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September 26, 2023

Accounting News Roundup: Chief Accounting Officers; Deloitte’s Gender Pay Gap; Pre-IPO Loopholes | 08.25.15

As Regulatory Costs Grow, the Accounting Chief’s Duties Add Up [CFOJ]
So here's a thing that has happened:

Since 2009, there’s been nearly a 40% rise in the number of chief accounting officer titles, according to findings from Russell Reynolds Associates.

What could, uh, account for this? The Journal report says "cost and intricacies of today’s regulatory and accounting requirements" have CAOs handling more than just, "managing their company’s books and preparing financial statements." Which, okay fine, but I don't think accounting is the only division in the company jumping on the trend of squeezing maximum productivity out of every employee.

Maybe there's something else going on here? Of course, there's always something else going on here:

As the CFO’s right hand, accounting chiefs are tackling thorny issues, such as when and how to recognize revenue, or how to report to quarterly numbers to comply with both U.S. and foreign accounting standards.

They are also taking on new burdens. Like Metlife’s [CAO Peter] Carlson, many accounting chiefs attest to the accuracy of their company’s quarterly and annual financial filings. Their signature on these documents makes them liable–along with the CFO and chief executive—if the numbers turn out to be false.

In other words, the Chief Accounting Officer is the vanguard when things go horribly, horribly wrong with the financial statements. And, in all fairness, they should be! Over the last decade, accounting scandals have taken down many CFOs who didn't appreciate the nuances of GAAP. And people like former Xerox CAO Gary Kabureck are here to step up to take the brunt of things:

“My job was to know the finer points of generally accepted accounting principles,” said Mr. Kabureck, now a member of the International Accounting Standards Board, which sets financial reporting rules for more than 100 countries.

“The role needed someone diplomatic, with a backbone. I was the signing officer; I was the first one going down if things blew up,” he said.

Insulating the CEO and now, apparently, the CFO, from blame is an important strategy. And what better way to insulate them from accounting scandals than anointing an accountant with a "Chief" title?

Deloitte reveals its 17.8 per cent gender pay gap [AFR]
This beats the UK's national average by 1.5%. PwC's gap is 15.1%.

Twitter Faced SEC Questions on User Metrics [Digits/WSJ]
I could be wrong, but it sounds like the SEC was trying to get ahead of a company's unconventional metrics, for once.

Beware Accounting Loopholes For Pre-IPO Companies [Forbes]
Alternative title: companies seeking money opt for easiest route. 

Paulding school accountant accused of stealing money to buy boat [AJC]
Julie Taylor converted a check made out to the New Hope Learning Center to herself and wandered into a marina.

Ashley Madison has a stupidity factor – men [The Guardian]
It's a matter of economics, really: supply and demand.

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