Company Loses Bad Auditor; Disaster Ensues
When a company changes their auditors, it can be a bit of a headache. As inconvenient as it can be, I've never heard a company express despair over it until I read this 8-K from Nano Labs Corp. Their auditor was none other than Terry Johnson, the Florida CPA who didn't audit much for his […]
Rihanna Video Has Blown the Lid Off Accountants’ Lavish Lifestyle, Says Guy
All this time, an unsuspecting public has thought accountants to be frumpy, fastidious paper-pushers ever-willing to split the check down to the penny for their foolhardy friends. But thanks to that accountant-slaying siren Rihanna, says Financial Times pop critic Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, the secret licentious lives of accountants have been exposed: Is the video feminist or […]
Did Accounting Really Lose 25,000 Jobs in December?
Alright people, let's not freak out, it's just a jobs report. Dec jobs report showed a 25,000 decline in accounting jobs. Zandi: "That’s pretty bizarre.There’s no reason to think that actually happened" — Annalyn Kurtz (@AnnalynKurtz) February 5, 2014 That's Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, and if you can't trust him, who can you […]
The Olds Don’t Get the Internet and All Tax Collectors Are Evil, Say Younger, More Paranoid Republicans That Oppose Online Sales Tax
The Marketplace Fairness Act is back in the news again, as The Hill reports that some Republicans — Texas Senator Ted Cruz to be precise — are saying that a generational gap is largely the reason that younger GOP Senators opposed the bill. Never mind that four out of the five oldest GOP Senators voted […]
The E&Y Spy Story Is Even Weirder Than We Thought
On Monday we shared the story of Express Scripts suing Ernst & Young and one of its former partners, Donald Gravlin, of stealing a bunch of proprietary information from the company's headquarters in St. Louis. The suit went so far to say that the firm and Gravlin had an "evil motive" and "engaged in unlawful and […]
Minnesota’s Sexiest Accountant Contest: Cute or Creepy?
We can pretty safely assume that most of you did not enter the profession to add to your sexy factor, so how would you feel about being nominated as your state's sexiest accountant in honor of Tax Day? From the Pioneer Press: Let's face it. Filing your income tax return isn't pretty. But that's no […]
Study: Competing Forensic Accounting Bodies Pretty Much Hate Each Other; Regulation Needed
The continued prevalence of fraudulent activity in business will undoubtedly lead many of you to a career in forensic accounting and/or fraud examination. Because of the nature of their work, you might be under the impression that the organizations in this little corner of the sandbox would be above reproach and bickering over petty differences […]
Apparently, If Junior Seau Had Been a CPA, He Would Have Made Partner in Five Years
I'm always amazed by the misinformed comments made by those outside of the accounting industry about the accounting industry (and, sadly, sometimes the ones made by those on the inside). Now no one expects the uninitiated to have any clue what they're talking about but how hard is it to at least try if you're […]
When Accounting Jokes Go Awry
It's great when accounting firms embrace social media. A good example of this is the "Proud to be Boring Accountants" campaign by Macias Gini & O’Connell LLP. I've worked with MGO before and can assure you, they get it. If you are a talented CPA-eligible or CPA-passed accountant in Northern California, you should probably check […]
Vermont Is a Hotbed of Embezzling Embezzlers
Ahh, Vermont. Foliage, second-rated skiing, and, of course, hippies. But apparently, the Green Mountain should be known for something else – stealing from your employer! According to Marquet International Ltd., Vermont "Vermont topped the list of states with highest risk for loss due to embezzlement in 2011." What's the reason for this? Well, it's not […]
SEC Not Amused By Deloitte’s Failure to Produce Documents Related to Company That Held Their Audit Workpapers Hostage
Remember Longtop Financial Technologies? Deloitte resigned as auditors of the Chinese company back in May after LFT took some actions that were, shall we say, unusual for an audit client. Among them, “interference by certain members of Longtop management in DTT’s audit process; and […] the unlawful detention of DTT’s audit files.” And there may be some financial statement fraud going on, to boot. What’s even slightly weirder is Deloitte’s resig nt to Longtop’s Audit Committee that laid out the specifics:
[A]s a result of intervention by the Company’s officials including the Chief Operating Officer, the confirmation process was stopped amid serious and troubling new developments including: calls to banks by the Company asserting that Deloitte was not their auditor; seizure by the Company’s staff of second round bank confirmation documentation on bank premises; threats to stop our staff leaving the Company premises unless they allowed the Company to retain our audit files then on the premises; and then seizure by the Company of certain of our working papers.
