Accounting News Roundup: Financial Reporting Affluenza; More on the Passing of Abe Briloff; This Year’s Taxes Will Give Rich People Sad | 12.16.13

Is Bigger Really Better? Not When It Comes to Financial Reporting Transparency! [GOA]
Tony Catanach found a fun little nugget while taking an axe to Morgan Stanley's recent "immaterial" correction of $9.2 billion. In SEC Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 108, he highlights "Certain registrants have proposed to the staff that allowing certain errors to remain on the balance sheet as assets or liabilities in perpetuity is an appropriate application of generally accepted accounting principles." TC reacts accordingly: "If allowing financial statement errors to go uncorrected is acceptable, can outright financial statement fabrication be far behind?  Or are we already there and simply don’t know it?  And if we call out big bank managers and their auditors on such behavior, how long will it be before they assert the Affluenza defense?"

Abe Briloff, an Accountant Who Saw Through the Games [Economix/NYT]
Floyd Norris eulogizes Abe Briloff: "Abe did not introduce me to accounting, or even to accounting games, but he taught me to love the role that accountants should play, and to resent those auditors who seem to think that they work for the people who hire them, not for the investors who depend on them." Here's Mr. Briloff's full New York Times obituary.

Congress turns to tax reform [Politico] 
Budget deal maker Paul Ryan said on Meet the Press, "
Watch the Ways and Means Committee in the first quarter of next year," leaving out, "Without holding your breath."

12 Agreements Signed to Help U.S. Fight Offshore Evasion [Bloomberg]
The offshore bank account appears to be going the way of the Dodo, "Twelve governments have reached agreement with the U.S. Treasury on easing the reporting of foreign-held bank accounts by U.S. taxpayers, part of the Internal Revenue Service’s effort to combat offshore tax evasion. The agreements will help implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which as of July 1 will require that information about such accounts be supplied directly to the U.S. Similar accords have been reached in substance with 17 other jurisdictions, and talks on the deals are in advanced stages with many other countries, Bloomberg BNA reported."

For Top Earners, a Bigger Tax Bite This Year [NYT]
Who's looking forward to difficult conversations this busy season?! "
Joe Perry, partner in charge of tax and business services at Marcum, took his analysis a step further. He looked at his firm’s 1,200 individual clients who made more than $400,000 a year — the threshold for all the highest rates, new taxes and reduced deductions to kick in. He calculated that they were looking at paying 7 percent more this year, but then he translated that into a real number: It equated to $250 million more. 'People will focus on the percentages until they see what that dollar amount is and then they’re going to be shocked,' Mr. Perry said."

KPMG sees pay and bonuses rise as UK profits jump 27% [BBC]
This sounds promising: "
For the year to 30 September average pay for the 583 UK partners rose by 23% to £713,000, while the staff bonus pool rose 20% to £73m. KPMG is in what UK chairman Simon Collins said was the "first and toughest year" of a three-year turnaround plan. His pay for the year, approved by a vote of partners, was £2.42m," although I'm sure someone out there has room to complain. 

Wal-Mart Employee Arrested For Shooting Co-Worker’s Car Over Award [CBS]
I suspect that the coveted honor of tweeting from the Life at Deloitte account is headed in this direction: "
According to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report last month’s employee of the month at a Deerfield Beach Wal-Mart store on South Military Trail had her car shot up by a co-worker who was angry after she won the award. Willie Mitchell is charged with discharging a firearm from a vehicle. The Broward Sheriff’s Office said surveillance video from a Wal-Mart parking lot shows Mitchell parking next to a co-worker’s earlier in December. A few minutes later, investigators said Mitchell rolls down a back window, fires a shot into his co-worker’s car then drives off. The co-worker was not in her vehicle at the time. BSO Spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright said the shooting stemmed from some bad feelings after the victim won an Employee of the Month Award."

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