“I was just talking to our team in terms of the importance of people, the importance of being empathetic, the importance of making sure that we’re taking care of our people. And, you know, we talk to our clients about this all the time. We’ve actually hired 115,000 people in the last year, but we’ve […]
I'm just going to leave this here.
Today, IRS Commissioner Koskinen painted a clear picture of how the IRS plans on “overseeing” billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. When asked by Health Subcommittee Chairman Brady if the IRS would be following the law and collecting taxpayer dollars that went to people who were not eligible, Koskinen simply said, “Wherever we can, we […]
No, that wasn't me to Colin on our latest conference call. Care to guess who said it and why? Let's find out: That was House Speaker John A. Boehner's response Wednesday to a question about the details of a proposed overhaul to the nation's tax code, a subject that he says he's happy to have […]
It's been a looooong time since we've done a Quote of the Day but this one is too good to ignore yet not interesting enough to warrant an entire missive on its true meaning. This is new IRS commissioner John Koskinen to reporters in Washington after his swearing-in this afternoon: “It took a little while […]
“The SEC’s efforts are, and will always be, a work in progress. We will continually refocus our energies as circumstances warrant, as new ideas are offered and considered, as we consider your opinions and suggestions. But the outlines are emerging, the colors are being filled in, and I am hopeful that a portrait of a financial marketplace more stable and efficient than the one we saw in 2008 is beginning to emerge.”
SEC Chair Mary Schapiro at CEO Quarterly Meeting of the Business Roundtable on the SEC’s ongoing efforts to color inside the lines. Apparently the Commission was free-handing all this time.
“[T]here are plenty of industries where there are four big players. The world just has to get on with it.”
~ John Griffith-Jones, chairman of KPMG in the UK and co-chairman in Europe on the concern that four accounting major accounting firms are not enough.
“The primary result of the convergence project has been to take a set of perfectly mediocre accounting standards (U.S. GAAP) and messed them all up.”
~ Professor David Albrecht, who isn’t quite ready to dance on the grave of accounting convergence.
“The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [that America is] – whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever taxation forms are.”
~ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
“The debate becomes what rate to apply, and there’s the Republican view and the Democratic view, and what level of transfer exemption should be there. There are two different camps on that. I think historically that would be ripe for sort of compromising down the middle, but unfortunately, that’s not the political environment that exists right now.”
~ AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon remains optimistic that something will get done.
“In the event that the PCAOB does not prevail – and the decision requires a legislative change – I would urge Congress to act quickly to fix whatever structural problems the Court identifies.”
~ Interim PCAOB Chairman Dan Goelzer, in testimony today.
“As we move forward, we are committed to providing public progress reports beginning no later than October 2010 and frequently thereafter until the work is complete.”
~ SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker’s testimony for tomorrow’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises.
“The IRS has conducted an unprecedented outreach effort in the tax-exempt sector on the 2006 law’s new filing requirements, but many of these smaller organizations are just now learning of the May 17 deadline.”
~ Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner
“My father brings tremendous wisdom and experience, which will help Overstock continue to grow and mature as a company. I am pleased that the Board of Directors nominated him, grateful that he was elected by the stockholders, and look forward to working with him again.”
~ Patrick Byrne, on his Dad, Jack Byrne, rejoining the OSTK board of directors.
“How dare Sage criticise anyone else! They exist because clients and accountants don’t want to change. If only clients could see what SAAS would give them (provided they had the right accountants). Perhaps I need to become an evangelist!”
“Overtime-induced work stress might contribute to a substantial proportion of cardiovascular disease.”
~ Gordon McInnes, professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Glasgow’s Western Infirmary.
“Taxpayers need to be able to distinguish between the professional capabilities and education of the different groups of tax preparers.”
~ Patricia Thompson, vice chair of the AICPA’s Tax Executive Committee
“Though more needs to be done, we are seeing some signs of stabilization in the housing market, including house prices and sales in some key geographic areas.”
~ Charles Haldeman, CEO of Freddie Mac. The “more needs to be done” includes additional government funds.
“If Pennsylvania really had Syndrome’s technology to help it zero in on tax evaders and perhaps blow them off the face of the planet, why would they need an amnesty in the first place? You’d think they would just collect the tax or vaporize the deadbeats. It’s largely a bluff.”
“U.S. GAAP is founded upon principles, that’s what the P is supposed to stand for.”
– SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker arguing at a Pace University IFRS discussion that GAAP is just as principles-based as IFRS.
“How about the fact that you sold hundreds of millions of that deal after your people knew it was a shitty deal? Does that bother you at all?”
– Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to Goldman Sachs’ Daniel Sparks, regarding SEC allegations that Goldman Sachs sold knowingly shitty CDOs to clients.
