A 54-page report by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) snaps at online tax prep companies H&R Block, TaxAct, and Tax Slayer for sharing sensitive taxpayer data with Meta (Facebook) and Google for purposes of algorithm-based advertising. Attacks on Tax Privacy: […]
Yelp, like most social platforms, has its pros and cons. It’s great for all kinds of businesses to get their name out there, and not just restaurants. I found my co-working space on Yelp. I found a garage door service company on Yelp. I found a gas fireplace technician on Yelp. Do you need a […]
Accountingfly’s Meet The Firms Week is coming to an internet near you from Monday, October 3rd, to Friday, October 7th. There will be five great webinars to check out including Facebook controller Matt Banks who will be presenting “How I Became Controller at Facebook.” Going Concern interviewed Matt earlier this year and now you’ll have […]
Earlier this month we crowdsourced some questions from you for our interview with Facebook Controller, Matt Banks. As we mentioned then, Matt is responsible for managing all aspects of the company’s North American revenue accounting operations, general ledger and consolidation teams. He is also responsible for helping set global accounting policy and managing the company’s […]
In this day and age, few companies have the visibility and prestige of Facebook. Yes, you have to block your Dad’s political rants, but forget all that. Facebook is a technology company working to change the world as we know it. Changing the world involves a lot of numbers that have nothing to do with […]
You're a busy CPA exam candidate with no time to read the Candidate Handbook or use Google to get the answers you seek. What do you do? Get on Facebook and holla at your friendly local Board of Accountancy, natch. Post by California Board of Accountancy. This is actually a pretty cool […]
Personal branding, not the kind cows get with a hot poker on their round steak. Here are the details: How will YOU stand out? Branding yourself is a great way to discover things that make you who you are, develop key messages about your strengths and abilities, create a consistent look and voice, and market […]
There are no words, people. NONE.
It appears its massive, child-like compound isn’t enough as Facebook has announced plans to build a “company town” near its Menlo Park HQ: The social network said this week it is working with a local developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community within walking distance of its offices. Called Anton Menlo, the 630,000 […]
Twitter wasn't the only place to air your expletive-filled grievances on Friday. Even though all CPA exam score release dates are target dates (meaning shit can and does happen and the AICPA makes no promises you'll actually see your score on the date they announce), apparently a few people were upset by the delay in […]
Per BAP: FYI: We made the Annual Meeting video private until we get a version with standard music. The music on the first version is copyrighted. Thank you for your patience. Here's the video proudly posted on Facebook on August 14th: And then the oopsie news two days later: Yeah, that's only slightly embarrassing. But […]
It was nearly two weeks ago when we learned that ex-KPMG partner had dabbled in insider trading of several KPMG clients, including two — Herbalife and Skechers — that were audit clients of London's. It set off quite a firestorm, however when the criminal complaint against London came out, we discovered that the manner in which he and his golf buddy/watch guy Bryan Shaw conducted this little conspiracy was not too sophisticated. Phone calls. Meetings in parking lots. Black paper bags filled with cash. The Boss. It's what you might expect from a couple of middle-aged bros who had plenty of laughs together at the 19th hole.
