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ANR: FRC Tells PwC to Get Better; Ernst & Young’s Olympian; The Mystery Competitive Eating Accountant | 06.19.12

PwC warned to improve in-house audit training by FRC [Accountancy Age]
In its latest report on PwC, the Audit Inspection Unit (AIU) said that the partner appraisal processes should be reviewed. Currently the partner responsible for audit engagements does not evaluate their performance based on audit-quality, which should be included. The AIU also highlighted that although the firm has introduced mandatory half-day training for partners working on high-profile audits, this should be rolled out to all partners and directors.

Stanford Officer Pendergest Holt Said To Have Plea Deal [Bloomberg]
Laura Pendergest Holt, the former chief investment officer for R. Allen Stanford, has agreed to plead guilty and serve three years in prison for her role in a $7 billion fraud, three people familiar with the matter said. […] Pendergest Holt had told Stanford Financial Group Co. investors and the firm’s financial advisers that she oversaw a stable of international money managers who were responsible for the bulk of the bank’s assets, according to court papers. She may have had authority over as little as 20 percent of the bank’s assets, according to testimony during Stanford’s trial. Prosecutors charged her in June 2009 with conspiring to mislead investors in conjunction with Stanford and Chief Financial Officer James M. Davis, her boss and former lover. During Stanford’s trial, Davis told jurors he had a three-year affair with Pendergest Holt that ended in 2003, and that Stanford approved of the romance between his two top deputies.

IRS Resists Whistleblowers Despite Wide U.S. Tax Gap [BBW]
The IRS whistleblower program — created by Congress in 2006 to boost tax revenue by giving incentives to tipsters — has become the place where allegations of tax avoidance go to die. Over the past five years, more than 1,300 claims have been filed against almost 10,000 companies and individuals, alleging tax underpayments of at least $2 million apiece. Just three awards have been paid. The IRS won’t disclose the total dollar amount. Taxpayers annually owe $385 billion more than the IRS is able to collect, the agency said.

Anxiety Can Bring Out the Best [WSJ]
Somewhere between checked out and freaked out lies an anxiety sweet spot, some researchers say, in which a person is motivated to succeed yet not so anxious that performance takes a dive. This moderate amount of anxiety keeps people on their toes, enables them to juggle multiple tasks and puts them on high alert for potential problems. "Coaches and sports psychologists have always known that you don't want your athlete to be relaxed right before an event. You need some 'juice' to go fast," says Stephen Josephson, a psychologist in New York City who has treated athletes, actors and musicians. It can be tricky to achieve. Some overly optimistic people and those with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder may lack enough anxiety to take action. Others—mostly procrastinating perfectionists—must create anxiety-producing situations in order to get anything done.

Olympic Accountant [The Summa]
[Gwen Jorgensen] left school at age 22 to pursue a career in accounting. She has this to say about her experience, “I specialize in Taxation and love to read, research, and interpret the Tax Code/Law. I’ve been blessed to work for a great firm. I learn an incredible amount everyday at work and enjoy learning! It’s a great career.” She also says, “I love accounting.”

KPMG Foundation Awards $470,000 in Scholarships to Minority Accounting Doctoral Scholars [KPMG]
[R]ecipients include 12 new recipients and 35 students whose scholarships have been renewed. Each scholarship is valued at $10,000, and is renewable annually for up to five years.

KPMG names new head of Chicago office [Crain's]
Patrick Canning is leaving Boston to run Chicago.

Judge: Feds can start selling former Dixon comptroller's 400 horses [CTEarlier]
Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, and Attest could be yours!

Accountant Gears Up To Challenge Kobayashi In Hot Dog Contest [ThePostGame]
For Excel, part of getting into competitive eating was a numbers game. As an accountant, he saw a lot of promise in not only getting to eat a lot of food, but also potentially making some money as well. His first challenge was just a couple years ago in Mission Viejo. Excel took down 18 dogs, made it to the finals and walked away with $500. He impressed the professional eaters on hand and was told he could have a future if he worked at it. That's exactly what he's been doing, not only practicing, but building a persona including the nom de guerre Johnnie Excel. He prefers the stage name because of "too many weirdoes on the internet." It also helps keep apart his two lives — the mild-mannered mathematician and the over-the-top gurgitator. "At work I have to be very quiet, talk money, finance, and be real serious," Excel says. "This is my way of letting it all out."