Mary Schapiro needs constructive comments from the peanut gallery because this thing is a week old and since some people at the Commission have the attention of Tom Petters, they can’t afford to lose focus.
Just jump over the Public Comments page and let ‘er rip. Any section you want get down with your wonky financial reform knowledge is welcome.
It has not even been a week since the President signed the regulatory reform legislation into law, but at the SEC we are already working to fully implement the dozens of studies and rulemakings required of our agency,” said Chairman Schapiro. “We recognize that the process of establishing regulations works best when all stakeholders are engaged and contribute their combined talents and experiences. We look forward to preliminary public comments in these areas.
Not only that! The SEC needs more people. This 2,000-some odd page behemoth is putting asses in cubes and more of the kicking ass and taking names will be had. Just two ways you can join the good times going on at the SEC.
A couple of weeks ago we told you about fired Tyco accountant Jeff Weist who wasn’t really into, among other things, mermaid greeters and costumed wenches. Whether or not he’s not a fan of starfish bikinis wasn’t the issue, it was the principle of the matter.
You see, some Tyco executives got into a bit of trouble back in the day for some accounting fraud but the kicker was the footage of a four-day “Roman orgy” rager in Sardinia. The jury didn’t have much problem throwing the book at former CEO Dennis Kozlowski and former CFO Mark Swartz after concluding that awesome party = crooked execs. Weist figured the company didn’t really need more trouble so he raised a fuss over the expenses for another epic bash that was being planned for execs in the Bahamas.
FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto got wind of this and had Weist on his program only to do most of the talking. When Weist was able to squeeze a word in, he didn’t exactly come across as a fun-loving guy but more like your typical accountant that would probably frown on these types of shenanigans. Nevertheless, Weist was given the boot and that has caused a bit of stir – specifically, Weist filing suit against Tyco.
Anyway, a guy that knows a little something about awesome parties – Dennis Kozlowski – caught Cavuto’s little program and felt obligated to write a letter (a copy follows in the following pages) expressing his disappointment.
Koz writes, “As I write this letter in my 6′ x 9′ cell jail cell, all I can muster in response to your show is ‘My, how things have changed.’ ”
Right! Like, how on Earth can you justify stingray feedings? COME ON. You want sexy men and women running around in togas, that’s understandable. You just raid your linen closet and you’re good to go. But can you believe someone would throw a corporate bash in the Western Hemisphere? Shameful.
He goes on to hem and haw that if it wasn’t for some idiot deciding to tape his little bash in Sardinia, which was later shown to 12 Manhattan jurors, he wouldn’t even be in this predicament. Further, DK would like to know where the outrage is re: the mermaids, wenches, tattoo artists, bonuses and so forth, “With the Tyco extravaganza where employees were paid ‘bonuses’ to attend, you have to ask where is the outrage?”
Well? Outrage? Anyone? The man is in a prison upstate and he can’t hear you!
For those of you that aren’t already aware, we implore you to check out NASBA’s incredibly useful Accounting Licensing Library – a comprehensive, continually-updated database that can help future CPAs find a state in which to be licensed and offers accounting firms access to important state data to assist in their efforts across state lines. In other words, the tool’s main goal is to facilitate mobility by bringing all 55 jurisdictions together in one easy-to-use area while offering a one-stop shop for those considering CPA licensure.
We recently got a chance to chat with NASBA General Counsel and Director of Business Development Maria Caldwell about the new ALL.
The new ALL tool features a new section for accounting students, an enhanced state requirement comparison research tool and expanded product information. The refreshed ALL website offers the same features and benefits as the previous site in a more user-friendly format. Users can find detailed licensing information and even use their research tool to determine if their educational requirements meet any state’s licensure requirements without having to click through each state board’s website individually. This is huge for candidates and for NASBA, as it allows them to spend more time dealing with candidate issues and less time pointing candidates in the right direction.
The birth of the ALL actually began within NASBA four years ago as they wanted a single resource for internal use that would take each state board’s requirements and aggregate them into one place. “There really wasn’t one source to go to and look up all these different rules, so that was the impetus for putting the tool together,” Caldwell told us. “We wanted to offer it to firms at first but once it was out there we realized there were several different audiences using it. Students use it as a licensing tool and international candidates use it as well.”
With over 700 candidates accessing the tool per year (before the makeover) and a significant leap in CPA exam applications since the first whispers of an economic downturn in 2008, interest in the tool and CPA licensure does not appear to be waning any time soon.
Beyond the licensure aspect of the tool, the ALL gives both individuals and firms a way to improve their own economic outlooks by reaching across state lines to find clients. “In this kind of environment, the firms are looking to neighboring states if their state is suffering from a lack of business,” Caldwell said. The tool allows for mobility without firms wasting countless hours combing through state requirements and allows CPAs in a specialty practice to meet the needs of clients who may be in areas that lack qualified accountants who offer their specialized services.
As the CPA exam prepares to go international, NASBA is counting on increased interest in not only the ALL but the all-important CPA designation. Let’s face it, not every industry can say it has weathered the economic downturn as well as CPAs have and passing the exam is still considered a prestigious accomplishment across the globe.
