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Friday Footnotes: Breaking Broken Audits; Casual CFOs?; Back to Office Pressure Builds | 7.30.21

The future of auditing: why plans to sharpen up the industry could actually make it worse [The Conversation] To rebuild trust, the UK government is proposing 150 reforms in a weighty consultation that closed recently. Building on three recent independent reviews into the profession, the FRC is to be replaced by a new body called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). For the first time, ARGA will be able to seek damages and even jail terms for directors who break the rules.

Ease staff’s fears about returning to the office [Journal of Accountancy] Staff “may be better equipped to handle challenges if they know the reasons why decisions have been made,” advised Kalina Michalska, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. “They’ll be more likely to work toward a shared goal.”

New CalCPA Chair to Prioritize Re-Opening of the CPA Profession, Expanding Diversity and Inclusion and Student Outreach for the Coming Year [PRNewswire via Yahoo] Christie Simons, CPA, an Audit & Assurance partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP, was named the new chair of the CalCPA Board of Directors during CalCPA’s Annual Members’ Business Meeting. Simons will focus her term on helping members grow in the “new-normal” as businesses re-open throughout the state and country. Utilizing technology, making the profession more diverse, equitable and inclusive, and expanding the CPA student pipeline will be key priorities of Simons, she said.

Who is Jason Rubin? Britney Spears Requests Accountant to Replace Father [Newsweek] On LinkedIn, Rubin states that he is a “certified public accountant, accredited business valuator, certified in financial forensics, expert witness testimony, fraud investigations, licensed professional fiduciary for complex trusts and estates.” Rubin also spent a year at PwC 20 years ago.

Deloitte Canada rolls out hybrid model for return to office [Canadian HR Reporter] “For the past year, we have monitored trends, issued surveys, developed thought leadership and worked with our people, clients and strategic partners to establish a new way of working for this new age of work,” says Linda Blair, Ontario managing partner and chief experience officer, Deloitte Canada.

KPMG could rebuild restructuring arm after sale [] Big Four firm KPMG is reportedly creating a new unit to advise on corporate restructurings, less than a year after selling its UK insolvency advisory business for more than £350 million. The move was reportedly motivated by new competition laws that made it harder for KPMG to profit from its non-auditing services.

EY’s new blockchain platform could solve a major tax headache [TechRepublic] EY’s Tax Lab just tested a solution to an international tax problem using blockchain technology and a zero-knowledge proof approach to privacy and security. TaxGrid has the potential to replace a manual and paper-based tax refund process that costs investors money and creates fraud headaches for tax collectors.

Demand for Part-Time CFOs Heats Up as Startups Raise More Money [Wall Street Journal] On-demand finance chiefs, also known as fractional CFOs, work across industries but fill a particular need at startups after early funding rounds. Many firms at that stage don’t have a full-time CFO managing their finances because they mostly have basic accounting needs, but they increasingly need someone to fill the gap when more complex financial questions arise, investors and company leaders say. Such part-time CFOs help establish processes and make operational decisions, for example how to create financial forecasts or whether to expand to new markets.

Resilient Accounting Profession is Well-Positioned for Change, Says AICPA CEO [CPA Practice Advisor] That resiliency will be needed going forward, with more changes to come from technological disruption, expanded categories of non-financial reporting, and the rapid evolution of new service lines and business opportunities, Association CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said during the panel session at ENGAGE, one of the leading events dedicated to accounting and finance. Clients and employers are also facing increased complexity on several fronts, many heightened by the pandemic, and they’re looking for the profession to solve it for them.