Recently, some high profile companies have been going public. Leading up to the big day, all kinds of people get ants in their pants because, contrary to what some of you believe, going public is AWESOME. There are roadshows, CNBC hype, and typically you get to ring a bell. Pretty sweet. Unfortunately, there are all […]
After the world discovered that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin had high-tailed it for Singapore and wasn't interested in being a citizen of the USA, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Ex-PATRIOT act. They did so in order to teach Eddie and other rich, tax-dodging Benedict Arnolds what happens when you bolt […]
As was noted last week, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship, according to an IRS report. Some people speculated that the cause for this GTFOOTUSA was the savings in federal income tax because, as you may have heard, the Facebook is going public and ES is probably going to do okay when this thing […]
Yesterday morning we linked to a little story about Francesca Holdings Corp. CFO Gene Morphis getting fired for "improperly communicat[ing] company information through social media." The Journal picked it up later in the day with details on some of this social media activity that we thought we'd share with you Board meeting.Good numbers=Happy Board. — […]
So to speak. Bloomberg reports that Eduardo Saverin has renounced his U.S. citizenship ahead of Facebook's IPO. This has a number of obvious advantages – the lack of Kardashians, Nickelback, and NBA playoffs to name a few. But also, there are the tax advantages to consider, which it appears Saverin may have done: Facebook plans to […]
Cripes, this Facebook IPO thing has people going bonkers so we figured digging up a little relevant information for you all was in order. Most of you probably knew that Ernst & Young was the auditor of Zuckerberg's playland but you probably aren't yet clued in to the members of the audit committee that E&Y […]
Yesterday I sat in a session at the ACFE Fraud Conference and Exhibit entitled “Effectively Using Social Networks and Social Media in Fraud Examinations” with a few hundred [?] fraudbusters and I got the impression that few people in the room were social media savvy (in the stalk-y sense, anyway). I came to this conclusion after watching most of the hands in the room go up when asked “who thinks social media is a waste of time?” and saw nearly same amount of hands raised when asked “do you have some sort of social network presence?”
Cynthia Hetherington, President of Hetherington Group, described herself as “[A] librarian, a technologist and licensed private investigator. So, I’m a nerd, I’m a geek and I’m a dick,” was the speaker for this particular session and a lot of her talk introduced the crowd to the idea of stalking people on the Internet. She knew her crowd well, as a joke about Laverne & Shirley’s apartment got plenty of laughs, while a quip about Snooki got crickets. This reinforced my suspicion that the idea that of curating information about financial crooks using Facebook and Twitter was new to many in the room.
Now, the majority of people listening may have known it was possible to find partially-nude pics on someone’s Facebook profile or Twitter account (which she demonstrated in one non-Anthony Weiner example) but maybe they hadn’t considered that they could learn a lot of other useful information about someone they were investigating.
In short, Ms. Herrington explained to the biz casual crowd that you can find out a lot of information about a person just by poking around their social media accounts. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you can learn someone’s likes, dislikes, their political leanings, where they’ve lived, who their friends are, etc. and use that information to build a profile, analyze behavior or in some cases, find out where someone maybe hiding.
What does all this mean? Opportunity my friends. If you fancy yourself social media and Internet savvy, you probably have a leg up on many of the vets in the fraud and forensics business when it comes to poking around the Web and finding information on people of interest to you. Sure you may not have their years of investigative expertise, extensive contacts or an aging wardrobe but you may have successfully Web-stalked ex-significant others, crushes and completely random people to learn things that they’ve volunteered into cyberspace. And here you thought your creepy behavior was completely worthless.
Stephen Siddell’s dishonesty led to 16 people losing their jobs while he and his wife, Louise Siddell, took luxury foreign holidays. They even posted photographs of their stay in a six bedroom villa in Cyprus on Facebook boasting, “because we’re worth it”. Liverpool Crown Court heard the couple had lock-up garage in Bromborough, which was an “Aladdin’s cave” full of their expensive furniture and designer goods. 24-year-old Louise Siddell had also used their ill-gotten gains to pay for jewellery and breast enhancement. [Wirral Globe]
Recently, I’ve been getting suspicious emails purporting to be from a high-up in my company. I have faith in this person and therefore would assume if (s)he wanted to push hot webcam videos on me, (s)he’d have the decency to text me with the hott linkks instead of using poor grammar in work emails. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the same emails coming from – gasp! – my own email address. Now I knew it had to be a scam; surely I wouldn’t have to tell myself about some hot new webcam girrllss I’d discovered on an .ru domain, I’d have that shit deliciously bookmarked on my own machine.
Being incredibly careful with my logins, I knew I couldn’t have slipped up and gotten phished. Had I been hacked?
