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Accounting News Roundup: Deloitte Gets Face Time with Obama; HP Turns Down Lynch’s Offer; Big 4 Auditors and Consulting 2.0 | 11.28.12

Obama pushes tax agenda, Congress in stand-off [Reuters]
President Barack Obama on Tuesday launched a public relations push for his bid to raise taxes on wealthy Americans, but U.S. lawmakers remained deadlocked over dramatic, year-end tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff." At the White House, small business leaders emerged from a one-hour meeting with Obama to voice support for his goal of extending low tax rates for the middle class beyond the end of the year, while letting rates rise for wealthier taxpayers. The business owners urged Obama "to fight to keep the middle-class tax cuts," said Lew Prince, co-founder of Vintage Vinyl, an independent music store in St. Louis, Mo. "What grows jobs in America is consumers spending money, and the average person needs that two or three thousand dollars a year in his pocket to help drive the economy," Prince told reporters at the White House.

Obama to meet with CEOs from Goldman, Deloitte on Wednesday [Reuters]
Joe E. and thirteen other CEOs will get some face time with Barry talking taxes, the fiscal cliff and whatnot.

Top GOP Lawmaker Bends on Taxes [WSJ]
A crack in Republican unity on taxes broke Tuesday when a senior House Republican, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, privately urged his colleagues to accede to the White House’s demand they pass an extension of current tax rates just for income up to $250,000. Mr. Cole’s comments represented a significant break from the GOP leadership’s insistence that all rates be extended, including the upper brackets that Democrats want eventually to increase.
HP Says It Has Evidence of Accounting Improprieties [Bloomberg, Earlier]
“While Dr. Lynch is eager for a debate, we believe the legal process is the correct method in which to bring out the facts and take action on behalf of our shareholders,” Hewlett-Packard said in an e-mailed statement.
Olam International Disputes Accusations by Short-Seller [NYT]

The Singapore commodities firm Olam International undertook a vigorous defense Wednesday against attacks on its accounting practices and acquisitions by the trading firm Muddy Waters, saying it was not at risk of insolvency. Olam, which is 16 percent owned by Temasek Holdings, the Singapore state investor, said in a 45-page report that it had enough liquidity to pursue its current business and future investments. The rebuttal focused on major issues raised by Muddy Waters in its own report, released Tuesday: Olam’s solvency, accounting-related assertions and the company’s business model, acquisitions and capital spending. “We believe that the report’s assertions are motivated to distract and create panic amongst our continuing shareholders, bondholders and creditors,” Olam said in a statement.

Consulting By Auditors: NYU Stern Ross Roundtable Explores Post-Enron Reemergence [Forbes]
FM: "Audit firm leadership feigns insult whenever anyone questions its desire and ability to be independent, objective and professionally skeptical.  The reality, let’s face it, is if you’re not the auditor of the multinational or large financial services firm, you’re doing consulting work for it. If you’re not doing consulting work for it, you are or want to be the auditor."

Observers See Dangers in Burgeoning Consulting Practices at Major Audit Firms [AT]
[Paul] Volcker, who chaired the Fed during both the Carter and Reagan administrations, noted that the question of who pays the auditor can be a serious problem. “It’s very hard to get an independent review from somebody who gets paid,” he said. “During my days as a bank regulator, when we found something wrong or questionable with a bank, they would say, ‘We’ll investigate it. We’ll have our law firm or auditing firm do a thorough investigation and find out who is responsible.’ Not once did the in-house auditor or legal firm find out who was responsible. Somehow it was the Immaculate Conception. But when you had an outside auditing firm or an outside lawyer, you got voluminous reports that you could aggressively pursue.”

Sleep: Weird things people do in their sleep [BBC]
This includes sending non-sensical text messages.

Police: Man Threatens Suburban Stuart Neighbor With Knife, Chainsaw [CBS]
Just visualize this: "Martin County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a disturbance in the 6000 block of Southeast Lake Circle Drive, where the victim and witnesses reported Stephen Lee Bates, 28, was in his yard yelling and cursing about him buying his brother's truck. First Bates threatened to cut him while holding a knife over his head, the victim told police, then he went home and returned with the chain saw. Bates tried unsuccessfully to start the chain saw and threw it against the victim's house."

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