Today at Dell World, Dell and Deloitte announced a set of solutions focused on solving two specific technology challenges: helping companies better manage, scale and secure their IT infrastructure to enable effective customer experiences, and delivering improved patient outcomes in healthcare through better use of transformational technology and automation. The two industry leaders intend to […]
This all started when a shareholder asked Michael about this, and he said that we’re looking into it. Well, of course we’re looking into it.
~ Brian Gladden, CFO of Dell, comes off a little sassy discussing the possibility of the company going private.
Estate-Tax Rises Again as Issue on Trail [WSJ]
“More than 250 current congressional candidates, mostly Republicans, have signed a pledge this year to support elimination of the tax, according to the advocacy group sponsoring the effort. The signers include 53 incumbents and more than half of Republicans running for House and Senate. During the 2008 elections, when the group first began seeking supporters, only 30 candidates signed up.
The estate tax has become a particularly hot issue in the West, including in Washington state’s Senate contest, and some rural House districts where Democratic incumbents appear vulnerable. a hotter issue in rural areas because it raises particular concerns among farmers and landowners.”
Religious group took alleged terrorist money [WaPo]
“A group of Ohio ministers has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the organization that sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast because it received money six years ago from an alleged Islamic terrorist organization trying to finance illicit lobbying.
ClergyVoice, the activist group that wrote to the IRS commissioner Wednesday, complained that the Fellowship Foundation violated its obligation as a tax-exempt organization not to deal with such entities.
The foundation, an Arlington-based religious enterprise associated with a house at 133 C St. SE where several members of the House and Senate have rented rooms, acknowledged Wednesday that it had received two $25,000 checks, in May and June 2004, from the Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency.
The charity was included on a Senate Finance Committee list of terrorist financiers in January of that year.”
Dell’s Settlement of SEC Accounting-Fraud Claims Approved by U.S. Judge [Bloomberg]
“Dell Inc., the world’s third-biggest maker of personal computers, won a judge’s permission to pay $100 million to settle accounting-fraud claims brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The accord reached in July allows founder Michael Dell to remain chief executive officer after paying a $4 million fine. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon approved the settlement today at a hearing in Washington.
Dell, 45, and the personal-computer maker failed to tell investors about “exclusivity payments” received from Intel Corp. in exchange for shunning products made by rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the SEC said in a complaint filed in July. The payments allegedly helped Dell reach earnings targets from 2001 to 2006.”
US regulator threatens ban on Euro-firms [Accountancy Age]
“The US audit watchdog, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), is considering de-registering non-US audit firms based in countries where it has no power to conduct inspections, including Europe.
Rhonda Schnare, international affairs director at the PCAOB, said de-registering firms was one option on the table if nations did not co-operate with US audit inspectors.
‘Bringing enforcement proceedings against non-US audit firms is one option and the board is evaluating all of its options… The issue is one of the [PCAOB’s] highest priorities,’ she said.
‘The board cannot de-register firms without going through an extensive process that would involve bringing individual disciplinary hearings against the firms, and that is certainly one of the options the board has.’ ”
President Obama Proposes More Tax Credits for Higher Education [Tax Foundation]
“Even ignoring the possible issue of economic incidence and whether or not this credit would mostly lead to higher tuition instead of lowering the net price faced by students, one of the problems with this credit is the downside of tax credits known as “buying out the base.” The credit will indeed entice some additional amount of people at the margin to go to college. However, it will mostly give a huge windfall to those who were going to go to college in the first place. If more people in college is truly what you want, there are likely better ways to do it than via a refundable tax credit that doesn’t target those at the margin.”
Accounting firm RubinBrown forms team for life sciences [KCBJ]
“RubinBrown LLP, which is based in St. Louis and has offices in Kansas City and Denver, created the Life Sciences Services Group earlier this month.
The firm has identified about 15 existing team members to serve on the life sciences group, about five of whom are in Kansas City, said Todd Pleimann, managing partner of the firm’s Kansas City branch.
However, he said, the firm probably will add more to the team in the future, possibly hiring from outside.
‘We really feel that the life sciences, and particularly animal health, is really key for the Kansas City metropolitan area,” Pleimann said. “We know there is going to be a lot of growth in this area.’ ”
Does Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Know When to Shut Up, Especially While the SEC Investigates his Company? [White Collar Fraud]
SEC sues ex-Dell accountants over fraud [Reuters]
“The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission on Friday sued two former top accountants of Dell Inc for manipulating financial statements to meet Wall Street earnings targets between 2001 to 2003.
