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December 8, 2022

Comverse: One More Epic Regulatory Failure

epic-failure.thumbnail.jpgTelecom company Comverse hasn’t filed financial statements in 4 years and the SEC has just now gotten around to settling with them. Does that make sense to anyone?
Continued, after the jump

Three years after getting caught in a huge stock-options backdating scandal, technology company Comverse appears to be nearing the end of its crisis. The company recently reported that it had come to an agreement with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, consenting to a permanent injunction over any future violations by the company of American securities laws.
Comverse will also have to meet its periodic reporting requirement to the SEC no later than Feb. 8, 2010.
The agreement acknowledges that Comverse neither admits nor denies the allegations that the SEC filed against the company, and no fines will be imposed. The settlement is subject to court approval.
Comverse President and CEO Andre Dahan called the settlement an important step forward. “With these matters resolved, we remain focused on our plan to be relisted and on carrying out our strategies for the long-term success of Comverse Technologies,” he said.

(source)
That’s all well and good but no fines? That sounds like encouraging bad behavior to me. What the SEC is saying, in effect, is that companies don’t really need to file financial statements, and if they do they can backdate all they want and perhaps the SEC will come around eventually to slap them on the wrist. Sounds like effective regulating to me.
Comverse subsidiary Ulticom finally filed 2005 – 2008 financial statements with the SEC this month and the company promises it will resume issuing quarterlies to the SEC in 2010. Well shit, why?

During the probe of the effects of the options backdating affair, following which Comverse CEO Kobi Alexander fled Israel to Namibia, Ulticom discovered additional accounting irregularities in the company’s financial statement preparations. Mistakes had been made in the recognition of postponed revenues in the years 1998-2004, and the expenses on intangible assets during 1999-2004 had been incorrectly assessed.
The correction of these irregularities resulted in a $6.8 million write-off from revenues prior to 2005, after which the company filed complete statements.

(source)
What’s the lesson here, kids? Do whatever the hell you want, it’s not like the SEC is going to stop you. It’s the IRS you’ve got to be afraid of, not the children over at SEC Elementary.
Also see: Where’s the Sex Tape, Comverse?

epic-failure.thumbnail.jpgTelecom company Comverse hasn’t filed financial statements in 4 years and the SEC has just now gotten around to settling with them. Does that make sense to anyone?
Continued, after the jump

Three years after getting caught in a huge stock-options backdating scandal, technology company Comverse appears to be nearing the end of its crisis. The company recently reported that it had come to an agreement with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, consenting to a permanent injunction over any future violations by the company of American securities laws.
Comverse will also have to meet its periodic reporting requirement to the SEC no later than Feb. 8, 2010.
The agreement acknowledges that Comverse neither admits nor denies the allegations that the SEC filed against the company, and no fines will be imposed. The settlement is subject to court approval.
Comverse President and CEO Andre Dahan called the settlement an important step forward. “With these matters resolved, we remain focused on our plan to be relisted and on carrying out our strategies for the long-term success of Comverse Technologies,” he said.

(source)
That’s all well and good but no fines? That sounds like encouraging bad behavior to me. What the SEC is saying, in effect, is that companies don’t really need to file financial statements, and if they do they can backdate all they want and perhaps the SEC will come around eventually to slap them on the wrist. Sounds like effective regulating to me.
Comverse subsidiary Ulticom finally filed 2005 – 2008 financial statements with the SEC this month and the company promises it will resume issuing quarterlies to the SEC in 2010. Well shit, why?

During the probe of the effects of the options backdating affair, following which Comverse CEO Kobi Alexander fled Israel to Namibia, Ulticom discovered additional accounting irregularities in the company’s financial statement preparations. Mistakes had been made in the recognition of postponed revenues in the years 1998-2004, and the expenses on intangible assets during 1999-2004 had been incorrectly assessed.
The correction of these irregularities resulted in a $6.8 million write-off from revenues prior to 2005, after which the company filed complete statements.

(source)
What’s the lesson here, kids? Do whatever the hell you want, it’s not like the SEC is going to stop you. It’s the IRS you’ve got to be afraid of, not the children over at SEC Elementary.
Also see: Where’s the Sex Tape, Comverse?

