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Accounting News Roundup: More on PwC Re-Branding and the Firm’s Bet on China; What Would Mitch McConnell’s Government Look Like? | 09.17.10

Warren vows end to “tricks” with consumer agency [Reuters]
“Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren said on Friday she accepted the job of setting up a consumer financial protection agency for U.S. President Barack Obama and declared that the time for financial ‘tricks and traps’ was over.

Obama was expected to announce his appointment of Warren, a Harvard University professor and hero to liberal activists, at 1:30 pm EDT, taking a step forward in enacting the financial reform that is a signature achievement of his presidency.”

Final Seal Set for BP Well [Re-Branding at PricewaterhouseCoopers — OMG, It’s Like Totally Awesome! [Re:Balance]
Jim Peterson’s analysis on PwC’s new look takes a bit of a different angle, “When the accounting profession’s very survival rests on the ability to sell a basic core product – assurance on financial information – the essence of that delivery is the maintenance of confidence among issuers and users in consistent, solid and predictable quality service.

That has been more than challenge enough, in difficult times for the profession. But its messages can and should be pretty stolid. A slightly boring orthodoxy is not a bad thing, when the profession is the only one that requires two terms to describe itself and its core offerings: accountant and auditor – contrasted with, for example, doctor, lawyer, priest or engineer.”

When Job-Interview Questions Become Too Personal [The Juggle/WSJ]
Things you shouldn’t have to answer: 1) “Do you plan to have a family any time soon?” 2) “I love your accent; where are you from?” 3) “Are you currently using birth control?”

PwC: To Invest Around $100 Mln On China In 3-5 Years [Dow Jones]
“PricewaterhouseCoopers plans to invest an estimated US$100 million in China over the next three to five years on overall operations including recruiting and training staff to meet the country’s growing appetite for more sophisticated financial services, said a senior executive of the global accounting firm.

‘We see great opportunities in China. The world is coming out of recession and emerging markets like China and India have done so much better than mature markets,’ Nora Wu, lead partner of PwC’s Shanghai office, told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.”

Mitch McConnell, the Bush Tax Cuts, and the Future of Government [TaxVox]
“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to permanently extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts. He’s also rejected even modest efforts by President Obama to restrain the growth of Medicare. He is opposed to efforts by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to control future Pentagon spending. And he favors a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced budget. It all got me wondering: What would such a McConnell government look like?”

Accounting News Roundup: Liz Warren to Be Geithner’s Sidekick; Chicago Accountant Gets 23-Year Sentence for Ponzi Du Jour; Gibbs, Boehner Tweet Over Tax Cuts | 09.16.10

White House Taps Consumer Adviser [WSJ]
“President Barack Obama this week will appoint Elizabeth Warren to a lead role setting up the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, two Democratic officials said, a move that will allow the White House to avoid a messy Senate fight over her role.

Ms. Warren, currently a professor at Harvard Law School, will be named an assistant to the president and special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in charge of launching the new agency and setting its mission. She was a candidate to be the agency’s first director, a position that remains unfilled, but would likely have confirmation because of opposition in the Senate.”

What is Accounting? [White Collar Fraud]
It’s sort of like arithmetic but not really. Former Sam Antar nemesis, Howard Sirota, explains in a video over at WCF.

Chicago-Area Man Is Sentenced to 23 Years for Running 22-Year Ponzi Scheme [Bloomberg]
“Frank Castaldi, who ran a Chicago- area Ponzi scheme for 22 years that cost victims $31.6 million, was sentenced to 23 years in prison today in federal court.

For 22 years, Castaldi, 57, of suburban Prospect Heights preyed upon elderly Italian immigrants, U.S. District Judge John Darrah said today before handing down the sentence.

‘This is an offense of huge magnitude,’ the judge said after hearing from victims of the scheme in a packed courtroom. ‘It involved hundreds of victims. It involved millions of dollars.’

In an August 2009 plea agreement, Castaldi said he had raised more than $77 million from 473 groups and individuals. First charged in January of last year, he admitted to mail fraud and to trying to thwart a U.S. Internal Revenue Service probe.”

Regulators to Target ‘Window Dressing’ [WSJ]
“Federal regulators are poised to propose new disclosure rules targeting “window dressing,” a practice undertaken by some large banks to temporarily lower their debt levels before reporting finances to the public.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is scheduled to take up the matter at a meeting Friday and is expected to issue proposals for public comment. The action follows a Wall Street Journal investigation into the practice, which isn’t illegal but masks banks’ true levels of borrowing and risk-taking.”

Banks take over record number of homes in August [Reuters]
“A record number of homeowners lost houses to their banks in August as lenders worked through the backlog of distressed mortgages, real estate data company RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

New default notices decreased at the same time, suggesting that lenders managed the flow of troubled loans and foreclosed properties hitting the market to limit price declines, the company said.

Root problems of high unemployment, wage cuts, negative home equity and restrictive lending practices persist, however, pointing to lingering housing market pain.”

Jon Stewart: Robert Gibbs and John Boehner on the Bush Tax Cuts [TaxProf Blog]

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