December 18, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: 1MDB Is Down to Its Last Big 4 Firm | 05.24.18

Plus, the IRS warns states about SALT workarounds, another disturbing sexual misconduct case, dealing with allergies, and more.

I.R.S. Warns States Not to Circumvent State and Local Tax Cap [NYT]
The IRS sees what states are up to re the SALT $10k cap and they do not like it:

“Despite these state efforts to circumvent the new statutory limitation on state and local tax deductions, taxpayers should be mindful that federal law controls the proper characterization of payments for federal income tax purposes,” the I.R.S. wrote in a notice released on Wednesday.

If the IRS does take action to prevent SALT workarounds, states will almost certainly sue. States tax credits for donating to colleges or private K-12 schools have been around for years, and any disparate treatment would be “hard to maintain on its face and politically difficult to reach,” according to one tax professor.

Exec groped employee, attacked her when she recorded him: suit [NYP]
Kate Merli, a CPA and former CFO of Snow Park Capital Partners, has sued her former employer and the firm’s chief investment officer Jeffrey Pierce, alleging all kinds of disturbing behavior. It started with unwanted grabbing and attempted kissing at a holiday party, followed by an incident where “Pierce pawed at her body and begged her for sex.” That’s when things got, whoa:

The 31-year-old began recording the accused creep on her phone, but Pierce became furious and insisted she delete the recording, the suit says.

When the CPA refused, he “physically and viciously assaulted [Merli], tackling her to the ground and attempting to wrestle the phone away,” the papers read. Terrified, she deleted the recordings.

Merli quit and then says Snow Park started spreading false information about her. Snow Park calls her “a fabricator” and says she was terminated for “[an] unauthorized transfer of management company funds to a personal bank account.”

There’s only one untainted “Big Four” accounting firm left to audit Malaysia’s scandal-ridden wealth fun [Quartz]
PwC avoided the 1MBD mess as long as they could, but now they have the distinct pleasure of picking up where Deloitte left off. Deloitte quit the engagement in 2016, while KPMG was fired in 2013 and EY got dismissed in 2010. Anyone wishing to pick up some lucrative work should get themselves to Malaysia pronto. PwC probably won’t last.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I questioned KPMG’s raise-your-hand culture.

In Open Items, someone’s annoyed with AICPA President, CEO, and Royal Wedding tchotchke collector Barry Melancon.

In other news:

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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

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.