


Nick: Okay.


Steve: Hey, hey, we voted. We voted. This was not a Steve thing.


Mike: Democracy said no.


Steve: Democracy said no.


Nick: Because then if I also recall you defended the 2016 Ghostbusters.


Mike: I really like that movie. I think it's super funny. I recently rewatched it actually.


Nick: But it's so subjective because one person's funny is another person's terribly unfunny.


Mike: Right. Having rewatched Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, which is the 2016 one, the new one has jokes just like it goes for jokes. They're not just like "and Bill Murray says something here." Rewatching it, there's a couple of funny things.


Nick: And I know this is a podcast, which means it's ripe for two guys to be relitigating this 8-year-old movie. The first one, and full disclosure, it was one of my all-time favorite movies when I was a kid, but I thought it was legitimately scary. When I was young, I thought it was frightening, but even on my Social Security card, I wrote Peter Venkman because I thought that's how you changed your name legally. And I mean daycare people, preschool teachers had to call me Peter. I insisted on it. But as an adult I really like that movie—the first one, the '84 one—and again this is subjective, so it's not me saying that you're wrong so much, Michael, but you are. It's that, you know, if you think of it from one angle, I don't disagree with you. The first one, the only funny person in the movie is Bill Murray, which is interesting because Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, you've got seasoned comedians there, but they give all the funny lines, or 95% of the funny lines, to Murray. And it works in his character. He's the sleazebag. He's the one at angles with the rest of the society, whereas in the new one, and it's not even the newest one, Answer the Call. There are no characters. They're all so out-of-the-box crazy cuckoo that there's nothing there's nothing to...


Mike: It doesn't ground enough for you.


Nick: Right.


Catherine: Because literally talk about this all day, but...


Nick: I know because I also want to say in terms of the whole idea, the problem is, Steve. Catherine, you and I are marketers. Marketers and media are often sleazy, bottom-line driven, heartless.


Mike: Oh, yeah.


Nick: You know, slick type of stuff. It's a shorthand. And accounting in movies is often a shorthand for nerdy. Or in the case of Moonstruck, she's an accountant because she's too practical. That's her problem. She needs to be loosened from that mooring.


Mike: She needs the moon magic to shake her up.


Nick: The moon magic to shaken her up. Is this unfair? Perhaps, but in 2 hours you need to establish quickly what your what your character is like, and so it fits that she's in an accountant because she's so analytical and, like I said, practical to her own detriment. Because love, as the movie argues, is totally impractical.


Steve: I think you need moon magic to improve the movie. That's really what I think.


Nick: But I think you're wrong about that one too, because I love that movie.


Mike: Based...


Nick: What was that?


Mike: I was going to say based on that. Sorry to interrupt. I think, Nick, we need to send you the list of movies we have and you should join us for a full on.


Nick: I'd be happy to.


Catherine: Yay, yay!


Nick: I do remember with rapt attention, listening to the vote and the democratic process, and some of them went the way that I wanted to. Other ones didn't. I suppose that's the way it is on every election night. I can't remember what was all on the very impressive job of rounding up all the movies that have even the most tangential relation to accounting. But yeah, those are some of my favorite episodes, and I look forward to every time they come around.


Steve: Well, Nick, it's been a huge pleasure to have you back for our 100th episode and perhaps more on movies. Again, we just really appreciate all that you did for Off the Books, all of those episodes that you hosted, all of the good memories. And we'll look forward to many more to come.


Nick: It's been a lot of fun. Thanks for having me and congratulations.


Mike: And we are back after reminiscing with Nick. Steve, now that Nick is gone, are there any other memorable moments that maybe you didn't want to talk about while he was with us?


Steve: Yeah, we can totally start trash talking Nick. No, actually, one of the ones that I wanted to go through with him was the last FIFO, LIFO, and this is disgusting, so I guess  a content advisory here, but the meme was two boxes, a gentleman sitting on the toilet on his phone reading and then that was FIFO. And then the panel below was the gentleman throwing up in the toilet and that was LIFO. And I would encourage your audience to go back and listen to it. But Nick was struggling so hard to describe it. He was trying so hard to keep it PC and not gross and toilet humor. He failed miserably, and we actually had a delightful and hilarious conversation. Sorry, I shouldn't say delightful when we're talking about toilets. We might want to take that one out.


