Audit committees play a vital role in the capital markets' investor protection framework through their oversight of the audit engagement and the company’s financial reporting process. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, enhanced the scope of the oversight role played by the public company audit committee, by, among other things, making audit committees of listed companies “directly responsible for the appointment, compensation, and oversight” of auditors, imposing stricter independence requirements, and promoting increased audit committee expertise in financial reporting matters.
As part of its mission to protect the interests of investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate and independent audit reports, the PCAOB is committed to constructive engagement with audit committees in areas of common interest, including auditor independence and audit quality. [PCAOB]
No, not creative financial artists, like art artists.
The EY Exhibition – Paul Klee: Making Visible opened at the Tate Modern in London on October 16, 2013 and runs through March 9 2014. Paul Klee famously described drawing as "taking a line for a walk." and in that vein, EY invited their staff and families to "take their own line for a walk."
Here are the surprising results:
Image by Nathan Matthews, FS
Image by Mei-ling Ward, Tax
Image by Richard Lidstone, Tax
Image by Aki Matsushima, Tax
I don't know about you guys but I'm pretty impressed, not just by the artwork but by EY's use of Pinterest to get it out there on the Internets. What a relief to have something nice to say about a professional services firm for once!
Someone needs to introduce this guy to Arthur Andersen, Scott London, and the Cleveland intern with a highly condensed schedule of errands.
That said, it's nice to know that average Joes still hold all of you in such high regard, because we all know none of you would EVER celebrate too early. Perhaps the AICPA should integrate this clip into their high school recruiting initiatives.
Watch from the start to get what's going on but the good bit starts at :35
Of course, everyone's a critic.
Accounting News Roundup: EY Lands a Vatican Gig; Deloitte's Cozy Media Relationships; Is the Lease Accounting Overhaul Dead? | 11.19.13
Vatican Tasks Outside Firm EY to Check Finances [AP]
Promontory Group is already looking into the Vatican's bank and real estate holdings. Now EY! will "verify and consult" the activity around "money-making Vatican Museums, post office and tax-free department store."
Global Audit Firms Take “Pay To Play” From Sponsored Content to Conferences [Re:The Auditors]
Deloitte has cozy content relationships with the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and is a co-hosting a Financial Times pharm and biotech conference. Francine McKenna writes that's quite the minefield of conflicts of interest.
IASB Adjusts to Changing Relationship with FASB [AT]
The most "it's complicated" relationship in the world of accounting.
Compromise for Lease Accounting Overhaul Starts to Fall Apart [CFOJ]
See? I told you it was complicated.
Baucus to Float Plan On Corporate Taxes [WSJ]
As early as today.
Internal email: Ex-Cincy IRS chief furious at DC official [CI]
Cindy Thomas wrote in an email to Lois Lerner “Cincinnati wasn’t publicly ‘thrown under the bus’ (but) instead was hit by a convoy of Mack trucks.”
Footnotes: All the Money is in DC; The Pentagon Sucks At Money Management; The SEC's Latest Whistleblower Report Is Here | 11.18.13
A Biglaw partner -- who kinda sorta specializes in finance -- lost $19.5 million, or rather may have let her husband steal it [Above the Law]
I will give a Bitcoin to anyone who can explain to me how, exactly, Bitcoin goes anywhere but apparently it's up 107% [CNBC]
Washington is where the money is at (duh) [Washington Post]
Accounting Fraud And Waste Is Standard Procedure at the Pentagon [The Atlantic Wire]
Australian "rural services" company Elders may have some accounting problems on its hands [ABC AU]
Because they have pretty much never appeared on this website (that's probably a good thing, at least for them), we'll share this good news out of RBZ [PRWeb]
Even if U.S. public companies would be required to use IFRS until the year 2085, it's still a good idea to know your international rules if you want to stay competitive [Compliance Week - subscription]
PwC will see KPMG's books for kids and raise them laptops (in Bermuda, at least) [Royal Gazette]
The SEC has released its 2013 Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program [Dodd-Frank.com]
ALERT THE MEDIA, Butterball is reporting a shortage of "large, fresh" turkeys. No word if they can meet demand with small, not fresh ones [Baltimore Sun]
So, who has the cake?
