November 15, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Apple Ponies Up; Big Lease Obligations; Walkbacks | 04.25.18

Apple Takes a Step on Payment of Back Taxes to Ireland [WSJ]
The company “completed an agreement” to put $16 billion into an escrow account to comply with an order from the European Commission. Ireland’s finance minister still disagrees with the ruling, but said, “as committed members of the European Union, Ireland is intent on complying with our binding legal obligations in this regard.”

Microsoft denies auditing partner KPMG’s anti-piracy work in India [Reuters]
Although a Microsoft executive explained that the company was “getting an assessment agency to carry out an audit of the process delivery at KPMG to identify and correct gaps” after a surprise inspection by a KPMG employee irritated a politician, the two companies jointly said that no auditing of auditors is going on.

This next accounting rule change will add liabilities to every balance sheet [MW]
In many cases, billions of dollars in lease obligations. Francine McKenna reports on a LeaseAccelerator study that found “76% of the companies reported that there will be a material impact resulting from the transfer of most ‘right-of-use’ assets and liabilities from footnotes onto the balance sheet.” The company in the report showing the biggest impact was Walgreens, with over $32 billion in leases.

Correction: New York Times, “Zelle, the Bank’s answer to Venmo, Proves Vulnerable to Fraud” [PwC]
In Monday’s ANR, we linked to a New York Times report about Zelle’s vulnerability to fraud, and blockquoted an excerpt that cited a PwC partner from the firm’s financial crimes unit as saying, “I know of one bank that was experiencing a 90 percent fraud rate on Zelle transactions, which is insane.” I like to read it in my best Crazy Eddie pitchman voice.

Anyway, the firm has now walked that back:

PwC has determined the 90 percent figure is unsubstantiated. In addition, the statement could be read to incorrectly suggest that there is an issue with Zelle itself rather than merely pointing out that appropriate controls and procedures are needed by banks and other users in order to properly implement any new payment system. We recognize that most banks do have strong fraud authentication and fraud detection controls in place.

We regret the error and take full ownership.

We have contacted the New York Times to inform them the partner misspoke and to seek a correction.

The New York Times story remains unchanged at this time, and it won’t change, but also, it’s a little weird to see PwC correct a statement by one of its experts so publicly. This isn’t a couple of deer-in-headlights partners screwing up the Oscars; this is just a person — an expert in their field — telling a reporter what they know.

Has a statement from an Big 4 expert ever been corrected so publicly before? And do firms regularly go this far out of their way to add this much context? I confess to being ignorant about delicate PR matters such as these, so I asked a veteran PR person why a firm would do this and they suggested that it could’ve been prompted by an “Angry client?” or perhaps a “very angry client?” If someone out knows more, enlighten me.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Jason Bramwell shared the advice of controllers who work for universities.

In Open Items, someone is wondering about getting tax prep experience in a side gig.

From the archives: Auditor Made Nauseous By Computer Screens Needs Some Options

In other news:

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See something we missed? Have a tip, correction, comment, or complaint? Email us at [email protected].

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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.