CFOs

Overstock.com Blames Restatements on Accountants

Last week the financial three-ring circus Overstock.com officially put an end to its 2009 by filing its 10-K with the SEC (after a two week extension). Ring managed to keep his promise about turning a profit and managed to keep his head about it in his letter to shareholders only mustering, “It’s nice to be profitable.”

As you might expect, Sam Antar was not impressed and since the Company’s filing he and others (including Gary Weiss) have pointed out major internal control problems, mistakes in the footnotes, false disclosures related to an alleged “tax dodge” and now, NOW the most unforgivable thing yet.


Sam notes that the Company, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to blame its own accountants and their lack of knowledge for the most recent restatement in its 10-K:

We lacked a sufficient number of accounting professionals with the necessary knowledge, experience and training to adequately account for and perform adequate supervisory reviews of significant transactions that resulted in misapplications of GAAP.

Information technology program change and program development controls were inadequately designed to prevent changes in our accounting systems which led to the failure to appropriately capture and accurately process data.

These are the only two “control failures” identified by the Company in its filing that constitute material weaknesses. Naturally, the management team and the audit committee agreed with this assessment, “Our management concluded, and the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors agreed with management’s conclusions,” that former CFO David Chidester and former Treasurer Rich Paongo are the ones at fault here.

Is that class or what? So did Patrick Byrne finally realize that David Chidester and Rich Paongo, after several years at Overstock, lacked the “necessary knowledge, experience and training” so they and the Company “parted ways” (aka fired their sorry asses) for the latest restatement? What about the previous umpteen restatements? Why wasn’t didn’t the parting of ways occur after those?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, Sam has appealed to none other than Mary Schapiro to make sure the shenanigans don’t continue:

From: Sam E. Antar
Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 3:56 AM
To: ‘Mary Schapiro’; ‘enforcement@sec.gov’;
Cc: ‘Patrick Byrne’; ‘Joseph Tabacco’; ‘Board – Jonathan Johnson’
Subject: Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 8): Bring Enforcement Action Against Overstock.com for False and Misleading Disclosures
Importance: High

To Chairperson Mary Schapiro:

Enclosed is a link to my blog post entitled, “Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 8): Bring Enforcement Action Against Overstock.com for False and Misleading Disclosures.”

Link here: http://whitecollarfraud.blogspot.com/2010/04/open-letter-to-securities-and-exchange.html

The blog post referred to in the link above, is to be considered a formal complaint to the SEC for continued false and misleading disclosures by Overstock.com and its officers. Please note that as a courtesy, I have cc’d Overstock.com on this email.

Respectfully,

Sam E. Antar

Is the SEC not interested in a slam dunk case? We’ll see.

Accounting News Roundup: Tax Freedom Day Is Nigh; Does the U.S. Government Need a Going Concern Opinion?; Google CFO Does Okay for Himself | 03.31.10

Tax Freedom Day 2010 Is April 9; Historically Massive Deficits Promise Later Tax Freedom in the Future [Tax Policy Blog]
This year April 9th marks, Tax Freedom Day. That’s 99 days of work for you to pay all your federal, state and local taxes for 2010. This is only one day later than last year but two weeks earlier than 2007, according to the Tax Policy Blog. However, TPB notes that the earlier tax freedom isn’t really much to get excited about.

Tax Freedom Day does not count the deficit even though deficits must eventually be financed. Since 1948, when Tax Freedom Day was first calculated, the difference between what governments are spending and what they’re collecting has never been as great as during 2009 and 2010. If Americans were required to pay for all government spending this year, including the $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit, they would be working until May 17 before they had earned enough to pay their taxes—an additional 38 days of work.

Expressing a Going Concern Doubt on the United States Government, Not According to GAAP [JDA]
Speaking of deficits, what does the U.S. Government’s deficit look like on a GAAP basis? Somewhere in the nabe of $4 trillion. But before you get all huffy about spendy Democrats, this is true bipartisanship at work. The deficit that includes social security and medicare was $11 trillion in 2004 and was all over the map throughout the aughts. Anyone thought of giving the U.S. a GCO?? AG notes that it’s a bit of problem when the government can’t even make things look rosy, “[W]hen even the government accounting makes things look bad (see: pensions), you really know you’ve got a problem on your hands.”

Google’s Schmidt Got $245,322; CFO Paid $24.7 Million [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
The $24.7 million in total comp that Patrick Pichette received for ’09 was up from $7.63 million in ’08, the year he joined the company. Most of this year’s haul was from $10.9 mil in stock awards and $10.8 in stock options. His salary was only a measly $450k.