The regulator said in its suit, filed at the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, that former Chief Accounting Officer Robert Davis, and former Assistant Controller Randall Imhoff had maintained a number of ‘cookie jar’ reserves — an improper accounting method in a bid to cover shortfalls in Dell’s operating results.
The SEC said the improper accounting led to Dell having to restate all its financial statements from 20 g>Mosque big owes 224G tax [NYP]
“Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show.
El-Gamal’s company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department.
The delinquency is a possible violation of El-Gamal’s lease with Con Edison, which owns half of the proposed building site on Park Place. El-Gamal owns the other half but must pay taxes on the entire parcel.”
States See Pickup in Tax Revenue [WSJ]
“Overall tax revenue increased 2.2% in 47 states that have reported their receipts for the three months ended June 30, compared with the same period a year ago, according to a report to be released Monday by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York.
This marks the second quarter in a row of recovering tax collections—and follows five quarters of declines in revenue that hammered local-government budgets. The latest figures are still a mixed bag: Some states continue to see declining revenue, but those were offset by states that saw increases.”
KPMG Accounting Malpractice Verdict Affirmed but $38 Million Damage Award Vacated [Law.com]
Is this what you call a lose/win?
Relax! Iowa Is Funding Hollywood Again [Tax Update Blog]
That is a relief. But Joe Kristan reminds us how things went the first time around, “The film program collapsed in scandal last fall, and the film office director and two filmmakers face criminal charges. Iowa is on the hook for $200 million for credits already committed — about $66 per Iowan. ”
An S.B.A. Loan Program Goes Quietly [You’re the Boss/NYT]
The Small Business Administration’s America’s Recovery Capital Loan program (“ARC”) is being shut down just after a year in operation. At the outset, the 10,000 that were going to made available was thought to be too small. As of August 20th, the program had made less than 8,300 loans and it will be lucky if it reaches 9,000 by the time it expires next month.
Starting a new school year [Accounting Professor]
Fans of Professor David Albrecht has started a new blog; this is the first post.
Obama’s Tax Reform Panel: A Missed Opportunity [TaxVox]
“The paper, approved by the panel this afternoon, is filled with lots of useful information about our flawed tax system but leads nowhere. There are no recommendations. No revenue estimates. And no ownership by President Obama, even though he picked the panel’s members and staffed it with White House aides.
As a result, this report is a huge missed opportunity. Obama might have used this exercise to jump-start a debate over fundamental tax reform. Instead, the report does nothing to fill the policy vacuum that is being filled by an argument over what to do about the decade-old Bush tax cuts.”
I.R.S. to Drop Suit Against UBS Over Tax Havens [DealBook]
UBS is finally dropping those 4,450 names it owes the IRS and skates past the civil charges.
3PAR Accepts Revised Dell Takeover Bid [WSJ]
“3PAR Inc. on Friday accepted an increased, $1.8 billion takeover offer from Dell Inc., a day after Hewlett-Packard Co. raised its offer in a bidding war for the data-storage company.
Dell’s revised offer matches H-P’s Thursday bid of $27 a share for 3PAR, whose software helps companies manage and store data more efficiently.
The fight over 3PAR illustrates how important it has become for tech companies to dominate the emerging technology known as cloud computing, in which data are managed and accessed over the Internet. Dell and H-P both sell storage products and see 3PAR’s assets as important additions to their portfolios as large technology companies seek to serve all the needs of corporate-technology departments.”
When Litigation Kills the Accounting Profession-Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned! [FEI Blog]
Jim Peterson of Re:Balane guest posted over at FEI Blog where he discussed his speciality – risk surrounding the Big 4.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Trying To Buy Consulting Revenue Again With Diamond Deal [Re:The Auditors]
Francine McKenna discusses PwC’s recently announced purchase of Diamond Management & Technology including whether some of Diamond’s consultants bailed early to avoid becoming a cog in the another public accounting firm, “Did some of the employees bail out before they were signed on as sterile strategists for an ineffective firm struggling under the weight of consulting ‘leadership’ with audit-shaped heads? I know for sure that there were significant groups of BearingPoint consultants that would have rather masticated glass shards than work for a public accounting firm again.”
Official Statement [Roni Deutch: The Tax Lady Blog]
Roni Deutch says Jerry Brown, California’s Attorney General-cum-Democratic nominee for Governor, is playing election year politics. Seems plausible.
Finance Execs React to Herz’s Retirement [CFO]
No one is panicking.
SEC vows more actions over crisis [FT]
The FT is finally getting to the story about the SEC bringing more actions, changing the culture with new teams, yada, yada, yada. Except not everyone is buying it, “[S]everal judges have questioned the SEC’s deals with Citigroup and Bank of America, and some plaintiffs’ lawyers believe the regulator has been too soft.
