Accounting News Roundup: CEOs Doubt Their Deals; Fading Memories of Madoff; IRS Commish Nominee Gets Hearing | 12.04.13
Study Finds CEOs Lack Faith in Their Deals [WSJ]
Those M&A consultants talked them into it!: "A study in the latest issue of the Academy of Management Journal found that chief executives are 28% more likely to exercise stock options and 23.5% more likely to sell company stock in quarters following an acquisition announcement, versus after quarters without one. The sales show that CEOs often lack confidence in the long-term value of deals they engineer, says Cynthia E. Devers, a professor at Michigan State University's Broad Graduate School of Management and author of the study. 'They never come out and say "I'm not really sure how it's going to work," ' says Ms. Devers. 'At the same time, they're unloading their equity-based pay.' "
NY accountant's lawyer seeks speedy Madoff trial to cope with fading memories of witnesses [AP]
Paul Konigsberg, the accountant in question, is no spring chicken, either. He's 77. I wonder what he actually remembers.
Dog bites man.
Breaking: Bank fined $10 billion for stealing $100 billion. Will receive tax credit.
— William K. Wolfrum (@Wolfrum) December 4, 2013
IRS nominee gets hearing next week [OTM/The Hill]
John Koskinen will be taking questions from a bunch of huffy old white men (and maybe a woman or two) next Tuesday during his nomination hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee.
NFL Players Call Personal Tax Foul on Cleveland [AWEB]
An interesting story -- albeit slightly old -- about a couple of former NFL players try to squeeze a few thousand dollars out of the City of Cleveland.
Reward Offered in Kentucky Case of Missing Bourbon [AP]
Someone missess Pappy! "Sheriff Pat Melton in Kentucky's Franklin County dangled a $10,000 reward on Monday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever stole the hard-to-get Pappy Van Winkle bourbon and rye whiskey. The whiskey was taken from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort in mid-October. The heist netted 195 bottles of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve bourbon and 27 bottles of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. The missing whiskey has a retail value of about $26,000. 'We're just trying to bring Pappy home,' Melton said."
Footnotes: The Biggest Bitcoin Heist Ever?; IRS Drones; Madoff "Henchman" Still A-Snitchin' | 12.03.13
Ex-Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski to be released on parole in January [Fox]
We all know the money's in Washington, but it's never been visualized quite like this [WaPo]
Morgan Stanley's Non-Scandalous Accounting Gaffes [Bloomberg View]
FASB admits that a 20+ year old rule on accounting for taxes isn't super helpful when it comes to accounting for taxes [AT]
The busy bees at TIGTA think the IRS needs to do some work to protect against ACA-related fraud [Bloomberg]
Imagine the IRS delivering notices via drones! [Pundits Blog via The Hill]
Cattle fraud is apparently a thing and a dude in Kansas has been sentenced to prison for it [AP]
Madoff Henchman Rats Out Co-Workers [Daily Beast]
The Sheep Marketplace scam is ongoing, with /r/sheepmarketplace trying to track down the scammer(s). Even if you aren't into Bitcoin and other such things you may not understand, you're talking about a $100 million theft and watching amateur Internet forensic accountants chasing the trail in real time, which is pretty amaze... unless the whole thing was an FBI honey pot anyway, in which case, carry on. [Daily Dot]
Remind me again why I click on random Forbes articles when they show up in my extensive trawling of the Internet?
How Not To Behave At The Office Party is one such story I would like to demand payment from for stealing 2 minutes of my precious time. I should have known before I even got through the first paragraph -- which, trust me, was no easy feat -- that I would instantly feel a twinge of reader's remorse not at all unlike the stabbing pain you get in your colon after eating Taco Bell.
What a stressful year. Congressional gridlock so severe that the government shut down for 16 days. Obamacare’s massive glitches. Continuing high unemployment and an economy that remains shaky. You’d think that at the office holiday party you could grab a glass of bubbly, let your hair down and speak your mind.
Don’t do it. The office fête is not the place for unconstrained chatter. It’s also not the place for personal confession, expressions of frustration or speechifying about what you’d do with the company if you were in charge.