Right. The auditors-almost-taken-hostage situation. Quite a doozy, this one. Based on the history between Deloitte and Longtop, one would think that Green Dot would jump at any chance to exact a little revenge on these shady bastards. NOPE!
From the crack squad at the SEC:
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a subpoena enforcement action against Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd. for failing to produce documents related to the SEC’s investigation into possible fraud by the Shanghai-based public accounting firm’s longtime client Longtop Financial Technologies Limited.
According to the SEC’s application and supporting papers filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the SEC issued a subpoena on May 27, 2011, and D&T Shanghai was required to produce documents by July 8, 2011. Although D&T Shanghai is in possession of vast amounts of documents responsive to the subpoena, it has not produced any documents to the SEC to date. As a result, the Commission is unable to gain access to information that is critical to an investigation that has been authorized for the protection of public investors.
“Compliance with an SEC subpoena is not an option, it is a legal obligation,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The ability of the SEC to conduct swift and thorough investigations requires that subpoena recipients promptly comply with that legal obligation. Subpoena recipients who refuse to comply should expect serious legal consequences.”
Maybe the email/hand-written letter sent by carrier pigeon (whatever method of communication the Commission is using these days) got lost OR maybe no one at Deloitte Shanghai was in the translating mood that day but it seems slightly strange that Deloitte would just blow this off especially since Longtop screwed them 70 ways to Sunday. Of course these documents could show that Deloitte was really a bunch of pansies and we’re letting LFT run the show until the gross negligence got to the point that they simply couldn’t ignore it anymore. It’s anybody’s guess, really.
UPDATE: The Journal reports that Deloitte claims to be “caught in the middle of conflicting demands by two government regulators,” which could be seen as extremely convenient.
SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement Action Against Deloitte & Touche in Shanghai [SEC]
Court Filing [SEC]
Also see: S.E.C. Asks Court to Force a Release of Papers From China [NYT]
Apple CFO’s Seemingly Banal Statement Interpreted Quite Differently by The Wall St. Journal
Apple Insider reported yesterday that when Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer was asked about Google’s acquisition of Motorola he reportedly said, “$12.5 billion is a lot of money.” Now, I don’t know anyone that would say, “$12.5 billion is pocket change,” or “I piss on $12.5 billion.” Not even the most ostentatious Russian oligarch would be so bold to laugh in the face of that sum of money.
Having said that, it appears the Wall St. Journal seems to think that Oppenheimer’s statement are akin to fighting words, as illustrated by the headline: “Apple CFO Snipes at Google’s Motorola Bid” which included the following:
Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, took a shot at Google when asked about the company’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings during a conference call with investors hosted by Gleacher & Company. Oppenheimer said that companies should invent their own technology rather than buy it from the outside, adding that “$12.5 billion is a lot of money,” according to a report from Apple Insider.
First of all, to look at Peter Oppenheimer you wouldn’t think he’s capable of “sniping.” Secondly, “snipe” is defined as “To make malicious, underhand remarks or attacks” according to Wiktionary. For example, if Oppenheimer had said something like, “Larry Page couldn’t get laid in a monkey whorehouse with a bag of bananas” or “Androids are the Yugos of the smartphone world,” those would qualify as snipes. They are malicious, underhanded and are attacks.
Conversely, “$12.5 billion is a lot of money” is not a snipe. It is a statement of a fact-ish. It is a lot of money. You could argue that it is Oppenheimer’s opinion but as posited above, very few would argue that it isn’t a lot of money. Is Google overpaying for Motorola? That’s the question Michael Hickins ultimately asks in his article but somehow the hook for this was that Apple’s CFO brings the same level of snark as the CEO.
