Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Stuck at Four; Warren Buffett Has It Both Ways; Audit Rotation Down Under? | 12.13.12

KPMG FY 2012 Revenue Up 4.4% to Record $23 Billion [WSJ, Earlier]
In the year ended Sept. 30, KPMG saw its revenue rise 4.4% in local currency terms, or 1.4% in U.S. dollars. KPMG's annual revenue grew fastest–by at least 20%–in markets including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India and Turkey, while Africa and Indonesia saw revenue growth of more than 10%. By region, KPMG's revenue increased the most in the Americas, followed by Europe, Middle East and Africa, in local currency terms. The firm expanded its global workforce 5% to a record 152,000, with more than 450 new partners appointed, in the last year.

KPMG Says Spat Won't Hurt Growth in China [WSJ]
The Chinese government's tight control over company information makes it challenging to operate in that market but "the whole future of our profession is going to be in China, India and [Southeast Asian] countries," Michael Andrew told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. Mr. Andrew, who is based in Hong Kong, said the dispute between Chinese and U.S. regulators over access to company information is a "dispute between two governments." KPMG cooperates with regulators anywhere in the world when legally able to do so, he said. […] "I think when you look at it, [many] of these listings were audited by very small firms. There's a very low instance of the big accounting firms being involved, but we have to say that in some of these cases, we [the big firms] could have been more rigorous in our audits," Mr. Andrew said.

Berkshire buyback seen clashing with estate tax push [Reuters, Earlier]

Warren Buffett's $1.2 billion share buyback from a single unnamed investor likely helped that person's estate save substantially on taxes, just one day after the Berkshire Hathaway CEO said the rich should actually be paying more, not less, when they die. With the "fiscal cliff" looming and estate taxes set to rise dramatically in less than three weeks, the timing was seen as advantageous – and, according to Berkshire watchers, also out of place in the context of Buffett's recent tax activism. "I would say 'Warren, would you please just keep your nose out of this.' He's not in a position to criticize what's good for America and for everyone else's estate," said Anthony Sabino, a professor of business at St. John's University. "He's no doubt utilized the present tax code to maximum effect."
Satyam settles Aberdeen Global, other claims for $68 million in accounting fraud [ET]

IT firm Mahindra Satyam today said it has entered into an agreement to settle claims for alleged fraudulent misrepresentations and will pay $68 million (around Rs 369.24 crore) to Aberdeen Global and 22 other funds. "Mahindra Satyam company has signed a confidential settlement agreement, settling claims brought in the Commercial Court in London by Aberdeen Global and 22 other funds (claimants) managed by Aberdeen Asset Management and/or its subsidiaries," Mahindra Satyam said in a BSE filing. The claims included certain allegations of "fraudulent misrepresentations" said to have been made by the former management of Satyam in London, it added.

ASIC threatens auditors with mandatory rotation [AFR]
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has handed the audit profession its second yellow card, threatening to push for mandatory audit firm rotation if audit quality continues to deteriorate. “This is the second year where we have had a deterioration . . . if there is no improvement, next year we will consider under our new ability under legislation . . . to report auditors to audit committees and corporations,” ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft told a press conference in Sydney. ASIC’s latest review of firms, published on Tuesday, found a 30 per cent increase in the failure of auditors to ensure there had not been a material misstatement of company accounts in the 18 months ended June 30. “We can’t sit by and see a further deterioration – we’re talking about the cornerstone of commerce, to rely on financial statements that are not misstated,” Mr Medcraft said.

The theory of holes [China Accounting Blog/Paul Gillis]
PG: "[A] major reason we have seen so much fraud is that the U.S. listed Chinese companies operate in a regulatory hole. They have structured themselves with offshore companies with variable interest entities to circumvent Chinese law. These efforts successfully (so far anyway) got them out from under Chinese regulation. One of the defenses the Chinese have used against U.S. complaints is that Chinese regulators have no authority over Cayman Islands companies. Yet China does not allow U.S. regulators to step in and fill the regulatory hole. It bans U.S. regulators from taking action on Chinese soil, where all the people and records reside." 

Streamlining disclosures a tricky job for FASB [JofA]
Stakeholders at round-table discussions held this fall by FASB and the Center for Audit Quality, which is affiliated with the AICPA, generally agreed that streamlining disclosures is desirable. The sentiment also was expressed recently by FASB member Marc Siegel during a webcast on the board’s Disclosure Framework project. “Some of this information becomes boilerplate, or it may not be material to the reporting entity,” Siegel said. “That makes it harder for a reader to find information even if they know what they’re looking for. And it may cause them to miss information that they did not know how to look for.”

GOP pits small business vs. corporate CEOs in tax fight [The Hill]
It's really cute when politicians get mad at their benefactors: “I get it — these big-time CEOs, trying to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy, want corporate tax reform,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a Wednesday statement. “I want that, too. But to advocate raising taxes on Main Street businesses in exchange is nonsensical.”

Google Releases Map App for iPhone [WSJ]
Nearly three months after the Google Maps mobile app was kicked off the iPhone in favor of Apple Inc.'s own mapping software, Google Inc. released a downloadable version of the app, spelling relief for many Apple users who had complained about the switch. Google Maps appeared on Apple's app store late Wednesday, less than four weeks after The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was putting the finishing touches on the app for Apple devices and was preparing to submit it to Apple for approval.

Now You Can Turn Your Feces Gold [HP]
There's a pill for everything.

Posted in ANR