In honor of the 40th anniversary of FASB, FAF has rolled out a new section on its website featuring audio, transcripts and photos from the September’s FASB@40 Conference among other things, like video of all former, still living chairmen (I like how they qualified the "living" part in the email alert to media, as if we thought they'd invest in a Marshall Armstrong hologram) talking about their time at FASB.
And then there is the "Digital Timeline" which explains the history of FASB thusly: "The job of setting accounting standards in the world’s most powerful, dynamic economy falls on one organization: the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). For the last 40 years, the FASB has been laser-focused on one core mission: to establish and improve financial accounting and reporting standards in the U.S. in order to provide decision-useful information to investors and other users of financial reports. The FASB is proud of its long history and work to date, and looks forward to an equally fruitful future."
The cool part is current chairman Russ Golden recognizes that FASB isn't nearly as popular as, say, people who work for PwC think they are, but that doesn't stop the board from doing their important work. In his closing remarks at the FASB@40 he said:
As all of you know, our work has not always earned us the top award for popularity. In fact, some folks over the years have said some downright unkind things about us. But in standard setting, seeking to do the ―right thing is rarely the path to victory in the contest to be the most popular. That‘s as it should be.
*looks around sheepishly* He isn't talking about us, is he? I think we've been pretty nice to FASB for the most part, except that time I said Bob Herz totally looks like a stress doll. But I've read some of those comment letters, especially the FAS 157 (EXCUSE me, I mean ASC 820) ones that brought all kinds of weirdos out of the woodwork to comment, so I get what Russ is saying. It's a pretty thankless job.
If you're into this stuff -- and who isn't amiright? -- then poke around over there and check out it out.
Happy birthday, FASB, and just think, a few more years and you'll be old enough for me to want to date.
What’s the value of a LinkedIn endorsement or recommendation?
I won't blockquote half her article here, you can go over and read it if you'd like to (and you should). I will, however, give you a good example of why endorsements are pretty dumb.
You see that? Those are, apparently, the things I'm good at according to my endorsements. You'll notice, however, that accounting comes in at #5, even above Photoshop which I find offensive since I created this masterpiece all by myself and clearly that makes me an expert. Anyone who knows me knows I can't add to save my life, Excel frightens me and the only reason I know which side debits go on is because I was forced to sit through 400 hours of CPA review classes. Maybe if this said writing about accounting but no, it says "accounting" which implies I'm the person to ask when you have a question about which line goes where on your 1040. No no no no no.
I'm not sure about you guys but I often get drive-by endorsements from people I've never met in my life who couldn't possibly know how hard I worked to get on the first page of Google for "Ben Bernanke exposed" (Google that at your own risk). Someone casually stalking my profile has no idea if the endorsement comes from a former colleague or some random guy I followed on Twitter 3 years ago who has no idea what I actually do for a living even though it's right there on my profile.
It doesn't help that LinkedIn encourages you to endorse people based on the endorsements they've already been given, many of which they themselves endorsed themselves for when they added it to their profile! Hell, I've endorsed some of you for crap that I have zero clue whether you know or not. Oh, you're into compliance? Cool, have this endorsement.
Where's the value if we're just clicking buttons out of courtesy like the #TeamFollowBack of LinkedIn? Doesn't that defeat the entire purpose? I'm still not convinced my mechanic is skilled in vehicle maintenance and I know that guy, how am I supposed to know if some CPA I met once at a conference knows GAAP from a hole in the ground? I mean, I'd hope so but... you never know.
On that note, I'm going to take a page from Cynical Girl's playbook and go change my skills to more relevant ones such as "cat wrangling" and "badassery." If they're going to be worthless anyway, might as well go all the way.