Great job, NASBA, we definitely approve!
Representative Betty McCollum is upset that small businesses have the Small Business Administration but nonprofits don’t get a Nonprofit Administration to evaluate, build and monitor the capacity of America’s vital nonprofits. She believes nonprofits are an invisible but vital part to the economy and overlooked by Washington, DC except when it comes to tax issues.
This legislation represents a significant step toward creating a more effective partnership between the federal government and the nonprofit sector. H.R. 5533 establishes a new United States Council on the Nonprofit Sector. The Council will be a forum for leaders of nonprofits, foundations, businesses and government to discuss strategies for strengthening the nonprofit sector. The bill also creates an Inter-agency Working Group on the Nonprofit Sector. This group will ensure that high-level representatives from cabinet agencies and other key agencies coordinate and improve federal policies pertaining to nonprofit organizations. Finally, the legislation directs Federal agencies to collect and publish better data on nonprofits AND to support research that will lead to smarter Federal policy.
The goals of the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act are to build a stronger nonprofit sector, craft smarter federal policy, and create more vibrant communities in every state across the country.
Listen, we love working groups as much as the next cube-dweller but haven’t yet seen a copy of the Bill so can’t say either way at this point. What we do know is that the nonprofit sector is large enough to be in need of some help beyond whatever pestering they get from our friends at the IRS.
According to a 2009 Congressional Research Service report, nonprofits (mostly charities) make up over 5% of U.S. GDP. Charitable organizations are estimated to employ more than 7% of the U.S. workforce, while the broader nonprofit sector is estimated to employ 10% of the U.S. workforce. In 2009, nonprofits filing form 990s with the IRS reported approximately $1.4 billion in revenue and nearly $2.6 billion in assets.
Those numbers do not include the estimated 215,000 charities who have neglected (or completely blown off) their 990 responsibilities.
Just last week we mentioned the American Bankers Association and its efforts to undermine the FASB’s latest fair value proposal that, in the ABA’s mind, could bring down civilization as we know it.
Because of this danger, the ABA encouraged “investors” through email and on its website to write individual letters to the FASB, expressing their displeasure with the worst idea in the modern history of double-entry accounting. We say “investors” because the ABA not-so-subtly asked everyone (i.e. who felt the overwhelming urge to write Bob Herz & Co.) to refer to themselves as such.
Further, the ABA provided a template of a letter to send to the Board for the “investors,” however, it did warn to resist using the example as their own because A) this is far too important and telling the FASB that fair value pains you in the deepness of your soul and takes food out of your children’s mouths will be a far more effective narrative; and B) the FASB hates form letters. HATES. So much so that Bob Herz rips up all his gold stars that he gives for the constructive letters he receives and then your unoriginal ass gets negative points.
The group urges investors to “write your own letter — the FASB does not appreciate ‘form’ letters, and often discounts them in their analyses.”
Simple enough, right? Well, maybe. But In his column today, Jonathan Weil gives an example of one ABA soldier that wasn’t very good at following instructions:
Among the letter writers was Terry L. Stevens of Francesville, Indiana, who identified himself as a bank investor, as the ABA had suggested. He didn’t mention that he also is chief financial officer and executive vice president of Alliance Bank, a closely held lender in Francesville with $270 million of assets.
“As a bank investor, of utmost importance to me regarding the banks in which I own stock is their financial position, and transparent financial reporting is key in order for me to make investment decisions,” Stevens’ letter said. “With this in mind, I am writing to express my deep concerns and opposition to the portion of the proposal that requires all financial instruments to be marked to market.”
Stevens didn’t write those words himself. He copied them verbatim from a sample letter the ABA posted on its Web page. So, too, did a bunch of other bankers who submitted comment letters to the FASB opposing its proposal, notwithstanding the ABA’s warning that they shouldn’t do cut-and-paste jobs.
This had to be a mistake, right? This is far too important of an issue to the banks of this country that a mishap like this could just happen. Bankers are responsible people that take this stuff very seriously and would never risk going through the motions just to serve at the whims of their lobby’s voice…would they?
Stevens told me he didn’t have time to write his own letter from scratch. “The points that I grabbed out of their paragraphs did a good job of explaining how I felt about the situation,” he said.
Stealth Bankers Bomb as Anti-Reform Crusaders [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
AllianceBernstein is looking for an experienced auditor to join its internal department in New York.
Ideal candidates have a minimum of five years experience with exposure to alternative investment products. Advanced degree or certifications are preferred.
Title: Senior Audit Associate
Location: New York
Description: We are seeking a seeking a Senior Audit Associate with strong business and/or audit experience in Alternative Investments to join our Internal Audit Department. This position is an opportunity for experienced professionals to join a dynamic team to deliver value added audit services.
Responsibilities: Assist Audit Management in carrying out the annual audit plan; Assess the accuracy and adequacy of financial information and the Company’s internal control structure; Assist Audit Management in accomplishing certain administrative tasks; Supervise and work with junior auditors; Through continuous monitoring, keep current as to the development of relevant industry, regulatory and corporate matters that may affect the Internal Audit Department’s audit scope.