“Who would have thought that the IRS would have a favorability rating a third higher than the tea party movement’s? Or that the IRS would be twice as popular as Palin?”
“We are writing to urge you in the course of your efforts to reform the financial sector to resist efforts to weaken protections for investors in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). Specifically, we oppose exempting smaller public companies from compliance with Section 404(b) of the Act. Further, we are troubled by evidence of a proposal to roll back to an arbitrary market capitalization point strengthened internal controls requirements for larger companies that are already in compliance with the provision.”
~ The Center of Audit Quality, in a letter to Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).
“They certainly didn’t support it. On the Repo 105 issue, they knew about it; they did not appear to know that the number was so large.”
~ Matthew Lee, the Lehman Brothers whistleblower, in testimony today.
“The honest way to raise more revenue would be to raise income tax rates. But it is more politically attractive to tax these kinds of things. No one can get mad at you for taxing people who drink too much.”
~ Peter L. Faber, tax attorney, on sin taxes.
“Before the fraud broke, people would ask me what I did before I retired and I’d say I was founder and former CFO of HealthSouth. But today when people ask me what I did before I retired I kind of look away and say I was an accountant and hope they don’t ask me any other questions.”
~ Aaron Beam, former CFO of HealthSouth and current lawn-care business owner, at the University of Texas-Dallas Fraud Summit, earlier this month.
“Every day, I am fraught with pain and anguish for those affected by my actions. For those who lost money, I will work to repair and replace what has been lost.”
~ Convicted Ponzi Schemer Tom Petters, at his sentencing where Judge Richard Kyle sentenced him to 50 years in prison.
“We’re calling on other wealthy taxpayers to join us to send the message to Congress and President Obama that it’s time to roll back the tax cuts on upper-income taxpayers.”
~ Mike Lapham, paper-mill heir, would like to pay more taxes.
If you want to know what the firm’s actual P&L is like, I suggest you read people who can perform basic addition and subtraction.
~ Barry Ritholtz, who was not impressed with the Associated Press story on Overstock.com’s 2009 profit. He suggests this.
“There’s no chance that four CEO’s are going to explain the accounting code to the fine folks in Congress; explaining how to boil water would challenge the format.”
~ Megan McArdle, Business and Economics Editor of the Atlantic, on why asking CEOs to explain why they are complying with GAAP vis-à-vis healthcare reform is a pointless exercise.
I challenge John Thomas Financial CEO Thomas Belesis to a match on the Jerry Springer show. To even the odds, he can bring Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne. Two crooks versus a convicted felon born in Brooklyn. They can bring actor turned stock pumper Shia LaBeouf for added muscle, too.
~ Sam Antar, reacting to Thomas Belesis calling him an idiot after Antar suggested that Shia might be able to shed some light on the goings-on at John Thomas Financial involving InterOil. And if you forgot, Sam and Patrick have a bit of a history.
“Efforts to manage the size of our balance sheet are routine and appropriate, and we believe our actions are consistent with all applicable accounting and legal requirements.”
~ Bank of America statement on the allegations that they engaged in balance sheet manipulation. A statement not so different from Ernst & Young’s on their final audit of Lehman Brothers.
“The S.E.C. seems more interested in needlessly investigating market participants rather than uncovering corporate malfeasance and protecting investors.”
~ Greenlight Capital Press Release addressing the Commission’s failed investigation of Allied Capital.
“It is most accurate to say that prior to the game, most people thought that KU would win the game. Many, though, thought [that] UNI’s chance of winning was at least reasonably possible. If KU supporters didn’t think enough of UNI to … acknowledge its chance[s], it just shows they weren’t thinking.”
~ Professor David Albrecht, on why Northern Iowa’s “upset,” at least from an accounting perspective, wasn’t really an upset.
“I believe the manner in which the Firm is reporting these assets is potentially misleading to the public and various governmental agencies.”
“She would be prepared to read the news without clothes and only wears the clothes because her employer requires it.”
~ An accountant representing Sian Williams, co-host of BBC Breakfast one, trying to convince a tax tribunal that her clothes should be tax deductible because she has “to look good on screen.” He failed.
“Our whole industry is useless.”
~ Unnamed Big 4 Auditor and GC reader
“A successful lawsuit against E&Y could result in a court finding that the failure to properly advise the audit committee prevented Lehman from taking genuine steps to substantially reduce its leverage, which may have saved the firm from bankruptcy. Which is to say, E&Y could find itself blamed for all the losses to Lehman shareholders. That would be a stretch – such a claim would be speculative – but it still should be scaring the heck out of the partners.”
“[I]t is hard to justify giving special compensation to the investors of Mr. Madoff and Mr. Stanford just because they lost significant amounts of money with little prospect of any recovery.”
