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Friday Footnotes: CFE a Success; Non-Profit Break; KPMG Back Pay? | 9.11.20

2020 CPA CFE successful despite hotel room exam setting [Canadian Accountant] CPA candidates were not allowed to sleep in the rooms but could book the rooms in the same hotel. While they were anxious about this new format and possible technological problems, the three-day exam appears to be a success. “It was amazing, I got the corner suite” one student enthused. “I think better when I talk to myself, so I loved having a room to myself instead of shutting up in an exam hall” commented another.

Unemployment diary: I’m a 38-year-old accountant in New York who’s been out of work since May [Business Insider] Writes married father Jay Fairbrother: “Being able to spend more time doing what I want to do in a day has been eye-opening. The pandemic has also allowed me to enjoy the outdoors and the weather much more than I’d typically get to. I’ve been able to do much more cycling and running than I typically would have. It’s also allowed me to explore some interests I wasn’t able to before, such as starting a YouTube channel to give myself a bit of a creative outlet that I’d lacked in my life beforehand.”

CPAs Ask IRS to Excuse Small Nonprofits From Reporting Rules [Bloomberg Tax] The AICPA is again pushing the IRS to exclude nonprofits with minimal taxable income from a requirement that they report income streams separately.

IRS Offers $625K For Help Cracking Cryptocurrency Secrecy [PYMNTS] The agency recently issued a request for proposals from anyone who can help track payments using the Monoro or Lightning protocols and similar approaches to hiding tracks. “The use of privacy coins is becoming more popular for general use, and is also seeing an increase in use by illicit actors. For example, in April 2020 a RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) group called Sodinokibi (a former affiliate with the GrandCrab RaaS group) stated that future ransom request payments will be in Monero (XMR) rather than bitcoin (BTC) due to transaction privacy concerns,” the agency states in its RFP.

Justice Dept. Announces Dozens of Fraud Charges in Small-Business Aid Program [NYT] The Justice Department said on Thursday that it had charged 57 people with trying to steal more than $175 million from the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic as questions swirled about how its funds were disbursed. Some cases involved “individuals or small groups, acting on their own, who lied about having legitimate businesses or who claimed that they needed P.P.P. money for things like paying workers or paying bills, but instead used it to buy splashy luxury items for themselves,” Brian C. Rabbitt, the acting head of the department’s criminal division, said at a news conference.

Deloitte first to confirm audit split [Accountancy Daily] Effective from 1 January 2021, Deloitte will establish an independent audit governance board (AGB), with responsibility for providing independent oversight of the UK audit practice. Deloitte said the AGB will have a focus on the policies and procedures for improving audit quality and on ensuring the FRC’s ‘objectives of, and desired outcomes for, operational separation are met’. The firm said the AGB ‘will also have oversight over the policies and processes for ensuring that audit partner remuneration reflects their contribution to audit quality appropriately’.

KPMG staff demand back pay as Deloitte ends salary cuts early [Sydney Morning Herald] KPMG staff are demanding compensation for pay cuts they claim were rushed through under the shield of the coronavirus pandemic, as rival firm Deloitte reversed salary reductions a month early after recording higher-than-expected profits. Both of the big four accounting firms introduced 20 per cent pay cuts for staff in April in an attempt to safeguard profits in the expectation work would dry up as the economy tanked. However, the revenue hit has not been as severe as expected and staff want to be compensated for lost wages that were not matched by reduced hours.

PwC Loses to KPMG for Lead Position on FTSE 100 Audits [Bloomberg Tax] PwC is no longer the largest auditor of FTSE 100 companies, having lost to KPMG LLP as companies switched FTSE classification and EU requirements for companies to change auditors every 20 years lead to more frequent changes.