Skills: Our ideal candidate will have 5 to 10 years of broad capital markets experience with an emphasis in alternative investment products and services. College degree required. Advanced degree and/or certification preferred. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership capability, strong team work capabilities, solid written and oral communication skills and excellent, analytical skills. Candidates must have the ability to interact with all levels of management; Knowledge of the buy-side investment management business is a plus. Prior audit experience is preferred, but not required. Candidates should demonstrate a firm grasp and good working knowledge of the suite of Alternative Investment products and services including: Hedge Funds – direct investments and Fund of Hedge Funds.
This is understandable. We know a few people that have been accused of being “angry” when, in fact, they are just being “loud.”
Negros Occidental Provincial Accountant Merly Fortu denied on Sunday that she acted with arrogance and hostility when she met with the elected provincial government officials on July 1.
Fortu, who faced administrative charges for grave misconduct and gross insubordination for allegedly shouting at elected provincial government officials during the meeting, explained that her normal speaking voice was “a little bit louder” than others.
It is similar (albeit the opposite) to having shy/asshole confusion.
J.P. Morgan is looking for an experienced accounting to fill a fund accounting analyst position in its Dallas location.
Qualifications include a bachelors degree and five years experience
Company: J.P. Morgan
Title: Fund Accounting Analyst
Location: Dallas, TX
Qualifications: Bachelor degree required, degree preference is Finance, Accounting or Economics; 5 years experience in the banking industry, preferably in financial accounting operations 3 yrs securities industry knowledge including dividends, principal & interest, corporate actions and trading activity; Proven managerial experience – 1 – 3 years; Advanced knowledge of account reconciliation processes; Strong analytical, prioritization, organizational and time management skills; Strong multi-tasking and negotiation skills; Strong communication skills, both oral and written; Excellent customer service skills with attention to detail; PC literacy with proficiency in MS Word, Excel and MS AccessCapable of assisting others in research and reconciliation tasks; Team player with the ability to work productively within a group and maintain a high degree of independence.
Leftovers of the freakishly repulsive cake that McGladrey rolled out for its rebranding was apparently not shared with other offices because the crew in Phoenix/Las Vegas took it upon themselves to come up with another method of celebration.
“After we returned from brand champion training in Orlando, the three of us met to brainstorm for ideas to make our local brand launch fun and memorable. We wanted to focus on more than just the launch. We wanted employees to know that a brand launch is only successful if the brand becomes part of everything they do.”
What exactly was the idea? Another cake? A surprise appearance by Natalie Gulbis? Keeping your jobs?
No, the creative minds in Phoenix/Vegas decided that gathering everyone together and asking them to drink blue Kool-Aid™ was the best way to show everyone that they are in this together. DO OR DIE.
“Asking employees to ‘drink the McGladrey Kool-aid’ sends the message that we all need to be in this together,” says ——. “And there’s no opting out if we’re going to make this effort a success.”
Pardon what is about to follow but…WHAT. THE. FUCK? Forget about the literal manifestation of a corporate metaphor, which is all sorts of lame (no on is schlepping an 800 lb. gorilla into HQ, are they?). Ever heard of Jonestown? Aren’t we all just a little too trusting with this “drink this” attitude? “Hey, just drink this Dixie cup that’s full of what we say is blue Kool-Aid™ because it will bring us all together.”
And you know how they got a lot of people to get on board with this? FREE T-SHIRTS!
“As an added incentive, employees who drank McGladrey Kool-aid from a Dixie cup received their very ownMcGladrey t-shirt.”
All we can say is, don’t walk but run away.
[caption id="attachment_13953" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Not a legitimate business expense?"][/caption]
Remeber Tyco? Dennis Kozlowski. Mark Swartz. Roman orgy parties. It sounded like a hoot. Too bad the law got in the way.
An accounting manager at Tyco Electronics claims that he was ‘coercively’ fired for taking issue with “Tyco’s exorbitant bashes for its CEO Thomas Lynch and other top executives ‘were almost identical to parties for which Tyco’s former CEO [Dennis Kozlowski] was criminally charged and convicted.’ ”
What kind of party expenses you ask? Run-of-the-mill stuff like ‘mermaid greeters’ and ‘costumed pirates/wenches.’
It doesn’t hurt to have a little eye candy at a company bash, amiright? And maybe Jeffrey Weist was okay with the scantily clad roaming hotties and really just took exception with the $2,350 for the tattoo artist (tatts included!) and limbo and fire dancers, $2,500 for chair covers and sashes and the $1,000 hotel rooms.
Whatever lavish (read: kick-ass) expense it was that turned out to be the straw that broke the stuffy accountant’s back, Jeff Wiest not letting this happen:
The complaint adds: “This requested payment seemed particularly inappropriate from a morale aspect, coming in the midst of continued downsizing pressure, and seemed contradictory in that this one party equated to approximately seven positions for one year in the accounts payable function managed by Wiest,” according to the complaint.
Wiest says that despite his objections, “it was decided to go ahead with the event, to treat the proportionate share of the party as income, and to ‘gross-up’ the bonuses to the employees involved. In other words, the company would pay each highly paid employee an additional amount of cash beyond the value of the trip in order to cover his/her tax liability.”
