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Accounting News Roundup: Much Ado About the Debt Ceiling; The Amazon Tax Problem Heats Up in California; Accounting Professors Storm Denver | 08.01.11

Gone Fishing [Going Concern]
After two years of being chained to my desk and staring at my laptop, I’m taking a few days off (seven to be precise) starting Monday. I know, I know. Unacceptable. But after some arm twisting, TPTB figure that some vacation would give me a chance to relax and it offers them some reprieve from my kvetching about EVERYTHING. Plus when the country defaults on Tuesday I thought it might be safer to be in a Paris bistro while the rest of you fight over scraps in the streets.

Debt-Limit Deal to Get Congress Vote Today [Bloomberg]
Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more.

California use-tax program hits small businesses [SF Chronicle]
Many Californians ignore the “use tax” – the equivalent of sales tax but remitted by state residents for products bought from out-of-state retailers that did not collect sales tax. The state estimates that $1.1 billion in use tax goes uncollected every year. Cash-strapped California is eager to corral that big chunk of change, most notably through the “Amazon tax” bill that took effect in late June. The new law requires Amazon and other online sellers to collect sales tax, but is being fiercely fought by the e-commerce giant and its brethren.

HSBC to Cut 30,000 Jobs [DealBook]
HSBC, the biggest European bank, said on Monday that it was cutting 30,000 jobs as part of a wide-ranging cost cutting program to improve profitability. The job cuts, which would represent about 10 percent of HSBC’s work force, are part of a strategy to reduce expenses by $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion over the next two years.

Debt Ceiling, Spending Cuts to Rise But No Word on Higher Taxes [taxgirl via Forbes]
The agreement also allows for President Obama to raise the debt ceiling immediately up to $400 billion, heading off the “certain” Armageddon that pundits have been warning about (insert a lot of coughing here). An additional $500 billion in debt ceiling headroom has also been authorized although, as part of the deal, Congress specifically reserves the right to vote against that at a later date so that they can dutifully wag their fingers at the President. And the President has reserved the right to veto that vote so that he can wag a finger at Congress (you can pick the finger). Future increases have also been authorized, with limitations.

2011 AAA Annual Meeting [The Summa]
More than 3,000 accounting professors will be packing up this week, and heading for Denver. The American Accounting Association (AAA), the professional association for accounting professors, is holding its annual meeting, August 6-10.

XBRL: What’s It Good For? [CFO]
On July 12, XBRL US, a nonprofit consortium for XBRL (extensible business reporting language) standards, announced a contest with a $20,000 grand prize to be awarded to whoever submits the “most inventive and useful application leveraging XBRL-formatted data from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) EDGAR database” for business benefit.

Companies Altering Compensation Plans Over Say-on-Pay [Compliance Week]
Many companies are making changes to their compensation plans, especially those that garnered lukewarm support or lower from shareholders and those that saw proxy advisory firms recommend that shareholders vote against their plans.

Accountants Moving From Hourly Rates To Fixed Fees [PR]
Over half of local accounting practitioners surveyed cite fixed fees as their primary means of pricing services, more than double hourly rate pricing.

Posted in ANR