Instead, remember that you are at a professional function and behave that way. That means listening as much as talking, keeping your conversation on safe subjects like hobbies, movies or family and deferring to superiors.
Got it. So basically office holiday parties are like being at the office except with alcohol (depending on your office, I know happy hour has started at mine before noon in some cases).
And then the experts come in. Oh here we go. Are you, like me, a social butterfly who tends to dominate a room with your unmistakable glow whether you've had 0 drinks or 5? WELL STOP BEING SO DAMN GLOWY, YOU ATTENTION WHORE:
“Don’t outshine people who need the spotlight, or hold some aspect of job security in your hands,” advises John Challenger, chief executive of the worldwide outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. “The holiday party is a great time to build relationships. Don’t get into behaviors that might cause relationships to deteriorate or be damaged.”
I really hope "outshine" is another word for "vomit on" otherwise this is stupid advice. Yes, you shouldn't make anyone look bad for your own benefit but that is basically general life advice we all should have mastered by the age of, oh, 6, not something grown people need to be told ahead of a holiday party with colleagues.
And remember, you guys, drinking a lot is bad. Real bad:
The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption are well known, but cautionary tales are worth retelling: Annmarie Woods recalls a holiday gathering a few years ago for her sales team at a leading financial services firm. The group began the evening at a downtown restaurant and then headed to a dance club. The evening being celebratory, their boss picked up the bill for a limousine to get them from the restaurant to the club. While en route, one of the staffers vomited into Woods’ purse.
“The next day at the meeting, everyone was talking about it. Their opinion of her had been altered,” Woods puts it mildly.
The office party offers a unique opportunity to bond with superiors and colleagues. But don’t blow it. “If you can’t keep a lid on it, don’t go to it,” Challenger advises.
Yeah, because every raging, out-of-control drunk I've ever met has the self-awareness to say before downing half a dozen gin and tonics "you know, I really can't handle my liquor, perhaps I should forgo this party that will include free alcohol and possibly even food."
Here's the only advice you really need: eat beforehand and CONTROL YO'SELF. If you, like me, tend to get a tad chatty and creeper gropey around your third Double Bastard Ale, then drink lots of water between beers/tonics/shots (if you're doing shots at an office party, is your firm hiring?) and for the love of all that is sacred and holy, cut yourself off BEFORE you get to the point of no return. We all know what that is and exactly how many alcoholic drinks it takes to get there. So be an adult about it. Failing that, I guess you can just hope everyone else got even more shit-faced than you did and no one will remember anything, thereby allowing you to pin any vomit on others.
Anyway, I will spare you all tales of my own holiday party antics and encourage you to share your own in the comments as a bit of a cautionary tale to any of the raging, out-of-control drunks out there actually considering drowning themselves in free booze and vomit this holiday season. Cheers!
Listen, it's December, it's not like you have anything better to do. Also: FREE
Event Date: December 19, 2013
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares dozens of tricks that he uses to fly through Excel every day.
Detailed handouts with numbered steps will be provided for the following Excel versions:
- Excel 2013
- Excel 2010
- Excel 2007
- Excel 2003
You'll also be able to download any workbook that includes the examples from which David teaches.
You get 1 CPE credit per 50 minute session and the CPE only counts if you watch the livecast, not the later recording. Follow the link above to register and get on this, we like David.
Alright, we have to admit we totally blew reporting this in a timely manner -- or rather, I did, because it happened while Colin was off doing whatever it is he does when he isn't working. And someone named Jayne Field (coincidence?) made sure to let us know.
In her first email, she sticks to the facts:
From: Jayne Field
Subj: You missed reporting this, despite reporting mistrial
Great, that's awkward. Maybe we missed it because covering BDO isn't really high up there on the editorial calendar (unlike @lifeatdeloitte and Grover Norquist's misadventures at the Thanksgiving table, obvs) and our Denis Field Google Alert is a little rusty. Like most tips, we ignored it and had every intention of catching up but just didn't get around to it.
