CPAs in Second Life explore XBRL

This time tomorrow evening we will be using the virtual world of Second Life to host a “mixed reality” event on XBRL. The title of the session is XBRL and the International Future of Financial Reporting will be brought to you by the SF/Bay Area FENGLinden LabMaryland Association of CPAs, and the Business Learning Institute. Special thanks to Gladys Lam, John Zdanowski, Richard Acton-Maher and our team at BLI who will be hosting this event on our CPA Island in Second Life. You must be a member of the SF FENG group or the SLACPA (Second Life Association of CPAs) group in Second Life to visit. registration information and instructions can be found at

Don’t know what XBRL is or why you should? Check out this video and some of our resources below:

Charlie Hoffman’s XBRL blog – great compendium of materials and resources

Great article by one of XBRL’s founders and friend, Mike Willis of PWC – Download FE05008_BuisnesReporting.pdf

Our posts at

SEC Panel:Make XBRL Mandatory

XBRL Quietly making noise


Bringing XBRL to Second Life

XBRL is changing the way public companies file financial information and investors access that data. Mike Willis,CPA founding member of XBRL International and partner at PWC was at the Maryland Business & Accounting EXPO ( to give the latest on this exciting development in the financial reporting arena. The photo on the right is me (with mustache) and Mike on the right at a dinner after meeting on the Enhanced Business Reporting Committee of the AICPA.

Mike did his usual fantastic job at the EXPO and was covered in an article in the Baltimore Business Journal by reporter, Rachel Sams, Scanning the System: Public Companies brace for new way to file financials. But if you know Mike, he was not content to stop there. When he saw our sessions on Second Life at the EXPO he wanted to do a session on XBRL in Second Life the virtual world.

Xbrl_train_is_boardingSerendipity played a big role as MIke connected us to his Partner Eric E. Cohen (Otto Chin in SL) and then through Linden CFO, John Zdanowski (who spoke “virtually” at our EXPO) to the SF FENG group and then viola we had a “mixed reality event” about XBRL in Second Life. Funny how that is the way this social media / Web 2.0 stuff works…

The event was held successfully on July 15th at our BLI Conference Center on CPA Island and live from the SF FENG group in San Francisco. See the blog post reporting this, Virtual Workshop Examines Reality of XBRL

Thanks Mike for pushing us to showcase an innovative financial concept on an innovative software platform.

CEOs Guide to Second Life

Check out the latest edition of Business Week where they have the CEOs guide to Virtual Worlds. The  guide talks about how many companies have gone beyond the marketing aspects of Second Life to virtual meetings, conferences, mixers, and meetups. And don’t forget recruiting and virtual job fairs.

Then there is the report on the Future of Small Business sponsored by Intuit Corporation and done by the Institute for the Future. In that report (Part 2 – Technology Trends and Smal Business) they talk about “Beyond Web 2.0 where these emerging virtual landscapes will drive small business formation, operation, and innovation… Virtual worlds will be widely adopted venues for reaching customers and experimenting with new product ideas and business models.”

If you add that these virtual worlds will be very familiar to the newest generation of workers (Gen Y, Millennial), many of whom grew up on MMORPGs (massively multi-player on-line role playing games) like World of Warcraft, then you can see why we have started exploring the virtual world of Second Life for CPAs.

JofasecondlifeThe latest edition of the Journal of Accountancy has an article, Accounting for Second Life that chronicles our efforts to explore how virtual worlds can be used in the CPA Profession. We are finding that the Business Week guide is right on point – social networking, meetings, conferences, and meetings are enhanced with the features of virtual worlds. There is another important dimension that should not be overlooked – they are also FUN!

Still not sure? Join us on June 18th at the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo to experience two “mixed reality” educational sessions. “Mixed reality” means there is a real life component (which will be at the Baltimore Convention Center) and a virtual component (which will be held at the BLI Conference Center on CPA Island in Second Life). The sessions are as follows:

Intuit’s Future of Small Business Report and What it means to CPAs: June 18 8:10  to 10 a.m. EST, 5:10 to 7 a.m. SLT / PST.

Steve Blundell, CPA, and Catherine Harrell will present Intuit‘s three-part study authored by the Institute for the Future. The presentation will look at the significant trends and forces affecting entrepreneurship over the next decade, including the changing face of small business, technology trends and their impact on small business formation and operation, and how these concepts are shaping an environment where small businesses can thrive, benefiting from collaboration with big business, access to enhanced computing power and a global marketplace.

The Virtual World of Second Life: June 18, 2:15 to 3:05 p.m. EST, 11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. SLT  / PST.

Johns Zdanowski, CFO of Linden Lab (the company that created of Second Life), will present from in-world to take you into a future that is already here, where real business gets done in virtual worlds like Second Life. If you think you have enough to do in this life, you may need to step out of your comfort zone and find out how real money is being made in virtual worlds.