This approach brought “the total cost of the event to approximately a half million dollars,” according to the complaint.
He claims that each high-ranking Tyco employee was awarded up to $7,500 per person, or $15,000 per couple, as additional “income,” for attending the party. All of the 30 employees who attended were receiving salaries of more than $102,000, Wiest says. He adds that 23 of them took their wives.
And they got paid to go! What is going on at Tyco? Other than it’s the best place to work EVER.
Back to Wiest. For taking high road, Weist alleges that Tyco turned the screws back on him:
In response to his repeated questioning of these extravaganzas, Wiest says, Tyco began an “investigation” of him. This led to bogus accusations that he had made sexually oriented comments, Wiest says.
“Examples given included a comment to an employee going on a honeymoon cruise to not stay on the ship the whole time; a comment about his wife’s hormone issues during her pregnancy being difficult for him, and a comment regarding the uses of improved flexibility from working out. It is noteworthy that the hormone comment would have been several years old, as Wiest’s child was born in 2006,” the complaint states.
He claims Tyco also raised questions about a decade-old brief relationship he had had with a California-based Tyco employee, and baseball tickets that Wiest had been given by a superior.
Jesus. If they would have just invited him to the party, we probably wouldn’t have to go through all this.
Same Old Tricks at Tyco, Accountant Says [Courthouse News Service]
Hell, they did even go with another woman. They figured making Davis Love III the third dude golfer to be sponsored by McGladrey was the best route.
Although no terms were disclosed on DL-cubed’s deal, we’re guessing it’s a decent deal, not Phil Mickelson money mind you, but he won’t be starving either.
And DL3 is pretty flippin’ pleased to be the third amigos, “Following the great work McGladrey has done with the Davis Love Foundation, it was a natural progression for me to join Team McGladrey and proudly support their brand in the way they’ve supported my Foundation. It was great to kick off my new sponsorship with McGladrey in style with a good showing at the U.S. Open, and I look forward to continued success on and off the course as a member of Team McGladrey.”
Likewise, C.E Andrews is pumped to have a 3rd join the team “Davis and the rest of our Team McGladrey Foursome demonstrate the values of integrity, excellence, understanding and teamwork – values that mirror our company’s approach to serving and understanding our clients.”
[caption id="attachment_13910" align="alignright" width="260" caption="All alone in the boys club."][/caption]
Unfortch for all of us, D Love stayed on script and didn’t mention Natalie Gulbis specifically which just reeks of a “bros before hoes” mentality. If McGladrey wants to sponsor a boys club, that’s their business but you can’t tell us that adding another lady on the team wouldn’t have worked just as well, if not better. Oh well. We’re sure Natalie will enjoy watching the three dudes ice each other at the joint appearances.
Banks hate the FASB. This is understood. They’re especially bent out of shape these days because the Board recently put out its latest fair value proposal that requires them to carry their loans at fair value. Bob Herz knew that this was going to cause hella-belly aching although he may not have predicted the virtual assault that was coming.
Banking lobbyists have launched an e- mail and Web campaign to mobilize investors against a proposed expansion of fair-value accounting rules that may force banks such as Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. to write down billions of dollars of assets.
The American Bankers Association opposes the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s plan to apply fair-value rules to all financial instruments, including loans, rather than just to securities. The group says the rule could make strong banks appear undercapitalized.
The association’s website, noting that FASB’s stated mission is to serve investors, provides a sample letter for people writing to the board and suggests they focus on why the proposal isn’t “useful for investors.”
As you can see, the banks are bringing out the big guns, although this not unfamiliar territory for the FASB. Lynn Turner, a Senior Advisor and Managing Director at LECG and former Chief Accountant SEC wrote in an email to GC, “This campaign is very similar to the efforts of the technology companies campaign against the FASB in 1993-95 to prevent rules that would have required those companies to expense the value of their stock options, something that ultimately led to investor losses and problems in the markets.”
The FASB prevailed in that particular battle but the ABA is wise to their ways, encouraging everyone to resist going through the motions on this one:
The association’s Web page, titled “Guidance for Investors Regarding FASB’s Mark-to-Market Proposal,” includes a sample letter to the board “for educational purposes only.” The group urges investors to “write your own letter — the FASB does not appreciate ‘form’ letters, and often discounts them in their analyses.” Those who comment should “let FASB know that you are an investor,” the ABA says.
U.S. Banks Recruit Investors to Kill FASB Fair-Value Proposal [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Donald Howard Heathfield is “Defendant #4” of the eleven alleged Russian spies and it turns out that he was playing pretty true to the part of a go-getter executive looking to network his ass off.
CFO reports that “prodigious networker” Heathfield attended the CFO Rising Conference that was held in Orlando in March and he was well remembered by some of the other attendees. Not only for his persistence (we’re imagining really aggressive handshakes, name tag prominently placed, business cards in a holster) but for his just plain weirdness and his ginormous business card:
“I met him early on in the conference, and he was very persistent in trying to reengage,” recalls John Kahn, CFO of a private-equity-backed portfolio company. “I didn’t reengage with him. He just seemed slightly strange.” Kahn still has Heathfield’s business card, which folds out to twice the size of a normal business card and contains a somewhat inscrutable description of the company’s mission: “Future Map gives leaders a synthetic ‘big picture’ of anticipated future. Future Map helps building proactive collaborative leadership cultures.”
