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ANR: Is Accounting Transparency Always a Good Thing?; AICPA Asks IRS for Extension After Irene; Parmalat Suit Dies Another Death | 09.01.11

Obama Moves Jobs Speech After Skirmish With Boehner [NYT]
In a surreal volley of letters, each released to the news media as soon as it was sent, Mr. Boehner rejected a request from the president to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday at 8 p.m. — the same night that a Republican presidential debate is scheduled. In an extraordinary turn, the House speaker fired back his own letter to the president saying, in a word, no. Might the president be able to reschedule for the following night, Sept. 8? For several hours, the day turned into a very public game of chicken. By late Wednesday night, though, the White House issued a statement saying that because Mr. Obama “is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy,” he “welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Sept. 8.”

More Accounting Transparency May Distort Markets [Bloomberg]
In the post-crisis regulatory environment, companies are under pressure to disclose more. The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board have been trying to improve both U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the International Financial Reporting Standards, and make the two sets of accounting rules fully compatible. The goal is to produce a single set of international conventions that achieve a high degree of reporting transparency. The benefits of more transparent reporting seem obvious: Companies with a high degree of disclosure would allow outsiders to exercise better market discipline, which, in turn, would improve resource allocation in the economy. However, the view that greater transparency enhances market discipline and therefore economic efficiency holds true only in a “Robinson Crusoe” economy, that is to say one in which a single decision maker is learning about a company whose decisions are taken as given and whose future cash flows or economic fundamentals are therefore fixed.

Natural Disasters and Your Taxes [Smart Money]
Apparently there’s a bit of flooding going on.

AICPA Asks IRS to Extend Tax Deadline after Hurricane [AT]
“Many of our members are currently actively engaged in preparation of corporate, pass-through entity and trust tax returns with extended filing deadlines of September 15, 2011,” wrote AICPA Tax Executive Committee chair Patricia Thompson in a letter Tuesday to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “The provision of these services has been drastically affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. We are hearing reports of members who have limited Internet connectivity and power outages, both at their offices and at their personal residences. Our members have experienced massive transportation disruptions and flooding of their residences and offices. Also we have heard from members who are having difficulty communicating with their taxpayer clients who are located in the affected areas, including difficulty obtaining information necessary to prepare the return.”

U.S. Self-Employed Struggle to See Opportunities [Bloomberg]
More than 1 million self-employed Americans are no longer in business almost four years after the last recession began, as the economy constrains entrepreneurial activity and small-business job creation. The 18-month contraction that started in December 2007 initially resulted in more would-be business owners, as the number of people who work for themselves grew to 16.3 million in July 2008 from 15.7 million at the end of 2007, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since then, the total has fallen about 10 percent to 14.7 million in July, the data show.

Parmalat Judge in U.S. Reaffirms Ruling to Dismiss Grant Thornton Cases [Bloomberg]
A U.S. judge reaffirmed his ruling to take jurisdiction over two suits by Parmalat SpA (PLT) against accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP, which he later dismissed. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan today ruled that he was correct in taking the two cases, which were originally filed by Parmalat and its Parmalat Capital Finance Ltd. unit in Illinois state court in 2004 and 2005. Kaplan dismissed the suits in 2009.

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