‘There’s no real difference now to what it was like before Mary Schapiro became chairman,’ said Jacob Zamansky, a lawyer for investors and longtime SEC critic.”
Boeing Postpones Dreamliner Delivery Until 2011 [WSJ]
You’ll have to come up with a different Christmas gift for the boss this year.
~ Sorry about the downtime yesterday. Our best people are on it like ConEd.
Deloitte to be world’s biggest accountant as partners sweep up £590m [Telegraph]
“According to Mr Connolly, when Deloitte publishes its global results in October the firm is set to reveal it has overtaken PriceWaterhouseCoopers to become the biggest of the “Big Four” accountancy houses globally.
However, Mr Connolly, who is set to retire in 2011, predicted the current financial year could prove even more successful despite describing future growth in the wider economy as ‘low and slow.’ ‘We have alr in the first quarter of this year, so I expect we shall return to double-digit growth. The M&A market has started to get much busier and our tax business is growing well again. Changes in regulation also mean good business for us.’ ”
Investors Gain New Clout [WSJ]
“In a decision years in the making, the SEC voted 3-2 in favor of the “proxy access” rule, which requires companies to include the names of all board nominees, even those not backed by the company, directly on the standard corporate ballots distributed before shareholder annual meetings. To win the right to nominate, an investor or group of investors must own at least 3% of a company’s stock and have held the shares for a minimum of three years.
Currently, shareholders who want to oust board members must foot the bill for mailing separate ballots, as well as wage a separate campaign to woo shareholder support. Both are too costly and time-consuming for most. Now, the targeted companies will essentially be footing the bill for the dissidents, including them in the official proxy materials. The new rule will be in place in time for the 2011 annual meeting season next spring.”
Celgene names new chief financial officer [Reuters]
Jacqualyn Fouse will replace David Gryska effective Sept. 27
Herz Resigns As FASB Chair [The Summa]
Professor David Albrecht’s take on Roberto Herz’s decision to step down.
3Par Accepts Dell’s Increased Takeover Offer [Bloomberg]
“Dell Inc. said 3Par Inc. has accepted its increased offer of $24.30 per share in cash, or about $1.6 billion, net of 3Par’s cash.”
Dodging the Ax: How to Avoid Layoffs [FINS]
“As professionals working in financial-services witness the ax drop around their companies, many are living in fear that they could be included in the next round of layoffs. However, there are measures you can take right away to help safeguard your position and make you seem indispensable to management.”
Stanford Used Skimmed $1.6 Billion For Loans To Start-Ups, Witness Says [Bloomberg]
“The $1.6 billion that indicted financier R. Allen Stanford is accused of skimming from the funds of his investors was actually loaned by his Antiguan bank to start-up entities and other businesses he controlled, a fraud examiner testified.
Forensic accountant Alan Westheimer testified before a U.S. judge in Houston today that Stanford Financial Group Cos. comptroller Mark Kuhrt and chief accountant Gilbert Lopez told him they believed the borrowing should have been publicly disclosed.
‘The funds were being passed through as inter-company loans to the entities that were the recipients of the shareholder loans,’ Westheimer said. ‘Within a short period, usually six months, Mr. Stanford would assume those loans and the recipient companies transferred those balances to their underlying capital.’ ”
Rep. Charles Rangel broke ethics rules, House panel finds [WaPo]
“A House ethics subcommittee announced Thursday that it found that Rep. Charles B. Rangel violated congressional ethics rules and that it will pr robably beginning in September. The panel is expected to make the details of his alleged violations public next Thursday.
Rangel (D-N.Y.) has been under the House ethics committee’s microscope since early 2008 after it was reported that he may have used his House position to benefit his financial interests. Two of the most serious inquiries have focused on Rangel’s failure to declare $239,000 to $831,000 in assets on his disclosure forms, and on his effort to raise money for a private center named after him at City College of New York using his congressional letterhead.”
Geithner: Taxes on Wealthiest to Rise [WSJ]
“The Obama administration will allow tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire on schedule, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday, setting up a clash with Republicans and a small but vocal group of Democrats who want to delay the looming tax increases.
Mr. Geithner said the White House would allow taxes on top earners to increase in 2011 as part of an effort to bring down the U.S. budget deficit. He said the White House plans to extend expiring tax cuts for middle- and lower-income Americans, and expects to undertake a broader revision of the tax code next year.
‘We believe it is appropriate to let those tax cuts that go to the most fortunate expire,’ Mr. Geithner said at a breakfast with reporters.”
