Over the weekend, I aired some grievances that I've had with The New York Times and its tax […]
General Motors Co’s new chief financial officer told analysts the automaker remains committed to the low-debt strategy and discipline on vehicle pricing emphasized by his predecessor. In a dinner meeting with analysts on Thursday, Dan Ammann said GM faced limited impact from the Japan crisis, was increasing its auto credit capabilities, and was reducing its exposure to incentives in the U.S. market, according to research notes from Barclays Capital and J.P. Morgan. “Dan emphasized fundamental continuity around GM’s financial strategy and philosophy with his predecessor,” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said. “Dan plans to continue the low-debt strategy of his predecessor.” [Reuters]
Chris Liddell is thinking about the future!
“I’m not worried about today, I’m worried about the three months and the six months and the nine months” from now, GM Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said in an interview this morning on CNBC.
Liddell also had some frank talk about how GM can never go back to the bad, old days, when he said GM was a financing company with a car company “attached,” and the auto maker used its pension plan as a “piggy bank.” GM needs to have a “fortress” balance sheet to support its business plan, Liddell said.
So the intention is there but old habits die hard, amiright? Francine McKenna thinks so and makes a prediction:
My prediction: GM needs another accounting restatement before the 2012 election. This time it shouldn’t be retail investors who end up with the short end of this stick.
Any takers? November 6, 2012 is the over/under. We’ll take the overs (post-election day) and if we lose, we’ll take FM to dinner at the restaurant of her choosing.
Accounting News Roundup: GM’s Magic Goodwill; IRAs Under Attack By IRS; Grant Thornton Names Non-exec Directors in UK | 09.09.10
Home Buyer Tax Credit Price Tag: $22 Billion [WSJ]
“The total estimated cost of the home buyer tax credits is about $22 billion, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office last week. The report looked at all three of the tax credits, which were in effect from April 2008 through June 30, 2010.
As we’ve written, the credits did a lot to juice sales. But many have argued that the government incentives basically pulled folks who were already planning to the market earlier. And certainly, we’ve been seeing the post-credit hangover: Home resales dropped to record lows in July. Talk of a housing double-dip is in the air.”
How GM Made $30 Billion Appear From Thin Air [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
General Motors somehow ended up with $30 billion in goodwill on their balance sheet that was on their recent registration statement. Funny thing – the company only has equity of $23.9 billion. Another funny thing – the company said that the goodwill number would have been less if they were a better credit risk.
But don’t worry, apparently this is all in accordance with fresh-start accounting.
Bringing the US on board [Accountancy Age]
“Sir David is a realist – the two accounting codes will never match. ‘There’s absolutely no way [international standards] can converge with US GAAP – you can’t converge two and a half thousand pages with seventeen and a half thousand. There are going to be differences,’ he said.”
The New Threat To Your IRA: An IRS Crackdown [Forbes]
“After years of haphazard enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service is starting to systematically search out violations of the convoluted rules governing individual retirement accounts. There’s a lot at stake. Americans hold $4.3 trillion in IRAS, and the cost of even innocent mistakes can be steep; if you miss taking a required payout from your IRA, Uncle Sam will demand half of the amount you forgot to take as a penalty.
The IRS was prodded to act by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. In a report earlier this year it concluded that IRA violations have been growing and estimated that more than half a million taxpayers either missed required payouts or contributed more than allowed to IRAS during 2006 and 2007.”
Grant Thornton responds to non-executive code [FT]
“Grant Thornton has become the first major UK auditor to respond to new governance rules by announcing the appointment of independent non-executive directors to help oversee its business.
The accountant’s UK arm said on Wednesday that it had recruited Richard Eyre, a media industry veteran, Caroline Goodall, a lawyer, and Ed Warner, the head of the governing body for UK athletics, to fill the posts.”
Thomson Reuters Releases First iPhone(R) App for Tax and Accounting Professionals [PR Newswire]
“The Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters is pleased to announce the release of Mobile CS, a first-of-its-kind iPhone app for tax and accounting professionals. Using advanced mobile application technology, this comprehensive practice management tool extends the reach of Practice CS(R) from desktop to iPhone, giving more than 60,000 Practice CS users the ability to access key firm, staff, and client data anytime, anywhere.”
