November 13, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: An Amazon Pageant, Kentucky, and Insider Trading | 09.25.17

deloitte cyber attack

Amazon

This New York Times story shares examples of how city leaders from all over the country are groveling for the opportunity to be the home of Amazon’s next headquarters. “Mayoral letters to Amazon are actually becoming a YouTube subgenre.” People are obsessing over hundreds of hours of videos of Jeff Bezos. Tucson tried to send Bezos a 21-foot cactus. It’s the lamest season of The Bachelor ever.

Meanwhile, tax policy experts are less impressed:

“Why are they doing this whole dog and pony show? Amazon wants something for nothing,” said Matthew Gardner, a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan think tank. “They would like a package of tax incentives for something they were going to do anyway.”

Art Rolnick, an economist at the University of Minnesota, called Amazon’s bidding process — and the broader practice of cities competing for stadiums and factories — “blackmail.”

“If you look at it from a national perspective, it’s zero returns. Minnesota might win one, Wisconsin wins the next one. The company wins each time,” Mr. Rolnick said. “It’s corporate welfare.”

Does playing hard to get work on massive corporations? I’d love to read a press release from a major U.S. city notifying Amazon of their world-class infrastructure, public transit, creative thinking, etc. and an absolute refusal to offer any tax incentives.

SALT

Bloomberg BNA reports that Kentucky has had some favorable rulings for taxpayers recently. Might be a good move for anyone inclined towards bourbon and aggressive tax strategies.

Accountants behaving badly

Have we covered insider trading in this section before? I believe we have. Nevertheless, we’ll do this again, for the new people or those of you in the back who aren’t listening: Don’t insider trade. There’s no point. You will not get rich. You will not get away with it. Conversely, you will get a starring role in a SEC litigation release, and if you’re an accountant, end up in the “Accountants behaving badly” section of ANR.

Anyway — Justin Samuel Cary, come on down!

According to the SEC’s complaint, on January 28, 2016, Justin Samuel Cary, an accounting consultant for Adaptive Medias, Inc., received an email from the company’s controller quoting the headline of a yet-to-be-issued press release announcing that the company had received an acquisition offer of $1.50 per share, at a time when its stock was trading for only $0.16 per share. The SEC further alleges that, while composing a response to the controller, Cary logged on to his personal online brokerage account just six minutes after receiving the email and purchased 18,500 shares of Adaptive Medias stock. The complaint alleges that, four days later, Adaptive Medias announced the acquisition offer and, following the announcement, Adaptive Media’s share price increased 428% over the prior day, closing at $0.74 per share. According to the SEC, Cary sold all of his shares and generated $8,140.25 in illicit profits.

I love that he was composing the response to the controller and preparing to insider trade simultaneously. The SEC’s complaint adds more color to that scene:

In his January 28 email, the controller inquired of Cary as follows: [Adaptive Medias’ investor relations group] is asking if we are required to use the diluted share count rather than the basic share count for our press release surrounding the [AdSupply letter of intent] we received … can you advise?

20.Upon receiving this email, Cary began drafting a response to the controller, writing “There isn’t [sic] any rules with that other than to not be misleading. If they add $1.50 per …” At that point, Cary stopped writing in mid-sentence, and logged onto his online brokerage account.

It’s like his brain went to lizard mode right at that moment.

Previously, on Going Concern…

In Open Items, someone wants to know about exit opportunities from Big 4 for a person who works in tax technology.

In other news:

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Image: Janaa/Wikimedia Commons

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Accounting News Roundup | 01.21.10

How to find the “best and brightest” [CPA Success]
This may be a better topic for the friendly HR professional but figuring out who these future accounting rock stars are before they show up on their first day is “more art than science”, as Tom Hood notes.
Popular to some old-school thought, GPA does not always indicate who’s going to dominate in the real world and “soft skills” — besides being a terrible term — are in more demand than ever.
Help The The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Help Haiti [Re: The Auditors]
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is having a drive today and since Francine’s friend is the CFO, we’ll be glad pass around the news:

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Guillermo Becerra, is the CFO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I asked him how I could help him, and the Red Cross, during what must be an incredibly busy time post-Haiti earthquake.


“The Chicagoland community will come together on Thursday, January 21 to give to the American Red Cross as we help the people of Haiti recover from the catastrophic earthquake that devastated their country last week.
The Chicago Helps Haiti media relief drive begins at 5 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Nearly every TV and radio station in our area will be promoting this fundraising effort throughout the day. You can help too, by giving via phone or online, and sharing your thoughts here, on Facebook or Twitter, and by asking others to give.
To give from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. CALL 1 (877) 565-5000 or visit www.chicagoredcross.org/haiti

Plus, we’re guessing that if you give, your 2009 tax return isn’t much of a concern.
If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe [NYT]
The Times is concerned that you have a shitty password which puts you at a huge risk of being hacked by someone sitting in their parents’ basement.

Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used “123456” as a password. The second-most-popular password was “12345.” Others in the top 20 included “qwerty,” “abc123” and “princess.”

You know who you are, ye with stupid passwords. Also, don’t even think of changing it to “654321” because that drops in at #19.

Accounting News Roundup: Haiti Relief Passes Senate; Accounting Job Surge? CPAs Basically Control People’s Lives | 01.22.10

Senate votes for faster tax breaks for Haiti gifts [WaPo]
As expected, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation yesterday that allows taxpayers to deduct donations made for Haiti relief efforts. You have until the end of February to donate so that it may be included on your 2009 return.

Maybe it’s bad legislation but we’ve been over that.

CPA Jobs Set for Surge. But When? [CPA Trendlines]
That’s the question, isn’t it? Rick Telberg, who has done a great job of tracking the Bureau of Labor Statistics on accountants, points out that while the latest BLS forecasts a 22% increase (279,400 jobs) by 2018, there’s no indication that it’s happening now:

[M]any tax, accounting and finance professionals are still slogging through the Great Recession. The Association for Financial Professionals, for instance, reported that about one in four respondents say their organizations will contract in 2010. At the same time, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of private companies found 43 percent of CEOs and CFOs still budgeting no expansion over the next 12 months to 18 months. The data just seem to reinforce economic uncertainties and a weak outlook.


The BLS is looking past the past the recession for the jump in opportunities but just when the hell will that be? Just because the economy isn’t contracting currently, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future and this “recovery” has been tepid at best.

Theismann to CPAs: You Are the Conscience of America [Web CPA]
Joe Theismann gets it. He knows that without all of you out there in CPA land, your clients don’t stand a chance. They’d be finished. Finished!

“You’re the conscience of America,” Theismann told conference-goers. “You are the survivors in tough times. With accountants, I’m not looking for someone to file taxes and do my financials. I can do that myself online. In your position you can basically control people’s lives.”

So get out there and control somebody’s life. Joe Theismann is expecting it.