Home Depot CFO: We Don’t Want to Blame the Weather But We Are Blaming the Weather

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Most investors appreciate seasonality. They get that retail peaks around Christmas and that your big back to school sale will be in August.

Still, some executives like to remind us that their business is busier at certain times of the year than at others. And it’s not uncommon for execs to claim the weather ate their earnings.


All in all, these explanations are pretty lame. Either investors already understand the business cycle or they don’t want to hear the excuse.

Given that, I like the approach of Carol Tome, CFO of Home Depot.

At a retail conference sponsored by Citigroup, “Tome said that while the retailer hates to be one that cites the weather for sales trends variability, Home Depot does experience that, and it has seen ‘great variability’ in weather conditions across the country so far this year.”

So, there you go. Tome agrees that blaming the weather is lame. But, at the same time, you have to agree that the weather this year has been pretty outrageous, right?

Then again, Tome isn’t totally going to hide behind the clouds.

“Nothing has come to our attention that suggests we can’t hit the financial objectives that we’ve set forth,” she said, according to Dow Jones.

In the end, if you’re a Home Depot investor, pray we don’t have a June like last year.

“When the sun is shining, we’re very, very pleased with our performance,” Tome said.

Quote of the Day: A Banker’s Feelings Are Nothing to Me | 03.29.10

“The ability to not worry about whether bankers’ feelings are hurt.”

~ Vanessa Wittman, CFO of Marsh & McLennan Cos., on what skills got her through a tight credit market.

The Recession Taught Some CFOs That They Need to Pay Closer Attention to Miserable Employees

Plenty of lessons came out of the financial crisis. For some it was that Big 4 auditors are irrelevant. For others it was that we need one set of high quality accounting standards ASAP. Aaaannnd for others, it was that the SEC needs to get better at pretty much everything.


For CFOs, it appears that at least some of them learned that miserable employees are a drag. Robert Half Management Resources surveyed 1,400 CFOs and 27% of them said “they learned to place greater focus on maintaining employee morale.”

It’s likely that this isn’t a lesson learned by just CFOs. Plenty of CPA firms have probably realized that a bunch of morose auditors and tax pros hanging around doesn’t make for a happy shop and are looking to improve their cheerleading skills going forward. KPMG has already brought back the Standing O, PwC, Ernst & Young, and Grant Thornton have all guaranteed merit increases for this year so there are signs that your happiness is no longer an afterthought.

CFOs Advise Keeping Employees Happy [Web CPA]

Accounting News Roundup: Lehman Failure Was a Team Effort; Boston Provident Ex-CFO Faces Prison After Guilty Plea; Who Wants to Watch a Toxic Asset Die? | 03.12.10

JPMorgan, Citigroup Helped Cause Lehman Collapse, Report Says [Bloomberg]
There’s so much blame to go around: Dick Fuld! Every Lehman CFO that ever worked there! JP Morgan, Citi, Ernst & Young (who we’ll get to shortly), you’re all at fault too! But mostly Dick Fuld. He was putting lots of pressure on Lehman’s balance sheet magicians to reduce the bank’s debt. The report states that Fuld was “at least grossly negligent” and if it gets worse than that, you’ll certainly hear about it.

According to the Bankruptcy Examiner’s report, there was plenty of parties that didn’t help matters. JP Morgan and Citi were demanding more collateral from Lehman as the firm tried to stave off death while E&Y sat back as LEH got all hocus-pocus with their accounting. So pick a company or person you don’t like and point the finger. It sounds like an argument can be made.

All this amounts to largest bankruptcy in history and boy will it sell a helluva lot of books, movie tickets, and HBO subscriptions. Silver lining!


Trader faces up to 6 1/2 years in prison [Bloomberg via Boston Globe]
Former Boston Provident CFO Ezra Levy pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud after being accused of stealing $3 million from New York-based Boston Provident Partners, LP. Levy told the judge that he used the money to pay ‘personal expenses’ although no word on what the loot was. Presumably not a fleet of limos.

We Bought A Toxic Asset; You Can Watch It Die [NPR]
Ever dreamed of owning just a small piece of a toxic asset just watch the slow, agonizing death? Of course! Some reporters at NPR chipped in to invest $1,000 in a bond with over 2,000 bad, really bad mortgages all for the sake of journalistic interest. If the team somehow manages to make money it’s going to charity.

