“We believe that the IRS has neither demonstrated the need for extending the non-signing preparer requirements to CPA firms nor that its proposed testing program merits shifting IRS resources away from other mission-critical programs.”
~ Thirty-one members of Congress sent a letter to Tim Geithner, asking TG, Doug Shulman & Co. to, pretty please, reconsider the requirement for non-signing CPAs.
“We thought auditors and investors would like to have an avenue to report violations of accounting and auditing standards and financial fraud.”
~ Claudius Modesti, PCAOB Enforcement and Investigations Division director. Last year, the Board fielded 179 tips – a record – that alleged wrongdoing by audit firms and their employees.
“We thought it was important for people to appreciate that the announcement today has nothing to do with the operational performance of the company, it is all about Mark’s behavior and judgment.”
~ HP Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak, who is now interim CEO after an abrupt resignation by Mark Hurd amid sexual harassment allegations.
“I believe the time has come for us to ask Congress to change the law and make our enforcement proceedings public, unless there is some good reason for a particular matter to be closed.”
~ Dan Goelzer, Acting Chair of the PCAOB, would like to get things out there.
“Instead of reprising their partisan, tiresome, and largely unproductive argument about what to do with the Bush tax cuts, President Obama and Congress ought to be asking a very different question: How do we build a tax system capable of generating the revenues we need to fund the government we want in the most efficient and fair way possible?”
“Sixty years ago, I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea and have said that I haven’t had a bad day since. But after today, I may have to revise that statement.”
~ Rangs had a helluva run. Not that it’s any consolation.
“Without a budget in place that addresses our $19 billion budget deficit, every day of delay brings California closer to a fiscal meltdown,”
~ California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger probably wouldn’t mind having the ability to go back in time and try to do something. Anything.
“I’m guessing that if Mike Tyson walked into a job interview for a financial analyst position at PricewaterhouseCoopers with his half-face tribal tattoo, he probably wouldn’t be asked back for a second interview.”
~ Brie Reynolds, over at Ology, is making the assumption that the baddest man on the planet wouldn’t be able to provide the PwC Experience.
“I couldn’t tell you, Mike, that there is a company in the world that does not have a threat of a criminal investigation at some point in time. I mean, every company in the entire world has that. All I can tell you is that we are not aware of any criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs.”
~ Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar, responding to CLSA analyst Mike Mayo, who really, really, really, really wants to know if there is a threat of a criminal investigation into Goldman Sachs.
“Accounting is the CEO’s “weapon of choice” that transforms the perverse incentive into what economists, regulators, and criminologists agree is a “sure thing” in crises (means).”
~ William K. Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“The answer to that question for both proponents and detractors of the bill is to read it. All of it. Then decide.”
~ Steven M. Davidoff, the Deal Professor, read all 2,300 some-odd pages and just assigned all of you some homework. It’s going become law after all.
“[I]t’s like saving money when they shop is a new kind of game, a way to stick it back to the man.”
~ Pat Conroy, vice chairman and Deloitte’s consumer products practice leader, is proud of all the consumers out there.
“How can any self-respecting attorney still argue – and any lucid judge still believe – that PwC’s global firm is not just a sham legal construct, an artificial vehicle for the strongest member firms to control and potentially exploit their weaker ones, all under the guise of ‘improving quality and seamless delivery to multinational clients…’ ?”
~ Francine McKenna still isn’t buying it.
“The audit committee is essentially its organization’s financial conscience. The responsibilities have grown demonstrably, and committee members need appropriate guidance to carry out their essential charge. That’s the AICPA’s goal for its first audit committee forum.”
~ Carol Scott, AICPA vice president for business, industry and government thinks it’s about time we got down to business.
“If we can’t get converged (on financial instruments), it would suggest the convergence effort is going to be challenged and questioned on a significant basis.”
~ FASB member Tom Linsmeier levels with everyone on the FASB’s big test in the convergence process this fall.
