Sir Michael Rake is currently the Deputy Chairman of Barclays. and, from 2002 to 2007, he was the Chairman of KPMG International. Last night, Sir Mike did quite the impressive thing — that is, he got all Dad on accountants and bankers by telling the former how proud he was of them while telling the […]
P. Dubs is taking the high road on this one. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is responsible for auditing Barclays' accounts, is understood to have raised concerns with the bank over the structure of the schemes that would have saved it from paying hundreds of millions of pounds in tax. PwC was not responsible for providing specific advice […]
FASB’s Tort Bar Gift [WSJ]
“In the eternal war between the plaintiffs bar and corporations, the lawsuit pack already owns the Senate and Now it seems the nation’s accountants want to give the lawyers another edge.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) will soon begin considering whether to require companies to account for the potential cost of ongoing litigation. Supporters insist this is merely about disclosure, but the proposal would hurt investors by offering roadmaps for new litigation and bigger settlements. We first wrote about this in 2008, and FASB retreated amid a business backlash. But FASB’s revised proposal, issued last month, isn’t much better.
Take the provision requiring companies to disclose their liability insurance coverage. Lawyers would be able to target their damage requests to the coverage maximum, or launch new lawsuits in the knowledge that more insurance dollars remain. This is why judges typically insist that coverage only be divulged under a secrecy order.”
Emmy votes are in and now it’s time to start counting [Los Angeles Times]
“With the Emmy Awards just a week and a half away, Ernst & Young LLP, the accounting firm in charge of counting the thousands of votes, will now kick into high gear figuring out who will be going home with a trophy come Aug. 29.
The deadline to get ballots in was 5 p.m. Tuesday. The last vote, as always, was turned in by veteran actress Jody Carter, who actually comes down to the firm’s downtown offices to fill out her ballot in person and turn it in to Andy Sales, the Ernst & Young lead partner for the prime-time Emmy Awards.”
Judge Denounces a Barclays Settlement [Reuters]
“The judge, Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court, said at a hearing Tuesday that he was concerned about the proposed deal in which the bank had agreed to pay $298 million to resolve the charges over its dealings with Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar.
“This is a sweetheart deal,” Judge Sullivan said, adding that the average American citizen who gets caught robbing a bank does not get a deferred prosecution agreement, as Barclays did.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Calls on Organizations to Manage Diversity with their ‘Heads, Hearts and Wallets’ [PR Newswire]
“Organizations that leverage diverse talent and manage diversity with their ‘heads, hearts and wallets’ will gain long-term competitive advantages, noted Greg Garrison, Partner and Vice Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), in a keynote speech at the 2010 Ascend Annual Gala. Ascend is a 5,000-member professional leadership organization dedicated to leveraging the potential of pan-Asians.
Though organizations typically approach diversity from three perspectives — the head, which looks at diversity academically; the heart, which view it in moral terms; and the wallet, which ties diversity efforts directly to the bottom line — unsuccessful diversity commitments often occur because organizations approach the effort from just one of those mindsets.
‘Successful leaders approach diversity using all three lenses,’ stressed Garrison. ‘Looking through these lenses, leaders must act upon what they see and anticipate what is to come to successfully shape the talent that will drive business performance.’ ”
Office-Leasing Rebound Could Be Deceiving [WSJ]
“In New York, accounting giant Deloitte recently asked the city for $11 million in tax breaks that would support a consolidation of its New York offices at 4 World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. Under the lease deal, which isn’t final, Deloitte—which now occupies some 934,000 square feet of office space in the city—would eventually move those operations into just 390,000 square feet at 4 World Financial Center, with options to expand to 630,000 square feet.
Deloitte would spend more than $90 million on building and fitting out the space with a new, more efficient design, according to its application for the tax breaks.”
IRS Probes Apple Employee for Kickbacks [Debits & Credits]
“A grand jury charged Apple’s global supply manager, Paul Shin Devine, who was responsible for selecting suppliers of enclosure materials for headsets for the iPhone and iPod. According to Justice Department prosecutors, who carried out a joint investigation with the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division and the FBI, Devine allegedly transmitted confidential internal Apple information to suppliers in China, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. In return, the suppliers agreed to pay him kickbacks, including payments based on a percentage of the business they did with Apple.”
SaaS switching – should we care? [AccMan]
“In theory at least, a SaaS/cloud approach makes it very easy to switch and the cost is relatively low, provided there isn’t a huge amount of data that needs unpicking and reforming. There is no throwing away of capital investments so no need to justify the decision in the same way you would if you’d installed an on-premise solution. Service providers that offer a freemium approach or a limited try-before-you-buy arrangement may appear attractive but even then it is only as you start to iron out the wrinkles that you find where the weaknesses lay.”
Barclays in Sanctions Bust [WSJ]
“Barclays PLC agreed to pay $298 million to settle charges by U.S. and New York prosecutors that the U.K. bank altered financial records for more than a decade to hide hundreds of millions of dollars i nto the U.S. from Cuba, Libya, Iran and other sanctioned countries.
Monday’s settlement agreement of criminal charges is an embarrassment for Barclays, which became a major player on Wall Street by snapping up the collapsed U.S. operations of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008 and has been trying to burnish the U.K. bank’s reputation on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as a good corporate citizen.”
Cashing in on cleantech [The Guardian]
“While E&Y claims to be the first to set up a practice specifically for cleantech, in recent years PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, KPMG and E&Y have all launched dedicated practices for sustainability and climate change.