6 days later, "Jayne" returns, slightly more persistent this time:
I have yet to hear a response. I assume you will close the circle here and report the conclusion?
This, of course, led us to wonder why "Jayne" cares so much about this case. I asked her yesterday what her interest in this case is and have yet to hear a response so I'll be sure to check back in with her in 6 days to point that out.
Anyhoo, back to the WSJ article. VINDICATION, Denis Field's 2011 conviction on conspiracy and tax-evasion charges is NO MORE:
A former chief executive of accounting firm BDO Seidman LLP was acquitted Thursday of federal charges of tax-shelter fraud, in a retrial he had won after he was convicted on similar allegations two years ago.
Denis Field, BDO's CEO from 1999 to 2003, was found not guilty on all charges in federal court in Manhattan.
The company changed its name to BDO USA in 2010. "I think we're over the moon.
We're ecstatic," said Sharon McCarthy, an attorney for Mr. Field.
A second defendant in the case, Paul Daugerdas, the former head of the now-defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist's Chicago office, was convicted Thursday on seven of the 16 counts against him.
Naturally, someone who likely is NOT "Jayne Field" wondered out loud -- through our tip box -- if this decision means the wolf pack will be out for blood:
Do you think??? Denis Field, former BDO ALPHA WOLF, will be filing a lawsuit against BDO and BDO lawyers very very soon….??
WOLVES have been known to protect themselves!!
As far as we know, we have yet to hear from Denis Field (unless he's going by Jayne these days), although we did get this email from someone using his name that purports to be from BDO CEO Wayne Berson to BDO partners in light of the Field verdict:From: Wayne Berson Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2013 6:52 PM
Cc: lawyer; PR hack
Subject: Denis Field
E-MAIL COMMUNICATION TO PARTNERS re FIELD NOT-GUILTY VERDICT
We have been informed that former BDO CEO Denis Field has been found not guilty in his re-trial related to his participation in the firm's long-ago disbanded tax solution group. The case has not garnered any media coverage, but we anticipate this will change now that a verdict has been reached.
While most of you are well-versed on the details of this case, those of you who are new to the firm may be less familiar. Mr. Field has not been associated with BDO for a decade, following a change in leadership. During his tenure, he led a group within BDO that was involved in tax shelter products. That group was disbanded many years ago and BDO has previously reached a resolution with the government with respect to the firm’s involvement in tax shelters for high net worth clients between 1997 and 2003.
If you are asked about any media coverage of this verdict by clients, you should be sure to put the subject in the appropriate context. You can consider telling them that:
1. BDO was not a party to this trial
2. The individuals who led the former tax solutions group, including Mr. Field, are no longer with BDO and have not been for some time.
3. This is an outgrowth of an investigation - which began more than eleven years ago - by the government of numerous national accounting, law and financial services firms.
4. BDO has previously reached a resolution with the government regarding these matters and that it has had no adverse impact on the firm’s operations and ability to serve clients.
Should you receive any media inquiries, please refer them to Jerry, our external public relations representative. You can reach Jerry at [phone number] or [Jerry's PR company email].
If you need help in responding to any client inquiries, feel free to contact Michael at [Michael's law firm email].
Chief Executive Officer
While we can't confirm the alleged email from Wayne actually came from Wayne, we did talk to the nice PR hack listed in said email who confirmed that yes, this story is old as dirt. Thanks, Jerry!
ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, "JAYNE"?! Covered, boom.
Some things should not be discussed at the Thanksgiving table. But I guess if you're related to Grover Norquist, what are you going to talk about?
Thanksgiving dinner: Nana, mom, aunts telling chldbirth stories. 5 yr old says "so when the baby comes out Mommy's mouth..." Topic changed
— Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) December 3, 2013
Everyone enjoying your blackout month so far? Great.
While most CPA exam candidates are probably recovering from a marathon race to the end of the last testing window of 2013, future CFAs everywhere are preparing to write their Level I exams on December 7th. Naturally, Business Insider has shared some CFA horror stories ahead of this to make sure everyone gets nice and anxious.
