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Friday Footnotes: Accountants Exposed; EY’s ‘Sham’ Study; A Word About Robots | 11.22.19

Security lapse exposes personal data of 6,500 Singapore accountants [ZDNet] A folder containing personal data of 6,541 accountants in Singapore was “inadvertently” sent to multiple parties, in a security lapse that was uncovered only months after, when it implemented an email protection tool as part of a government-wide deployment. The incident exposed personal details such as names, national identification number, date of birth, and employment information.

Democrats Call American Investment Council And Ernst & Young Private Equity Report A Sham Study [Forbes] Today, nine Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to consulting and accountancy firm, Ernst & Young (EY), questioning the methodology and results of a report on private equity firms contributions to the U.S. economy, that it published together with private equity industry group, American Investment Council (AIC).

Automation means better jobs, not fewer [Accounting Today] Update: robots are (probably) not coming for your job.

SEC may be set to crack down on companies that adjust revenue [MarketWatch] The Securities and Exchange Commission may be closer to cracking down on companies that adjust their revenue, according to a MarketWatch analysis of comment letters sent by the regulator in the last two years. It’s a development, if one still slowly taking shape, that could go a long way toward clearing up earnings reporting confusion for investors.

Grant Thornton announces digital tie-up [economia] The UK’s sixth-largest accountant firm and Vonage are teaming up to help digital transformation at financial services businesses. “Digital transformation represents one of the most significant and current opportunities in business, to deliver growth and increase value across an organisation,” said David Royle, partner at Grant Thornton.

IRS will fail to collect trillions of dollars over the next decade, researchers estimate [Fox Business] The tax gap, or the difference between what the IRS is owed and what it collects, is expected to swell over the coming decade, according to research by former U.S. Treasury Department official Lawrence Summers and assistant professor of law at University of Pennsylvania Natasha Sarin. The pair generated their forecast based on recent estimates from the tax agency. The IRS estimated it failed to collect $380 billion in taxes per year, between 2011 and 2013. Using those figures, and accounting for inflation and income growth, Summers and Sarin estimated the IRS would not collect nearly 15 percent of total tax liabilities in 2020 alone — or $630 billion.

PwC’s NewLaw team partners with ThoughtRiver on legal screening AI [ICLG] London and Cambridge-headquartered ThoughtRiver, an artificial intelligence (AI) legal pre-screening automation start-up, has been chosen by Big Four accountant PwC to provide technology to its NewLaw client programme. The announcement followed an 18-month tender process and will see PwC use ThoughtRiver’s platform in its document pre-screening technology. The pre-screening platform is driven by AI, and, among other things, is able to summarise contract data into actionable recommendations and can be activated within Microsoft Word for speedy remediation work.

At rare open meeting, PCAOB says it’s on path to change [Compliance Week] At the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s open meeting last week, board members said outreach to all stakeholders over the past year indicated that transformational change was needed, but they also affirmed that their 5-year strategic plan is still relevant and their 2020 budget supports their continued commitment to making the necessary changes.