Frankly, the “inscrutable description” doesn’t sound that much different from all the other hustlers out there but whatever. Supposedly this was extra, extra inscrutable, even by business conference standards. Anyhoo, another attendee just found DHH to be flat out annoying:
He started talking to me, and I couldn’t shake him,” says Frank Quigley, CEO of CFO Publishing, who remembers Heathfield approaching him in a hallway outside the meeting rooms and seeking introductions to specific conference speakers and attendees. “There was no doubt in my mind when I saw his photo that I recalled the encounter and the persistence of it, and the vagueness of who he was.”
Obviously Mr Quigley did not have any pre-arranged signals to get him out of bad convos. HUGE MISTAKE.
Back to our Russian friend – if you visit his LinkedIn page you’ll see that he keeps it similarly inscrutable with a past position being, “Partner at Global Partners, Inc.” and specializing in “Comprehensive management of Risks and Uncertainties, Anticipatory Leadership, Building of Future Scenarios, Development and Execution of Future Strategies, Capture of Strategic Opportunities, Global Account Management.”
Considering his use of buzzwords, we’re not surprised at all that he was able to blend in so well. No word on the prevalence of acronyms but despite what people are saying, he was more like them then they could possibly even realized.
Spies Like…Us? [CFO]
If we still care about financial reform, we should especially care about proposed changes to the Government Accounting Standards Board because, let’s face it, government accounting could really use a helping hand. Were government pensions forced to use the same reporting rules as every other pension, a $3 trillion hole would open up and we would see immediately that rules in desperate need of repair have remained broken because the current system allows the truth to be buried in the footnotes.
As is, GASB is funded by voluntary contributions given by state and local governments out of the goodness of their hearts (yeah right) and through sales of its publications.
The concern is that should GASB be unable to pay the bills, the federal government may be forced to swoop in and babysit. The potential for conflicts of interest should not escape dear reader as this would be akin to investors owning the SEC or Fed-regulated banks owning the Federal Reserve (oh wait, they already do). Is that any worse than what we’ve got now?
How bad is their financial situation? GASB reported a $3.83 million budget shortfall in 2009 and projected a $4.46 million shortfall for 2010.
So why, if we’re still talking about financial reform, are we not talking about its potential impact on GASB?
Under new financial reform rules, the GAO would be forced to evaluate GASB’s role (read: usefulness) in standards setting within 180 days of the proposal’s passage. How likely would it be for the GAO to call an issuer-funded agency that’s allowed government pensions to conceal $3 trillion in liabilities a blaring and obvious failure? The SEC could then direct FINRA to collect assessments from dealers that would go towards funding GASB. Obviously this piece of legislation has been written by Congressmen who don’t know how to do anything without making it as complicated as possible.
Financial reform has already cleared the House while the Senate is expected to vote within the next two weeks after returning from recess.
Happy 4th of July capital market servants, tax wonks and accountants of all stripes. Get out there and make some bad decisions (responsibly of course!) this weekend. We’ll see you on Tuesday unless we get word of another good time gone wrong.
CIT Names Former Cerberus Exec CFO [FBN]
And your winner is Scott T. Parker.
IRS agent: Blagojeviches spent $400,000 on clothes [AP]
Is anyone surprised by this? “Next to their mortgage payments — $392,000 — their second-biggest payment from 2002 to nearly the end of 2008 was $205,000 on Tom James/Oxxford custom clothes, revenue agent Shari Schindler said.”
France Calls Google a Monopoly [Floyd Norris/NYT]
Couple Accused of Stealing $2M From Veterans [FN]
A couple of septuagenarians no less!
Researchers: Regions’ religiosity cuts down on accounting scandals [Nashville Business Journal]
Bible belt = less accounting scandals? Texas A&M says Hallelujah!
How Bad is the Budget Outlook? [TaxVox]
In a word: prettyfuckingbad.
Governor puts 200,000 state workers on minimum wage [Sacramento Bee]
In the battle between Sacramento and Albany for the most incompetent/corrupt/helpless state government, it appears that Arnie has kicked the efforts up a notch.
Some NY hedge fund execs may escape new tax [Reuters]
Speaking of Albany, the hedge fund manager tax that David Paterson & Co. were kicking around is as good as dead now that Hizzoner got a word in on the matter. Back to the drawing board.
Apple Acknowledges Flaw in iPhone Signal Meter [NYT]
How they got Steve Jobs to cave on this is anyone’s guess.
As you may recall, restated financial statements for headphonesmith company Koss were due yesterday and they used all the time they were allowed.
Oh and they topped everything off with an 8-K at 5:27 that explains the barrage (not that we need it but, you know, securities law and stuff):
On June 30, 2010, Koss Corporation (“Koss”) released restated consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2009 and 2008, and the quarter ended September 30, 2009. Koss filed amendments to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 and its Quarterly Report for the three months ended September 30, 2009 containing the restated consolidated financial statements for the applicable periods. The restatements were required as a result of previously disclosed unauthorized transactions by Sujata Sachdeva, Koss’s former Vice President of Finance and Principal Accounting Officer.
