Accounting News Roundup: ‘The Accountant’: Fact and Fiction; Audit Partner Naming Practice | 10.18.16

The Accountant: Fact and Fiction

People are still talking about The Accountant and that's fine, it's the Tuesday after the opening weekend, but isn't it a little premature to be discussing a sequel? Obviously the answer to that question is, "No," and explains why I'm not running a Hollywood studio.

Rumors aside, here's a post on The Ringer that features "a real-life accountant — one who has worked for a Big Four accounting firm, and who agreed to talk with us under the condition of anonymity [OF COURSE]" and it's glorious. It answers all the questions a non-accountant would want to know including, "Are accountants buff like Ben?"

“A normal biceps day for me, I’d say, is three sets of 20-pound curls,” our accountant told me, without hesitation. “And I’m doing that twice a week. Sorry, my fiancée is looking at me and she’s saying, ‘That’s a good week.’ [Asks fiancée] Do I ever do any back and shoulder exercises? … Oh, yeah, so, for shoulders, I’ll do three sets of shoulder presses with, like, a 15-pound weight. For chest, typical day, probably 40 push-ups. Two sets of 20.”

And, "What do you think of Anna Kendrick?"

“I’m very ‘for’ Anna Kendrick,” our accountant said. “I think she’s hot. She seems like she’s down to earth. You don’t see her in the tabloids. It seems like she tries to be an actress, and then does her appearances. We don’t see her trying to be public out there, like, an Angelina Jolie–type thing. She’s talented.”

And, "Do you use dry erase markers on windowed conference rooms?"

“Wouldn’t happen,” our accountant told us. “I would take a picture [of the work] and wipe it off the board and reuse it.”

And, "Is John Lithgow trustworthy?"

“Sure,” our accountant answered, when asked if he trusts John Lithgow.

I pressed for more. Why the trust?

“He’s been around for a while, in the public sphere,” our accountant offered. “And I’ve never heard anything bad about him. When I was at the JCC growing up, 3rd Rock From the Sun was on the TV there.”

See, this is where an accountant with more extensive experience comes into play. I would NEVER trust John Lithgow. Even after he saved the Sasquatch in Harry and the Hendersons, I fully expect that guy to torture me. Watch Ricochet and tell me I'm wrong.

The Accountant is in theaters. 

Get excited for audit partner naming!

The PCAOB's final rule for naming participants in the audit goes into effect next year so it makes sense that they're inviting firms to test things out:

Testing Form AP Submissions

If registered firms wish to test the electronic filing of Form AP, the PCAOB is opening a test environment for firms to familiarize themselves with the Form AP filing process.  Firms will be able to submit test filings using the web form and XML. Advanced registration is required.

Key Dates

  • Firms must sign up by October 27, 2016, to receive access to the test environment. Firms that do not sign up for testing may still view demonstrations, ask questions, and receive assistance from PCAOB staff.
  • The test environment will only be available from October 26, 2016, to November 18, 2016.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the impression that the PCAOB is a pretty accommodating regulator. Would the SEC or the IRS or the DEA let people take some dry runs? I kinda don't think so (or maybe they would, what do I know?). The PCAOB seems to understand that audit firms are so resistant to new things that providing them with a testing environment is the only way to get them comfortable without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth (although there will still be plenty of that). I'm surprised the Board isn't throwing in Halloween candy for those firms who participate.

Accountants behaving badly: Boston

Sometimes I feel like the "accountants behaving badly" section has so much material that it could be a geographically-specific TV show like CSI:Miami or NCIS:New Orleans or PCAOB:Portland. I'd push for an HBO series but I'm sure it would end up on CBS with the rest of that tripe. In any case, there are a couple RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES for today's Boston edition, featuring James Lowe from Worcester who underreported the income from his accounting firm for three years and Gary Tiffany II (a perfect name for a character) who pleaded guilty to charges related to stealing $3.5 million from Gottex Capital Management:

From April 2011 to November 2015, while employed as an accountant and office manager by Gottex, Tiffany obtained millions of dollars from the company by wiring funds from its accounts to his personal accounts and forging checks from the company’s accounts payable to himself, according to prosecutors.

Tiffany allegedly concealed the payments by, among other things, making false entries in the company’s electronic accounting system and by manipulating the company’s bank statements to remove references to wire transfers he had made into his personal accounts.

The company allegedly discovered Tiffany’s theft of funds after he was laid off in the fall of 2015. When he was later confronted by the company’s executives, Tiffany allegedly admitted to transferring about $1 million from the company to himself and spending it.

Admit it, you'd watch the show.

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! But I helpfully pointed that out that his 2015 1040 was due yesterday. It's still not too late to release that tax return and try to stop (slow?) this trainwreck, Don.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Bryce Sanders wrote about how to make memorable small talk without being a jerk. And in Open Items, someone is looking for a Big 4 opportunity in New York.

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