For Reasons Unknown, Some People Are Listening to Mike Huckabee Talk About Taxes
The House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee held a hearing yesterday to discuss how to best reform the Internal Revenue Code.
Oddly, former Republican Presidential Candidate and conservative stud of the Fox News stable, Mike Huckabee, was invited to give his thoughts on the matter which include eliminating the IRS and replacing it with the dead in the water FairTax:
[Huckabee] is urging Congress to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, along with taxes on income, payrolls and estates, and replace them all with a single retail sales tax. Huckabee told the House Ways and Means Committee today that Congress should pass legislation to achieve those goals, dubbed the FairTax, which is popular with many Republican voters even as it makes little legislative progress.
Now maybe Huckabee secretly crammed in rigorous tax study during his one year at seminary but this is a guy who was convinced Donald Trump was going to run for President.
Huckabee Tells Congress to Scrap IRS for Single Retail Sales Tax [Bloomberg]
UK Whitepaper Seeks to Reconcile Mother Nature’s Books
When do you recognize maple syrup, when it is earned (sucked from the tree) or realized (when it goes down your big fat gap)? How much goodwill does a forest have?
The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has published its first white paper on the natural environment in 20 years hoping to answer some of these questions. The natural choice: securing the value of nature suggests the UK should set up an independent Natural Capital Committee (sort of like FASB for forests) to advise the government on when, where and how natural assets are being used unsustainably.
This would create “green accounts” which give an idea how the country’s natural assets are being used.
The authors of the paper suggest that economic growth and the natural environment are mutually compatible, implying that “nature’s bank balance” should not be ignored when looking at the country’s overall economic growth.
“Past action has often taken place on too small a scale. We want to promote an ambitious, integrated approach, creating a resilient ecological network across England. We will move from net biodiversity loss to net gain, by supporting healthy, well-functioning ecosystems and coherent ecological networks. We will publish a new Biodiversity Strategy for England, responding to our international commitments and setting a new direction for policy over the next decade,” the paper says, proving that someone obviously read their accounting textbooks before they tried to write a framework for valuing nature’s assets.
[Insert bad money doesn’t grow on trees joke here]
PwC Falls Victim in the Competitive Poaching Game to…WTP Advisors
As you know, the Big 4 are pretty competitive when it comes to landing the best talent. The brightest brains. The biggest, swingingest…well you know. Anyhoo, PwC has been on tear this year, luring an accounting firm equivalent of a platoon from KPMG. They’ve also managed to pick off people from Duff and Phelps and the SEC.
But now the tables have turned unexpectedly on P. Dubs. They certainly had to be wary of the likes of Deloitte, E&Y and yes, even KPMG trying to woo their partners seeking greener pastures but it’s highly unlikely they saw this coming:
WTP Advisors, an award-winning, global tax and advisory firm, announced today that it has opened a new office location in Long Beach, CA. The new site will be headed by tax expert, Jon Worden, who most recently managed PwC’s West Region International Tax Services Quantitative Solutions Team. “Jon is a terrific choice to lead WTP Advisors’ West Coast tax practice. Like all WTP directors, he has Big Four experience, combined with a drive to forge deep and lasting client relationships. His personality, talent, and ambition will represent us well with large multinational companies in this region,” says Mike Minihan, Partner and co-founder of WTP Advisors. In his new role, Worden will be responsible for serving the L.A., Orange County and Northern California markets, as well as cultivating relationships with organizations up and down the West Coast.
Or maybe they did. WTP Advisors was founded by “four PwC veterans” back in 2005 according to this Fortune blurb on the firm’s website. It also boasts that it “has retained 100% of its clients” since the founding of the firm. The clip above is also from said blurb which depicts some sort of Rumble in the Professional Services Jungle between WTP and PwC. Perhaps WTP is gunning for P. Dubs because there is some bad blood there, we don’t know (but would love to hear about it). And with only 75 employees and $12 million in revenues, they barely register on Bob Moritz’s radar but it’s clear that they can poach P. Dubs talent and they are already better at using PR to make it known than some other firms.