Mike: Life is a myriad of motifs and colors, and I think the more areas you can find delight in, the better it is in general.


Steve: Well, it was hysterical. And again, I'd encourage our listeners to go back and check that out.


Catherine: You know, I remember another memorable episode, Steve. You and Drew Deubner were talking with a forensic accountant, Tim Tribe, about this famous case from a few years ago where there was this Arizona guy who couldn't afford his mortgage, so he set his house on fire for the insurance money.


Steve: It was hilarious. I would love it if we could take a listen to that.


Mike: Well, maybe we can.


Tim Tribe: Well, one of the things he brought with him that was very fortunate was he brought himself a fire escape ladder, like a rope ladder.


Drew Deubner: Oh, very convenient.


Steve: You never know. I mean, you really never know


Tim Tribe: You never know. It was so fortunate because the master bedroom was on the second floor, and so he was able to hang that out the window and go down that ladder. Now, the other thing, not the million years would I have though of this one especially living in Pheonix, but while he was going out the window and down this rope ladder, he was wearing a full scuba tank, complete with the rebreather.


Steve: I never leave home without mine. Just for the record, you never know.


Drew Deubner: I've got one on right now.


Tim Tribe: Do you? Yeah. There you go.


Drew Deubner: Yes. I never recorded a podcast without it.


Tim Tribe: He wore a scuba tank as he went out the window and down the ladder and went out on the golf course and sat there under a tree and watched his house burn down.


Catherine: Oh, yeah. See, that's the thing. You listen to it and the story gets weirder and weirder. I just ended up re-listening to the entire episode again because it's just so strange. It's a two-part episode too.


Steve: Yes, so here's the thing, forensic accounting is just interesting in general, so both parts of the two-part episode are great. But that story, I mean, it just kept going. In fact, the lead into that, there was a lot of weird things leading into that. Of course, Tim shared that story, but then the aftermath, and I'm sitting there listening to this, picturing to myself, this guy in full scuba regalia.


Mike: Yes.


Steve: Sitting under a tree, thinking to myself, what did you think was going to happen? Like do you get into one of the ponds in the golf course in your scuba gear? And then what do you just, like, hang out? Like what if you have to come back up and you run out of air? Like, what do you think's going to happen?


Mike: I guess my assumption was that he was trying to be smart and was like, well, I'm going to set the fire while I'm in the house and I want oxygen. I'll put on my scuba suit because that is designed to give you oxygen when there is none. But then that neoprene that stuff I think will turn into napalm if it lights on fire and you're wearing it. So he's very lucky.


Catherine: I hope he rehearsed, you know, practicing getting out of the window with a thing on your back and not setting things on fire.


Mike: What if he just, like, fell and broke both his knees?


Steve: Like, right.


Mike: The way I'm picturing it definitely feels like one of the weirder moments like in a Wes Anderson movie. It's so absurd and funny.


Steve: A rope ladder, I think, is tough to navigate just by itself and on your own, let alone a massive scuba tank rebreather and all the other equipment that goes along with it. I imagine that was fairly cumbersome. Anyway, it was a hysterical, hysterical story. The guy ended up getting prosecuted and was found guilty. You know, spoiler alert.


Catherine: Don't spoil it. Yeah, yeah.


Steve: Oh, yeah. Hey, just kidding, just kidding.


Catherine: People have to relisten!


Steve: Just kidding. Never mind he got off on a technicality.


Mike: Who knows what happened?


Catherine: But it's a great there's a there's another really good episode that you and Drew had on kind of a nerdy topic, but it was really good. It was with Pranav Ghai and on XBRL® as another good episode. I think that was season one, episode nine. Everyone should re-listen to it, but there's another one, Steve. Do you remember the very first episode that you recorded? It was about ethics and the PCAOB.


Mike: I do. I remember that episode really well because I think, as I mentioned, this was the very first episode that we recorded, but it was actually the second that appears on the site. In fact, that was the intro that we listened to for this episode, and that was a good one. We started off with a bang.


Steve: To me, when you say, you know who's auditing the auditors, there is such an incestuous relationship between the PCAOB and the Big Four that I just wonder how powerful can that oversight really be? And I mean, look guys, one name says it all: Brian Sweet. You don't have to look very far to look at this insane conflict of interest, illegal activities, and unethical activities across the board of what happened with Brian and a host of other people. I mean, I'm enthralled by this story that I'm reading again. It reads like a Soviet-era spy novel of Instagram posts indicating code words so that we can make phone calls using burner cell phones in our attempts to cover our tracks. I mean, you can't make this stuff up.