Accounting News Roundup: CFOs, Staff Are Getting Worn Down by Guidance; Miami Forensic Accountant to Plead Guilty; Big 4 In Pari Delicto Defense Strategy | 03.10.10

A Growing Contagion: Accounting Fatigue Syndrome [CFO Blog]
Anyone getting worn out from all the guidance that is coming from the alphabet soup of regulators? You’re not alone and there appears to be an epidemic, something that CFO Blog has deemed “Accounting Fatigue Syndrome.” The long/short of it is that things are only going to get more complex as FASB and IASB continue to converge their rules and guidance continues to come out of both rule making bodies.

“Like many finance executives, Terry Lillis, CFO of Principal Financial Group, is tired. The constant stream of guidance from regulators and accounting standard-setters — plus the expected inflow of more to come over the next few years — has created “huge accounting fatigue” among his finance staff”


What’s the solution to AFS? How about just getting out of the biz altogether? “While the panelists gave no hope to CFOs who wish the standard-setters would either slow down or cut back on their agenda, they did offer one tip for ending accounting fatigue. ‘If I were a CFO, the first thing I would do is look at my early-retirement provisions,’ quipped J. Edward Grossman, a Crowe Horwath partner.”

High-profile Miami accountant Lew Freeman to plead guilty to fraud [Miami Herald]
A couple of weeks ago we told you about “go-to” forensic accountant turned swindler Lewis Freeman and his legal trouble.

Today he is expected to plead guilty in Miami to embezzling $2.6 million from his clients. Prosecutors have alleged that Freeman, “wrote 162 unauthorized checks to himself totaling about $6 million from the accounts of five failed businesses once under his company’s control, but put back about half of the money.” Freeman has been cooperating with investigators since his arrest but still may face 10 – 20 years in prison.

In Pari Delicto: Are Auditors Equally At Fault In The Big Fraud Cases? [Re: the Auditors]
Francine tackles PwC and KPMG’s defense strategy involving in pari delicto to avoid their roles in fraud cases.

The way I see it, the in pari delicto doctrine is being used like a pair of needle nosed pliers by audit firm defense lawyers to diffuse a bomb – huge liability for some of the biggest frauds in history. The in pari delicto doctrine attempts to pull the auditors’ tails from the fire by excusing any of their guilty acts due to the approval of those acts by potentially equally guilty executives.

Prudential Plc’s CFO Turned CEO Makes the Big Deal

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

CFOs around the world are looking on in a mixture of admiration and jealousy at the success of a former member of the ranks. Tidjane Thiam, CEO of the U.K.’s Prudential PLC is in the process of trying to pull together what must be the biggest deal of his life. The potential $35 billion takeover of AIA will, at a stroke, convert the company from a rather staid UK life insurer into a fast growing Asian financial services behemoth.


This is not the way that text books say it should happen. Generally when a CFO is elevated to the CEO position – as happened to Thiam in the middle of last year – it is usually because there is some dreadful financial crisis looming that only an experienced CFO can really manage. Indeed the promotion of the CFO to the CEO position is likely an admission that there will not be any major strategic moves, rather a relentless of pursuit of cash, debt repayments and risk hedging.

What makes Thiam’s move even more remarkable is that it was reported that he tried to scupper the plans of his predecessor Mark Tucker when he was thinking of making a bid for AIA a year ago. Cynics might say that he wanted to do the deal himself.

Other ex-CFOs of banks, who now find themselves in the top seat, could be forgiven for feeling pangs of jealousy at what Thiam is trying to do. For instance, Stephen Hester, the CEO of RBS is the ex-CFO of Credit Suisse. His job is now all about finding ways to offload toxic assets, keep bankers from leaving and trying to explain to a furious public why bankers need to be paid even if the bank suffers a loss. How much more fun to throw the whole institution at a deal that will not only define a decade but transform the geographic and growth profile of the business.

The trend of promoting CFOs to CEOs is only around 15 years old and can be partly attributed to the private equity business. Once companies are bought out by PE firms, the first priority is to manage the financials as tightly as possible, paying down the acquisition debt and serving interest before arranging an exit. This placed great emphasis on financial skills as opposed to strategic vision. Just such a situation happened last week when Carlyle led a group of investors in a $550 million deal buying into Bank of Butterfield in Bermuda. In the process, the existing CEO Alan Thompson left the bank. His successor? Bradford Kopp, the CFO.