Just like in life, when you're looking for a new job, it's easy to get in your own way. There are lots of ways you can sabotage yourself and Forbes has a baker's dozen of them. Here's a rundown of five that we think are the most likely to trip you up:
1. Failing to dedicate the necessary time -- Finding a job isn't as easy as losing one. It requires putting time into research, networking, telephone conversations, carefully crafted emails, and that could be all for a job that you don't have a serious chance of getting! Put more time into your job search and watch the doors open.
2. Getting down on yourself -- A positive mental attitude means everything to your success. That sounds hokie, we know, but that Tony Robbins BS really works! Rejection happens in all aspects of life and job hunting is no different. Pick yourself up, watch some old Stuart Smalley clips, and get back out there.
3. Letting yourself get distracted -- The laundry piles up, Call of Duty beckons, kids demanding food, loved ones craving attention, DON'T LET THEM GET IN YOUR WAY. The distractions are many, the best job opportunities are few.
4. Just winging your résumé -- When was the last time someone looked at your CV? Uh huh, thought so. Have someone else take a look at it, especially if you know (s)he looks at a lot of them. Take that feedback, combine it with our Accountant's Definitive Guide to Building a Successful Résumé and then you'll be ready.
5. Not taking a break -- "I need some space," your job search might say. All the job boards, emails, and networking might get you seeing blurry. Take a break every now and again during your search to recharge when you need it.
Usually I'm loathe to share over-shared memes but somehow someecards still manages to be funny at least some of the time. Plus the format is pretty much perfect for socially awkward, passive aggressive people, not like I know any of those *cough*.
Instead of sharing the same old same old workplace cards, we made some of our own specific to the profession. If you'd like to join the fun, make one of your own and post it in the comments. Hell, let's make it a contest, I'll send a virtual box of kittens and an actual prize (worth actual money, even, and not a box full of those vintage GC luggage cozies I've been trying to unload since 2010) to whoever comes up with the best one. So make sure to use a real email that I can actually reach you at.
Feel free to spread these around in a way that won't get you fired for being an asshole to your colleagues.
And, finally, a bonus we can't take credit for:
Starting today, we're going to pull the best from Friday's Open Items thread, forget all about the remaining nasty things that were said and start fresh. We're doing this because it's difficult to weed out the trolling, "where is the forum?" comments and the rest of the noise to get to the good stuff: you guys giving one another smart advice on how to get filthy rich in the exciting world of accounting and live happily ever after.
Can anyone explain how E&Y is different from the other big 4? Looking for a real answer :)
Note, if any recruiters or shills see an opportunity to talk up how fantastic EY is and how much everyone else sucks, don't. That's been tried and it didn't work the first time. Everyone else welcome to chip in.
Second, someone please give this poor sap some suggestions before he starts calling sole proprietors that work out of strip malls looking for a job:
I know recruiting season is already over and the apply online and LinkedIn strategy did not work. My next plan is to start calling recruiters directly. Can one of you, B4/GT/BDO peeps, provide some advice?
Though our third and final question specifically asks about CliftonLarsonAllen, it would be interesting to see if anyone has any numbers (guesses/shots in the dark/numbers removed from your backside also welcome) on other firms:
CliftonLarsonAllen: Is it true that 99.99% of its interns get full-time offers? I have an interview for an internship position, but I don't want to leave my current (crappy) job and then join the unemployed in April.. Any advice my kiddos?
Note one astute commenter has already pointed out that if our question-asker chooses to continue to use the term "kiddos," they may consider themselves in the .01%.
That's what we've got. I trust you all can take it from here.
Accounting News Roundup: Lost and Found: MF Global Edition; Tax Prep Companies Helping with Insurance Enrollment; A Better Income Statement | 11.18.13
How MF Global's 'missing' $1.5 billion was lost -- and found [Fortune]
Spoiler: It wasn't in Jon Corzine's couch cushins.