Mike: That does sound super interesting. Now I want to dig into the Instagram-coded dead drops, people secretly communicating.


Steve: Well, I mean it's not too hard to Google Brian Sweet, KPMG, and the PCAOB scandal. It's crazy interesting, and it's actually even more than what we got into right there. Mike, you could definitely kill a few minutes for sure digging into that.


Catherine: And this is where I kind of got hooked on the podcast because there's a moment there where you and Camille Rudy and Ernest Anunciacion are just kind of talking about it, and things got a little spicy, and I was like, I'm going to tune in to this podcast every week.


Mike: I want to hear spicy.


Catherine: Yeah, let's hear it.


Steve: Let's check out the spicy.


Steve: If we're going to go, you know, far fetched here. To me if the PCAOB does fold into the SEC, is that the first step into unraveling the SOX Act completely?


Camille Rudy: Or you have to wonder what the administration is thinking with this initiative.


Ernest Anunciacion: Well, bleep the administration because.


Mike: You warned that it was spicy, and I was still taken off guard.


Steve: Well, you know, we intentionally wanted to, at least at the time and maybe a little bit today, create a little bit of spice, create a little bit of conflict, create a little bit of discussion. And Ernest did not disappoint. He's been on the podcast a number of times. Certainly has strong feelings about what we were discussing, and it was really interesting. I mean, it's still interesting to think about. Certainly the tables have turned at the SEC and obviously with politics generally since those days, but anyway, it was a good one. It was a good discussion.


Mike: One of my favorite things with the spice is that this is just the kind of format—I don't know if listeners know I'm a huge podcast proponent. I'm a big fan of it as a medium, and I've been around it for a long time. But you get to know, no matter the topic, you get to know your hosts and your guests in a way that maybe you wouldn't normally. And so I've collected a series of clips and to the point that I forget what each one is. But here's some of my favorite moments of getting to know our hosts and guests.


Steve: So Josh, I guess you could say I'm a believer in the traditional process, although without question, there's things.


Josh: I mean, even dinosaurs are obsolete, Steve, so it's cool.


Steve: Yeah, Diet-Coke-drinking dinosaurs, that is.


Mike: That's a quick one, but that just reveals that because that's our guest, Josh Gertsch, just revealing the kind of back-and-forth I assume you and Josh have at all times, and I'm such a sucker for any reference to your crippling addiction to Diet Coke, Steve.


Steve: Well, we've certainly given the podcast plenty of fodder for my Diet Coke addiction over the years. I need to be like you. I need to be a recovering addict, Mike.


Mike: I mean, I fall off the wagon any time I go see a movie because that's where I let myself have a Cherry Coke. And I know which movie theaters have it and which movie theaters don't.


Steve: Well, it's not easy to find anymore, that's for sure. I thought you were going to say I fell off the wagon at every opportunity.


Mike: No, I tried to rein it in. You know, I'll really only break like every six months. I'll just be at Target and see the Cherry Cokes and in the little fridges they have there. And, like, I need one right now.


Steve: Oh, that's like me every 15 minutes.


Mike: Well, I'm just going to play a couple more moments, and I don't remember what they are.


Steve: I'm still stuck on bona fides. Like when I say bona fides, do I sound like an idiot?


Josh Gertsch: You do sound like an idiot, but not just because of that.


Steve: Thank you. I appreciate that.


Nick: You know, I didn't study accounting. I studied Latin, sadly, in school, which is why I'm all looking up to you guys. But it does come in handy whenever the few chances...


Josh: When you have to read Roman numerals.


Nick: Correct. Oh yeah. I know exactly when the copyright of Hollywood films are. It's a lot of money all for just for that.


Mike: So that was our pal Nick again.


Catherine: Another Nick Renkoski.


Mike: I was beautiful. Yes. Got another Nick Rakowski showing his pretentiousness, another Josh Gertsch tearing Steve down. It's why I love this show.


Catherine: I could listen to that all day.


Steve: Well, you know, Josh and I are actually very good friends. Might come across as frenemies, and I would expect nothing less from Mr. Gertsch to give me a hard time at every opportunity.