“During the course of the financial crisis, we made our fair share of mistakes. We lost a considerable amount of money through our exposure to leveraged loans and mortgages.”
~ Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar, in his opening statement before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
“I did not expect actual, economic losses on the portfolio. That said, I was truthful at all times about the unrealized accounting losses and did my very best to estimate them accurately, in consultation with others at AIG-FP, as well as with my supervisors, AIG’s senior accounting staff, and its internal and external auditors.”
~ Joe Cassano, in his prepared testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
“Beckstead and Watts, LLP, and the Free Enterprise won, but there is no prize for them.”
~ Professor David Albrecht (guest posting at JDA), pointing out that despite a victory, the petitioners basically get jack squat.
“It is an important step towards a single global principle-based standard that would make it absolutely clear when revenue is recognised-and why.”
~ Sir David Tweedie is pretty happy with how the converged revenue recognition standard turned out.
“Despite the reality of impending financial reform, banking and financial services executives are bullish about their business prospects in the current year and 2011, with many investing for long-term growth and specifically focused on traditional services, emerging technologies and M&A as a means to generate growth.”
~ Scott Marcello, deputy leader of KPMG LLP’s Financial Services practice.
“These changes appear to be limiting the scope of whistleblowers and the type of recoveries that would be eligible for an award. The fewer people eligible for rewards, the fewer people coming forward with information that might check out as tax fraud.”
“It’s an extraordinary thing for a company to do, but it’s an extraordinary thing we’re in.”
~ BP CFO Byron Grote, on the company’s decision to suspend its dividend, on a conference call with investors.
“Could you buy me a cup of coffee? Inmates aren’t allowed to touch money or approach the machines. They could put me in solitary for a week.”
~ The former Enron CEO is adjusting to his 24 year vacation.
“I am proud to say that so far my fellow board members and our staff, both FASB and IASB, have risen to the occasion. But I do fear potential burnout, as it’s not so easy to be running a marathon at sprint speed.”
~ Bob Herz, admitting that maybe these accounting wonks might be working too hard.
“When the going gets tough, the tough take accounting.”
~ New York Times columnist David Brooks, who says that the weak economy leads many wannabe humanity majors into the arms of the double-entry system.
“The SEC’s efforts are, and will always be, a work in progress. We will continually refocus our energies as circumstances warrant, as new ideas are offered and considered, as we consider your opinions and suggestions. But the outlines are emerging, the colors are being filled in, and I am hopeful that a portrait of a financial marketplace more stable and efficient than the one we saw in 2008 is beginning to emerge.”
SEC Chair Mary Schapiro at CEO Quarterly Meeting of the Business Roundtable on the SEC’s ongoing efforts to color inside the lines. Apparently the Commission was free-handing all this time.
“People think that accountants are all white shirts and blue suits and that we just talk about money all the time but we’re not! We’ve got personalities too and I’m hoping my appearance on the show will improve our image.”
“[T]here are plenty of industries where there are four big players. The world just has to get on with it.”
~ John Griffith-Jones, chairman of KPMG in the UK and co-chairman in Europe on the concern that four accounting major accounting firms are not enough.
“The primary result of the convergence project has been to take a set of perfectly mediocre accounting standards (U.S. GAAP) and messed them all up.”
~ Professor David Albrecht, who isn’t quite ready to dance on the grave of accounting convergence.
“The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [that America is] – whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever taxation forms are.”
~ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
“The debate becomes what rate to apply, and there’s the Republican view and the Democratic view, and what level of transfer exemption should be there. There are two different camps on that. I think historically that would be ripe for sort of compromising down the middle, but unfortunately, that’s not the political environment that exists right now.”
~ AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon remains optimistic that something will get done.
“In the event that the PCAOB does not prevail – and the decision requires a legislative change – I would urge Congress to act quickly to fix whatever structural problems the Court identifies.”
~ Interim PCAOB Chairman Dan Goelzer, in testimony today.
“As we move forward, we are committed to providing public progress reports beginning no later than October 2010 and frequently thereafter until the work is complete.”
~ SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker’s testimony for tomorrow’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises.
“The IRS has conducted an unprecedented outreach effort in the tax-exempt sector on the 2006 law’s new filing requirements, but many of these smaller organizations are just now learning of the May 17 deadline.”
~ Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner
“My father brings tremendous wisdom and experience, which will help Overstock continue to grow and mature as a company. I am pleased that the Board of Directors nominated him, grateful that he was elected by the stockholders, and look forward to working with him again.”
~ Patrick Byrne, on his Dad, Jack Byrne, rejoining the OSTK board of directors.
“How dare Sage criticise anyone else! They exist because clients and accountants don’t want to change. If only clients could see what SAAS would give them (provided they had the right accountants). Perhaps I need to become an evangelist!”
“Overtime-induced work stress might contribute to a substantial proportion of cardiovascular disease.”
~ Gordon McInnes, professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Glasgow’s Western Infirmary.
“Taxpayers need to be able to distinguish between the professional capabilities and education of the different groups of tax preparers.”
~ Patricia Thompson, vice chair of the AICPA’s Tax Executive Committee
“Though more needs to be done, we are seeing some signs of stabilization in the housing market, including house prices and sales in some key geographic areas.”
~ Charles Haldeman, CEO of Freddie Mac. The “more needs to be done” includes additional government funds.
“If Pennsylvania really had Syndrome’s technology to help it zero in on tax evaders and perhaps blow them off the face of the planet, why would they need an amnesty in the first place? You’d think they would just collect the tax or vaporize the deadbeats. It’s largely a bluff.”
“Yes, it is a success, if the objective was to demonstrate that people will take free money if you give it to them.”
– Joe Kristan, explaining the success of the homebuyer tax credit program, which ends today.
“Swift and vigorous prosecution of those who have broken the law is at the heart of the agency’s efforts to restore investor confidence.”
– SEC Chair Mary Schapiro in testimony before a Senate appropriations subcommittee Wednesday defending the SEC’s request to be self-funded.
“U.S. GAAP is founded upon principles, that’s what the P is supposed to stand for.”
– SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker arguing at a Pace University IFRS discussion that GAAP is just as principles-based as IFRS.
“How about the fact that you sold hundreds of millions of that deal after your people knew it was a shitty deal? Does that bother you at all?”
– Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to Goldman Sachs’ Daniel Sparks, regarding SEC allegations that Goldman Sachs sold knowingly shitty CDOs to clients.
“Who would have thought that the IRS would have a favorability rating a third higher than the tea party movement’s? Or that the IRS would be twice as popular as Palin?”
“We are writing to urge you in the course of your efforts to reform the financial sector to resist efforts to weaken protections for investors in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). Specifically, we oppose exempting smaller public companies from compliance with Section 404(b) of the Act. Further, we are troubled by evidence of a proposal to roll back to an arbitrary market capitalization point strengthened internal controls requirements for larger companies that are already in compliance with the provision.”
~ The Center of Audit Quality, in a letter to Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).
“They certainly didn’t support it. On the Repo 105 issue, they knew about it; they did not appear to know that the number was so large.”
~ Matthew Lee, the Lehman Brothers whistleblower, in testimony today.
“The honest way to raise more revenue would be to raise income tax rates. But it is more politically attractive to tax these kinds of things. No one can get mad at you for taxing people who drink too much.”
~ Peter L. Faber, tax attorney, on sin taxes.
Dear Ms. Van Buren:
Your response to “Phobic” about her boyfriend’s tax returns contained a significant error. You characterized enrolled agents as “the only tax specialists licensed to practice before the IRS,” which is not true. The fact is, certified public accountants and attorneys are federally authorized to represent clients before the IRS.
The CPA has long been synonymous with reliable, objective tax preparation and ranks as the preferred tax professional among millions of U.S. taxpayers.
On behalf of the many CPAs who prepare tax returns every year, we would be appreciative if you would print a correction in your column.