Why Not Use Tax Preparers as a Portal to Health Exchanges? [TaxVox]
It's not that crazy: "Jackson Hewitt is working with the online marketplace Getinsured to enroll people. Jackson Hewitt will calculate subsidies and potential penalties and, if customers choose, transmit that information to Getinsured. If the Jackson Hewitt customer wants to buy coverage, all she’ll need to do is pick an insurance plan. Jackson Hewitt can even fill out all the paperwork for people to enroll in Medicaid. It says it will not charge for any of these insurance-related services. Because Jackson Hewitt has 2800 locations in Walmart stores, it could be an especially important link to the uninsured."
Building a Better Income Statement [CFO]
Brought to you by a couple of dudes from McKinsey & Co.: "If neither companies nor investors find GAAP-reported earnings useful, it’s clearly time for a new approach."
In Italy, High Payroll Taxes Stand in Way of Recovery [WSJ]
Breaking on Twitter:
Exciting news! I am the new Tax Staff reporting to you from the Big Apple! Ready to see what #EY has in store this year?! So am I! - Alyssa
— Life at EY (@EYstaff) November 18, 2013
Crystal meth shame of bank chief [DM]
And crack! And ketamine!
Toronto council poised to strip mayor of powers [AP]
Speaking of drugs...
The Worst Cars For Winter Ever [Jalopnik]
I drove a Ford Ranger, standard transmission, for a few winters here in Denver and let me tell you, I do not recommend it.
IRS to probe US taxpayer records with Caribbean Offshore Bank accounts United States district court has authorised the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue summons for US taxpayers records with Offshore Bank accounts in the Caribbean. The US Justice Department said that US District Judge Richard M Berman of the Southern District of New York has authorized the IRS to issue summonses requiring Mellon, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA (JPMorgan), HSBC Bank USA NA (HSBC), and Bank of America NA (Bank of America) to “produce information about US taxpayers who may be evading or have evaded US federal taxes by holding interests in undisclosed accounts”. [Jamaica Observer]
Jon Weil wonders out loud if there are cockroaches under Tesla's hood [Bloomberg]
Sucks to be a tax collector in Europe these days [NYT]
Phil Mickelson's hat is highly concerned about low income kids and literacy, you guys! [Twitter]
If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it. And for real this time. [USA Today]
Federal tax revenues will top $3 trillion for the first time in the nation’s history in fiscal 2014 [CNSNews]
More on Italy's accusation that Apple is dodging taxes [Forbes]
An interesting case of a tax dodger, who is headed to prison now (shock, I know) [TribLive]
The Idaho Dept of Labor has picked a CPA to run their show [MagicValley.com]
Perhaps you've come across this report already today, which I figured I should share because we all love money AMIRIGHT and you guys are always so concerned with salaries while seeking career advice so let's talk about what a Stanford MBA can make based on Stanford's recently published employment report for the Class of 2013.
The lowest? $54,000 in "Media/Entertainment" which does not surprise me in the least since that's my chosen field and MAN I'm getting tired of these Friskies and mayo sandwiches.
The highest? An MBA grad with a business undergrad and three to five years of work experience banked before getting a graduate degree, who reported receiving a guaranteed annual bonus of $337,500. The bonus doesn't even cover potential tuition reimbursement, relocation expenses, auto allowances, profit sharing or stock/stock options. Based on the chart of median base salaries, assuming this person receives the median of $150,000 in private equity, that's a $522,500 pay day. NOT BAD, kid, not bad.
Altogether, Stanford MBA grads reported a median base salary of $125,000, which is the same as last year.
More in depth insight from BI here.
See, and you guys say we never listen to you. This comes from this morning's open items thread:
Is it true that Grant Thornton lost a $100MM lawsuit regarding tax shelters?
Accounting Today has the best scoop I've seen so far on this matter:
A Kentucky circuit court judge has ruled that Grant Thornton is liable for more than $100 million in damages to be paid to a business owner and his family after he was sold an offshore tax shelter that the Internal Revenue Service considered abusive.
