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Accounting News Roundup: Grant Thornton Calls for ‘Regulatory Intervention’ in the UK Audit Market; FASB Member Betting on ‘Hyrbid’ Mark-to-Market Model; SAP Acquiring Sage? | 09.29.10

GT seeks limit on Big Four market share [Accountancy Age]
“Grant Thornton is calling for direct regulatory intervention in the audit market that would limit the number audits a firm could hold among public companies.

The call comes in a submission to the House of Lords economic affairs committee which is conducting an inquiry into the dominance of the Big Four firms and constitutes the most emphatic public demand yet for regulators to directly intervene in the market.

Among the other proposals made by Grant Thornton are a code of conduct for investors urging them to promote the use of auditors outside the Big Four. Grant Thornton also wants to see the ‘prohibition’ of so called restrictive covenants – clauses placed by banks in credit agreements insisting that only Big Four firms be used on an audit.”

How Not to Create New Jobs [TaxVox]
“I suppose the Senate’s debate today may serve some useful purpose as a show vote. Endangered Democrats can go home and argue that while they care deeply about American jobs, Republicans–who voted en masse to kill the bill–do not. But partisan politics aside, this is a classic example why Congress should not be allowed anywhere near tax policy during election season.”

Mark-to-market plan could be modified: FASB member [Reuters]
“Strong opposition to a controversial proposal to expand fair value accounting could sway rulemakers to modify the plan, a member of the U.S. accounting rule-making board said on Tuesday.

The proposal by the Financial Accounting Standards Board calls for loans and other financial assets to be valued based on what they would fetch in the market, known as mark-to-market, or fair value. That change is intended to give investors a clearer picture of assets held on banks’ books.”

The banking industry has opposed the measure, saying it does not make sense to assign market prices to loans that will never be sold.

‘Thus far, I think the count is up to about 1,500 or so comment letters,’ said Lawrence Smith, a board member of FASB, which sets U.S. accounting rules. ‘I think I’ve read one that supports what we propose.’

Smith added that board members will probably be influenced by the opposition. ‘If I were a betting person, I would bet on some type of hybrid model being adopted,’ he said.”

BP to Create New Safety Division in Wake of Spill [NYT]
Now here’s an idea! ” BP will set up a new global safety division and make other changes to the way it operates as it seeks to absorb some lessons from the explosion of a oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, the soon-to-be chief executive Robert Dudley said Wednesday.

BP said the new division would aim to improve risk management and safety, and also review how the company manages agreements with contractors. The plans were announced as Mr. Dudley prepares to take over as chief executive on Friday.”

Investors, Regulators Laid Path to ‘Flash Crash’ [WSJ]
“A report by the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on that day’s steep decline, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapse 700 points in minutes before rebounding, is expected as soon as this week. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has called the day’s events “clearly a market failure.”

Staff from both agencies, which provided an initial joint-account in May, continued Tuesday to negotiate how certain events would be described in the report, according to people briefed on the discussions.

One area of discussion, one person said, concerns the so-called “E-mini” futures contract, which mimics movements in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and was a source of heavy trading that day when liquidity dried up. Part of the discussion concerns whether to disclose the number of contracts exchanged in the E-mini contract, which could show the size and impact of the trades.”

SAP to buy Sage? [AccMan]
Dennis Howlett mulls over the latest SAP/Sage rumors.

Voting on Bush Tax Cuts Divides Democrats in Congress Before Election Day [Bloomberg]
We realize it might be tough to get your head around this, “Democrats worried about defending congressional majorities are divided over voting on income taxes before Election Day. Party strategists warn they are missing an opportunity to define themselves against Republicans.

After Senate Democrats postponed action on President Barack Obama’s proposal to extend middle-class tax cuts until after the Nov. 2 election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested members still may vote this week before leaving Washington to campaign. Two days later, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that would be a ‘specious act’ without the chance of a Senate vote.”

College Graduates’ Top Employers [BusinessWeek]
The latest from Universum: 1) Google 2) KPMG 3) E&Y 4) PwC 5) Deloitte. It’s really not fair if you let the cool company jump in the mix.

Posted in ANR