Whenever someone says “I got hacked!” I have to admit I always feel a bit of “blame the victim” is in order. After all, I find it a bit hard to swallow that some hardcore hackers in Russia are all that concerned with your personal Facebook page. To say “I’ve been hacked” implies that some outside source did some work to break through your rock solid security and gain entry, and makes no implication that the user themselves likely opened the door and let the “hacker” in, if unwittingly. More often than not, “I got hacked” means “I unknowingly gave up my password in a phishing scheme” or “I screwed up and clicked an unbelievable posting on Facebook that stole my login info because I never read the permissions I give third party apps.”
It’s been done a million times but for your sake, here are a few tips for staying safe out there in the big scary Internets.
Make sure your contact info is up to date. If an unscrupulous individual ever gains access to your Facebook account, you may be forced to lock it down, in which case you’ll need access to the email address you use to sign in to receive communications from Facebook to get your account back. Make sure you’re using an email you have access to, even if it’s one you don’t use often.
Diversify your passwords. It goes without saying that a good password is one that isn’t found in the dictionary but isn’t so difficult you have to keep it written on a sticky at your desk. Dennis Howlett recommends a LastPass account (via AccountingWEB UK) for harder to remember passwords if you must. Substitute numbers for letters (like “1” instead of “I” or “3” instead of “E”) and throw in some punctuation just to be safe.
If you aren’t sure, don’t click it. Spammers have gotten pretty smart since the days of the “ILOVEYOU” virus (which happens to turn 11 this week) and even the most technologically-adept can fall for their tricks. If you aren’t expecting an attachment, don’t open it. Common attachment scams include spoofed emails from UPS or USPS claiming to contain your tracking number or a package exception – while UPS may send you emails, they’d never send you a zip file (tracking numbers are always included in the body of any UPS communications sent on merchants’ behalf). Be wary!
And if you have been hacked, phished or otherwise compromised, delete any offending posts from your hijacked social media pages and issue an apology. You don’t have to beg for forgiveness, just let everyone know you got compromised and are sorry, it won’t happen again.
In my case, I just got spoofed, which isn’t really my fault at all. That’s where a nice email from the tech support department to the rest of the team comes in handy.
All this resentment of the IRS has got to stop. It’s counter-productive, cowardly and most of all, annoying. The gang at Boulder, Colorado-based Webroot understands that you shoo away more IRS flies with honey than with vinegar, so they’ve made a simple suggestion: “This tax season get on the IRS’s good side.”
How does one do that, you ask? Well, Webroot has given you three options to show some love:
1. Send a flower to Doug Shulman – Behind that rough exterior, The Commish is a softee. Sign up for this option and a flower will be added to the bouquet and your name included on a card that will accompany warm his bureaucratic heart. You do have the option of donating a flower anonymously if you’re still not sure Dougie is nothing but a taxborg that gets plugged in every evening.
2. Pro-IRS Stamps – Don’t you just love it when you get unique stamps in the mail? Imagine how good you would feel if the stamp had a tattoo heart with your name in the middle of it. I’ll bet the IRS would like it if you used one to mail in your tax return. Those “Forever” stamps are boring anyway.
3. Like the IRS on Facebook – Seriously, people. Is there a better way to show your appreciation? Besides, I’ve seen what some of you ‘Like’ on FB and quite honestly, it’s far more embarrassing than liking the IRS.
Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette on Thursday downplayed the competitive threat from social-networking giant Facebook Inc., arguing that the digital economy will create a “ton of winners.” “Everybody will benefit if the Web is more social,” he said. “It’s not a zero sum game.” [Dow Jones]
JT spoke to NYU students earlier this week and of course during the Q&A, Diane Brady, a senior editor at Bloomberg threw him a softie, asking if the firm was hiring, to which Diego responded, “we’re always hiring.” This, of course brought the house down (laughs, raucous applause).
Anyway, Brady decided to throw Jim a curve and asked why a young recruit would pick E&Y over Zuckerland.