After a month-long trial, Kenton Circuit Court judge Patricia Summe ordered Grant Thornton to pay Bill Yung, the president of the Crestview Hills, Ky.-based hotel company Columbia Sussex, his wife Martha and the 1994 William J. Yung Family Trust a total of more than $100 million, including $20.22 million in compensatory damages, and $80 million in punitive damages. Yung and his family were represented in the case by the law firm Graydon Head, based in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.
Judge Summe concluded in a ruling last Friday that Grant Thornton's conduct toward the Yungs was "reprehensible," further finding that the fraud continued from 2000 all the way through trial. She also found that Grant Thornton's actions harmed Bill Yung's reputation and contributed to his inability to secure licensure from the Missouri Gaming Commission in 2005.
The IRS' merciless hunt for tax shelters is nothing new, and it's only slightly hilarious that GT apparently set this up right around the time the Treasury Department made a move to get to cracking down on this practice.
This decision is 6 years in the making and not over yet, as Grant Thornton plans to appeal according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. "We are disappointed in the Court's ruling and believe we have strong grounds for an appeal, which we will pursue," GT spokeswoman Michele Mazur told CBC.
Stay tuned, children.
— KPMG Mickelson (@MickelsonHat) November 15, 2013
Here is a far better shot of the close up:
They won't let us embed the video here (admit it, you spent 2 full minutes clicking on the "play" button trying to get it to work) so here ya go if you absolutely have to watch this.
It's time once again for circle of CPA chaos known as Open Items.
Want to show off some accounting-related artistic skills? A tax haiku, perhaps? Are you seeking unfiltered career advice from some seasoned CPAs? Are you an auditor looking to air some grievances about your client? Are you a controller looking to air some grievances about your auditor? This is the place to do it.
Just think before you speak. Enjoy.
Only 61% of CGMAs Surveyed Think the Second Most Important Person in America After the President is Important
You guys probably didn't watch Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing yesterday but I did because Janet has long been one of my least favorite Fed characters, since before she returned to Washington to serve as Fed Vice Chair. Frankly, I'm horrified that she'll be running the show over there but that's not important right now.
The AICPA helpfully surveyed a group of CGMAs in mid October to get their input on this very important matter that will no doubt affect us all, from clients to businesses, kids to cats. Yes, cats. My cats are directly impacted by the decisions of the Federal Reserve since someone has to work and buy all that cat food; the Fed's moves can be the difference between eating well and eating the only slop I can afford. My cats already know this because I believe it is important to teach basic economics, monetary policy and financial literacy young, as early as kittenhood in fact.
I wonder, though, why a large chunk of the CGMAs surveyed don't know what my cats know. Here's the press release from the AICPA:
Janet Yellen’s comments at her confirmation hearing to become Federal Reserve chairman reverberated beyond the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, and could influence the planning and decision making of nearly two-thirds of the nation’s CFOs and finance chiefs.
Sixty-one percent of senior Chartered Global Management Accountant designation holders surveyed by the American Institute of CPAs said the comments and actions of an individual Fed chairman have at least moderate influence on their business planning. That’s due in large part to the role they see for the Fed chairman on the world stage. The majority, 58 percent, say the person in the position has significant influence on the world economy. Already, some CFOs and other senior finance leaders are rethinking investment strategies, borrowing strategies and hiring strategies, according to the survey.
“As leader of the central bank for the world’s largest economy, the Federal Reserve chairman has considerable sway over the cost of capital, the strength of the dollar and other facets that affect how we do business,” said James R. Blake, CPA, CGMA and CFO of Morey’s Piers in New Jersey. “Finance teams across the country and around the world are monitoring the confirmation process for any hints of shifts in policy direction that could have repercussions for business planning.”
I was totally on board when they acknowledged that an individual Fed chairman only has so much power -- since the Fed largely functions as a committee -- until they said "the majority, 58 percent, say the person in the position has significant influence on the world economy" considering the position of Fed chair is pretty much the most powerful slot in America after the president. Think about it: if the U.S. economy goes bust and the government goes "bankrupt," the chairman of the Fed will still have a job and now need to hire a collection agency to get all the money we owe them.
