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Accounting News Roundup: Blockchain Barriers; SOX and Sexual Misconduct; Signs of a Bad Accountant/Boyfriend | 02.04.16

Let’s Be Honest About The Problems With Blockchain And Finance [TechCrunch]
If you or someone you know is a blockchain enthusiast, then this article will be a total buzzkill, but it's worth reading anyway. 

[T]he main problem is that institutionally, banks are not wired to drive this kind of innovation. Quite simply: bureaucracy. Lawyers, compliance, front office, back office, middle office — enacting meaningful reform, or even getting budget to expand a technology program, could require sign-off from all of them. This is necessary in the high-stakes financial world, but undoubtedly a barrier to innovation. If blockchain programs ever leave the incubators, they’ll have to justify themselves up and down the line.

This is more or less the same story with accounting firms who are looking into blockchain technology. I can't imagine any Big 4 assurance practice diving head-first into developing new methods around blockchain. Way too many skeptics and WAY too many hoops to jump through. However, accounting (sigh, "professional service" is probably appropriate here) firms do have the advantage of being purveyors of blockchain technology by virtue of their aggressive M&A strategy.

Each firm will, sooner or later, drive trucks full of money onto the lawns of some blockchain consultants and say to each, "Join us! We have resources!" Most people will take that money and continue doing what they like to do except under the banner of PwC or whoever. Then each firm can start strutting around near big banks, insurance companies and whatnot talking about their fancy new blockchain advisory business. It'll be great if they can manage to keep their excitement in check

Fired Tyco Accountant Lacks SOX Act Retaliation Claim [BloombergBNA]
The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Jeffrey Wiest couldn't use his "protected activity" (i.e. whistleblowing) to pursue a wrongful termination suit against Tyco, his former employer. The reason: he was sexually harassing women and that's why he was fired:

A 10-month gap between Wiest's last protected activity and the termination decision and the “legitimate intervening events” that included the sexual misconduct investigation by Tyco human resources personnel with no knowledge of his prior protected activity “negate” any inference of causation for SOX Act retaliation purposes, Judge Morton I. Greenberg wrote.

Even if Wiest could raise a jury issue that his protected activity contributed to the adverse action, Tyco established a SOX Act affirmative defense. The company “amply demonstrated” it would have terminated Wiest, based on the results of its sexual misconduct investigation, even absent any protected activity, the court said.

Nice try, pal.

Former girlfriend talks about OP accountant who embezzled $4M [KMBC]
Thomas Hauk pleaded guilty to embezzling over $4 million from clients over 9 years. He spent most of that money on fancy cars and motorcycles. His ex-fianceé told the local news that "when the FBI showed up, she realized things were falling apart." Somehow traveling the world with an accountant shopping for luxury cars and $65,000 motorcycles didn't cause any concerns, though.

Previously, on Going Concern…
Megan Lewczyk wrote about BYOB…I mean, BYOD. And, from Open Items: Small firm intern told "no overtime for you."

In other news:

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