“Before the fraud broke, people would ask me what I did before I retired and I’d say I was founder and former CFO of HealthSouth. But today when people ask me what I did before I retired I kind of look away and say I was an accountant and hope they don’t ask me any other questions.”
~ Aaron Beam, former CFO of HealthSouth and current lawn-care business owner, at the University of Texas-Dallas Fraud Summit, earlier this month.
“Every day, I am fraught with pain and anguish for those affected by my actions. For those who lost money, I will work to repair and replace what has been lost.”
~ Convicted Ponzi Schemer Tom Petters, at his sentencing where Judge Richard Kyle sentenced him to 50 years in prison.
“We’re calling on other wealthy taxpayers to join us to send the message to Congress and President Obama that it’s time to roll back the tax cuts on upper-income taxpayers.”
~ Mike Lapham, paper-mill heir, would like to pay more taxes.
I challenge John Thomas Financial CEO Thomas Belesis to a match on the Jerry Springer show. To even the odds, he can bring Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne. Two crooks versus a convicted felon born in Brooklyn. They can bring actor turned stock pumper Shia LaBeouf for added muscle, too.
~ Sam Antar, reacting to Thomas Belesis calling him an idiot after Antar suggested that Shia might be able to shed some light on the goings-on at John Thomas Financial involving InterOil. And if you forgot, Sam and Patrick have a bit of a history.
“Efforts to manage the size of our balance sheet are routine and appropriate, and we believe our actions are consistent with all applicable accounting and legal requirements.”
~ Bank of America statement on the allegations that they engaged in balance sheet manipulation. A statement not so different from Ernst & Young’s on their final audit of Lehman Brothers.
“The S.E.C. seems more interested in needlessly investigating market participants rather than uncovering corporate malfeasance and protecting investors.”
~ Greenlight Capital Press Release addressing the Commission’s failed investigation of Allied Capital.
“It is most accurate to say that prior to the game, most people thought that KU would win the game. Many, though, thought [that] UNI’s chance of winning was at least reasonably possible. If KU supporters didn’t think enough of UNI to … acknowledge its chance[s], it just shows they weren’t thinking.”
~ Professor David Albrecht, on why Northern Iowa’s “upset,” at least from an accounting perspective, wasn’t really an upset.
“I believe the manner in which the Firm is reporting these assets is potentially misleading to the public and various governmental agencies.”
“She would be prepared to read the news without clothes and only wears the clothes because her employer requires it.”
~ An accountant representing Sian Williams, co-host of BBC Breakfast one, trying to convince a tax tribunal that her clothes should be tax deductible because she has “to look good on screen.” He failed.
“Our whole industry is useless.”
~ Unnamed Big 4 Auditor and GC reader
“A successful lawsuit against E&Y could result in a court finding that the failure to properly advise the audit committee prevented Lehman from taking genuine steps to substantially reduce its leverage, which may have saved the firm from bankruptcy. Which is to say, E&Y could find itself blamed for all the losses to Lehman shareholders. That would be a stretch – such a claim would be speculative – but it still should be scaring the heck out of the partners.”
“[I]t is hard to justify giving special compensation to the investors of Mr. Madoff and Mr. Stanford just because they lost significant amounts of money with little prospect of any recovery.”
~ Peter J. Henning, on Madoff and Stanford victims lobbying members of Congress for a law that would compensate them for some of their losses.
“While such policies will not solve the obesity epidemic in its entirety and may face considerable opposition from food manufacturers and sellers, they could prove an important strategy to address overconsumption, help reduce energy intake and potentially aid in weight loss and reduced rates of diabetes among U.S. adults.”
~ Researchers from the University of North Carolina, who concluded that an 18% tax on pizza and soda could help adults lose an average of 5 pounds a year.
“A lot of people think of the IRS and have a little bit of fear of the IRS and we want to make sure they know that our doors are open, our people are empowered to make decisions and our goal is to resolve your problem.”