The promotion of the CFO to the top spot can be seen as an admission that all the focus will be on the balance sheet and not the income statement. That could explain why CFOs at Goldman Sachs and HSBC – David Viniar and Douglas Flint respectively – tend not to be mentioned as the next CEOs of the banks; these institutions have very strong internal strategic cultures matched by fortress balance sheets. An admission that either is needed in the top spot would be a sign both of a weak culture and balance sheet. But with Thiam now pioneering the way, it can be shown that CFO’s can make great strategic CEOs. Who will be next?

Quote of the Day: How’s This for CFO Optimism? | 03.03.10

“I’m encouraged by the fact that things are at least not getting worse.”

~ Gayle Anderson, CFO of Match.com, on the economy.

Quote of the Day: Did Someone Suggest That Google Wasn’t Big? | 03.01.10

“We shouldn’t pretend we’re not a big company.”

~ Patrick Pichette, Google CFO.

The Latest CFO Headache: The United Nations

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

CFOs face scrutiny from a wide range of sources: financial analysts, regulators, lawyers and accountants. A new body can now be added to this list, a body which is likely to cause some consternation. The U.N. last week formally castigated 86 global companies for failing to live up to the reporting requirements they agreed to when the companies became signatories of the UN Global Compact.


The scolding was undertaken by a coalition of global investors that are signatories to the U.N.’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), an organization created in 2006 that uses investors to try and force companies to adhere to a global set of corporate and social obligations. That coalition of investors manages assets of over $20 trillion, so they carry some weight.

The companies involved in the exercise include some well known names such as Visteon and Lionbridge Technologies from the U.S., Spice PLC from the U.K. and Orascom Construction Industries from Egypt. Specifically the report says the companies involved had not submitted a mandatory report on how they put the U.N. PRI initiative into action.

The report also praises companies that underwent a similar rebuke in 2009 but then submitted their reports. These companies included Bayer from Germany, Nikon from Japan and Inditex from Spain.

What the U.N. expects — and what many CFOs will find hard to achieve — is that companies need to play a large role in solving global issues such as climate change and poverty. As Gavin Power, Director of the U.N. Global Compact says: “The most critical challenges of our time…require a collective response involving investors, the corporate sector and all societal actors.” From that reading it seems that companies now have to bring about world peace and end hunger on top of delivering quarterly earnings. Many CFOs will think that is perhaps a responsibility too far.

Ex-Bank of America CFO Is in Cuomo’s Crosshairs

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

We briefly discussed work-inspired nightmares yesterday but as professionarobably don’t get a whole lot more unsettling than Joe L. Price’s.

Price, the former CFO at Bank of America, must be tossing and turning lately, what with the attorney general of New York naming him personally last week in a lawsuit over the bank’s handling of the ugly Merrill Lynch acquisition/investor-subsidized bailout/compensation party in late 2008.


Now, Price and former BofA CEO Ken Lewis face another unpleasant twist in what they must’ve thought originally was a slam dunk in an awkward but palatable settlement with the SEC over the Merrill Lynch deal (beware that slam-dunk feeling [see Tenet, George]).

Recall how Jed Rakoff, the irascible U.S. District Court judge presiding over the BofA/Merrill Lynch case, last year rejected a settlement between the SEC and BofA, saying that $33 million wasn’t nearly enough for the bank to make things right with investors who were kept in the dark about the unsavory downside – if that’s not too generous a word – for taking on Merrill Lynch’s baggage. And then on Monday Rakoff started asking mean questions about the second rendition, in which the SEC and BofA are saying, okay, fine, how does $150 million sound?

Going by some of the doubts Rakoff raised, he isn’t leaning toward letting the BofA executives ease on out of their difficult litigation-riddled winter into a springtime of sun-dappled redemption and new life. Easter, as it were, may yet be cold and wet (as may Passover, choose your festival). But don’t blame Rakoff because there are better scapegoats – the SEC, Andrew Cuomo, Punxatawny Phil …

Cuomo, that pesky AG in Albany, asserted in his allegations against Price et al. that BofA lawyers who had counseled against pulling the curtain aside on certain details about Merrill Lynch were essentially operating in the dark and that they were, therefore, misled. “Bank management failed to provide any of their lawyers with accurate information about the losses which the disclosure issue concerned,” the civil-suit complaint says, adding painful elaboration that alleges “false and incomplete information provided by Price.” (Ron Fink explains here).

