June 25, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Martin Shkreli’s Fraud Conviction and ‘Botched’ Tax Reform | 08.07.17

accounting-news-cucumber-martin-shkreli

Comeuppance

A jury found the insufferable client, boss, and person Martin Shkreli guilty on three of eight counts of securities fraud on Friday. And if you’re feeling schadenfreude, you might be disappointed to learn that he’s mostly fine:

During his postverdict live-stream, Mr. Shkreli, sipping from a bottle of India pale ale, speculated that his sentence would be “close to nil” and said that he was not anticipating spending time in a maximum security facility, adding “this is not ‘Oz’ or ‘The Wire.’”

Rather, he said, he imagined serving in what he termed “Club Fed,” playing basketball, tennis and Xbox, and resurfacing “back out on these streets very quickly.”

I think we all love to hate a cartoonish villain like Martin Shkreli because even when he loses, he claims to win. “Sure, I might go to prison, but it’ll be the type of prison that you wish you could go to.” That kind of absurd phony confidence is equally loved and loathed. With these kinds of communication skills, maybe he should run for president?

How’s tax reform coming along?

Well, if you believe anything Steve Forbes has to say: Not good!

Forbes said Americans will get tax cuts soon but it’s too late for a tax overhaul. “They botched that,” he said. “Save the heavy lifting updating the code after next year’s election.”

Almost none of us can afford to put off important work for 15 months. But also, what do spend your time doing for 15 months when you’re not doing the work you’re supposed to be doing? Politics is strange.

Accountants behaving badly

Going Concern history buffs will fondly remember this headline from January 2015: “Let’s Not Rush to Judgment Just Because a Guy Blew Off a Meeting About Accounting Discrepancies 5 Minutes Before It Started.”

That guy was Michael L. Hudson, a former treasurer at Frisch’s Restaurants, and he pleaded guilty to criminal charges last year, but the SEC only filed its civil fraud charges on Friday. Still, it warrants a refresher:

The SEC’s complaint, filed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleges that from 2008 to 2014, while employed as the assistant treasurer of Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc., Michael L. Hudson diverted payroll funds to accounts he controlled and falsified Frisch’s accounting records to conceal his defalcation. Hudson then submitted the falsified records to Frisch’s internal accounting personnel and its auditors in connection with the preparation and filing of the company’s financial statements. Hudson also falsely certified to Frisch’s chief financial officer that the company’s internal control over financial reporting for which he was responsible was effective. In total, Hudson allegedly misappropriated over $3.9 million from Frisch’s.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Over the weekend, someone in Open Items asked if anyone “can shed some light on Federal audit work in the US?”

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 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.