FASB Requires More Disclosures Around Credit Risk [Compliance Week]
“Accounting Standards Update No. 2010-20, Receivables (Topic 310) calls for more credit risk disclosures to give investors a better view of the credit risk in a company’s portfolio of receivables as well as the adequacy of its allowance for credit losses. Under the update, companies will be required to say more about aging receivables and credit quality indicators in particular.
The new disclosure requirements affect financing receivables and trade accounts receivable, including loans, trade accounts receivable that are greater than a year old, notes receivable, credit cards and receivables for certain leases. The new disclosure requirement does not affect short-term trade accounts receivable, receivables that are measured at fair value or the lower of cost or fair value, and debt securities.”
Convicted accountant Lewis Freeman’s friends urge leniency [Miami Herald]
“Miami’s go-to forensic accountant” Lewis Freeman is to be sentenced today for stealing nearly $3 million from victims of fraud who he was appointed to protect. He faces a dozen to fifteen years in prison but his friends and supporters have turned on the pity party, sending nearly 300 letters to Judge Paul Huck, asking for leniency.
“[E]very one of those letter writers also asks the judge to show mercy, emphasizing that the affable New York native should not have to languish in prison because he has done so much for institutions like his alma mater, the University of Miami, Miami Children’s Hospital and the Miami Children’s Museum, among others.”
No need for non-audit ban, regulator claims [Accountancy Age]
“Accountants will not have to give up their non-audit work for audit clients, under proposed guidelines released today, which have not recommended an outright ban, suggested by politicians in the wake of the financial crisis.
The Auditing Practices Board, of the Financial Reporting Council, which publishes guidance for auditors, does not believe an outright ban on non-audit services should be enacted and has instead proposed to tinker with present disclosure requirements.”
Could This Be a Real Deterrent? [Floyd Norris/NYT]
Despite the usual fare in the SEC’s settlement yesterday, Floyd Norris writes that the $4 million fine for Michael Dell and other executives is “refreshing.”
In SEC-settlements-that-don’t-involve-Goldman Sachs news, Dell put their annual shareholders meeting on a brief kibosh because the company and founder Michael Dell are thisclose to settling charges for omitting disclosures for dealings with Intel Corp.
Dell Inc proposed a settlement with U.S. financial regulators over a long-running investigation of the computer maker’s accounting, and adjourned its annual shareholders meeting on Friday.
Dell adjourned the meeting until August 12 to give shareholders time to consider the discussions related to the settlement, which was announced shortly after the meeting convened.
It said earlier that the company and Chief Executive Michael Dell submitted a settlement proposal, which was still subject to approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as well as a U.S. District Court.
The probe into accounting matters began in 2005. Dell later acknowledged accounting errors and restated financial results from 2003-2007.
Nothing to get too worked up over probably since the company only set aside $100 mil but if the entertainment for the meeting had to cancel (e.g. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders), there’s probably a lot of upset people down in Round Rock.
Dell, CEO Are in Talks to Settle SEC Probe [WSJ]
The SEC’s probe, launched in 2006, into Dell had initially focused on some accounting manipulation that has now ensnared founder and CEO Michael Dell focusing on disclosure and omissions related to Intel Corp. and negligence-based fraud charges.
The Journal reports that the possible fraud charges “suggests that the SEC may suspect that Mr. Dell unintentionally made statements that he should have known were misleading.”
In anticipation of the settlement, the company will restate its most recent earnings report, reducing its net income by $100 million.
The fishermen and the tax man [Los Angeles Times]
BP is requesting tax records from people in fishing communities in order process claims of lost work related to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Those seeking payment need to submit a commercial fishing license, proof of residence and tax statements. The problem is that many of these people do not keep tax records since they are paid in cash for their work.
More than 25,000 claims have been submitted so far and payments to about 12,000 have been made, totaling $36 million, according to the LA Times.
BP, through Graham MacEwan says that there’s a plan although like most of this crisis, the company isn’t sure how it will be fixed, “BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles has been telling parish council members over the past few days that if someone’s tax documents are not available, we will find other metrics. I don’t know exactly how we are going to do that yet.”
Salesforce CFO: Company Aggressively Hiring Sales Staff [Dow Jones]
Cloud trailblazer Salesforce.com is looking to add more sales personnel, having added 18,000 new customers over the last 12 months according to CFO Graham Smith.
Mr Smith also said the company is rolling out two new products in the near future including Chatter, a “a social-networking application for office collaboration” and VMforce, a collaboration with VMware, Inc. that will give Java developers a new way to deploy applications over the web.
We’ll be posting on a lighter schedule today. Hopefully many of you are enjoying a long weekend.
