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Accounting News Roundup: Grant Thornton’s Nusbaum on Auditor Rotation; What Does Buffett’s ‘Sacrifice’ Amount To?; Americans Defect Over Taxes| 08.25.11

Jobs Quits as Apple CEO [WSJ]
Apple said Mr. Jobs submitted his resignation to the board of directors on Wednesday and “strongly recommended” that the board name Mr. Cook as his successor. Mr. Jobs, 56 years old, has been elected chairman of the board and Mr. Cook will join the board, effective immediately, the company said. “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in his resignation letter. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

Management Faces Task of Keeping Momentum [WSJ]
The executives who will now run Apple without Mr. Jobs will face big tests of whether they can still excel in highly competitive businesses that often have small profit margins. “Can they hit the next home run?” asks Charles O’Reilly, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. “Because if they don’t, they’re in a bunch of bad businesses.”

Grant Thornton CEO on Mandatory Audit Rotation [CFOJ]
Nusbaum: “There’s a natural inclination among accounting firms for anything like mandatory firm rotation to raise the hair on the back of our necks and make us very nervous, because we don’t want to give up clients. We have a lot of clients and of course we always think we’re doing a great job with them. But I think we as a profession have to be open minded and look at all the ways we can improve audit quality. But it’s a difficult decision. The PCAOB is in the unique position to see how all the firms operate, to see how we do audits, what we do well and what we do poorly and how we can improve.”

Trust No One, Particularly Not Groupon’s Accountants [Grumpy Old Accountants]
The grumpies start really digging into Groupon.

Warning to budget mavens: ‘Tax expenditures’ may yield less than expected [WaPo]
Don’t forget, there are 180 tax expenditures in this tax code, which are really tax earmarks, which are really spending by any other name, and you get rid of those and start picking them off, and you can save billions and billions of bucks.

Buffett’s $7 Million Sacrifice Is Only a Start [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
Whenever the leadership class feels nervous, you can count on some of them to offer the less-moneyed masses a bone to demonstrate they care. Warren Buffett says his idea of “shared sacrifice” is higher taxes on the super-rich. Only for him, this wouldn’t cost much.

Americans renounce citizenship over taxes [WFP]
Ohio-born Julie Veilleux spent the first eight years of her life in the United States but has lived in Canada for nearly 40 years. She became a Canadian citizen in 1995 and was told by the citizenship judge she was no longer an American. But Veilleux is among thousands of Canadians who could get caught up in a U.S. tax dragnet called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, or OVDI. It’s an amnesty program that promises reduced fines and penalties for Americans living abroad who catch up on unfiled tax returns. But it still threatens penalties of $10,000 or more for every bank account, RRSP or other savings account not declared from 2003 to 2010.

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