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Friday Footnotes: Florida Man’s Tax Problem; Accountants Are Walking Out; BDO Assures on Tether | 2.10.23

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As tax season approaches, accounting firms are short on staff [Marketplace]
Oh hey!

Planning ahead: How these employers will grow and retain talent this year [Silicon Republic]
When it comes to engaging with talent, PwC recently launched its people value proposition, which aims to give employees flexibility with how they work and help them achieve better work-life balance. “Our mantra is: ‘If it works for you, your team and your client, then it works for us’. This flexible way of working not only allows our people to determine when, where and how they work together to best deliver and solve problems, but also supports in-person connections, learning and innovation,” a spokesperson said. As part of its policy, the company has a range of supports and resources to help its employees such as leave for parents, pregnancy loss, fertility and domestic abuse. It also offers employees the opportunity to work for up to 20 days abroad per year. “As we transition to 2023, our people will continue to experience a blend of face-to-face and virtual working through our hybrid model and we will maintain our focus on making flexible working the reality for all our people.”

Accountants are walking out – Here’s how to fix it [Accountancy Today]
Set against the backdrop of recession, unpredictable forecasting, and an empty talent pool, this state of affairs is putting employers and remaining employees alike under increasing pressure. But it doesn’t have to be this way. How can employers optimise working environments to support the needs of their accountancy teams and ultimately retain them, all while adding value to their organisation?


Americanas’ $4 Billion Accounting Scandal Puts More Scrutiny on PwC’s Auditing Record [Bloomberg]
A $4 billion accounting shortfall would typically raise alarm bells for an auditor. Somehow, a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP affiliate didn’t catch it at Americanas SA. Investor and consumer groups are calling for closer scrutiny of the accounting firm after the unveiling of balance-sheet irregularities that led 93-year-old Brazilian retailer Americanas to seek protection from creditors last month. The gap came in part from supplier financing that wasn’t reflected the right way in the company’s financial statements, which have been audited by PwC since 2019. Consumer and corporate activism associations Abradecont and Ibrasg both filed lawsuits against PwC in the past few days, with the former requesting a freeze on the auditor’s assets. Investor association Abradin is asking local securities regulator CVM to look into PwC’s responsibilities in the case.

Port: State Auditor rips lawmakers, officials as ‘corrupt’ over bill on what office can charge for audits [INFORUM]
A strange and interesting read on the drama at the North Dakota State Auditor’s office.

Tether’s assets exceed liabilities in new reserves report by BDO [Cointelegraph]
Tether, the issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin by market value, has completed reserves attestation by major global accounting firm BDO. The stablecoin firm released BDO’s assurance opinion on Feb. 9, which re-affirms the accuracy of Tether’s consolidated reserves report (CRR) as of Dec. 31, 2022. The CRR shows that Tether’s consolidated assets amount to at least $67 billion, exceeding consolidated liabilities of $66 billion, with excess reserves equaling at least $960 million. In addition to reducing its secured loans as committed, the report also shows Tether ended 2022 with zero commercial paper.

Big 4

Almost Half of Executives Expect a Rise in Cyber Events Targeting Accounting and Financial Data in Year Ahead [PR Newswire]
Nearly half (48.8%) of C-suite and other executives expect the number and size of cyber events targeting their organizations’ accounting and financial data to increase in the year ahead, according to a new Deloitte Center for Controllership poll. Yet just 20.3% of those polled say their organizations’ accounting and finance teams work closely and consistently with their peers in cybersecurity. During the past 12 months, 34.5% of polled executives report that their organizations’ accounting and financial data was targeted by cyber adversaries. Within that group, 22% experienced at least one such cyber event and 12.5% experienced more than one.

A center of excellence for the metaverse? Yes, one is coming soon in Saudi Arabia [Fast Company ME]
Through this initiative, KPMG will bring together a broad collective, with Microsoft, leveraging infrastructure and gaming platform, Ericsson for their 5G technology and network; and Metakey as the technical partner to develop 3D objects. The objective of the CoE is to expedite metaverse and digital twin applications in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. “We have seen an immense commitment from the government to invest in the metaverse and explore the technology’s public utility. With the launch of the Centre of Excellence, we are proud to bring together a team of experts and organizations to drive these initiatives forward,” said Maz Hussain, Head of Digital Lighthouse at KPMG in Saudi Arabia.

New PwC partner arrives via Deloitte, Defence [Australian Financial Review]
49-year-old Kylie Watson has joined PwC’s 400-strong cyber security and digital trust team to focus on national security. She will also advise clients on the secure use of new technologies and assessing the motivations behind cybercriminal behaviour to contain and defend against cyber attacks.


Tax pros still in limbo after IRS tells millions who received state rebates to pause filings [CNBC]
The agency said it expected to provide additional clarity for “as many states and taxpayers as possible” this week. In the meantime, the IRS said affected taxpayer should hold off on filing or “consult with a reputable tax professional.” The problem is, tax professionals are also waiting for guidance from the IRS.

IRS Seeks Court Approval to Identify Kraken Crypto Customers [CoinDesk]
The IRS filed a court petition to enforce its summons on Thursday, with the filing going live just minutes after Kraken announced it would settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges it offered unregistered securities through its staking-as-a-service program. The IRS said it first issued a summons in 2021, but Kraken has failed to comply. “Despite discussions between the parties, Payward Ventures Inc. [one of the registered companies that make up Kraken] & Subsidiaries has failed to comply with the summons and has not produced the books, records, papers and other data demanded in the summons. Payward Ventures Inc. & Subsidiaries’ failure to comply with the summons continues to this date,” the IRS said in its petition.

DeSantis Gains Control of Tax Board Overseeing Disney World [New York Times]
Last year, at the urging of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Legislature revoked Walt Disney World’s designation as a special tax district — a privilege that Disney held for 55 years, effectively allowing the company to self-govern its 25,000-acre theme park complex. The problem: The abolishment of the district — set for June 1 — would require taxpayers in two counties to pick up the tab for Disney World services like fire protection, policing and road maintenance. Under the old setup, Disney paid for those costs. The district also carried roughly $1 billion in debt, which would be transferred to the counties.