~ Peter J. Henning, on Madoff and Stanford victims lobbying members of Congress for a law that would compensate them for some of their losses.
“While such policies will not solve the obesity epidemic in its entirety and may face considerable opposition from food manufacturers and sellers, they could prove an important strategy to address overconsumption, help reduce energy intake and potentially aid in weight loss and reduced rates of diabetes among U.S. adults.”
~ Researchers from the University of North Carolina, who concluded that an 18% tax on pizza and soda could help adults lose an average of 5 pounds a year.
“A lot of people think of the IRS and have a little bit of fear of the IRS and we want to make sure they know that our doors are open, our people are empowered to make decisions and our goal is to resolve your problem.”
“This year of all years, the importance of camaraderie and bringing employees together is greater than ever. If people are talking about March Madness, they’re not talking about the state of the business, or the pay cuts, or the layoffs, or things like that”
~ Jonathan Shapiro, partner at labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips, on why betting pools and even game-watching are good morale boosters.
“Michael Koss is a clown. He does not belong on the board of directors of any company. He needs to be minding his own company, and until he can clean things up there, he should not be allowed to go outside and play.”
“If he contacted me and threatened me, I was going to drive down to New York and take him out. At that point it would have come down to him or me; it was as simple as that. The government would have forced me into it by failing to do its job, and failing to protect me. In that situation I felt I had no other options. I was going to kill him.”
~ Harry Markopolos, in his new book, on Bernie Madoff.
“This is a logical process. But it is slow.”
~ Thomas Jones, Director of the Center for the Study of International Accounting Standards at Pace University and former vice chairman of the IASB, on the SEC’s announcement that it’s sorta on board with the move to IFRS.
“I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don’t know when that day will be.”
~ Tiger Woods
“I thought half the first floor would be dead.”
“In my opinion, KPMG will resign the engagement if there is reason to doubt management integrity, and will not be rushed into issuing an audit opinion by NASDAQ-listing deadlines needed to avoid Overstock.com becoming a Pink Sheet or Bulletin Board stock.”
~ Howard B. Sirota, former lead counsel in Crazy Eddie class action suits
“If former top executives at Bank of America committed the fraud outlined in Attorney General Cuomo’s suit, those executives must be held accountable not only to the people of New York, but also to the people of Florida.”
~ Alex Sink, CFO of Florida weighing in on the NYAG’s suit against her former boss, Ken Lewis.
“If you go to HR and tell them you have a drinking problem, they’ll give you hotlines and help. If you say you have a porn problem, they’ll get security to throw you out.”
~ Michael Leahy, the author of “Porn @Work” and “Porn Nation” on porn addiction, which may be rampant at the SEC.
“I suspect he takes much more pleasure in baiting opponents than he does in running a company. The evidence he is good at baiting is much clearer than the evidence he is good at managing.”
~ Floyd Norris, New York Times Columnist on the Farmville obsessed, Segway Cowboy Patrick Byrne.
“Even in Washington, where we throw around trillions of dollars as if they were Hershey’s Kisses at Halloween, these numbers take your breath away.”
~ Howard Gleckman, editor of TaxVox, on the numbers in President Obama’s 2011 budget.
“High speed and commuter rail are a key part of growing our economy here in Florida, and today’s announcement couldn’t come at a more important time for our state”
“An auditor’s report tells less about a public company’s health than a doctor’s report tells about an individual – in scope, detail and precision. And if investors and other financial information users are not happy, they are doing nothing to make their dissatisfactions effectively known.”
~ Jim Peterson, from his post “Medical Check-Ups and Annual Audits: What if Your Doctor Reported Like Your Accountant?” at Re:Balance.
“They’re never afraid to print rumor and innuendo. They’re keeping accountants and auditors honest, never afraid to write about the idiocy frequently displayed by finance professionals and executives.”
~ Tracy Coenen, of BloggingSuits and Fraud Files Blog on a certain website
“It is self-debasing greed. It is avarice of the corrupted soul.”
~ Professor David Albrecht, Concordia College on those who will profit from a switch to IFRS from U.S. GAAP.
“But Byrne is evil. I’ll stand by that. More than evil, he’s soul-less evil. That said, I hope you understand that I don’t have anything against Byrne per se. I have things I want, and he stands in the way, so I now I’m removing him. At the same time, there’s no reason we can’t co-exist under specific circumstances.
~ William K. Wolfrum, on Farmville junkie and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.
“Audits are of limited usefulness – the scope of work is so small and is done in such a compressed time, usually at the end of the year. And the work that auditors do is predictable.”
~ Tracy Coenen, of Fraud Files Blog, in regards to the how Sue Sachdeva allegedly pulled off a $31 million embezzlement at Koss under the nose of Grant Thornton (Steve Chipman may need a pair of these to drown out the attorneys). [Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin Business News]