The stories cover the gamut from stabbing threats to urinal cake-crusted calculators, food poisoning to the guy who took an explosive dump in the sink, and really most of these could have happened to any CPA exam candidate. It's safe to click over, laugh and point at these chuckleheads since most of you are safely avoiding your study materials until at least a week after New Years.
Of course, there's always this guy.
PCAOB proposal to name engagement partner may generate debate [JofA]
The JofA trolled us with the "may" in that headline. Here's the lead sentence: "A vigorous debate is expected as the PCAOB prepares to repropose a rule that would require engagement partners’ names to be disclosed in public company auditor’s reports."
Grant Thornton debuts in FTSE 100 auditor rankings table [Accountancy Age]
So! I guess this means the competition problem is solved?
Cross it off your wishlist.
Happy Tuesday! Let's see what new quality initiative is announced to make all our audit lives better...
— cpgay (@gayccountant) December 3, 2013
Companies Unfazed as XBRL Liability Protection Fades [CW]
This paragraph tells you everything you need to know: "The SEC has pointed out persistent routine errors in XBRL filings and called on companies to correct them, although the SEC also has been criticized for doing too little to clean up XBRL filings. A study last year concluded investors and other users of financial statements are not using data produced by XBRL because they don't trust it. Congress has called on the SEC to answer questions about why it's not taking more proactive measures to make XBRL more useful for everyone."
Pocket protectors or not, MIT > CPA.
— ThisWayToCPA (@ThisWayToCPA) December 3, 2013
Expert in Koss Case Blames Michael Koss and Management for Fraud [Fraud Files]
This is a fun trip down memory lane.
Ala. woman charged with killing fellow 'Bama fan after Iron Bowl loss [CL]
Yep: "Hoover police Capt. Jim Coker said both Birmingham women were Alabama fans and at the same party for the annual game between interstate rivals. With no time left on the clock, Auburn returned a missed Crimson Tide field goal more than 100 yards for a 34-28 victory, dashing any hopes of Alabama playing for a third straight national championship. The victim's sister, Nekesa Shepherd, said she witnessed the killing and had no doubt it was about football, even though it was unclear to investigators whether the violence was motivated by the game. 'That's one of the things we are investigating,' Coker said Monday."
Footnotes: Did You Evade Taxes Today?; Madoff CFO Says It Was Obvious; BlackBerry LIIIIIVES | 12.02.13
The Supreme Court decided to stay out of the fight over online sales taxes [Bloomberg]
Longtime accountant of a Princeton musical-comedy troupe accused of embezzling $100k from said Princeton musical-comedy troupe [NYT Arts Beat]
The accountant who stole "lunch money" was considered untouchable by colleagues, which may be why she got away with stuffing cash into her bra for so long [San Bernardino Sun]
And headline of the day goes to... Punching bag IRS unscathed in Obamacare rollout, so far [POLITICO]
Cyber Monday is the best day of the year for tax evasion! [Taxgirl via Forbes]
Whelp, there goes my plot to marry my lesbian lover to put myself in a better tax position... [Salon]
Bernie Madoff's former CFO -- who is attempting to jump out of the fire and back into the frying pan to save his own tail -- says the sham was pretty obvious [Bloomberg]
A small town CPA took out an ad in his local paper to let people know Obamacare will, like, kill people and stuff [Daily Miner]
Unilever broke up with PwC after 27 years, is going to rebound with KPMG. Best of luck, you two! [The Independent]
BlackBerry assures me and the one other BlackBerry owner on the planet that it is still very much alive. STAY STRONG, BROTHER, WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS [CNET]
Let no one deter you from flying a wacky sign, as this guy learned over the weekend:
Here's the deal: Yesterday on ESPN's "College GameDay" (an ESPN college football show that's filmed at a different college campus each week) some student held the above sign that has both the Bitcoin logo and a QR code.