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Are Today’s Accountants Already Occupying Wall Street?

Caleb and I had a talk last night and it made me think about this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. More importantly, it made me think about what I am and am not doing to support it. I haven’t been to a rally, even to take pictures (last time I tried to do that, I was the only one out in front of the Federal Reserve Board at 6 in the morning except for the lone Fed cop patrolling the perimeter).

I get that people are pissed off. I’m pissed off too. I’ve been pissed off, don’t tell me about being pissed off. I was lugging around aFed sign made on top of “Ron Paul ’08” acrylic three years ago, you don’t have to tell me about being pissed off. (Here I am in 2009 on SF Citizen in a “Bernanke 00%” t-shirt at an anti-Iraq war rally)

And I get that for some people, all there is to do is go downtown with a drum and some poorly-written signs on cardboard ripped from your mom’s Costco packages in the recycle bin. That’s totally fine, everyone has their own way of sticking it to the man.

For a lot of Going Concern readers, sticking it to the man means showing up every day in business casual pretending to give a fuck about COSO but actually knowing that it’s all a lie. They work you to the bone until you leave or submit and get promoted to manager. Partner if you’re lucky. Run on that hamster wheel, here have this bonus, keep going and one day you can beat your own subordinates into submission. Go, go, go… Many of you get that this is bullshit but keep showing up every day anyway, and to me, you are your own special kind of protester. Same as last year, motherfucker, it’s the ultimate form of rebellion.

Too much?


Point being, everyone has their own way of screwing the establishment. Francine does it railing against the Big 4. Bill Sheridan and Tom Hood do it at the MACPA with professionalism. Tom Selling does it by riling up fellow academics. Professor Dave Albrecht does it by being seen in public canoodling with known incendiaries like yours truly.

I do it by ripping on the IASB as often as I am allowed to, infiltrating the Hill to sniff out what’s the latest in CPA lobbying efforts and getting in as many F bombs as I can on the dry subject of accounting. That’s all I can do. I can’t abandon my day job to hang out in Manhattan eating vegan paninis. I can make and distribute offensive Bernanke fridge magnets.

I completely understand why people are attracted to Occupy Wall Street; the part I’m struggling with is why so many of the 99 Percenters seem obsessed with this thing called “fairness” that does not, in fact, exist. Is it fair that any of us have to drag our asses to work every day and do what we do? Is it fair that Becker costs $3,000 and doesn’t pass the CPA exam for you? Is it fair that many of you are drowning in student loan debt and seemingly forced to get Master’s degrees just to work in your field? Is it fair that Caleb gets listed in all the accounting publications and I’m stuck as the sidekick hack who always manages to piss people off? This world is unfair, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have to write about accounting every day of my life, it’s un-fucking-fair, we get it.

In my view (for whatever that is worth, which is probably not more than our company pays me to write this post), the ultimate rebellion is assimilating and infiltrating the establishment to enact real change from the inside. Are partners scared as shit of this website? Yes. If they’re threatening you with termination if you even dare to write us for advice, we’re doing something right. And I didn’t even have to not shave my armpits to accomplish that (but Caleb probably shaved his).

Are any of you going to independently revolutionize the accounting industry? Probably not. But collectively, you have scared the pants off of lazy ass recruiters and partners across this country who thought you didn’t have it in you. They read us because they feel like they have to or else they’ll lose touch with what you guys are thinking, and it scares the living shit out of them. In my mind, that’s a far more effective message to send the The Establishment, whoever the hell they are.

I fully support the fundamental sentiment of Occupy Wall Street but much prefer fulfilling my incendiary duties here trying to get accounting kids riled up and questioning why they put up with the shit they do. Working mothers in public accounting should be allowed to have children. Interns should be allowed to ask questions (even dumb ones). Auditors should be expected to question last year’s logic. It’s not complicated but it’s important work that a lot of you do, and I hope that you get that.

It is not your fault that we’re here. Many of you just followed the rules.

Thanks for letting me be a part of that. Beats standing around with a fucking sign, that’s for sure.

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