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Accounting News Roundup: Setback for Deloitte in MG Rover; PwC’s Unflappability; Senators’ Suggestions for Tax Reform | 07.29.13

Deloitte loses appeal in MG Rover disciplinary case [Reuters]
Accountants Deloitte has lost an appeal over a regulatory ruling that it failed to manage conflicts of interest in its advice to MG Rover Group and the "Phoenix Four" directors who bought the UK carmaker before it collapsed. MG Rover was put into administration in 2005 with debts of 1.4 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) and the loss of 6,000 jobs. Four of its directors had set up Phoenix to buy the loss-making carmaker for a token 10 pounds five years earlier. The Financial Reporting Council, which regulates accountants, said last year that Deloitte and an employee, Maghsoud Einollahi, had failed to properly manage conflicts of interest.

PwC full of confidence in face of audit squeeze [FT]
Worried that auditors are too close to the executives they are supposed to be scrutinising, regulators have encouraged companies to put their audit contracts out to tender more frequently, or even change audit firm altogether. As UK market leader, PwC has the most to lose. For instance, Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer group, on Friday said it would drop PwC for one of its rivals after 26 years, citing “changes in the regulatory environment and market expectations”. […] [Chairman Ian Powell] admits that PwC’s audit dominance probably means it will lose more work than it gains from the shake-up. “We have about 38 per cent of the FTSE 100,” says Mr Powell. “In any retendering, in any rebalancing of an industry then it is likely that you are going to lose market share.”

New FASB Chairman Makes Plans for Future Accounting Standards [AT]
Russell Golden: "
In the future, we will still remain committed to improving U.S. GAAP for those capital markets that choose to use U.S. GAAP,” said Golden. “Because our relationship with the IASB, subsequent to the MoU projects, will change, we’ll no longer be working with them jointly on projects and we no longer will be debating them at the table. I will be in a position, as a member of their ASAF [Accounting Standards Advisory Forum], to advise them on improvements that they can be making to International Financial Reporting Standards, and advising them as to what the U.S. accounting standard-setters believe would be an appropriate improvement to IFRS. I take that responsibility very seriously and will be working through some processes to ensure that when I make that advice, that is something that is accepted by the FASB in its entirety."

Mass. taxes on gas, cigarettes to increase [AP]
The state’s gasoline tax jumps 3 cents on Wednesday, from 21 cents per gallon to 24 cents. Smokers will also have to shell out more for a pack of cigarettes, with the excise tax jumping $1 from $2.51 per pack to $3.51 per pack.

Senators' 'blank slate' submissions trickle out [The Hill]
More than a half dozen senators, including members of both parties, released written suggestions to Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Friday, joining a handful of lawmakers who publicized their suggestions earlier in the week. Baucus has said he plans to mark up a tax reform bill in the fall, and that he plans to take the submissions into account as he works toward a bipartisan bill. But the suggestions senators released Friday were often general and painted with a broad brush – not the “legislative language or detailed proposals” about which tax breaks should remain in a blank code that Baucus and Hatch had asked from their 98 other colleagues.

Beer Can Covered Home Gets Landmarked In Houston [AP]

A child of the Great Depression, John Milkovisch didn't throw anything away – not even the empty cans of beer he enjoyed each afternoon with his wife. So, in the early 1970s when aluminum siding on houses was all the rage, he lugged down the cans he had stored in his attic for years, painstakingly cut open and flattened each one and began to wallpaper his home. "The funny thing is that it wasn't … to attract attention," said Ruben Guevara, head of restoration and preservation of the Beer Can House in Houston's Memorial Park area. "He said himself that if there was a house similar to this a block away, he wouldn't take the time to go look at it. He had no idea what was the fascination about what he was doing."


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