Accounting News Roundup: Robots, Tax Reform Restart and Considering Embezzlement | 04.10.17

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Just one more vacation and then I’ll start thinking about how I could wind up in jail.

Robots

It’s fair to say that we talk about robots, AI, et al. taking or supplementing accounting jobs regularly around here, which is why this quote struck me as strange:

Bill Cline, the national advisory leader for digital labor at global audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP, said robotics is the biggest inflection point of the industry since global sourcing.

“I think a lot of people know that physical robots are being used in factories, or even that AI [artificial intelligence] is being used in medical diagnoses, but I don’t think many people understand how extensively software bots are being used to automate previously manual business processes and functions,” he said.

Funny, I get the feeling that’s all anyone is talking about. Auditor Watson. Tax preparer Watson. Inventory drone manager Watson. Okay, that last one isn’t really Watson but it’s only a matter of time, I think. Other already noted benefits of the robots included in this article are their ability to forgo sleep, vacations and happiness. Once these AI machines find out we’re exploiting them, they’re gonna be pissed.

How’s tax reform coming along?

Not well! The Associated Press reports that Donald Trump has “scrapped the tax plan he campaigned on and is going back to the drawing board.” This will likely set back the timeline a bit, but we kinda figured the August deadline was a joke anyway.

Elsewhere in tax policy: Instead of taxes, make corporations give the government stock

Accountants behaving badly

Here’s an update on a past ABB, Edward Allebana, who pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.9 million from his employer in January. A judge sentenced him to a 2-year prison sentence, restitution of the $1.9 million and paying $661k in taxes he skipped out on.

“Individuals thinking about participating in embezzlement schemes should stop in their tracks and simply look at the consequences of taking the next step,” said R. Damon Rowe, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigations.

“As Mr. Abellana learned today, those consequences include going to prison, being branded a convicted felon and paying back all the taxes owed plus steep penalties and interest on the unreported income,” Rowe said.

In the case of Abellana, the next step after embezzling the money was flying on a private jet for luxury vacations. I’m not saying Special Agent Rowe is wrong, but who’s thinking about prison when you’re flying private to Hawaii? That’s a good way to ruin the experience for yourself.

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Josh Tarica of Beech Valley Solutions wrote about something worse than busy season: performance reviews.

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