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Accounting News Roundup: More Accountants, Better World; Sustainability Reporting; Media Empire Juggling | 11.13.15

Accounting Linked to Prosperity and Better Living Standards [AT]
The International Federation of Accountants commissioned a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research that found: "regions of the world with a higher share of accountants in total employment have a higher per capita GDP." And if you think that's a little too industrial for your liking, the study also found that "accountants in total employment and the U.N. Human Development Index was found to be even stronger." That UNHDI measures things like life expectancy, years of schooling and income. I guess this means that accountants are doing their part to save the world.

Investors Want More From Sustainability Reporting, Says Former SEC Head [CFOJ]
Mary Schapiro, vice chair of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB!), is pushing, you guessed it, better sustainability reporting.

“We know investors care about this information,” said Mary Schapiro, the former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman in comments to a Bloomberg Sustainable Business summit in New York Thursday.

Yet she added investors are “highly dissatisfied with the information they are getting today” and “can’t really use it effectively for their allocation decisions.”

You may be thinking, "Investors do not care about this information," but the Government & Accountability Institute reported that 75% of the S&P 500 issued sustainability reports in 2015, up from 20% in 2011. Schapiro says that businesses want "to hold businesses accountable" on sustainability goals, which could mean that interesting reporting and auditing opportunities are on the horizon.

The Web of Deals That John Malone Weaves [DealBook]
Don't you hate it when your media empire is so large that you have to reshuffle the entity structure just to make sense of it? John Malone's Liberty Interactive is spinning off two units from its Liberty Ventures Group: CommerceHub and Liberty Expedia Holdings. Meanwhile, Liberty Media Corporation is reclassifying its common stock into three separate equities: Liberty Braves Group, Liberty Sirius Group and Liberty Media Group. The reason for the split is to:

“highlight each tracking stock group’s operations, and the financial performance of its attributed assets, provide greater investor choice, and enable targeted capital raising while maintaining an optimal capital structure for Liberty.”   

So I'm probably oversimplifying the "just to make sense of it" thing, but maybe not too much.

In other news:

  • Warren Buffett Has an Image Problem [WSJ]
  • Depressed PhD candidates. [Quartz]
  • Could We Get the Tax Code Down to Three Pages? [TaxVox]
  • Twins get in twin trouble. [TSG]
  • Cop pulls over Google self-driving car, finds no driver to ticket [CNN]