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Accounting News Roundup: Volkswagen’s CFO; Yahoo’s Moving Ahead With Alibaba Spinoff; EY Seeks ‘Open Minded Lawyers’ | 09.29.15

Volkswagen CFO Is in the Hot Seat [CFOJ]
Hans Pieter Pötsch has his work cut out: "[H]e will need to establish how much of the German auto maker’s billions of dollars of potential liabilities might be covered by insurance, move to plug any gaps in its auditing process and reassure vendors, bankers and investors of its health."

Donald Trump's tax plan proves he's serious about winning the White House [The Week]
"It's as though Trump read a copy of the Jeb Bush plan, thought about it for a moment, and then tossed it at an underling, yelling, 'We should do this, but make it more tremendous, more marvelous!' "

Microsoft Changes How It Reports Its Financial Results [WSJ]
Into 3 segments: 1) Productivity and Business Processes; 2) Intelligent Cloud; 3) More Personal Computing.

EY doubles legal services team [Economia]
But this surely this poses no threat to law firms: “We are looking for open minded lawyers, who want to try something new and exciting.”

Yahoo to Pursue Alibaba Stake Spinoff Without IRS Ruling [WSJ]
Good luck with that: "Yahoo said it aims to complete the spinoff of 384 million Alibaba shares in the fourth quarter. By forging ahead, Yahoo and its tax adviser are indicating they are confident their plan passes legal muster and should be tax free. But they run the risk that the IRS could challenge the spinoff in a future audit, potentially putting shareholders on the hook for billions of dollars in taxes."

SEC Enforcement Fun
People talk about "tone at the top" a lot and the "tone" at Trinity Capital Corporation seems to have been in the range of "creative accounting with very little oversight":

As alleged in the SEC’s complaint, the fraud was directed by Trinity’s former Chief Executive Officer William Enloe, former Chief Credit Officer Jill Cook, and former Senior Lending Officer Mark Pierce.  The complaint also alleges that former Chief Financial Officer Daniel Bartholomew and the Vice President of Internal Audit Karl Hjelvik failed to implement sufficient internal accounting controls and failed to ensure the bank’s books and records were reasonably accurate. 

Then there's this insider trading case that features two lawyers and an accountant who shared a client that sat on the board of a company conspicuously named: Pharmasset. These two lawyers and the accountant were in a meeting with their client when the potential acquisition of Pharmasset by Gilead Sciences was discussed. The three muskateers bought Pharmasset stock immediately afterwards. One of lawyers is alleged to have told a financial advisor and a "next-door-neighbor" and they bought the stock, too. All five of them sold their stock after Gilead announced the acquisition less than two weeks later.  

Finally, here's Hitachi paying $19 million for FCPA violations. Man, what is going on in Japan?

Deloitte seeks to end unconscious class bias with recruitment revamp [Accountancy Age]
It seems strange that accounting firms would have the nerve to discriminate against people based on class, but apparently that's exactly what's been happening in the UK:

Deloitte has radically revamped its selection process in a bid to stop recruiters from knowing where candidates went to school or university.

It is hoped unconscious bias will be eliminated – or at least dramatically reduced – as a direct result of the new regime. A special algorithm will also be brought into play to consider contextual information as well as academic results.

It follows a recent report from the government's social mobility watchdog that found working class people are being "systematically" excluded from the best jobs at the UK's top accounting firms.

You know they're serious because an algorithm had to be developed.

Florida Resident Calls 911 Because Monkey Was Sitting on a Mailbox Eating Mail [Time]
Pics! It happened!