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Accounting News Roundup: Monsanto Whistleblower; US Steel’s Outsourcing; KPMG Capital’s New Investment | 02.11.16

Monsanto Accounting Case Came from SEC Whistleblower [AT]
Here's an interesting development out of this week's Monsanto bad rebate accounting story:

The case came to the SEC’s attention as a result of a whistleblower complaint, according to Stuart D. Meissner, whose Nyack, N.Y., firm Meissner Associates represented the unidentified whistleblower. He noted that the SEC’s whistleblower program allows a whistleblower to collect between 10 to 30 percent of the penalty.

“If you meet the criteria and comply with the rules, the whistleblower can obtain an award of anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of whatever funds the SEC collects, assuming it’s more than $1 million, which obviously this would be,” he told Accounting Today.

There's a fair amount of rigmarole to wade through for a whistleblower award but Meissner says, "I don’t see any reason why not, based on his complete cooperation," that his client would receive the maximum amount of $30 million. He declined to say whether his client was an accountant, but it seems unlikely that your average sales person (the other side involved) would have knowledge of the arrangements and realize that the revenues and expenses weren't being reported in the same period.  

U.S. Steel to outsource treasury, accounting positions [PPG]
Outsourcing has become pretty commonplace over the last several years, but for whatever reason, it's always surprising when you read about an all-American company like Levi's announce that it will outsource its entire finance unit. Now US Steel is getting into the act. The move will affect 75 employees across several accounting functions including "corporate accounts payable, headquarters general accounting, invoice resolution and control, payroll, processed products, and treasury." 

A top U.S. Steel executive told employees that jobs in the troubled steelmaker’s accounting and treasury departments are being outsourced because the Pittsburgh company wants “to develop a world-class financial reporting team.”

I can't think of many reasons for outsourcing more demoralizing than "to develop a world-class financial reporting team." Then, in the same email, the controller wrote, "I want you to know employee performance was not the driving force for this decision." I imagine reading that and thinking, "Oh, good, because for a minute there, I thought you said you wanted to develop a world-class financial reporting team and MAN have I been underachieving over here."  

Previously, on Going Concern…
Leona May wrote about insider trading. And on Open Items, someone has a Big 4 dilemma.

In other news: