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Going Concern: 10 Years Of Giving You the Moon

July 20, 2009 was the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. It also happened to be the first day that Going Concern was live on the Internet.  So now July 20, 2019 is here, and it’s their 50th and 10th anniversaries, respectively. A big coincidence? Or a cosmic signature that will forever […]

Excited children

Hey Y’all, Let’s Get Salty About These 2018 Elijah Watt Sells Award Winners

Whelp it’s that time of year again, the time when we recognize the efforts of an elite handful of CPA exam candidates whose performance on one of the toughest professional examinations out there ranks the best of the best. The AICPA handed out 110 Elijah Watt Sells Awards for 2018 last week, and as is […]

A List of Prominent Accounting Incompetence

In this age of pervasive unavoidable media, everyone has a platform, a handle, a persona, a BRAND. Or at least they want to. The reality is that no one gives a shit about your brand or your proprietary hashtag that is 50 million light-years away from trending. It’s bleak to think about, but the truth […]

suspect fraud promotion

Suspect Someone of Fraud? Give Them a Promotion

The trick to fraud is maintaining control. If you’re siphoning company funds into a bank account that you own through a dummy vendor, it’s key that you’re the person who approves those transactions and it’s even ideal if you can literally or figuratively cut the check. Yes, those are atrocious internal controls, but as we’ve documented […]

Accounting News Roundup: Red Tape, Easy IPOs and Creative Accountants | 04.04.18

White House Turf Battle Threatens to Delay Tax Law Rollout [NYT] Last week, we mentioned the dance off between Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and this NYT story reports the latest details. Mulvaney believes “the I.R.S. should be subject to greater accountability,” and that OMB should be […]

Accounting News Roundup: Convenience vs. Necessity Tests and Free Bathroom Renovations | 08.09.17

Businessman telling businesswoman about how he’ll be working late, but not as late as her, and not be judged for it. Convenience tests This Bloomberg BNA article discusses the strange but very real issue for workers who work from home but also work in an office…that’s in a different state. New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and […]

Here Are the 2015 Elijah Watt Sells Winners

As you well know, there's only one correct score on the CPA exam: a passing score. However, some passing scores are more correct than others, as we have explained at length. The 75 individuals listed below scored better than the other 93,667 people who sat for the CPA exam last year. For Elijah Watt Sells […]

Accounting News Roundup: Monsanto’s Rebates; Deloitte Exec Capable of Decent Interview; Voluntary Job-Quitting | 02.10.16

Monsanto to Pay $80 Million to Settle Charge of Improper Accounting [NYT]Do you remember the matching principle? You know, one of the most basic guidelines in accounting that says that expenses should be recognized in the same period as revenues? It rings a bell, I'm sure. Monsanto seems to have had some trouble remembering it, […]

Accounting News Roundup: Google’s Long Shots; China and IFRS; Ditching Audit for Law | 11.25.15

Ed. note: Have a great Thanksgiving, capital market servants. Posts will be limited today and we're off tomorrow and Friday. If you have tips or links, hit the bottom at the top of the page or email us. We'll be back to full speed on Monday.  Everything You Need to Know About Nest, Google’s Big […]

Crony Links: Save Six Minutes a Day, Attention Management and Dogs at Work

If you need a break from coveting my CPA exam scores, the latest Rothstein Kass rumors or a KPMG Chairman talking about an unfortunate moment for his firm, here are some posts from other Sift Media sites last week you might find interesting.  AccountingWEB Jeff Davidson reminds us that your problems are not other people's problems (and […]

Accounting News Roundup: Sbarro is Bankrupt (Again); PwC’s Latest Buy; “Wisconsin is the Model” | 03.10.14

Pizza chain Sbarro files for bankruptcy protection [Reuters]Sbarro LLC, the pizza restaurant chain, on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than three years, after struggling with too much debt and lower customer traffic in the malls that house many of its restaurants. Sbarro and more than 30 affiliates filed for […]

The SEC Manages to Get Softer on Big 4 Audit Firms

Incredibly, the SEC has done something I didn't think was possible. It has, in its implicit blessing of Herbalife's selection of PwC as auditor, given the Big 4 and other audit firms more leverage in future debates over independence with regard to past non-audit services. And the last thing the Big 4 needs is more […]

(UPDATE) KPMG, in the Midst of Grief, Is Reminding the Academic Community of Their Business Success and Enthusiastic Employees

The KPMG apology tour continues. Well, maybe it isn't an "apology tour." It's more like, "KPMG: We can explain," tour. Actually, no, it's not that either. It's more of a "KPMG: Can you believe what this guy did?" tour with support from "This is NOT what we stand for." That has been the message to both […]

Despite Entering a ‘War Zone’, the Next Auditor of Herbalife Should Find Solace in All the Fees They’ll Earn

Part of the reason this KPMG resignation is such a conundrum for both Herbalife and Skechers is that the firm withdrew its audits back to 2010. The clean-up crew for each company will have its work cut out, and according to Georgetown professor James Angel, Herbalife's new auditor, especially, will "be walking into a war […]

Accounting News Roundup: ICAEW Wants IASB to Give It Up; BDO, PKF Finalize Deal in UK; AMT Nightmare Approaches | 12.11.12

Top body wants halt in global accounting alignment [Reuters]The London-based ICAEW called for the first time for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), whose rules are used in over 100 countries, to end a decade-long "convergence" project with its U.S. counterpart, the FASB. It is the latest sign of growing frustration at how the alignment efforts, […]

Accounting News Roundup: Who Saw Autonomy Coming?; What if $500,000 Was the Tax Cut Threshold?; Why Pants? | 11.21.12

PSA: Morning team, we're doing a half day today, we're taking tomorrow *and* Friday off and there will be no Between the Spreadsheets on Friday either. I know, I know. We'll get through this together. Graphic: A Long Line of Accounting Scandals [DealBook]It's not an exhaustive list, so feel free to share your favorites below. […]

ANR: Risks Remain Even if China Goes Local; Is It Getting Personal Between SEC and Deloitte Shanghai?; Maybe Obama Can Evolve on Taxes, Too | 05.11.12

J.P. Morgan's $2 Billion Blunder [WSJ]A massive trading bet boomeranged on J.P. Morgan Chase JPM +0.25% & Co., leaving the bank with at least $2 billion in trading losses and its chief executive, James Dimon, with a rare black eye following a long run as what some called the "King of Wall Street." The losses stemmed […]

Accounting News Roundup: Romney’s Shifty Tax Goals; The Accidental Accountant-Terrorist; Diversity’s Payoff | 05.03.12

Romney’s Conflicting Tax Goals Make Burden Shift Likely [Bloomberg]Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax plan rests on a set of principles that, taken together, are difficult to reconcile. Romney wants to reduce individual income tax rates by 20 percent, keep preferential rates for capital gains and dividends, broaden the tax base to limit revenue loss, and retain […]

Accounting News Roundup: E&Y Has a Sour Outlook on Greece; Snoop Dogg Smokes Tax Lien; The iPad Debate | 09.29.11

The best way to tackle the Big Four [FT]
Michel Barnier has shocked the Big Four accounting firms. The European Union internal market commissioner wants to ban them from operating as consultants as well as auditors, force them to work jointly with others, and set time limits on how long they can audit each company. It could be the biggest shake-up of accounting since the collapse of Enron laid low Arthur Andersen and led to the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Yet it will not amount to much unless the industry’s looming disaster – the failure of another audit firm and contraction to a Big Three – can be avoided.

E&Y Says Greek Defau [Bloomberg]
“The euro zone sovereign-debt crisis shows no sign of abating,” E&Y said in an e-mailed report in London [Wednesday]. “A default on Greek government debt now seems unavoidable. The key question is when this default will occur and how it will be managed.”

To Ease the Crisis, Tax Financial Transactions [NYT]
Governments, both rich and poor, urgently need a way to calm speculation in the financial markets and to raise revenue. On Wednesday, the European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, proposed a tax on financial transactions. Such a measure, already supported by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is long overdue. Indeed, a tax of just 0.05 percent levied on each stock, bond, derivative or currency transaction would be aimed at financial institutions’ casino-style trading, which helped precipitate the economic crisis. Because these markets are so vast, the tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year globally for cash-strapped governments and could increase development aid.

D.C. tax employee’s arrest followed years of warnings [WaPo]
[F]ederal prosecutors charged a D.C. tax office employee with stealing about $414,000 from the city coffers. Mary Ayers-Zander did it, charging papers state, by making fraudulent manual adjustments to legitimate taxpayers’ income tax withholding, resulting in payments to personal accounts she had set up. In other words, Ayers-Zander found a weakness in the system and exploited it, finding a way to enrich herself because the internal controls within the Office of Tax and Revenue were not up to par, according to court records.

Snoop Dogg tax debt goes up in smoke [TW]
Robert Snell’s celeb tax scoop du jour.

Mr. Buffett’s Tax Secrets [WSJ]
[T]he opportunity to educate the public would be even greater if Mr. Buffett would let everyone else in on his secrets of tax avoidance by releasing his tax returns. Going only by Mr. Buffett’s unverified claims, his federal taxes in 2010 amounted to 17.4% of his taxable income, probably because much of his income was from capital gains and dividends. It’s also likely that he took significant deductions for charitable donations. No doubt the millions of Americans who could end up paying more because of this claim would love to see the details.

Medicis, its auditor will pay $18 mil to settle suit [Arizona Republic]
Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. and its auditing firm, Ernst & Young, have agreed to pay $18 million to settle a shareholder class-action lawsuit stemming from the pharmaceutical company’s financial statements. Scottsdale-based Medicis would pay $11 million and Ernst & Young would pay $7 million under terms of a settlement agreement filed last week in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

The iPad Decision [JofA]
Ask one CPA, the managing partner of a 160-employee firm, what he thinks of using the iPad in his work, and he tells you “there’s no other way to practice right now.” Ask another, the IT head of a 400-employee firm, and he tells you that his iPad is no more useful than a paperweight.

Accounting News Roundup: Financial Reform Inches Closer; Small Biz Continues with Bleak Outlook; Kwame Kilpatrick Gets Tax-Funded Counsel in Tax Fraud Case | 07.13.10

Finance Bill Close to Passage in Senate [WSJ]
“Two Senate Republicans said Monday they would support the Obama administration’s financial-overhaul legislation, and Democrats now believe they have the 60 votes needed to push the sweeping bill into law by the end of the week.

Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine both said they would vote for the measure when Democrats bring it to a vote, which could happen as soon as this week. Democrats and administration officials believe this gives them the necessary backing to overcome a potential filibuster after weeks of uncertainty and unexpected pitfalls.”

Abu Dhabi May Make BP Investment, Crown Prince Says [Bloomberg]
“Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the emirate is considering making an investment in BP Plc.

‘We are still thinking about it,’ he said in an interview in Abu Dhabi today, when asked about potentially buying a stake in the London-based oil producer. ‘We are looking across the board. We have been partners with BP for years.’

BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said on July 7 that he had a “very good” meeting with the crown prince as analysts said the oil producer may be looking for support from Middle East investors. BP shares have gained 26 percent since the start of July as the company gets closer to containing its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.”

Small Businesses Get More Pessimistic [WSJ/Real Time Economics]
“Small businesses continue to feel highly pessimistic about the U.S. economic outlook, according to a report Tuesday that showed a monthly indicator of their sentiment turning weaker in June.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses said its Small Business Optimism Index dropped 3.2 points to 89.0 last month, more than erasing the modest 1.6-point gain it saw in May. The report, which was compiled by NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg, described the decline as ‘a very disappointing outcome.’ ”

Kilpatrick expected to ask for court-appointed counsel for fraud case [WXYZ]
Kwame Kilpatrick needs taxpayers’ help in his tax fraud case, namely paying for a lawyer. Since he cannot afford one, the people of Michigan will be picking up the tab.

Man Claims Ownership of Facebook [WSJ]
Today in wild-ass lawsuits, “A New York judge has issued a temporary restraining order restricting the transfer of Facebook Inc.’s assets, following a suit by a New York man who claims to own an 84% stake in the social-networking company.

Paul D. Ceglia filed a suit in the Supreme Court of New York’s Allegany County on June 30, claiming that a 2003 contract he signed with Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg entitles him to ownership of the company and monetary damages.”