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Accounting News Roundup: SEC Is TBD on IFRS; Is Forced Ranking a Good Thing?; The Caped Crusader: A Tax Cheat? | 07.16.12

S.E.C. Wary on Global Accounting Standard [NYT, Earlier]
Without any fanfare, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission released a long-delayed study about use of international accounting standards in the United States on Friday afternoon, several weeks after it had been finished. The report was prepared by James Kroeker, the chief accountant of the commission, and released on the last day before his resignation took effect. As expected, the report contained no recommendations, but its general tone was far more cautious than proponents of the use of international standards had hoped. After studying the issue for more than two years, the staff reported that while international standards “are generally perceived to be of high quality by the global financial reporting community,” adopting them as authoritative in the United States was “not supported by the vast majority of participants in the U.S. capital markets.”

Accounting Panel Expresses 'Regret' Over U.S. Stance [WSJ]
In a statement Sunday, the IFRS Foundation, which oversees the IASB, said that while it recognizes the SEC's right to determine how and when IFRS should be used in the U.S., "we regret that the staff report is not accompanied by a recommended action plan for the SEC." Such an action plan "would be welcome," the foundation said. The report details the challenges that a country like the U.S. faces in switching to IFRS, but other countries have successfully overcome similar challenges, the foundation said. The foundation "look(s) forward to the SEC resolving the continued uncertainty regarding the U.S.'s commitment to global accounting standards."

Auditors All Fall Down; PFGBest and MF Global Frauds Reveal Weak Watchdogs [Forbes]
Francine McKenna: "Wasendorf’s admission does not explain how he also duped the independent auditor. One of the cornerstones of an independent audit is an independent confirmation of bank balances. PFGBest’s auditor was either duped for twenty years or complicit in the fraud. Neither conclusion is a good one for her." 
Restaurants May Have to Change Tip Reporting Systems to Comply with IRS Ruling [BI]
Small business owners who run restaurants or other businesses where tipping is customary may have to make some changes within the next year. The Internal Revenue Service has imposed some new rules regarding taxes imposed on tips that impact both employees and employers of service-based businesses. Some small businesses may have to adjust their automated or manual reporting systems for tips and service charges in order to comply with the new ruling. 

Microsoft Isn't The Only Tech Company Doing Forced Employee Ranking [BI]
"Forced ranking done well—and that's the caveat—is a very good thing for any organization of 10 people or more," [HR Experot Dick] Grote said. That's because forced ranking makes it impossible for managers to declare that all of their employees are above average, he says, and that makes it easier to find and retain the top guns. But that doesn't mean that most companies are using it well. The biggest mistake is to use it forever. "If you're going to do forced ranking, look at it as a short-term, three-five year thing. Do it annually but don't do it forever. By the end of four or five years, you've gotten all the value," he says.

You Don't Have to Be Rich to Use These Tax Shelters [WSJ]
Is Batman cheating on his taxes? [DMWT]
This is most disturbing thing since nipples on the Batsuit
'Dirty Old Man': Attorney Convicted For Licking Client's Ear [AP]
After a bench trial, Kauai attorney Lawrence McCreery, 64, was found guilty of harassment Thursday after a former client testified that while discussing her child custody case last year, he licked the back of her right ear. She said he told the 21-year-old woman while touching her arm, "You look so good," and "Too bad you're married," according to the Kauai prosecuting attorney's office. The woman said he made a "weird sound" and hugged her tightly right before the licking. McCreery testified to deny he licked her. He claimed she initiated the hug. Per Diem Fifth Circuit District Court Judge Frank Rothschild ruled there's no evidence the woman made up the story. McCreery, who was licensed to practice law in Hawaii in 1975, was ordered to a pay a $250 fine, prosecutors said. "Quite frankly," Rothschild said, "these are the actions of a dirty old man."


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