Accounting News Roundup: Depreciation and Tax Policy; India Going After Audit Firms; Work-life Role Models | 09.10.13

Depreciation’s Place in Tax Policy [Economix/NYT]
Bruce Bartlett has everything you need to know about the history of depreciation and how it became the eighth-largest tax expenditure in the IRC.  

Lessons From ‘Simpler Taxes for America’ Tour [WSJ]
As Max & Dave wind up their tour, a couple of major questions that have not been answered remain: 1) Can the two parties sort out the revenue issue? 2) Will special interests prevent any meaningful progress?  

Now, audit firms can be penalized for frauds [TOI]
Life is set to get tougher for auditors and audit firms, with the draft rules of the Companies Act proposing to not just make auditors, but even audit firms, liable for frauds. So far, chartered accountants were penalized but the new law also puts firms under the spotlight. In addition, the draft rules have proposed that in case of conviction, auditors will not only have to refund the remuneration received by them but also pay damages to authorities as well as individuals, who have been affected by incorrect or misleading statements in audit reports. The tighter rules for auditors, including rotation, are the result of the alleged lapses seen during the Satyam scandal. 

Tax avoidance “not legal duty”, claims law firm [Accountancy Age]
Britain's businesses cannot justify engaging in tax avoidance strategies by claiming they are seeking the best return for their shareholders, according to the advice of law firm Farrer & Co. The firm is due to send its legal assessment to business leaders, warning they cannot claim it is their fiduciary duty to avoid tax for their benefit of shareholders, after it was commissioned to look into the issue by the Tax Justice Network.

Boomer: Aim Higher with Advisory Services [AT]
“One of the greatest opportunities for firms are advisory services, yet many people trained in the traditional audit and tax areas have trouble delivering advisory services,” he said. “Why? There are lot of theories, but I’ll tell you that one is the independence from the audit standpoint, versus the advocacy side. The other is that I ask, ‘Why don’t you offer these services to yor client? You’re totally capable,’ and they say, ‘Well, we just don’t have time.’ And I say, ‘You mean, you’d rather sell people at $150 an hour than at $300?’ and they say, ‘Well, we’ve always done it that way.’ They’re being sincere, but I’ve got to push you out of your comfort zone, because that $150-an-hour work is going to continue to be commoditized and eroded.”

Be a Work-Life Role Model [HBR]
"Respect the fact that everyone you work with has a life beyond work." 

Ernst & Young resigns as Codexis Inc. accountant [SFBT]
Codexis had one "reportable event" in its annual report for 2012 — a problem with internal control of financial reporting. Codexis' management said it did not have enough employees "to timely and appropriately account for complex, non-routine transactions in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles."

The "Worst Twerk Fail EVER" Video Was a Fake Jimmy Kimmel Production [Gawker]
I think it would have been just fine if they had never told us.

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