The survey continues:
The majority, 59 percent, of CGMA designation holders surveyed don’t think change in Fed leadership will hasten the economic recovery. The change does little to alleviate one of the biggest obstacles they face – uncertainty in Washington. Indeed, those finance leaders surveyed said uncertainty in the nation’s capital is the biggest external challenge they face, ahead of shifting customer demands, access to capital and the pace of technological change
This I mostly agree with. Janet is basically just Bernanke with lipstick on in some areas. Putting her in as Fed chair changes nothing as to the impossibility of a true Fed exit strategy, and the Fed has been nothing but consistent in the last few years so any uncertainty in Washington isn't their fault.
All said, I'm highly disappointed by this survey. If CGMAs want to appear to be authorities on global business, then understanding the basics of the Fed is sort of required. That James guy quoted above gets it. A decent majority of CGMAs surveyed seem to get it. But what about the rest?
Accounting News Roundup: A Self-merger for Tax Purposes; Check Stubs Left on Desk Bust Accountant's Scheme; Boeing's Break from Washington State | 11.15.13
Tax Wizardry Accomplished With an Offbeat Merger [DealBook]
This past July LIN Media merged with itself. Uh huh. Here's Vic Fleischer: "From a business standpoint, the deal was nonsensical. LIN’s shareholders exchanged their shares in the old company for shares in a new L.L.C., but the business was otherwise unaffected. The deal cost several million dollars in fees paid to bankers and lawyers and countless hours of time and attention from the company’s executives and advisers." But! It did create half a billion dollars in tax losses. What's the difference between this and old tax shelters of the 80s and 90s? Here's VF again: "[I]t has enough economic substance to possibly survive an audit."
Accountant accused of stealing $1.2 million [NVR]
There's a pretty solid deer-in-headlights mugshot of the alleged perp at the Napa Valley Register. Here are some details: "Leslie Marie Krzan, 34, an accountant for Tulocay & Co. on Devlin Road, allegedly created false invoices between 2006 and October 2013 to divert money into a Citibank account under her control, according to a court filing from the Napa County Sheriff’s Office." After seven years of embezzling money, how did she get busted? Stupidity. "Tulocay & Co. owner Richard Long told the Sheriff’s Office he discovered in July two company check stubs on Krzan’s desk indicating she had used them to pay a Citibank credit card, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The company does not use Citibank, Long told a detective."
Sikh Fired by IRS Over Blade Sees Suit Revived [CNS]
As a revenue agent for the IRS, Kawaljeet Tagore worked at the George "Mickey" Leland Federal Building in downtown Houston and was thus subject to the "dangerous weapons" ban in federal buildings. Despite a letter from the Sikh Coalition explaining that kirpans are less dangerous than scissors or box cutters, the Federal Protective Service denied Tagore an exemption after finding that her 3-inch blade was half an inch over the limit for acceptable pocket knives.
Boeing gets $8.7 billion tax break to stay in Washington State [DMWT]
The largest corporate tax break given by a state, apparently.
Fugitive Comments On Own Most Wanted Photo On Facebook [Deadspin]
Another great mugshot.
Footnotes: Tax Wizardry Goes Straight Up Witchy; What's Up Tile Shop?; Free Money in Oneida! | 11.14.13
If you're a corp looking to CYA after a big gain, just merge with yourself and take a loss. [DealBook]
Penn State is trying to give the accounting program at its Smeal College of Business a bit more oomph [Penn State]
Tile Shop may not be Crazy Eddie but something crazy IS most definitely going on [MW]
On that note, Footnoted is confused too [Twitter]
The city of Oneida has a quarter of million dollars more than expected because their accountant is dumb [Oneida Daily Dispatch]
Dave Camp is still a champion for a cleaner tax code but come on, who is going to let him get anything done? [POLITICO]
The Heritage Foundation has an interesting piece on austerity in America, and how bad that hurts in the long run [Heritage]
A Minnesota couple is charged for failing to remit sales taxes collected to the state [SCTimes]