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Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Adds Tax Benefit for Gay Couples; The Tentative Payroll Tax Deal; Nortel CFO’s Sketchy Adjustments | 02.15.12

Apologies for all the radio silence, capital market servants. I won't bore you with the details as I'm sure your immediate superiors simply appreciate all the additional billable hours over the past two days. 

Next Steps in Diamond Foods Accounting Inquiry [DealBook]
The issue for Diamond Foods is no longer whether the government will find evidence of a violation, but how it will pursue enforcement actions under the range of remedies available.

KPMG Adds Tax Benefit for Same-Sex Domestic Partners [AT]
KPMG LLP said Monday that it would offer tax offsets to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender partners and employees for the additional federal and state tax costs they incur when they pay for the medical benefits of same-sex domestic partners. The announcement comes a month after another Big Four accounting firm, Ernst & Young, said it would begin offering a similar benefit to its employees. “We are committed to a culture of inclusiveness and value the contributions of all of our people,” said KPMG LLP chairman and CEO John B. Veihmeyer in a statement. “Diversity is a business imperative. For our firm to continue to be a great place to work and build a career, we must be able to attract and retain the best people with the skills and determination to deliver above and beyond regardless of their sexual orientation.” 

Accounting Scam Embroils California Nonprofits [NPR]
Two hundred small California charities have been bilked by another nonprofit, International Humanities Center, to whom they outsourced accounting and the processing of donations. Many groups are now unable to make payroll or continue their work.

Deal Reached on Payroll Tax [WSJ]
Congressional negotiators reached a tentative a deal Tuesday night on extending the current payroll-tax cut through the end of the year, as well as continuing longer unemployment benefits and avoiding a steep cut in Medicare doctors' fees. The agreement, culminating a long and angry debate, followed a major concession earlier in the week from House Republicans, who agreed to extend the payroll-tax holiday without offsetting spending cuts. Without an agreement, payroll-tax rates would rise on March 1 for 160 million American workers.

Nortel CFO ordered accounting changes in 2003, court told [GM]
Nortel’s former assistant controller, Karen Sledge, testified she was out of the office on July 11, 2003 – and so was controller Michael Gollogly – when she received a phone call from one of her staff members. The employee said he had been told to make three accounting entries reversing three reserves that together added $23-million (U.S.) to the company’s bottom line for the second quarter. He was concerned about the request, Ms. Sledge said.
Nortel Trial: The riddle of Deloitte’s role [OC]
[Prosecutor] Hubbard introduced emails that suggested Deloitte was pushing Nortel management hard through this process. For instance, Deloitte partner Don Hathway complained in an email sent Oct. 13, 2003 to Frank Dunn that, “In a large number of cases we have not received analyses” to justify various accounting entries. Deloitte eventually approved the entries.
Jessica Blume Named Head of Deloitte's State Government Practice [Deloitte]
Replacing a Bob. Bob Campbell.
PwC Appoints Brian Cullinan as Market Managing Partner for the Greater Southern California Market [PwC]
Replacing a Martha. Martha Corbett.
Your ringtone is making me stupid [MSNBC]
According to a new study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, ringing cell phones are so distracting, they actually reduce our ability to remember information and slow our capacity to get back on task once the ringing stops.


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