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Friday Footnotes: Dementia Hitting Clients; CPA Exam Fee Break?; A Big 4 Shake-Up | 3.6.20

Nearly Half Of CPA Advisors See Dementia In Some Clients [Financial Advisor] Nearly half of CPA financial planners report seeing a client with dementia for the first time ever in the past year, but only 17% of planners say they have created plans for dealing with client incapacitation, a new report says. The AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Trends Survey, released today, found that despite increased awareness about the impact of aging on cognitive function, 28% of CPA planners say their clients plan to deal with diminished mental capacity in retirement on a reactionary basis, and 20% are ignoring the issue altogether, the survey found.

How firms can advance women in the workplace [Journal of Accountancy] Firms are taking proactive steps to attract, retain, and advance women, according to the AICPA’s 2019 CPA Firm Gender Survey. And firms that use modified work arrangements (MWAs) and formal advancement programs to achieve those goals report that the benefits are clear.

Bill to Expand Tuition Savings Plans Could Ease CPA Test Costs [Bloomberg Tax] Accounting’s main professional organization has thrown its support behind a bill that would allow 529 tuition savings plans to pay for licensing exams. The American Institute of CPAs said Friday that the bill (H.R. 5339) would add to the eligible uses of 529 plans to include fees and expenses needed to obtain and maintain a post-secondary credential or professional license, like the certified public accountant or chartered global management accountant.

Deloitte has a new Pittsburgh office managing partner [Pittsburgh Business Journal] Spoiler: it’s an old white guy.

Reforming the Auditing Profession [The CPA Journal] I have gone on record as a huge fan of Lynn Turner, his latest for CPA Journal reminds me why I’ve been such a fangirl over the years: “Investors are not provided with the information necessary to determine the quality of the audits of the financial statements and disclosures of the companies they invest in and own. In that regard, investors are being asked to vote and ratify the selection of the auditor without the information necessary to make an informed decision. Investors are consistently told that audits have been done in compliance with GAAS set by the PCAOB, a misleading statement in light of the very high deficiencies in compliance with GAAS reporting found by the PCAOB and other audit regulators around the globe.”

‘Misleading’ PwC underpayments data questioned [Financial Review] PwC has been accused by the Fair Work Ombudsman of sharing “misleading” and “inaccurate” data about the extent of the underpayment crisis facing corporate Australia, casting doubt on the data-crunching capability that is core to the firm’s consulting work. The firm said in a report it had “undertaken modelling using Fair Work Ombudsman data” to estimate there was about $1.35 billion in underpayments a year, affecting about 13 per cent of the total Australian workforce.

Watchdog expects Britain’s audit shake-up to start this year [Reuters] Radical reform of auditing in Britain could start this year via voluntary changes by the “Big Four” accounting firms that check the books of nearly all big companies, the country’s accounting watchdog said. The high profile collapse of building company Carillion and retailer BHS led to three reviews of the audit process in Britain and these proposed ways to boost competition and improve audit quality. But the slow pace of change has prompted accusations of government foot-dragging.

Alinta accused of pressuring EY over audit report [Sydney Morning Herald] Alinta Energy has been accused of pressuring audit giant EY into watering down an internal audit report into how it protects the personal information of its 1.1 million gas and electricity customers.A whistleblower, who released a trove of internal documents to The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC’s 7.30, said the early EY draft reports were “negotiated” over many months, and were far blunter and included specific incidents of potential breaches.