• Dell says several former staff may face SEC action [Reuters]
Some former Dell employees are facing possible SEC actions related to the company’s accounting. The Commission started its inquiry back in 2005 and Dell disclosed that the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York had subpoenaed documents shortly after in 2006. This all led to the Accounting Code of Conduct that the Company implemented last fall. The company stated that it believes ‘monetary penalties’ will be part of the settlement but otherwise they’re keeping a lid on it.
• FASB Chairman Robert H. Herz and IASB Chairman Sir David Tweedie to Discuss Global Accounting Issues at The George Washington University [FASB]
Herz and Tweeds will be at G Dubs on Wednesday, April 7th kicking around global accounting issues. “Greater Global Transparency in Financial Reporting: Lighting the Path for Investors” starts at 6 pm and is free and open to the public, so you best get there early before the groupies overrun the joint.
• NASBA Takes Back (Some) Passing CPA Exam Scores for March [JDA]
In what could amount to the worst April Fool’s joke in history, Adrienne is reporting over at JDA that NASBA is taking back some of the scores for March after extending the test dates in the third month:
[F]rom a reliable source within the Big 87654 that test-takers outside of the blizzard-affected areas have actually gotten their scores taken away and thrown out. Yes, that means all of you who put it off until the very last minute and rescheduled for the March extension are pretty much screwed unless you also got snowed in on top of it. Yes, those of you who paid for and passed the exam in March.
Huh. We’re checking into this. We’ll get back to you if we learn more.
The description, qualifications and desired experience all sound familiar for an internal audit position but we’ll refrain from coming right out and calling it that.
Dell needs someone for this position that has at least four years of audit experience with CPA, CMA, CIA and APICS all highly desirable.
Get more details on this position in Austin, TX after the jump.
Title: Audit Consultant
Location: Austin, TX
Minimum experience: 4 years
Description: The consultant candidate will responsible for executing audit scopes formulated to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of activities/economic drivers that create enterprise market value. Specifically the consultant will test whether an Risk Management framework exists and is functioning effectively for each selected auditable entity.
Responsibilities: Audit against a set of defined control objectives; meet project schedules; interview appropriate personnel and document results; perform appropriate testing; understand root causes, risks and opportunities of individual areas; synthesize ideas within the project team; write portions of published reports; track the status of action items; perform evaluations relative to management assertions based on accounting information arising from business activities; utilize independent judgment and initiative in the recognition and resolution of problems and discrepancies; provide guidance to the Business on matters pertaining to internal controls and process improvements; carry out ad-hoc investigations
Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree is required, MBA is a plus; four+ years of finance experience with a combination of the following would be preferred: Project management; Business controls; Audit experience
CPA, CMA, CIA and APICS certifications are all desirable; Language skills are a plus
Dell has an Accounting Manager III position that will oversee the financial reporting for business operating units (i.e., sales, marketing, service), treasury, cost and corporate areas.
The position requires a minimum of 6 years experience and a CPA is preferred.
Get more details on this position, located in Austin, TX after the jump.
Company: Dell, Inc.
Title: Accounting Manager III
Location: Austin, TX
Minimum experience: 6 years
Description: Responsible for developing and maintaining financial accounting systems and preparation of financial statements and management reports in one or more of the following areas: Business operating units (i.e., sales, marketing, service), Treasury, Cost and Corporate. Applies knowledge of accounting principles, practices and processes to activities associated with maintaining ledger accounts and developing financial statements and reports.
Responsibilities: Manage the maintenance of the accounting system to ensure that it accurately reflects the financial status of the business unit; review journal entries and supporting documentation to ensure accurate reporting; review monthly account reconciliations; determine cost center requirements and rollup structures and coordinate update requirements with the Financial Control Group within determined deadlines; implement system improvements to increase department efficiency and accuracy; review internal and/or external audit process and documentation for completeness and accuracy; manage accounting staff and prioritize activities to meet close deadlines as assigned; coordinate communications with and support provided to business unit finance group; coordinate, develop, issue, review and update business unit financial accounting and operating policies; ensure that the internal financial reporting requirements of the company are met; advise, consult and present to executive management on financial and/or accounting issues involving business activities for a business unit to ensure proper compliance with laws and GAAP; recruit, retain and develop accounting staff.
Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in or Accounting with 6-8 years experience or equivalent training and experience. CPA Preferred.
Whatever the hell that is. What we’re sure of is that Dell would have never implemented such a code had they not been investigated by the SEC, starting in 2006.
Along with the code to help force the accounting policies grab-ass hands to themselves, Dell also now has a “global team of accountants to focus on revenue recognition issues”.
Again, not too familiar with this, but at most companies, this is typically known as the “accounting department.”