U.S., BP Near Deal on Fund [WSJ]
“The Obama administration and BP PLC are close to a deal to use future revenues from the oil giant’s Gulf of Mexico operations to guarantee its $20 billion cleanup and compensation fund, a move that would give both sides an incentive to continue production in the Gulf, scene of the U.S.’s worst-ever offshore oil spill.
The Justice Department and BP said Monday they had completed talks to establish the fund, which is designed to cover damage claims from residents and businesses hurt by the spill and clean-up efforts by state and local governments. BP paid $3 billion into the fund ahead of sch Hurd, Deloitte and Tone At The Top [Re: The Auditors]
“The auditors serve the role of independent watchdog, guardian of shareholders interests in the capital markets . Their relationship to management should be adversarial – not friendly, cozy and comfortable. They are hired and fired by the Board, also supposedly independent. Given the way auditors are compensated, directly by the companies they judge, they have a difficult job. Their regulators guard those guardians and are supposed to make sure they do it.
So how does a Vice Chairman, one of those guardians, “dupe” his fellow partners and professional colleagues more than three hundred times, as Deloitte’s lawsuit against him alleged?
Deloitte has a culture of non-compliance.”
Oracle Chief Faults H.P. Board for Forcing Hurd Out [NYT]
Meanwhile, Larry Ellison wrote an email to the Times, “The H.P. board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago. That decision nearly destroyed Apple and would have if Steve hadn’t come back and saved them.”
Moss Adams Partner Bob Bunting Helps Create Reporting Standards for Corporate Sustainability [Moss Adams]
“Bob Bunting, chairman of the Moss Adams LLP International Services Group and president of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), has been appointed to the steering committee for the newly formed International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC). The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) announced the formation of the IIRC today.
‘In addition to the annual reports publicly listed companies are required to file, an increasing number of companies are voluntarily producing corporate social responsibility or sustainability reports,’ Bunting said. ‘It’s an honor to be tapped for this role and to contribute input to developing a single standard for these reports. It’s a natural extension of the work I’ve been involved with at IFAC to help drive adoption of a single set of global standards for accounting, auditing, and professional ethics. It’s also a pleasure to be working alongside so many thought leaders in the world of standards setting and corporate sustainability.’ ”
Small business optimism sags in July [Reuters]
“Small business owners became more downbeat in July as expectations of weaker economic growth in the second half of the year reinforced a reluctance to hire, according to a survey published on Tuesday.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said its optimism index fell 0.9 point to 88.1 in July.
‘Virtually all of the decline was due to weaker expectations for business conditions six months from now,’ said William Dunkleberg, the group’s chief economist.”
SEC Charges Seattle-Area Company and Former CFO With Phony Accounting of Infomercial Sales [SEC]
When did the SEC start putting photos up of the Regional Directors?
The SEC alleges that Karl Redekopp, the former CFO of International Commercial Television Inc. (ICTV), turned millions of dollars of quarterly losses into profits by falsely accounting for ICTV’s sales of the Derma Wand, a skin care appliance that purports to reduce wrinkles and improve skin appearance. Redekopp fraudulently recognized revenue before the Home Shopping Network had actually sold or delivered the product to viewers. He also improperly recognized revenue before a free trial period offered by the company had expired, and failed to reverse revenue from products that had been returned. Redekopp’s misconduct caused the company to falsely report millions of dollars in excess revenue in 2007 and 2008.
” ‘Redekopp violated fundamental principles of accounting to fraudulently boost ICTV’s bottom line and conceal its true financial health from investors,’ said Marc J. Fagel, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office. ‘Unfortunately, ICTV’s auditors turned a blind eye to the company’s financial irregularities and failed to fulfill their role in investor protection.’ ”
Accounting PACs spread the wealth [Web CPA]
“Political fundraisers in the accounting profession began shifting their largesse toward congressional Democrats after they won control over both the House and the Senate four years ago.
But now with Tea Party activists screaming for the heads of incumbents and Republican candidates showing strength across the country, is the accounting profession resurrecting its overwhelming partisan support for the GOP in time for the mid-term elections?”
Flight Attendant at JFK Pulls Emergency Chute, Flies Coop [NBC New York]
Steve Slater was hit in the head by some luggage, was cursed at by the passenger who refused to apologize for it and Slater then proceeded to flip out. He cursed at all the passengers over the PA system on JetBlue Flight 1052, grabbed two beers and slid down the emergency chute after inflating it.
He was later arrested at his home in Queens, “Police sources said that when authorities found Slater he seemed to be in the midst having sexual relations.”
Don’t look for small businesses to lead the economic recovery.
The monthly reading from the National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism clearly shows little optimism among small business.
Sure, nine of the 10 components that comprise the index rose from the prior month.
However, some of the critical factors that would indicate whether small business owners plan to invest in their firms did not show encouraging results. The NFIB’s job measures barely moved and capital expenditure plans were flat.
More specifically, according to the survey average employment per firm was negative in April. What’s more, since July 2008 employment per firm has fallen steadily each quarter, logging the largest reductions in the survey’s 35-year history.
If small business is key to job growth – as some pundits think – then this does not bode well for our economy.
And the jobs small businesses create are not exactly great ones. They are more likely to come without benefits and less time off for vacation.
Meanwhile, the Index does not suggest that small businesses will be investing heavily in non-personnel. It noted that plans to make capital expenditures over the next few months were unchanged from the prior month and its reading is only slightly above the 35-year record low.
The survey also noted that small business owners continued to liquidate inventories and weak sales trends gave little reason to order new stock. In fact, more owners plan to reduce stocks than plan new orders, according to the NFIB.
Meanwhile, regular borrowers continued to report difficulties in arranging credit. “Historically weak plans to make capital expenditures, to add to inventory and expand operations also make it clear that many borrowers are simply on the sidelines, waiting for a good reason to make capital outlays and order inventory that requires businesses to take out the usual loans used to support these activities,” the report notes.
Obviously, small businesses are not going to turn this economy around any time soon.