The Internet -- presumably giddy over the IRL mashup of Bitcoin and SPORTS! -- got to work puzzling out the QR code and nearly 23 Bitcoin later, this guy has a bit of a tax issue to figure out. So of course, he turned to /r/accounting:
Hey Accounting! I'll thought I'd ask total strangers from the internet for some unofficial, "I'm not your CPA" , advice. I made a Bitcoin sign with a QR code that linked to a public wallet. The sign made it on live TV during ESPN's College Game Day show. /u/DanielTaylor from Europe used GIMP to decode the sign and post it to /r/Bitcoin. What I thought was highly improbable happened. Random bitcoin enthusiasts have sent 22 bitcoins or $22,000 to the public wallet. What are the tax implications here? I've got advice ranging from Uncle Sam doesn't have to know (bad advice I believe personally) to its personal gifts and not taxable to you will be shoved into a higher tax bracket and you may end up being worse off having done this!
Any one care to chime in? Thanks for reading!
I mean, who needs a qualified tax professional when you have REDDIT amiright?
Note: "Bitcoin Sign Guy" plans to donate at least some of his exceptional gain to a non-profit organization in Florida dedicated to feeding the homeless.
I smell a completely untapped market for a Certified Global Bitcoin Management Accountant credential here, folks.
God forbid you end up in a work environment that more resembles Hell than a place of business, but just in case you've found yourself in the corporate equivalent of the Ninth Circle, Dumb Little Man has some great suggestions for surviving.
Go check their post for the entire list, but here are a few of the key take aways:
- Don't get too worked up over criticism -- Remember, it's easy for someone to find something wrong with your work. If you take it personally or decide you're going to push -- nay, SHOVE -- back on boss or co-worker, you might be making a bigger problem for yourself. DLM suggests to take it in stride and move on.
- Hustle -- Sometimes showing a little extra initiative goes a long way. No need to show off, but pitching here and there where you might not be expected may win you some brownie points.
- Dish out some praise -- Regardless of how you feel about your ghoulish officemates, you should be able to find something that he or she does well. They may have handled a difficult client well or wrote an enlightening memo, but giving credit where credit is due will smooth over any past differences.
Remember, working in difficult situations can be great teaching moments, but there are right ways and wrong ways to approach them. Of course if you've exhausted all your goodwill, it may be time to move on.
Back in October, it was reported that EY planned to settle with Lehman Bros investors, subject to court approval (EY's denial notwithstanding):
Ernst & Young LLP has agreed to pay $99 million to settle investor class-action allegations that it turned a blind eye when its audit client Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. misled investors before the investment bank's 2008 collapse. The investors and Ernst "have reached an agreement in principle" to settle the litigation, the accounting firm and plaintiffs' attorneys both said. The two sides are in the process of drafting a formal settlement agreement, plaintiffs' attorneys said in a letter filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The settlement, which was reported this week by legal publications, will be subject to court approval.
As of last Friday, the deal is still on and still needs court approval, the only difference being an actual court filing exists versus the lawyerly pinky swear in place previously. As for an actual admission of guilt from EY, don't bet on it:
Ernst & Young LLP agreed to pay investors $99 million to settle litigation over its auditing of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., according to a filing in federal court in Manhattan.
The accord, disclosed by plaintiffs’ lawyers in a filing yesterday in federal court in Manhattan, would resolve claims of investors who bought certain securities issued by the firm from June 12, 2007, to Sept. 15, 2008, the date Lehman filed for bankruptcy, according to the filing. It requires the approval of U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.
Though EY previously denied "all liability" in this matter and "chose to settle this claim to put this matter behind" them, it sounds like they're not only still in denial but a little bitter at that:
“Lehman’s audited financial statements clearly portrayed Lehman as what it was -- a highly leveraged entity operating in a risky and volatile industry,” [EY spokesperson Amy Call Well] said in an email to Bloomberg. “Lehman’s bankruptcy was not caused by any accounting issues.”
Amy Call Well? Are you guys kidding me?! That can't be real.
Anyhoo, don't hold your breath for anything in this case, really, least of all an admission of guilt from EY.
This just in and developing, we will keep you posted:
BREAKING: Former Madoff CFO says Madoff Securities forged documents during KPMG audit and cooled newly-printed documents in refrigerator.
— CNBC (@CNBC) December 2, 2013
No, really, that's actually what the paper says.