Koss also amended its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010 to include financial statements, which were omitted from the Company’s reports when previously filed. The release of these financial statements was delayed due to the restatement of Koss’s financials statements required by the unauthorized transactions. With the filings of these amended Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Koss understands that it will regain compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1), which requires the timely filing of periodic financial statements.
That about covers it, doesn’t it? Oh right, the actual numbers. We checked in with forensic sleuth and GC friend Tracy Coenen on these and she gave us some perspective on the restated numbers:
So I’ve taken a run through the restated numbers for 6/30/09 and 6/30/08. Very interesting.
2009 – Revenue was understated by $3.5 million to conceal the fraud, while COGS was overstated by $1.7 million. Overall there is now a loss for 2009, thanks to $8.5 million of theft, but without that, the company would have had profits of $8.2 million, or 19.6% on net sales. Wow!
2008 – Revenue was understated by $2.1 million to conceal the fraud, while COGS was overstated by $1 million. Overall there is now a loss of 2008 of $1.3 million thanks to $5.1 million of theft, but without that, the company would have had profits of $10.7 million or 21.9% of sales.
Pretty impressive stuff. Maybe the company was right when they said everything would be hunky-dory once they got this little mishap out of the way. Chief headphone inheritor Michael Koss explains in the company’s press release, “Given that certain unauthorized transactions were concealed in the Company’s sales and cost of sales accounts, our sales were higher and our cost of sales was lower than previously reported in both 2009 and 2008. This correction has revealed an increase in gross margins for our Company. From this perspective, the Company’s performance was actually stronger than originally reported.”
What you see is that 65%-75% of the theft on an annual basis was concealed on the P&L, and the remainder was dumped into the balance sheet, via inflated A/R, Inventory, and fixed assets, and understated liabilities. The adjustments on the balance sheet are large by 2009 because those irregularities were cumulative.
So the bottom line is that the company is very profitable, if shareholders could actually count on them to watch over the money and see to it that the profits aren’t all being stolen. My original theory was that Sachdeva was expensing her theft, and that’s true to some extent, but failure to record sales was presented to me later as part of her her scheme, and she also involved the balance sheet which created a cumulative (and messy) problem.
Oh right! Watching the money. Should probably write that one down. Hopefully we’ve all learned a valuable lesson.
Everyone in the melanoma-for-sale business is perplexed about the tanning tax that goes into effect today and the Journal reports that the hella confusion is mostly about why some businesses are able to dodge the tax while others are not.
Case in point, health clubs get to offer their George Hamilton specials tax free while video stores (?) that offer tanning do not.
When Jeanne Chamberlain turns up at work Thursday, she’s going to have to grapple with America’s first federal tax on tanning services, a 10% levy designed to help pay for Congress’s health-care overhaul.
Ms. Chamberlain runs a video-rental store.
These would normally be unrelated facts, but 20 years ago, Ms. Chamberlain followed a number of her peers in adding tanning services to smooth out the bumps in her Rice Lake, Wis., business. Today, she wants to offer one free tan for every three rentals. Should that freebie be taxed? Ms. Chamberlain doesn’t know, and even if she did, she doesn’t yet have the software in place to help with the calculations.
For starters, video stores still exist? We had just assumed that they had gone out with powdered wigs. Netflix, Hulu, etc. etc. And since when do they offer tanning services? “Oh I see you’ve got Gigli there, great choice. Would like to hop in one of our tanning beds while I rewind the tape?”
Anyway, back to the tax:
Among the new details: “qualified physical fitness facilities” that include access to tanning beds as part of their membership fee won’t be subject to the tax.
That means customers at Sun Tan City in Owensboro, Ky., will pay 10% more for a dose of ultraviolet rays. But if they go to Anytime Fitness 100 yards away, and tan inside one of its two beds, they’ll escape.
“My jaw dropped,” said Rick Kueber, founder and chief executive of Sun Tan City, a 124-outlet chain based in Elizabethtown, Ky. Then he got to thinking. “If I had six treadmills in each of my stores, can I call myself a health club?”
Can anyone explain this? Our best guess is that since health clubs force you to get you off your ass, while video stores put you back on them, they’re getting a break. That seems to be pretty advanced for Congress logic but we’ll assume that it’s in the ballpark.
But It’s really NBD for the committed to skin cancer crowd however, “[Fifteen-year-old Grace] McCleary and others who lounged last week in the notorious Land of the Tanned – see MTV’s Jersey Shore – said a few dollars tacked on wouldn’t deter them.”
Fortunately, the IRS has advice (as it always does) for those affected and our resident tax sage, Joe Kristan has the details. So, there’s no risk to the industry as a whole – thank god – just a little extra bureaucracy in the pot in the form of Form 720. Enjoy!