Plans are already under way to host a session on XBRL in the next month.

The Expo has several sessions that focus on Web 2.0 and Second Life (see session 150 on Tuesday and 231 on Wednesday), if you want to learn about these exciting technologies and how to use them as a CPA. Download a conference brochure here

Join us in-world at CPA Island for the first virtual tradeshow for accounting and business and the first CPE in Second Life on June 18 at the BLI Conference Center on CPA Island.  To visit CPA Island, you must be a member of the SLACPA in Second Life. Once you have created your avatar, join the group “SLACPA” (it is free) and you will get announcements and instructions to sign up for the virtual sessions.

How to attend the virtual CPA session on June 18

The sessions from within Second Life will qualify for three hours of CPE

1.Login to Second Life.

2.Select Edit -> Groups from the top menu, then click the “Search” button and enter SLACPA (short for Second Life Association of CPAs).

3.When the SLACPA group appears, click the “Join” button. This will give you permission to visit CPA Island.

4.Enter the following URL into the address bar of your Internet browser:

It will teleport you directly to the conference.

5.Alternatively, you can select “Map” button at the bottom of the Second Life screen, then enter “CPA Island” in the search box and click the “Search” button. Double-click “CPA Island” in the search results box and you will be teleported to the welcome center on CPA Island.

6.Look for a wall of signs and select the BLI Conference Center picture with your mouse. Right-click and select “Teleport,” and you will be placed at the entrance to the conference center.

7.Proceed through the lobby and follow the signs to the conference center.

I hope to see you in-world…


CPA Island Blog

CPA Success blog posting about Second Life

Thanks to Intuit & Linden Labs for our mixed reality sessions

Last week we managed to pull off two “mixed reality” sessions as part of our first ever Maryland Business & Accounting Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. The two sessions were perfect for the show’s theme of Innovation & Growth – Finding & Seizing Opportunities.

Intuit kicked off Day 2 with their session on the Future of Small Business – a report they sponsored with  the Institute for the Future. They were daring enough to attempt this live at the EXPO and in Second Life and by all accounts it was a success. Our virtual audience included about thirty-five avatars from all over the world! In addition to seeing what small business will look like in 2017, there was advice for CPAs in what they should be thinking about when serving these new businesses. I can’t help but point out that in the study (Phase 2 Technology), there is a big piece on virtual worlds and small businesses and a specific reference to Second Life.

Later that afternoon we had a repeat performance by Zee Linden (John Zdanowski) and Sue Linden (Sue Singer) of Linden Labs doing a session on the Virtual World of Second Life. John was virtual from his offices in California and Sue was live on-stage in Baltimore. Both were on-stage at the BLI Conference Center on CPA Island. Zee and Sue gave a great overview of how Second Life is being used for real business and non-profits and educational uses.

We also learned a lot by hosting these sessions and will be featuring video archives soon…

Worlds Collide, Virtually as “Mixed Reality” Workshops in Maryland Break New Ground in Pofessional Education

The lines that divide reality from virtual reality were blurred June 18 by a pair of groundbreaking events at the inaugural Maryland Business and Accounting Expo.

The first, a two-hour workshop titled “The Future of Small Business and What CPAs Need to Know,” was the first-ever continuing professional education (CPE) program offered for CPAs in Second Life, a virtual world that allows people throughout the world to network and collaborate in a three-dimensional environment. The second, titled “The Virtual World of Second Life,” featured a speaker who addressed the Baltimore-based audience from within Second Life from his office in

San Francisco.

The workshops were examples of what are known as “mixed-reality” events – sessions that take place in real life and a virtual world simultaneously (see our post at Those attending the Expo participated in the workshops in a real-life conference center; at the same time, people from around the world listened to the same speakers, viewed the same slides and asked questions from a virtual conference center in Second Life. Those with microphones could use Second Life’s voice functionality to chat with the presenters; those without microphones used Second Life’s chat application to ask questions and offer comments.

The Second Life audiences provided a glimpse of the potential of such presentations. “The Future of Small Business” was attended by CPAs in Maryland, Michigan, Texas, Hawaii, Colorado

, and California, drawn by the ability to attend an out-of-town CPE session without leaving their offices. The second workshop’s audience was even more far-flung, with people attending from a number of U.S.states as well as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Estonia. Audience members included Accounting educator’s, students, CPAs, State CPA Society Staff, and business people.