What factors explain the behaviors of corporate leaders who engage in spectacular frauds? Is it greed? Is it power? Are these leaders, as some critics allege, simply psychopaths? Or is something else going on? In this Essay created for a symposium on the “agency problem,” Professor Barnard explores the greed, power, and psychopathy theories. She also suggests that a hormonal phenomenon – an overabundance of testosterone – may explain these men’s behavior. In many animal populations, success in competition leads to an elevation of testosterone. Repeated successes – accompanied by increasing levels of testosterone – often lead to rash, ill-considered, and dangerously risky behaviors. Animal biologists call this progression “the winner effect.” Barnard suggests that a similar progression may be seen in human competitors, both in athletic environments (think Lance Armstrong) and in business environments (think Jeff Skilling, Richard Scrushy, and Rajat Gupta). She concludes that some agency problems may be physiologically driven.
Surely the temptation of men in power to abuse said power has nothing to do with their access to aforementioned power. No, no, it has to be a raging flood of testosterone pressuring them to "compete," even at the expense of their freedom.
The paper seeks to answer the age-old question: what compels an otherwise reasonable person in a position of power to behave in an unreasonable way?
One would think that those men and women privileged to work at the highest levels of the economic pyramid, as corporate chief executives, would treat their work as a profound gift. After all, the work of a senior executive, unlike the work of most people in the world, is not boring, humiliating, or physically punishing. It is stimulating, empowering, and financially rewarding. Some people spend their entire careers longing for—and jousting for—the position of CEO. So why do some of the elite executives who have won their respective tournaments debase their work—and themselves—by squandering their gift?
This Essay offers four possible explanations: (1) the obstinacy of self-interest, (2) the influence of power on one’s inclination to take risks, (3) the often toxic feedback loop of organizational and financial success, and (4) some form of mental derangement.
Though the paper briefly mentions well-known bad guys such as Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers and Jon Corzine of MF Global, it focuses instead on lesser-known Russell Wasendorf Sr., former CEO of Peregrine Financial Group; Lee B. Farkas, former CEO of the mortgage firm Taylor Bean & Whitaker; Albert “Jack” Stanley, former chairman and CEO of KBR Inc.; Gilbert Fiorentino, former group CEO of Systemax, Inc.; and Jeffery S. Fraser, former CEO of NIC, Inc.
As endless as the jokes about balls could be here, this is actually a good read and you should check it out if you're interested in fraud, CEOs gone wild, and the animal urges at the heart of everything we as human beings do.
Shirking, Opportunism, Self-Delusion and More: The Agency Problem Lives On appeared in the Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 48, 2013 and is available for download at SSRN.
Literally, clowns. What did you expect?
GUYS, we get it, it's the Monday after a holiday and no one wants to work that hard. But really with this?
The American Institute of CPAs will announce the results of its CPA Outlook Index (CPAOI), an indicator of how chief financial officers, controllers and other senior CPA business leaders view the U.S. economy, at 7:00 a.m. EST, Thursday, Dec. 5.
The survey, which will be posted on the AICPA Press Center, incorporates responses from 1,118 senior-level CPAs on future hiring plans, growth in marketing and training and anticipated fluctuations in different categories of business spending. Survey takers also answered questions on the outlook for their companies in the coming year, as well as the U.S. economy as a whole.
Jim Morrison, CPA, CGMA chief financial officer of Teknor Apex and chair of AICPA’s Business & Industry Executive Committee, will be available for press inquiries.
The poll was conducted via email questionnaire from Nov. 6 - Nov. 25. The quarterly CPAOI measures the views of CPAs serving in business and industry who are closest to the finances of their companies and hold well-informed, sophisticated views of the economy.
Hopefully one of my cats will start howling like a demon through the house for absolutely no reason no later than 5am on Thursday so I won't miss the timely release of this undoubtedly life-changing information.
