Accounting News Roundup: PwC Wants More Women; Audit Credibility (or Lack Thereof); Big 4 Are Offshore | 01.31.11

PricewaterhouseCoopers targets women [Telegraph]
PricewaterhouseCoopers will announce that it wants the present 14pc figure to rise significantly over the next decade. It is believed that the first target could be 20pc. Ian Powell, the chairman of PwC, also wants to set an “aspirational goal” of 40pc to 50pc of partners being women or from other under-represented groups, such as ethnic minorities.

The Path to Global Standards? [CFO]
[L]ast week Leslie Seidman laid out her “three highest priorities” through June 30. Remember that date., the Securities and Exchange Commission could reveal whether it intends to require all U.S. public companies to incorporate international financial reporting standards into the current U.S. financial reporting system. Speaking on a FASB Webcast, Seidman, who became the top U.S. accounting standard-setter on December 23, said the board’s main tasks for the first two quarters of 2011 are to achieve, along with the International Accounting Standards Board, melded standards in three areas: financial instruments, revenue recognition, and leasing.

Audit Credibility [The Summa]
From Professor Albrecht, ” ‘Do credible CPA audit firms add benefits to clients that exceed the audit costs?’ It’s an interesting question, I suppose, to narcissists (Big 4 auditors, government regulators and accounting professors) who believe that the world revolves around the audit function. It isn’t a question that floats my boat, for I’m concerned with a different question, ‘Credibility?’ Do credible CPA audit firms add net benefits to investors?”

Finance Chiefs Expand Roles [WSJ]
Long seen as the overseer of a company’s books, finance chiefs have been getting more deeply involved in business strategy, deciding where to invest capital and even looking at a company’s product mix. They’re also taking on new responsibilities: overseeing divisions like information technology, production, customer service and human resources. The change comes as companies put more emphasis on controlling costs, seeking input from finance chiefs as the companies try to manage revenue growth more closely during a tentative economic recovery.

In Financial Crisis Autopsy Auditors Nowhere To Be Found [Forbes]
The auditors who weren’t there.

Continuous auditing: putting theory into practice [IIA/Marks on Governance]
Internal auditing, 24/7.

How to Tax the Rich [WSJ]
Turning bad ideas into good.


Harmonised accounting rules to hit US banks [FT]
US banks could see their balance sheets balloon under new proposals from the accountancy rulemakers that would dramatically reduce their ability to net their derivatives exposure. The Financial Accounting Standard Board and its international counterpart are planning to establish a common approach to the presentation of financial assets and liabilities on company balance sheets.

Big four auditors ’embedded in tax haven world’ [Daily Mail]
The Big Four accountancy firms have come under attack for maintaining on average more than 20 offices each in offshore tax havens despite countries working together to crack down on tax avoidance. The four firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young – have 81 offices in offshore tax havens, according to new research by Financial Mail. MP Chuka Ummuna, who earlier this month confronted Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond over the banks’ 300 offshore subsidiaries, said: ‘There’s a whole industry out there dedicated to helping people avoid tax that will increasingly come under the microscope.

PricewaterhouseCoopers targets women [Telegraph]
PricewaterhouseCoopers will announce that it wants the present 14pc figure to rise significantly over the next decade. It is believed that the first target could be 20pc. Ian Powell, the chairman of PwC, also wants to set an “aspirational goal” of 40pc to 50pc of partners being women or from other under-represented groups, such as ethnic minorities.

The Path to Global Standards? [CFO]
[L]ast week Leslie Seidman laid out her “three highest priorities” through June 30. Remember that date. Not long after that, the Securities and Exchange Commission could reveal whether it intends to require all U.S. public companies to incorporate international financial reporting standards into the current U.S. financial reporting system. Speaking on a FASB Webcast, Seidman, who became the top U.S. accounting standard-setter on December 23, said the board’s main tasks for the first two quarters of 2011 are to achieve, along with the International Accounting Standards Board, melded standards in three areas: financial instruments, revenue recognition, and leasing.

Audit Credibility [The Summa]
From Professor Albrecht, ” ‘Do credible CPA audit firms add benefits to clients that exceed the audit costs?’ It’s an interesting question, I suppose, to narcissists (Big 4 auditors, government regulators and accounting professors) who believe that the world revolves around the audit function. It isn’t a question that floats my boat, for I’m concerned with a different question, ‘Credibility?’ Do credible CPA audit firms add net benefits to investors?”

Finance Chiefs Expand Roles [WSJ]
Long seen as the overseer of a company’s books, finance chiefs have been getting more deeply involved in business strategy, deciding where to invest capital and even looking at a company’s product mix. They’re also taking on new responsibilities: overseeing divisions like information technology, production, customer service and human resources. The change comes as companies put more emphasis on controlling costs, seeking input from finance chiefs as the companies try to manage revenue growth more closely during a tentative economic recovery.

In Financial Crisis Autopsy Auditors Nowhere To Be Found [Forbes]
The auditors who weren’t there.

Continuous auditing: putting theory into practice [IIA/Marks on Governance]
Internal auditing, 24/7.

How to Tax the Rich [WSJ]
Turning bad ideas into good.


Harmonised accounting rules to hit US banks [FT]
US banks could see their balance sheets balloon under new proposals from the accountancy rulemakers that would dramatically reduce their ability to net their derivatives exposure. The Financial Accounting Standard Board and its international counterpart are planning to establish a common approach to the presentation of financial assets and liabilities on company balance sheets.

Big four auditors ’embedded in tax haven world’ [Daily Mail]
The Big Four accountancy firms have come under attack for maintaining on average more than 20 offices each in offshore tax havens despite countries working together to crack down on tax avoidance. The four firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young – have 81 offices in offshore tax havens, according to new research by Financial Mail. MP Chuka Ummuna, who earlier this month confronted Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond over the banks’ 300 offshore subsidiaries, said: ‘There’s a whole industry out there dedicated to helping people avoid tax that will increasingly come under the microscope.

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