This is not the kind of thing a CFO likes to read about himself or herself, which is why it may be best as a rule to come clean from the get-go. At the heart of the controversy is the assertion that BofA execs were simply not forthright about how they allowed Merrill Lynch brass to receive billions of dollars in bonus bucks in exchange for having lost billions of investor dollars.

In such a context, Radoff has implied, $33 million is chicken feed and $150 million is – I don’t know – cat food? The good judge apparently wants the bankers to throw some steak over the wall.

Also at issue, and fundamental to how BofA is managed going forward, are questions about how certain aspects of corporate governance are handled, perhaps especially about how compensation is set. Rakoff suggested that there might be better ways to come up with a reasonable pay scheme than leaving it to BofA’s compensation committee to pick its compensation consultant of choice.

A big clue about how he might rule on this is in his observation on Monday as to the “incredibly bloated compensation of too many executives in too many American companies.”

Study: Founder CEOs Blame CFOs More Often for Accounting Irregularities

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Not that CFOs shouldn’t be blamed for irregularities but at least you’ll know what to expect.

Remember how

FEI Survey: Half of CFOs Don’t Plan to Replace Laid Off Positions

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

This is not the news you hear when there is talk of “recovery.”

Plus, it’s bad news for President Obama. The morning after our leader joined the rest of Americans and finally acknowledged that jobs are the most important issue facing the country, chief financial officers signaled they don’t expect the employment picture to improve anytime soon.

Sure, 62 percent of the 371 corporate CFOs who participated in the latest quarterly survey conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business said they do not plan any layoffs for this year. Big deal. Most companies have already gotten around to this cost-cutting measure. In fact, 77 percent of those surveyed said they already cut rank and file during the economic downturn.


More significantly, nearly half of the CFOs that previously laid off people said they do not plan to replace those positions. Rather, they figure to deploy other strategies to increase production or output. For example, they plan to reinstate overtime for existing employees, turn to outside consultants, hire part-time employees, and/or make current part-time employees full time before rehiring new full-time employees.

Just 44 percent of the total surveyed said they anticipate an increase in hiring at their companies. On the other hand, about one-quarter of the finance execs expect to cut back on hiring. Not too encouraging, huh?

What’s more, non-cash payments seem to be high on the list of anticipated cutbacks. For example, executive perks were cited more than any other area for potential cutbacks (37.2 percent). Benefits in general ranked third (31.5 percent).

“As far as the new normal is concerned, efficiency is the name of the game,” Marie Hollein, CEO and President, Financial Executives International, said in a press release.

CFOs may become more confident later in the year, however. Virtually half of the respondents to the survey said they believe indicators such as bond yields, mortgage interest rates, U.S. unemployment rate and rising GDP will collectively improve and result in the start of a recovery in the U.S. economy in the second half of this year. Another 22 percent don’t expect these conditions to materialize until the first half of 2011.

In general, however, CFOs indicated they were more optimistic about the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter survey than they were three months earlier.

They are also more optimistic about their own company’s financial prospects than they were in the third-quarter survey.

Florida CFO to Solve Budget Crisis with Paper Clip Exchange

CFOs have a tough job. Oh sure maybe a select few get to globe-trot with the Fab Four to the likes of Davos but the lion-share of them have to deal with less sexy tasks like, say, saving money.

Or solve a state fiscal crisis! Enter Florida’s CFO, Alex Sink. Ms. Sink is taking cost saving initiatives to levels that the Big 4 either considered and found ridiculous (even for them) or will be implementing them in the near future.


Last year Ms. Sink had her staff count paper clips in order to reduce costs. No, seriously. “Her staff spent untold hours determining the Department of Financial Services has 537 pounds of paper clips, 37,601 binder clips and 17,425 pens.”

The staff that were found to hogging more than a reasonable amount of suppliers were fired on the spot. Okay, not really but yeah, staff were counting counting paper clips. Makes you glad to be working at public accounting, no?

The latest idea from the CFO of the FLA that is the creation of the “CFO Depot”. This will allow employees to swap supplies as needed, as opposed to rummaging through every drawer at the their desk. Presumably this will cut down on violence in the workplace and will save the state money. Ms. Sink is encouraging other state agencies to set up similar systems, as this may save the state $14 million.

Here’s the pitch:

Will Apple’s Accounting Encourage Others to Drop Non-GAAP Measures?

A tipster pointed us to Apple’s transcript from last night’s earnings call, noting that the company has indicated that they will no longer be providing non-GAAP measures. This is a result of the solid that the FASB did for Apple back in September:

We are very pleased by the FASB’s ratification of the new accounting principles as we believe they will better enable us to reflect the underlying economics and performance of our business and therefore we will no longer be providing non-GAAP financial measures.


