Accounting News Roundup: Tax Season Begins, BT’s Mistakes and Deloitte’s Blockchain Lab | 01.24.17

Tax season

It began in earnest yesterday, as the IRS started accepting tax returns, but those claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit won't be processed until the week of February 15th. For those of you who file a lot of 1040s, I'm sure you're aware that the traditional tax season ends on April 18th which means your worst clients will be walking through the door three days later than usual.

Mistaken mistakes

Here's a report in the Wall Street Journal about an accounting scandal in UK-based BT Group's Italian business. BT's management originally thought they'd be writing off about £145 million. That turned out to be wrong:

Since the announcement of an internal investigation into the Italian business last October, including an independent review by auditing firm KPMG LLP, BT said it has found that “the extent and complexity of inappropriate behavior in the Italian business were far grater than previously identified.”

The activity involved improper sales, purchase, factoring, and leasing transactions. They led BT to overstate its Italian profit over “a number of years.”

BT now expects the write-down to be in the neighborhood of £530 million.

I think one of the worst parts about being a big-time financial executive would be discovering that your company screwed up some accounting, and then having to report that screwed-up accounting to everyone. However, one of few situations that are probably even worse is when you realize that the size of the screw-up is much larger than you thought. And then it's even worse when you realize that you get to march back out there and tell everyone that

Deloitte's blockchain lab

Big 4 firms want to be the go-to resource for big companies who want to understand, implement and use the blockchain. In order to win over companies, the firms are doing all kinds of things, including forming alliances and expressing exaggerated enthusiasm. And now, Deloitte has built a "blockchain lab" in Dublin for its EMEA business:

Deloitte announced on Monday that it is opening the new office in Dublin's so-called "Silicon Docks" district, near tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

The lab will focus on developing blockchain projects for finance firms in Europe and the Middle East. A staff of 25 are moving into the new office from Deloitte's Irish headquarters and the headcount is expected to rise to 50 by the end of the year.

You know this is serious because the picture accompanying the story has partners standing in the foreground looking confident while a handful of staff sit on chairs behind them, slightly out of focus, holding a giant prop chain with links that appear to be two feet in length. Nothing quite says, "We know what we're doing" like a cheesy photo-op.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Bryce Sanders wrote about giving (and getting) something out of serving with a non-profit. In Open Items, someone wonders what the future of a tax career looks like.

In other news:

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