The events were the latest of the MACPA’s “mixed reality” events. In January, the association hosted an event simultaneously in real life and Second Life as part of its annual Educators’ Conference. In March, the MACPA hosted a similar event as part of the CFO Rising Conference in Orlando. Special demos have taken place for Towson University and Johns Hopkins’ Carey School of Business. Upcoming “mixed reality” events include a session for the Association for the Advancement of College Schools of Business (AACSB) International Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida on June 30th and a session on XBRL in San Francisco with the SF Financial Executive Networking Group (SF FENG) on July 15th (details can be found on our blog

The sessions are making a prophet of John Zdanowski, chief financial officer of Linden Lab, the company that created Second Life. Zdanowski, who presented “The Virtual World of Second Life” from his Second Life offices, addressed a virtual MACPA event earlier this year and said, “In the future, as the technology continues to improve, I expect to see virtual worlds become immersive experiences that are difficult to differentiate from the real world.” He also predicts a time in the not-too-distant future when the use of virtual worlds is as prevalent as the use of e-mail today.

Make no mistake: It’s difficult to ignore Second Life’s business potential. According to Zdanowski, Second Life residents spent more than 28 million cumulative hours in the virtual world in February alone, and they own more than 1 billion square meters of virtual space. More important, they have created almost 200 terabytes of digital goods, with more than 50,000 “in-world” businesses claiming virtual profits. A recent Journal of Accountancy article offers further details about Second Life’s economy and business potential.

In short, virtual business is soaring, and that means it’s time for CPAs to pay attention. Just ask Byron Patrick, information technology director at Katz, Abosch, Windesheim, Gershman & Freedman, which in 2005 became the first CPA firm to establish a presence in Second Life.

“We realized there is a real economy growing in there,” said Patrick, “and every good economy needs CPAs, so we figured we needed to be there, too.”

CPAs needed in Second Life?

Wherever there is an economy, CPAs will be needed. Considering that the virtual economy is one of the fastest growing economies around, there was a lot of interest in CPAs at yesterday’s panel discussion with Beyers Sellers of Metanomics. You can watch the replay on SL TV by clicking here.

Beyers Sellers is a RL (real life) accounting professor, Robert Bloomfield, PhD at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business and he teaches a class on virtual world economics and has started a very successful “virtual talk show” in Second Life. The show, Metanomics is broadcast weekly on the SL TV network. SL pathfinders, Arlene Ciroula (Chili Carson) and Byron Patrick (Bean Wollongong) of KAWG&F joined me (Rocky Maddaloni) on the panel focused on what CPAs are doing in Second Life and an interesting discussion on taxes in virtual worlds.

Cfo_rising010We had to overcome some initial sound issues but overall the event went very well. One of the neat things about Second Life is the “back chat” that allows participants to “chat” during the show nd even have private conversations. The backchat was alive and well during this show and a lot of discussion and anxiety about the possibilities of taxing virtual cash. Another point Beyers made was that the lawyers are all over Second Life and the CPAs much less visible. The chart on the right is from our session with Linden CFO, John Zdanowski during the CFO Rising conference we also held virtually on CPA Island. It shows the growing economy and usage of Second Life and its economy. With over 50,000 businesses and over $100 million trading hands, there isw no question it is real. John will be doing another session on June 18th as part of the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center.

What do you think, why aren’t more CPAs here? What do you think about taxing virtual transactions?

5 More Reasons to Consider Second Life (and Virtual Worlds)

Today’s post comes from Intuit’Small Business Labs blog where they picked up that we had started getting CPAs into Second Life with CPA Island and the Second Life Association of CPAs.

They got it right, wherever there is an economy, CPAs are needed – Steve King termed it “following the money” in his post yesterday you can read here: CPAs in Second Life. That is exactly why our friends at KAWG&F became the first CPA firm in Second Life.

In addition to the money, is the idea of following the next generation – the millennial or “gaming generation” who grew up in these games and are the impetus behind these “real economies” with their significant amounts of disposable income fueling the growth of this new form of entertainment. We think we need be ready to reach them where they hang out.

So what are the reasons small business (and our small CPA firms who serve this important segment) should be in Second Life?

Cfo_rising_session_zee_rocky2Steve’s post re-introduced me to Intuit’s research report, The Future of Small Business: Technology  Trends & Small Business which has a whole section on Web 2.0 and Second Life. Another reason why I love the blogosphere! So here are some of the reasons outlined in the report and my own to consider:

  1. Small Business relationships will become more virtual as online social networks expand
  2. Virtual Worlds will be widely adopted venues for reaching customers and experimenting with product ideas and business models
  3. Learning & training will be greatly enhanced with the immerse experiences provided by virtual world environments (mine)
  4. New opportunities to reach the “gaming generation” are now available to businesses and non-profits (like MACPA) via virtual worlds like Second Life (see our prior post on this)
  5. Congress is studying virtual worlds and taxing virtual transactions – if that isn’t a sign of a real economy what is? (see this post from the Virtual World News blog and the latest humorous post about the hearings last week)

We continue to think that Web 2.0 and virtual worlds will continue to be an important medium to interact and conduct “real” business in the future.