Our tipster noted that since using non-GAAP measures are a commonly used by companies and analysts, Apple’s declaration that they would not be “providing non-GAAP financial measures,” could potentially change things. It’s one thing if say, Koss were to say they’re not going to provide non-GAAP numbers, but this is Apple.
The company enjoys a top of the mind position, so other companies may embrace this method of engaging with analysts and other users. And since Apple isn’t shy about controlling the information they provide (e.g. Steve Jobs’ pancreas) this seems to be another way for them to dictate the information they are providing.
It’s not a stretch to say that many companies try to emulate Apple; whether or not they will emulate Apple’s financial reporting methods remains to be seen. Strange, because we figured they were just innovative on the gadget front.

Robert Half Survey: CFOs Are Nearly Done Firing People

unemployment.jpgBob Half is spreading some good cheer the-world-is-not-ending-in-2010 news this holiday season, as the staffing company’s latest poll has indicated that the job market for accountants should “stabalize” in the first quarter of the new year. Call us morbid but “stable” makes us think of someone in the ICU.


Web CPA:

Staffing company Robert Half International found that a net 3 percent of the 1,400 CFOs interviewed for the survey plan to reduce their accounting and finance personnel in the first quarter of 2010, but this represents an improvement from the net 6 percent forecast the previous quarter. Most executives — 84 percent — expect no changes to their staffing levels.
Six percent of executives plan to increase hiring in the first quarter and 9 percent foresee personnel reductions. Compared to the fourth-quarter projections, the number that anticipated adding staff rose while the number projecting cutbacks declined.

Thought so! Not anything to write home about since 84 percent of the respondents expect no changes in their staffing levels. To make matters worse, according to the survey those of you pounding the pavement don’t have any skills:

Despite current unemployment levels, CFOs continue to report challenges finding highly skilled professionals for certain functional areas. Twenty-five percent of financial executives said accounting roles are the hardest to fill, and 20 percent said they experience the most difficulty hiring for operational support positions.

Leave it to the BSDs of the world to bring you down by telling you don’t have any skills. We believe in you, unemployed number crunchers of the world! Don’t let the bastards get you down.
Accounting Staff Cutbacks Expected to Slow [Web CPA]

Judge, Possibly Fearing a TP’d House, Denies Bail for Madoff CFO

Thumbnail image for TP.jpgPoor Frank DiPascali. The man’s name will be forever connected to largest Ponzi schemer (with, allegedly, the smallest penis) in history and he feels terrible about that.
Looks like DiPascali, who was a “CFO” in Ponzi World but in reality was probably just the best liar, will remain eating his meals with a spork until the end of his days.
His attorneys were trying bust the guy out so he can help investigators find a new Madoff cohort to put front and center but a judge denied bail yesterday despite a boatload of conditions:

Mr. DiPascali’s failed bail attempt came despite a new proposal presented by defense lawyers and prosecutors that included a $10 million bond, co-signed by nine people, including members of the DiPascali family, and the pledge of about $2 million in personal property. The new proposal required Mr. DiPascali to wear an electronic device that would plot his location by satellite. It also barred him from leaving home without an escort from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, except in a medical emergency.

Maybe the judge isn’t big on satellite technology but with Halloween on Saturday, it could have been a decision made on a more personal level. Those Madoff victims are a touchy bunch.
Court Denies Madoff Aide’s Request for Bail [NYT]

Grant Thornton Survey: 40% of CFOs Never Ever Ever Want IFRS to Replace GAAP

dragging.jpgAll this IFRS hubbub is going to be expensive and time consuming anyway so let’s just forget it, shall we?
Eh, not so fast, IFRS haters. The remaining 60% of the respondents did state that they thought that IFRS should be required at some point in time, including 7% that want it ASAP, thanks.
Part of the resistance may be that lots of CFO/controller types have got no idea how IFRS is going to affect their company’s reporting. GT’s survey shows that 90% of the respondents don’t use IFRS currently and earlier this summer another survey cited that many CFOs weren’t even sure how IFRS would affect their reporting.
The IASB is clearly serious about the whole thing, and the FASB, while less excited, seems to be on board, along with big shots like Jim Turley. Finance execs can stall all they want but eventually IFRS will be all up in their business. Probably should get crackin’.
40% of U.S. senior financial executives don’t want IFRS to replace GAAP [GT Press Release]