Federal Tan Tax Burns Some Badly but Keeps Everybody in the Dark [WSJ]
Tanning-bed enthusiasts say tax won’t deter them [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Back in fall we mentioned a run-of-the-mill whore-supporting accountant that pleaded guilty to ripping off Toys R Us to the tune £3.7 million. Paul Hopes is described as a ‘Walter Mitty character’ by the Telegraph who can now fantasize about what Oz character he is, now that he’s spending 7 years in prison.
Hopes got more bad news recently as he learned that he has to repay £3.36 million of the £3.68 million from Geoffrey.
If he fails to repay the money, he see his sentence more than doubled with an extra 10 years in prison.
The court heard that Hopes, an “accounts payable manager” at the retailer, diverted regular instalments of £300,000 to an account of a fictitious toy manufacturer which he controlled.
He named the fund Dunbar Associates after a prostitute with whom he had become besotted and to whom he eventually handed a total of more than £1.5 million pounds.
He spent at least £2.4 million of the money he stole on five female escorts in all.
That’s a bitch about the additional 10 years if doesn’t repay. But we’re sure that he placed the remaining £900k into a safe, no-load mutual fund so he’ll be able to at start paying at least part of it back ASAP. The sensible accountant in him had to have made one decision with stolen money.
As for the rest of it, we don’t know how successful Johns are at getting refunds in circumstances such as these but if those girls were 100% satisfaction guaranteed, he’ll have to explore other options.
Yesterday we learned about Joe Biden not taking too kindly to a custard shop manager’s suggestion that he can eat all the free custard he wants as long as JB & the rest of the crew “lower our taxes.”
The Veep retorted that maybe the dude in the funny paper hat should try saying nice for change instead of being a smartass. It was the typical Joe Biden charm that you would expect. Perhaps he should have suggested visiting the White House’s tax savings tool instead of name-calling but the past is the past and we’ll just chalk up another Joe Biden moment of hilarity/political liability.
But wait! What if the VP was right about this portly custard slinger? We read over a little mini memoir over at Daily Intel that indicates that the guy probably had it coming:
First of all, as anyone who has ever lived in Milwaukee knows: Kopp’s Frozen Custard is the most delicious dessert on the planet. It’s basically ice cream with twice the fat. So when Smilin’ Joe Biden showed up at Kopp’s in Glendale, Wisconsin, last week, you can only imagine his annoyance at being interrupted in the middle of his first taste — from the looks of things, Friday’s special flavor, chocolate chip cookie dough — by a store manager cracking that the cone was free, as long as the vice-president would agree to “lower our taxes.” Biden being Biden, he called the manager “a smartass.” And who was that smartass? None other than my nemesis of twenty years ago — the first boss I ever hated and feared.
Said smartass is Scott Borkin and the author of this piece, Dan Kois, proceeds to tell a tale of a lunatic boss from hell (thanks, Richard Lewis):
Once, very late on a long, hot night of customers piling in and the custard machines jamming and the store’s owner, Carl Kopp, walking around in his apron and hat terrifying everyone, Scott Borkin came over to collect a shake for order number 87. “What the hell is this?” he asked me.
Inside, I panicked. What had I done wrong this time? But I had the ticket right in my hand — malt with chocolate — and was positive that’s what I had made. “It’s a chocolate malt.”
“No, this,” he said, pointing at my Sharpied “7” on the lid. I’d written it with a line through the center because once someone had mistaken my non-lined 7 for a 2.
“Uh, it’s a seven,” I replied.
“This is a seven,” he said, taking the ticket from my hand and drawing a non-lined numeral. “Do it right or you’re outta here.” He plucked the malt off the counter and stalked away. “This isn’t Germany!” he called over his shoulder.
Christ. Threatening termination because of lined 7 and anti-Germany? PLUS he likes bitching about taxes? This guy could be the next Joe the Plumber. Oh wait, he’s already been on Fox & Friends. Mission accomplished.
Evergreen Energy of Denver dismissed Deloitte effective June 23rd according to the company’s 8-K filing. Hein & Associates, a local Denver firm, will take it from here.
It stands to reason that Evergreen didn’t appreciate the going concern opinions that Deloitte gave the company for its December 31, 2009 and December 31, 2008 financial statements but in cordial SEC filing fashion, there are no parting shots from the company.
Evergreen’s press release indicates that this was simply an opportunity to throw some action to another firm (most likely with lower fees), “With the sale of certain Buckeye assets and our exit from the coal mining industry, Evergreen Energy has transitioned into a green technology company. This is an ideal time to switch to a Denver-based regional accounting firm with substantial public company expertise in the clean technology and software industries that can more cost effectively meet our needs.”
Deloitte’s letter to the SEC is abruptly admits that everything is cool rather than flat out saying, “you’ll be sorry you ever ditched us, you losers.”
Similarly, Measurement Specialties, Inc. showed KPMG the door for Ernst & Young. The company says everything was hunky-dory between the two although there was a small matter of the internal controls around a significant joint venture of which the company had no control. Oh, and the effectiveness of internal controls of some recent acquisitions also couldn’t be determined. But it was cool and the company said, “it was in the best interests of the Company to change its independent registered public accounting firm.”
KPMG has NFI what that means saying in their letter, “we are not in a position to agree or disagree with Measurement Specialties, Inc.’s statements relating to the reason for changing principal accountants.”
