Take it away, Robert Half! In the latest survey, 5% of executives said they plan to add personnel and 6% said they expect job cuts in accounting and finance. In other words, everyone's just sitting around like boobs. What else is going on? Finding the right people is hard! Finding qualified talent remains a problem […]
The financial gumshoes at the SEC have closed their investigation of Overstock.com and have concluded that no enforcement action is necessary. Naturally, former Arkham Asylum resident and current Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne sees this as a vindication: "We are the ones who brought all these matters to light, we made the corrections, we fully disclosed these […]
Chinese companies certainly have had their share of problems with financial reporting in the U.S. but I had no idea that it would come to this.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Weikang Bio-Technology Group Co., Inc. (OTC Markets: WKBT.PK – News) (“WKBT,” “Weikang” or the “Company”), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals and other health and nutritional products in the People’s Republic of China, today announced that Grant Thornton (“GT”), one of the world’s leading organizations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms, has verified that the cash amounts listed on the Company’s SEC filings for 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 are consistent with account statements obtained from WKBT’s banks directly by GT.
“Given the recent change in auditors and my new chairmanship of the WKBT Audit Committee, we authorized the Grant Thornton review to take place last week, and are now releasing the results,” said Jeffery Chuang, independent director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of WKBT. “Weikang continues to advance as a U.S. publicly-traded company and we are committed to high standards in the thoroughness of our financial information,” said Mr. Chuang, a U.S. CPA who is based in Southern California.
Obviously this is completely harmless compared to, say, threatening to take auditors hostage but as far as giant wastes of time go, it’s right near the top.
You may have noticed that a number of Chinese companies have had some issues with their accounting. This typically leads to the company’s auditor quitting, the CFO resigning, an SEC filing explaining all of it and then the revelation of some embarrassing details to accompany it all. Like a video of company’s employees sleeping. Or taking audit workpapers hostage. The best part about these stories is that the companies typically go on the defensive, and some make claims about their prestigious auditors just moments before the shit hits the fan.
Today we bring you Li & Fung, Ltd., a supply chain manager out of Hong Kong. L&F has reacted to a recent report from UBS that has…wait…yes, called attention to an accounting change and that “the company’s future GAAP earnings might not fully reflect the profitability of operations and that the new revenue recognition policy may distort a declining margin trend.”
Li & Fung has reacted right on cue:
“These statements are misleading,” Company Secretary Terry Wan said in the statement.
“The company has disclosed the relevant accounting policies in note 1.1 of its 2010 accounts, which have been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers and are in full compliance with the HKFRS (Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards),” Wan said.
Deloitte has announced today that Joe Echevarria will become the new CEO and Punit Renjen (who is oddly well-coifed for a leader at Deloitte) the new Chairman Board of the firm effective June 1. None of this is really news to anyone that frequents this site since we reported who the candidates were back in February. Joe takes over for Barry Salzberg who will assume the global CEO position and Punit will assume the Chairman role from Sharon Allen who is retiring.
This officially marks the end of the Deloitte election process that we brought to light after a partner reached out to us over concerns that the process is seriously flawed (or in that partner’s words, “broken”). Whether or not the rumored poor turnout had any effect on the timing is not known but the results remain the same, much to the chagrin of many partners at the firm who share the frustration of a unrepresentative election process.
[caption id="attachment_29175" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Renjen"][/caption]
Both guys seem genuinely pleased with the result, “I am deeply honored to be elected by my partners and principals to be CEO of this great firm. As the largest professional services organization in the U.S., we have an obligation to lead,” said Echevarria. “Excellence in all of the professional services we provide constitutes the foundation of our success. As markets were shaken and major players disappeared overnight, we’ve made a clear choice to focus on superior performance, innovation and growth across all our practice areas. Great firms are growth firms.”
And Renjen, “This is a great privilege, and I deeply appreciate the partnership’s confidence in me,” he said. “I share Sharon Allen’s vision for Deloitte – to be the ‘Standard of Excellence.’ Setting this standard demands effective governance, transparency, accountability and uncompromised quality. I am committed to leading the board in providing valuable oversight and strategic guidance to management, and also to representing our exceptional organization and culture with external stakeholders.”
Congratulate your new leaders, green dots; these are the men you’ll be receiving a monstrous number of emails from for the next four years.
John Carney points out that Bank of America, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo have all appointed new CFOs recently that are not accountants. It harkens him back to a time when another bank made a similar change.
Of course Carney is talking Lehman Brothers and Erin Callan. Oh and Ian Lowitt too. Both served as Lehman’s CFO prior to the bankruptcy. Funny thing – Francine McKenna wrote a post about the problematic situation of having a CFO with no accounting experience three months before Lehman went bankrupt. But BofA, JPM and Wells aren’t Lehman are they? GAAP is really NBD, right? [CNBC]
It could be that Stephen Park really is pursuing another professional opportunity but most people (and by that I mean investors) don’t believe that story.
Duoyuan Global Water Inc. (DGW) said Chief Financial Officer Stephen C. Park would resign from the China-based water treatment equipment supplier to pursue another professional opportunity. Park will remain with the company until the completion of a third party review or until June 30, whichever is earlier. Duoyuan said it is in the process of selecting an international search firm to assist in appointing a successor. The company’s American depositary shares slid 7.3% to $3.70 in after-hours trading.
Duoyuan Global Water CFO To Resign [Dow Jones]
For anyone out there concerned about Chinese companies who have less-than solid accounting practices, you can rest easy, as Gary Weiss reported in his TheStreet.com column yesterday:
All you have to do is believe in the infallibility of Big Four auditors!
Responding to allegations that the company is a “fraud and reported revenue is exaggerated by tens of millions of dollars,” China Media’s CEO Zheng Cheng said in a letter to shareholders: “The company is strong and doing well. Its revenues and cash position have been audited by reputable and well-known auditors who have confirmed both.” [Emphasis is GW’s.]
With China Small-Caps, It’s Shorts vs. Auditors [The Street]
KPMG has been kicked to the curb by Enterprise Financial according to an 8-K that was filed on Friday by the company. The ubiquitous claim of “no disagreements with [insert firm]” was there along with a mention of a material weakness that was related to the restatements issued for both 2008 and 2007 but that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the dismissal of the auditors:
In connection with the identification of the loan participation accounting error described in Item 7, Management Discussion & Analysis and in Item 8, Note 2 of the consolidated financial statements and elsewhere in the Form 10K dated March 16, 2010, the Company also determined that a material weakness in its internal controls over financial reporting existed during the periods affected by the error, including as of December 31, 2008. The Company’s management concluded that the material weakness was the Company’s lack of a formal process to periodically review existing contracts and agreements with continuing accounting significance. To remediate this material weakness, during the fourth quarter of 2009 the Company implemented a formal process to review all contracts and agreements with continuing accounting significance on an annual basis. As a result of the review conducted in the fourth quarter, management did not identify any other errors in its previous accounting for such contracts or agreements. Management believes that this new process has remediated the material weakness in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.
So in other words, “Yeah, maybe we should have been looking at these contracts but we weren’t and so some material misstatements slid through. We’ve slapped some duct tape on it and it’ll be fine from here on it. End of story.”
The esteemed pleasure of auditing Enterprise now belongs to Deloitte who has now snagged three clients from KPMG this year (by our count) – picking up Jefferies and Select Comfort back in March.
Enterprise Bank parent dismisses KPMG [St. Louis Business Journal]