What do you think – are these virtual worlds worth exploring are you sitting this one out?

Want to learn more?

Check out our Web 2.0 self-guided learning blog here: (it has a section on Second Life)

MdbizexpoholdthesedatesAttend the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo where we will feature several sessions on Web 2.0 tools for business and showcase a “live” mixed reality session from Second Life to the show floor, featuring Linden Lab (creators of Second Life), CFO, John Zdanowski who will talk about business in Second Life. if you can’t attend live, you can join us in Second Life from CPA Island.

By the way, Intuit is a premium sponsor of MDBIZEXPO and we will have copies of their report “The Future of Small Business” available for all attendees.

Check out real interviews (including ours) at Mike O’Hara’s series the Virtual World’s Business Cast (from the UK) – Our interview is here

Our latest interview (KAWG&F pioneers, Arlene Ciroula, Byron Patrick and yours truly) on the SL show, Metanomics by Dr. Robert Bloomfield can be found here : Accountants in Second Life

Second Life 101: Tips for mastering the virtual world

We’ve spent a lot of time here talking about Second Life and its enormous business potential. What we haven’t done, though, is explain the nuts and bolts of getting started in Second Life. And let’s face it: For newcomers, Second Life can be a bit confusing.

So let’s go to school, shall we?

The first step is joining Second Life. A section of our CPA Learning 2.0 program offers step-by-step details about how to join, create your avatar and get oriented to Second Life’s virtual world.

Next up is mastering some of the finer points of Second Life — teleporting, using voice chat, finding friends, joining groups and other skills that will enhance your in-world experience. Here are a few resources that offer detailed instructions on how to do these things and more in Second Life.

And one final tip: When you arrive in Second Life, search the “Groups” tag for “SLACPA.” That’s the Second Life Association of CPAs. Join the group (it’s free) and you’ll be able to visit all areas of CPA Island and CPA Island 2. There, you’ll see for yourself what we’ve been up to and catch a glimpse of what we hope to accomplish in Second Life.

There undoubtedly are more Second Life tutorials and resources out there. If you’re a Second Life resident, what’s your favorite?

A Second Life for Training

A Second Life for Training is the title of the article that just appeared in the July, 2008 edition of Chief Learning Officer magazine. CLO associate Editor Lindsay Edmonds Wicker sums it up very well,

“Second Life may have started out as a playground for techies, but it has become a well-known virtual world where people play, do business and learn. As a result, more organizations are making the transition to virtual and ultimately finding an engaging, cost-effective training platform.”

She goes on to feature our (Maryland Association of CPAs) efforts in Second Life as a training venue.

Alexandra DeFelice, Associate Editor of Accounting Technology Magazine described it as, “leap(ing) into the next generation” in an article titled, Tom Hood – Virtual CPA in their August edition.

Ryan Sharrow covered our two (2) “mixed reality” events at the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo in his article, Second Life Opens Virtual CPA Worlds in the July 4, 2008 edition of the Baltimore Business Journal.

This is in addition to the Journal of Accountancy feature article in June, 2008, titled, Accounting for Second Life. Turns out we were the “buzz” at the AICPA Tech Conference this year mentioned by several speakers according to WebCPA editor Bill Carlino. Bill talked about the trend of “virtualization” and talked about our virtual CPA Island. He also said that virtualization is one of the technology trends that should be “in process” for CPAs and firms.

We think this medium has a lot of potential for training and engaging the current and next generation of learners (and it is fun too!). Just take a look at some of our recent events:

Virtual Workshop Examines XBRL

CPAs in Second Life Explore XBRL

Intuit & Linden Labs Sessions at the MDBIZEXPO

CPA Island Hosts Session with AACSB (the Association to Advance College Schools of Business)

Demo & Discussion with Towson University

CFO Rising Conference with CFO magazine

I am very glad to see Second Life getting a fair shake in looking at the training potential of this fun and exciting medium. Check out the video of the session at this link. What do you think – are you ready to try Second Life?

Virtual Worlds considered transformational technology for business

ZDNet UK reported on Gartner’s latest report in their article, Gartner:Web 2.0 Set to Transform Business. Two major insights, Web 2.0 technologies are expected to move into the final phase of adoption and have a “change-inducing impact on businesses.” At the top of the list were mashups, software as services, and on-line services (think social networks like MyspaceFacebookTwitter, etc).

Virtual Worlds and Second Life were reported to “represent an important media channel to support and build broader communities of interest”. I agree.

Did you know that we have created an on-line free self-directed learning program for CPAs about Web 2.0 at