We wish everyone nothing but happiness.
In case you’re just joining us on this MOANday, the SCOTUS ruled this morning that “the structure of the accounting board violated constitutional separation-of-powers principles because it was too difficult for the president to remove board members.”
So, pretty wonky legal stuff. The good news is that auditors will get to keep their jobs (mixed feelings, we’re sure) but what’s the reaction at large?
PCAOB – The PCAOB, for one, is just excited that the SCOTUS is still letting them play. Sayeth interm Chairman for life Dan Goelzer, “We are pleased that the decision allows the PCAOB to continue without interruption to carry out its important mission of overseeing public company audits in order to protect investors and promote the public interest.”
SEC – Likewise, SEC Chair Mary Schapiro is fine with the decsion too, “I am pleased that the Court has determined that the Board’s operations may continue and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, with the Board’s tenure restrictions excised, remains fully in effect. The PCAOB is a cornerstone of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and serves a critical role in promoting investor protection and audit quality. We look forward to continuing to work with the Board in connection with its mission to oversee auditors in order to protect the interests of investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate and independent audit reports.”
Wall St. Journal – Suzanne Barlyn over at Financial Adviser writes that the small broker dealers won’t get the much coveted relief on their audit fees, “Historic financial regulatory reform legislation, which may be enacted as soon as July 4, would empower the PCAOB to regulate auditors of privately held broker dealers, who would then be subject to the organization’s inspections and possible enforcement actions. The potential change could mean auditing fees as high as $50,000 to $100,000 per year for certain broker dealers, instead of the $5,000 to $10,000 they typically shell out now.”
And Michael Corkery at Deal Journal writes that there is disappointment out there for the über-haters, “Dashed are the hopes of some corporations who believed the Court would use this case to question the broader issues of Sarbanes-Oxley, which critics say has buried publicly traded companies in onerous regulation and paperwork.”
Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt – Former Chairman Pitt is less thrilled, telling Bloomberg that the decision was “an unfortunate and serious blow” and that even if Congress could squeeze there regulatory fix into the current reform bill, “in the two thousand pages of the legislation…there’s not a word dealing with the PCAOB That is something that will have to be fixed.”
DealBook – Peter Henning of White Collar Watch is fairly unmoved, “[T]he decision in the Free Enterprise Fund case has no real impact on the operations of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board beyond removing a cloud as to its continued viability. The likelihood one of its members would be removed by the S.E.C. is virtually nonexistent, and its oversight and enforcement powers continue undisturbed. Similarly, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act remains fully in force beyond the narrow constraint on removal of a board member that is no longer operative.”
The Economist – Schumpeter’s Notebook is thankful that the entire law doesn’t have to be rewritten in the current legislative environment, “[I]t is probably a good verdict from business’s point of view. Companies have spent millions on SOX compliance, and had just about got used to the legislation. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a broad reconsideration of SOX, in the current business climate, would produce better legislation. Far from it.”
Ernst & Young – Directly from Jim Turley, “Independent regulation of the profession post-Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) has strengthened audit quality and confidence in financial reporting. We are pleased that the Court’s decision provides that the PCAOB’s independent oversight can continue without interruption. Although today’s ruling found a flaw in a provision within SOX regarding the removal of Board members, the Court held that Sarbanes Oxley remains the law.”
AICPA – Barry Melancon is as excited as everyone else, “The court’s ruling is a victory for investors and for the accounting profession. The decision effectively fixes the constitutionality of the PCAOB by making board members subject to `at will’ removal by the SEC and therefore the president. It sustains the continued function of both the PCAOB and Sarbanes-Oxley. As such, the court rejected a transparent attempt to undermine the post-Enron reforms that have served our financial markets well.”
Center for Audit Quality – The CAQ filed an amicus brief with court and Executive Director Cindy Fornelli was happy with the result, “The CAQ is pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will allow the continued operation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) without any changes or legislative action. This narrow decision clearly severs the PCAOB board member removal process from the rest of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and reaffirms all provisions of the law except for the power to remove the board members. The PCAOB was put in place to achieve the goals Congress embodied in SOX. As we observed in our friend-of-the-court brief, evidence demonstrates that audit quality and investor confidence have improved since the Board’s creation. The decision will prevent any disruption to the key activities of the PCAOB including setting auditing standards and the public company audit oversight process, critical factors in the continued strength and stability of our capital markets.”
Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley – The architects, if you will. “The PCAOB provides essential protections to the more than half of American households that invest savings in securities. It ensures the integrity of public company audits and, thereby, the accuracy of financial reporting. The PCAOB enjoys widespread support from investors as well as from the accounting profession. The decision from the Supreme Court adjusts the law in a way that allows the PCAOB to continue to ensure the integrity of public company audits. The Board’s essential protections of American investors will continue.”
What does this mean (besides the fact that more than a few partners are eating their hats, shaving their heads, coming to work naked, etc.)?
The Board itself is not unconstitutional and thus will continue operating (sorry E&Y) so it’s not going anywhere. The problem is, Congress will have to get involved in order to and who knows what the brain trust will cook up.