Mike: Well, best friends razz each other. The best friends sound like frenemies to people who don't know them, right?


Steve: Yes. I just find that I need some self-esteem boost after every conversation I have with Josh, you know, like a like a Diet Coke, right? Just have a, you know, a sip of that. And I feel better about myself.


Mike: Let that sweet, like, aspartame hit your brain.


Steve : Exactly.


Mike: This next one I have is, again, we get to know our guests. I love the closing questions. And this is just such perfect of like a good serious answer from Levongia Carrera and then Catherine's answer afterwards. I love it all.


Levongia Carrera: The other one is being a teacher. And the reason why I say that is because one of the things that I struggle with for my son is when he goes to, you know, I always wanted him to go into schools that were had really great academics and all that kind of stuff. But unfortunately, when you kind of go into that realm in some places, there's nobody that looks like you. Not even a teacher, not a student, not a nothing. And so I would love to be a teacher that could go into these organizations where early schools that are providing this higher education and be a representative for students that look like me, who are looking for someone that looks like them.


Steve: I love it. Ever the altruist, Levongia.


Catherine: Right?


Steve: Ever the altruist. Catherine, how about you?


Catherine: Oh, goodness. Well, when I was a kid, I really wanted to be a zookeeper, but I have to say my current job is not that different from working at the zoo.


Mike: Okay. Before before we get out of here, closing question of the day, which is one of my favorite traditions of the show. I know both of you dreamt the minute you heard of podcasts, what you wanted to do was deep dive into the world of accounting, but if you had to podcast about another topic, what would it be and why? Catherine, let's start with you.


Catherine: Oh, maybe I would talk to chefs about their craft. Because then for every episode I could go and they could cook for me, and I could taste test and I could describe it for the listeners.


Mike: I love it. Way to get some free food.


Steve: You know, so funny, I actually had a similar idea about a YouTube show where a chef would cook something and you would show it. And based on what it looked like, the hosts would have to describe what they thought it was and how does it taste. And then they would actually eat it to see if they were right. Because, you know, sometimes, like, you look at the dish and you sort of like tell a little bit like, oh, it's got this color, you can tell these spices and whatever. Anyway, that's why I'm not a professional podcaster or YouTuber, for that matter.


Mike: I think that'd be a great show.


Steve: Oh, well, that wasn't going to be my original answer, Mike. But then, yeah, that. Maybe I'll go with that just to build on Catherine's. No, actually, I will say this. My very first podcast host that was like, wow, this podcast ending is really, really cool is Dan Carlin, host of Hardcore History. He's been around for a really, really long time. He'll drop these, like five-hour episodes on World War II or, you know, Julius Caesar or something like that. I would love I would aspire to be able to talk about history in the way that he does that could actually keep somebody engaged for a four- or five-hour episode because I am one of those listeners. I stay engaged for four or five hours, maybe not all at once. That's a long time, but I love coming back to those episodes.


Mike: What's awesome about Dan Carlin and why I look up to him is he started Hardcore History in the days when podcasts were like either super techie people or it was just like, it's just comedians talking and there's no plan, you don't have to try it on. He went, no, what if you try and prepare a lot? And I'm like, good for you, man.


Steve: Well, you know, one of the things that he talks about podcasting as a medium is that you find your audience, you find your niche, and you do that really, really well. And that was one of the hopeful, I guess—I can't think of a different word—that I actually had about this podcast. Could we actually have a podcast for, you know, risk, accounting, finance, compliance, and other professionals that would be interesting to them? That would be interesting for those who aren't in the space? Again, I think we've done a pretty good job, and it gave me hope because if we do this really, really well, maybe we're going to have our listeners coming back again and again.


Mike: And I think they have.


Steve: I think they do.


Catherine: I hope so!


Steve: And a big thanks to our listeners for doing that. Well, we have had so many great moments during the last 100 episodes, and we cannot wait for the next 100. Look, with all sincerity from all of us Off the Books to our listeners, thank you so much for surfing along with us. There would be no show without you. I am Steve Soter. That was Catherine Tsai and Mike Gravagno, and this has been Off the Books presented by Workiva. Please subscribe. Leave a review, and tell your buddies if you like the show. Surf's up and we'll see you on the next wave and many more to come.


Off the Books Season 4


Steve Soter, Catherine Tsai, Mike Gravagno, Nick Renkoski

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