Steven Lang, who leads the cleantech division in the UK and Ireland, recently explained the attraction to Business Green: ‘We’ve seen major amounts of capital flowing into clean energy and clean technology and governments increasingly want to use the sector as a driver for international competitiveness.
‘The drivers are there for this to be a major growth area over the next five years.’ ”
GM IPO filing expected Tuesday [Reuters]
It’s like you never left, GM. “General Motors Co has completed the paperwork for an initial public offering, and timing of its filing with the U.S. securities regulators rests with the board of the top U.S. automaker, sources familiar with the process said on Monday.
The initial prospectus, expected to be for $100 million, is likely to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, two people said, asking not to be named because the preparations for the IPO are private.”
IASB details recruitment process for Tweedie replacement [Accountancy Age]
“In a newly created section of the IASB website, the body has outlined the process it has followed since September 2009, as it searches to replace chairman Sir David Tweedie, who steps down in June 2011.
Among the documents is a letter sent to the European Commissioner’s office on 3 December, 2009, from Sir Bryan Nicholson, who has led the IASB’s recruitment process.”
Woman due in court for pie attack on US Sen. Levin [CT]
“A woman accused of hitting U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in the face with an apple pie during the Armed Services Committee chairman’s constituent meeting in northern Michigan is due in court.
Twenty-two-year-old Ahlam M. Mohsen of Coldwater will be arraigned Tuesday. She is being held without bond after being arrested Monday on a felony charge of stalking, and misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct”
Facebook Partnership Is Proven by $3,000 Check, Lawyer Says [Bloomberg]
“The western New York man suing over claims he owns 84 percent of Facebook Inc. has a copy of a $3,000 cashier’s check his lawyer says is proof of a contract with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.
The purported 2003 check is made out to Zuckerberg and dated three days before Paul Ceglia claims the two men signed a contract, according to the attorney. That agreement, Ceglia said in court papers, entitles him to control of the world’s biggest social networking website.”
Conference To Debate Future Of Fannie, Freddie [NPR]
Euthanasia seems like a good option here.
‘Big four’ auditors bring in independent directors in response to regulators [Guardian]
The Financial Reporting Counc CAEW, issued a new audit governance code back in January that recommended audit firms appoint non-executive directors to their UK firm however, Ernst & Young will go so far to appoint them to their global advisory boards.
“Although the code technically applies only to our UK business, as a globally integrated organisation, we believe it is most appropriate for us to implement the code’s provisions on a global basis also,” said Jim Turley, global chairman and chief executive of Ernst & Young. “Including individuals from outside Ernst & Young on the global advisory council will bring to the senior leadership of our global organisation the benefit of significant outside perspectives and views.”
BP Won’t Issue New Equity to Cover Spill Costs [WSJ]
But if you want to pitch in, they are happy to take you up on an offer, “BP would welcome it if any existing shareholders or new investors want to expand their holding in the company, she said. BP’s shares have lost almost half their value since the Deepwater Horizon explosion that triggered the oil spill April 20.
BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward is visiting oil-rich Azerbaijan amid speculation the company may sell assets to help pay for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The one-day visit comes a week after Mr. Hayward, who has been criticized for his handling of the devastating oil spill, traveled to Moscow to reassure Russia that the British energy company is committed to investments there.”
Looking for a post-college job? Try accounting [CNN]
Happy times continue for accounting grads, according to the latest survey on the matter, this time from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The average salary listed for an entry-level accounting major is just over $50k and the article also notes that most accounting jobs go to…wait…accounting majors.
FASB, IASB Staff Describe Plans for New Financial Statements [Compliance Week]
As always, the two Boards are hoping that bright financial statement users will chime in with their suggestions but they’ve got the basic idea down, “The FASB and IASB are rewriting the manner in which financial information is presented to make it more cohesive, easier to comprehend, and more comparable across different entities. The proposals would establish a common structure for each of the financial statements with required sections, categories, subcategories and related subtotals. It would result in the display of related information in the same sections, categories and subcategories across all statements.”
Accounting rules “practically impossible to implement”, Barclays claims [Accountancy Age]
Barclays’ finance director, Chris Lucas isn’t too keen on these new loan valuation proposals. Besides the ‘practically impossible’ thing, he says, “The sensitivity disclosures…are highly subjective, difficult to interpret, and potentially misleading, particularly when the underlying data is itself highly subjective,” Lucas said.
“It is hard to see how sensitivity disclosures could be aggregated by a large institution to provide succinct data that avoids ‘boilerplate’ disclosure.”
Asking The Difficult Questions [Re: The Auditors]
“Audit committees too often rely on the auditors’ required disclosures without comment. They sometimes lack the independence, experience, or determination to ask the probing questions. It’s critical, however, that committees seek answers to vexing questions and not accept the response, ‘But that’s the way management has always done it.’ ”
Buffett Donates $1.6 Billion in Biggest Gift Since 2008 Crisis [Bloomberg]
WB continues his plan of giving away 99% of his fortune, “[Buffet] made his largest donation since the 2008 financial crisis after profits at his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. jumped.
The value of Buffett’s annual gift to the foundation established by Bill Gates rose 28 percent to $1.6 billion from $1.25 billion last year. The donation, made in Berkshire Class B stock, was accompanied by gifts totaling $328 million in shares to three charities run by Buffett’s children and another named for his late first wife, according to a July 2 filing.”
The case for cloud accounting [AccMan]
Dennis Howlett continues to provide evidence that switching to the cloud provides benefits that are simply too big to ignore, “This 2min 1 sec video neatly encapsulates why this is something you should be considering, especially if you are operating electronic CRM or e-commerce for front of house activities.”