Accounting News Roundup: Every Firm Could Use a Pit Bull; Carried Interest's Beneficial Tax Treatment Lives On; A Ballsy Move | 12.02.13
Capital Buzz: An accountant with a pit bull on staff [WaPo]
Yes, Stephanie Gibney, owner of Accounting 4 DC, has a pit bull named Nino as her official receptionist, but it sounds like Gibney has a little bit of pit bull in herself: "[Q:] What do you hate to see the most from your clients when they ask you to do their taxes? [A:] Receipts in shoe boxes. We are open year round, so why would you save these for the last minute?"
SEC drops disclosure of corporate political spending from its priority list [WaPo]
This sounds about right: "Last year around this time, when the SEC released its 2013 to-do list, it signaled that it might consider formally proposing a rule to require the spending disclosures. But the item slipped off the 2014 agenda released this past week without any formal explanation."
Convicted heroin dealer told to pay 80,000 euros in tax on drugs business [Telegraph]
He even after French fiscal authorities deducted "2,000 euros per year of 'travel expenses' for use of his car to carry the drugs, as well as a daily amount of heroine he 'personally' used." And here in the U.S., as Robert Wood pointed out, marijuana dispensaries can't deduct rent (or anything else aside from cost of goods sold).
Since ’12 election, drive to end tax loophole fizzled out [BG]
Benefactors of carried interest being treated like capital gains know how this game is played: "Since 2000, private equity, hedge fund, and venture capital managers have spent a combined $352 million on federal elections, fairly evenly split between the parties, 53 percent for Republicans and 47 percent for Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”
Meet Amazon Prime Air, A Delivery-By-Aerial-Drone Project [Forbes]
It's as creepy as it sounds.
This Man's Nuts: Plan To Sell Testicle For New Car Is Taxable [Forbes]
A Nissan 370Z. A Nissan.
Swedish prisoner escapes to visit dentist [The Local]
The 51-year-old man had an inflamed tooth removed and then he reported himself to police. His one month sentence was extended by a single day.
Last year, we covered ten things for which the profession should be thankful ahead of Thanksgiving. Here are ten more because gosh darnit, we need to express gratitude every now and then in the middle of all the complaining that goes on here.
Scott London isn't thankful for himself but let's be honest about it, he sure makes other auditors look like superstars. No matter how sub-par your work is, you will always be better than Scott London.
They say whatever you do on New Years Day, you do for the rest of the year. For accountants, it's whatever you do on December 31st that makes your entire year. Getting hassled by the girlfriend to jump the broom? You've got allllll year to put it off and can still file as married filing jointly as long as you get it done by the end of the year!
*note: does not apply to auditors out on year-end inventory counts
Dual Monitors (still cool)
We included dual monitors last year and we're including them again because DUAL MONITORS, man. This guy from Moss Adams is a fan. Sadly, Moss Adams was not a fan of us posting this picture as they removed it from Facebook shortly after we posted it here. Gee, why would that be?
Yeah, it's really awkward but hugs are good. And good for you!
Whether it's water bottles you'll never use at a conference or donuts in the break room, accountants loooooove free stuff. Even if you already have 100 pens, getting FREE PENS is like Christmas.
Best of lists
Even though we mock awful Yahoo articles about how great the accounting profession is on a regular basis, it feels kind of nice to be on top, don't it? You may not love your job but you have to admit you get the feels a little to know you come up higher on "best jobs" lists than grave diggers and transit employees. WOO!!
Maybe Big 4 HR and marketing departments are to blame for this but there is something wonderful about being able to brag about how much better your firm is than other firms even though all firms are -- let's be real about it -- pretty much exactly the same. This attitude is drilled into your heads while you're still in college and follows you throughout your career until you're old enough not to care, at which point you're busy competing with your neighbors for best lawn and hottest wife. Hey, whatever makes you feel better...
Lack of major audit failures
You guys! The profession made it through another year without losing a major firm, and that's worth celebrating. Even though EY absorbed KPMG in Denmark, there are still four Big 4 firms. What would happen if we lost one of them? Not gonna happen.
Jim Turley may have moved on from the Big 4 life but he and his square jaw are still going strong. There is only one Jim Turley and that's another thing to be thankful for, as the world just can't handle more than that at any given time.
The fact that you didn't go to law school
I don't need to explain this.