“Should students ever consider starting at a big firm of yours?” Brady said. “Why not just go out there and make the billions with Facebook? What is the attraction at Ernst & Young?”
Turley responded by saying that most entrepreneurs, despite common misconceptions, are not just out to make money.
“[Entrepreneurs] go out there to find a need,” he said. “At Ernst & Young, you have opportunities to be extraordinarily mobile and move around the world.”
His advice? “First, find something that you love doing,” Turley said. “Second, align with an organization that actually thinks about where the world is going. And lastly, find an organization that wants you to change them as opposed to them to change you.”
See, if you can’t find a need then you need care about being “extraordinarly mobile.” Seems like a fair trade-off, especially since billionaires don’t travel much.
And just curious, how would the members of Ernie’s army like the firm to change? We’re assuming JT goes with the “whatever is good for the goose” mantra. Leave your suggestions below.
Tax Cuts Slide To Back Burner On Campaign Trail [WSJ]
It’s a sign that a decision by Democratic leaders, to put off a vote on extending the tax cuts until after the Nov. 2 elections, may be paying off politically.
“It’s harder to write an ad portraying a vote that hasn’t happened yet,” said Brian Gaston, a former senior aide to House GOP leaders and now a lobbyist at the Glover Park Group.
Google 2.4% Rate Shows How $60 Billion Lost to Tax Loopholes [Bloomberg]
Google y $3.1 billion in the last three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda.
Google’s income shifting — involving strategies known to lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich” — helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization, according to regulatory filings in six countries.
TUI Travel CFO Quits After Accounting Error [Dow Jones]
In an embarrassing admission, the company said an ongoing audit for the fiscal year ended September 2010 had highlighted the accounting error in the integration of IT systems in its U.K. mainstream business that had accrued over a period of four to five years and which increased its total write-off for 2009 from GBP29 million to GBP117 million.
Chief Executive Peter Long told Dow Jones Newswires that the issue had been identified when it reported its third-quarter results but continued to investigate the matter and “only last night were we able to determine the scale of the problem.”
Banks Clueless on Foreclosure Mess Severity [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
The biggest U.S. mortgage lenders and servicers say they’re putting the foreclosure mess behind them, and that it never was a major problem. The reality is these companies are so big and unmanageable, the people in charge of running them have no way to know if that is true.
One thing that remains unknowable is how many flawed home- mortgage records and foreclosure proceedings are out there waiting to be unearthed. Dozens of federal and state agencies are investigating. It’s anyone’s guess what they might turn up.
NJ man cashes $158G check IRS mistakenly sent him [Asbury Park Press]
He figured no one would notice.
For ‘B-to-B’ Companies, Finding Facebook ‘Friends’ Can Be a Struggle [WSJ]
These days, even small “business-to-business” concerns like Bill.com are experimenting with social media, perceiving the popular online hangouts as low-cost, easy-to-use venues for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. But unlike their consumer-focused counterparts—retailers that sell smartphones, jeans, games and other personal products—so-called B-to-B businesses seem to be having a harder time connecting with their target audience.
Some IRS agents carry guns, too, agents tell UAB accounting student group [Birmingham News]
“My first day on the job, I thought, ‘Why are they carrying guns?'” said Donald Smith, a UAB graduate and special agent with the IRS-Criminal Investigation unit.
Korea wants G20 to delay accounting standard consolidation [Korea Times]
Apparently they have a say in the matter
Analyzing the Small-Business Tax Hysteria [You’re the Boss/NYT]
“The rhetoric on this subject has become counterproductive. It can’t be helping consumer confidence, and it’s certainly not creating any jobs. In what used to be a running joke on ‘The Simpsons,’ whenever trouble arose, Reverend Lovejoy’s wife would shriek, ‘Won’t somebody please think of the children?!!!’ The emerging counterpart to that cry in our real-life politics seems to be, ‘Won’t somebody please think of the small businesses!’ ”