Glaxo Taps Goldman Deal Maker as Finance Chief [WSJ]
“GlaxoSmithKline PLC Wednesday chose Simon Dingemans, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. deal maker, to be its next chief financial officer but said the choice won’t change its cautious approach to mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Dingemans, 47 years old, will succeed Julian Heslop, who will retire from the post at the end of March. Mr. Dingemans has advised Glaxo on an ad-hoc basis over the years and is currently managing director and partner with Goldman Sachs in London. He joins the U.K.’s biggest drug maker as chief financial officer designate and executive director from Jan. 4, 2011. He most recently worked with Glaxo to establish ViiV Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer Inc.’s joint venture for AIDS drugs.”
Gun-slinging accountant loses Chapter 7 battle [South Florida Business Journal]
“Jay Levin, a Boca Raton accountant who shot and killed a teenager in 2003, has lost his battle to erase a $750,000 judgment related to the shooting.
Levin shot Mark Drewes, his 16-year-old neighbor, in the back after the teen rang Levin’s doorbell in a “ding-dong-ditch” prank one night, according to motions in Levin’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
Levin had filed the bankruptcy in February, alleging he couldn’t pay the $750,000 judgment from a 2007 civil lawsuit Drewes’ parents had filed against him. Levin paid $102,260 of the judgment, but still owes the remainder”
“That is quite a risk to put at the end of the list.”
~ Peter Henning isn’t so sure that General Motors is taking the whole “disclosure controls and procedures and our internal control over financial reporting are currently not effective” serious enough.
Accounting News Roundup: Why Did Power Integrations Fire Their CFO?; Spain Making ‘Sweeping Austerity Measures’; GM May Want GMAC Back | 05.12.10
Power Integrations fires chief financial officer [AP]
Not to worry Power Integrations investors, Bill Roeschlein’s firing “was not related to financial statements or regulatory issues,” according to the company. However, he is currently the “subject of a felony domestic assault criminal complaint filed in Missouri,” which he denies and naturally he will “defend himself vigorously.” Unfortunately, that might cut into the job search.
Spain joins euro zone austerity bandwagon [Reuters]
Spain has agreed to “sweeping austerity measures,” cutting civil service pay 5% and freezing it for 2011. The country will also cut approximately 13,000 public sector jobs.
Minority Owner Sues Cuban, Calls Mavericks ‘Insolvent’ [NYT]
Ross Perot, Jr. is suing SEC target Mark Cuban, accusing him of turning the Dallas Mavericks into a financial catastrophe. The Times reports, “Perot is seeking damages, the naming of a receiver to take over the team and the appointment of a forensic accountant to investigate its finances. Perot said that Cuban’s actions had diminished the value of his investment in the team and violated his and other minority owners’ rights.”
Cuban, as you might expect, isn’t impressed with Charts Boy, Jr.’s loserness. He wrote in an email to the Dallas Morning News, “There is no risk of insolvency. Everyone always has been and will be paid on time. Being in business with Ross Perot is one of the worst experiences of my business life. He could care less about Mavs fans. He could care less about winning.”
Failed Bomber’s Resume Fail [FINS]
Faisal Shazad’s resumé sucks.
Is G.M. Looking to Buy Back GMAC? [AP]
Sources say that GM is interested in buying back GMAC (now known as Ally Financial) “so they can offer more competitive lease and loan deals.” The U.S. Government currently owns 56% of GMAC and 61% of GM, who plans to announce its first quarter earnings next week.
• Christmas Gifts for that Special Tax Person – A possible gift for that Tim Geithner groupie in your life. [TaxProf Blog]
• GM Recruits Microsoft’s Liddell as New Finance Chief – Apparently GM’s finance department had some Deliverance thing going on. [Bloomberg]
• Top 50 Blogs for Accountants – There are some familiar names on this list, including GC. Thanks! [The Biz-Learner]
• Rajaratnam, Chiesi Plead Not Guilty – Doing what’s best for investors is not a crime. [WSJ]
• Crazy Eddie inductee talks about walls of false integrity – Sam Antar = Hall of Famer [Con Artist Hall of Infamy]
• Allyson Baumeister Elected to Board of Directors, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants – The best perk of such a position would be the opportunity to rub elbows with Ben Bankes. [Sanford Baumeister & Frazier Press Release]
• Audit Committee Comp Influences Auditor Support – “The study found that audit committee members are more likely to support the auditor, as opposed to management, in an accounting disagreement when audit committee compensation includes long-term stock options.” [Web CPA]
• The Mid-Quarter Trap – More year-end wisdom from Joe Kristan. [Tax Update Blog]
• GM board moving fast on CEO, CFO hires – Spencer Stuart is on the hunt if you’re interested… [Reuters]
• G.M. Will Consider Lump Sum Payment to U.S. – …but you’ll have to deal with this. [DealBook]