As you've gathered by now, I'm far more "hands on" than Colin ever could be, maybe because I never learned to respect others' personal space and he's just, well, anti-social. In the spirit of my need to constantly check in with all of you because I care, before we get into this special holiday edition of Open Items (if you haven't gathered yet, we're getting the heck out of here early today and will not return until Monday), I have a few items of my own to put out there.
First: I am working on a list of the "worst" items you auditors have had to count at year-end. Fittingly, I plan to post this -- wait for it -- near year-end. So there is still time for you to weigh in. So far, I've determined that just about everyone knows someone who knows someone who had to count animal semen so I'm counting that one as an auditor urban legend unless someone gives me some real documentation/proof otherwise (although I'm sure I will regret asking for it). Jump into the conversation on Reddit or Facebook, and for the shy folk, you can always email in your inventory nightmares anonymously through the tip box.
Second: There was some hostility in the comments this week and by hostility I mean immature dick measuring contests. I remind you all that A) this is the Internet and B) this is the accounting section of the Internet so put it back into your pants and please take that elsewhere. Personal attacks are not only lame but uncalled for. Remember when you guys are complaining about our lack of a forum this right here is why we can't have nice things. Until I have time to draft an official comment policy for GC (and yes, it's coming), know that mommy doesn't have time to babysit children who are supposed to be professional adults. We should all have a good time here but let's watch it with the personal attacks, this isn't Yahoo.
Lastly, things are still a little crazy around here what with me trying to fire Colin the second he promoted me and all that comes with that reorganization, plus the holiday and none of you embezzling millions from clients but I'll say one more time: my door is always open.
Going into this holiday, obviously don't expect to hear much from us but if you need to dodge awkward interactions with your family and the like, know we are always with you in spirit. And possibly on Twitter.
Now, go ahead and get busy in the comments and feel free to air your concerns and worries -- no matter how small -- and any questions you may have for your fellow capital market servants. Happy Thanksgiving!
Accounting News Roundup: Nightmare Travel; The Homer Simpson Effect on the Net Investment Income Tax; Settling a Tax Bill with Singles | 11.27.13
Wall of storms threatens to upend holiday travel [AP]
Thankfully, I just flew in from Boston last night, but boy, my arms are tired: "More than 43 million people are to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. The overwhelming majority — about 39 million people — will be on the roads. But more than 3 million people are expected to filter through airports, and the weather could snarl takeoffs and landings at some of the busiest hubs on the East Coast, including New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C."
IRS Issues Final Net Investment Income Tax Regulations: A First Look And More [Forbes]
Tony Nitti's plans for snoozing on the couch tomorrow have been ruined! "I’d like to issue a heartfelt thank you to the IRS for issuing these regulations today. Until 4:00 PM this afternoon, all I had on my docket for the next five days was parking myself on the couch and repeatedly eating myself into a tryptophan-induced coma. But then the IRS decides to publish 400 pages of regulations, and because my employer pays me to read and (hopefully) understand stuff like this, there goes the holiday." Of course, he does explain why Section 1411's 400 pages are overkill -- using a parallel to The Simpsons and concludes: "The final regulations, in an attempt to address countless concerns voiced by a multitude of commenters, seem to have thrown in so many new caveats, exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions so as to lose any user-friendly characteristic that was evident in the proposed regulations."
Brazil Is Entranced by a Tale of Love, Taxes and Bribery [NYT]
Here's a common luxurious setting with an unlikely protagonist: "There were the boxes of Cuban cigars, which cost about $500 each at a shop in Vila Nova Conceição, one of the most exclusive districts of São Paulo, and the $2,260 bottles of Vega Sicilia Único, a legendary Spanish red. Throw in a Porsche Cayenne, speedboat jaunts to tropical islands and all-night soirees with high-end escorts, and what do you get? The unlikely lifestyle of a Brazilian tax inspector."
And 44 pennies! Pentagon’s bosses thwart accurate audit of DOD’s main accounting office [MWB]
Nothing to see here. New York's Penn Station Is a Goddamn Nightmare Right Now [Gawker] Happy Thanksgiving.