October 23, 2018

Quote of the Day

Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert Is Still Talking About Her Teenage Son’s Fear of Robots

Our QOTD comes from Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert, who shared the stage with AT&T Business CEO Thaddeus Arroyo and CNN host Anderson Cooper a couple of weeks ago during the AT&T Business Summit in Dallas to discuss how to be an effective leader in a digital world. Cooper, who moderated the discussion, mentioned that people […]

CPA Reminds Tax Clients ‘We’re Not Fortune Tellers and Wizards’

It seems that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is making New York CPAs’ jobs more hellish than they already are. From Crain’s New York Business: For New York’s largest accounting firms, the biggest tax overhaul in decades has put significantly more work on their staffers’ plates. But it’s not just New York CPAs who […]

Enron Whistleblower: WikiLeaks > SEC

“I don’t think the SEC’s culture is one that will make this effective one iota,” said Sherron Watkins, a one-time vice president at Enron, referring to expanded protections for whistleblowers included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. If she was in the same situation today as 10 years ago, when Watkins approached government authorities about accounting fraud at Enron, she would probably instead take her information to an organization like WikiLeaks, Watkins said. [Paper Trail]

Did We Also Mention Our Flexible Work Schedule Arrangements?

“We stand by the audit opinions issued by Ernst & Young relating to the financial statements of Lehman Brothers.”

~ Sarah Jurado, a spokeswoman for Ernst & Young in the UK, who sounds like she’s got the talking points down, quoted in Bloomberg.

Does Anyone Think Chris Van Hollen Actually Knows What ‘Enron-type accounting’ Is?

Anyone?

If you want to call attention to bullshit political games, we humbly suggest, “bullshit political games.” Not this:

“This is a huge loophole for Enron-type accounting … In the rule they pass tomorrow they are going to reiterate that the chair of the budget committee has the authority to come up with his own estimate of the budget impact of various pieces of legislation.”

So aggressive revenue recognition, abusing mark-to-market accounting and SPEs = marginalizing the Congressional Budget Office. Got it?

Dems Accuse GOP Of ‘Enron-Type Accounting’ And Assaults On CBO [HuffPo]

But What if the Auditors Were Fools?

“Could Ernst & Young have done a better job? Maybe, but claiming they could have done a better job doesn’t necessarily make them liable. Even the best of auditors can be fooled.”

~ Anthony Sabino, professor of law and business at St. John’s University

Some People Need to Get Some Perspective on This Tax Cut Compromise

“The fact that the Republicans got a reduction in the death tax from 55 percent to 35 percent I think made the deal even better. […] I’m a little surprised that some Republicans are scoffing at it.”

~ Steve Forbes can’t quite believe what he’s hearing.

Google CFO: We Win, Facebook Wins, Everybody Wins!

Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette on Thursday downplayed the competitive threat from social-networking giant Facebook Inc., arguing that the digital economy will create a “ton of winners.” “Everybody will benefit if the Web is more social,” he said. “It’s not a zero sum game.” [Dow Jones]

IFRS: Four. More. Years.

Comments reflected “a lot of unanimity around, if we go in this direction, allowing sufficient time for companies to adjust,” said Schapiro in a question-and-answer session following her keynote address to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ national conference on accounting and auditing issues for public companies. “It’s likely to be a minimum of four years,” but that’s still a point for the SEC to decide, she said, assuming it decides to incorporate IFRS into U.S. capital markets. [Compliance Week]

Wanted: Big 4 Bean Spillers

“Zero Hedge kindly requests any and all Big 4 (and all other) accounting firm whistleblowers to please stand up and let us know of any and every case of improper accounting they are aware of (preferably with supporting documentation).”

~ Tyler Durden

At Least Someone Is Optimistic About the Tax Cut Stalemate

“I think we got off to a good start yesterday. There are going to be ups and downs in this process but I’m confident that we’re going to be able to get it done.”

~ President Obama is making us nauseous.

Memo to the Wealthy: Death Is Looking Like a Good Option

“I have no confidence that this Congress will address the estate tax.”

~ Joe Kristan has a morbid outlook.

Your Concern About a Big 4 Failure Is Duly Noted

“I don’t see that is on the horizon at all.”

~ Deloitte Global Chairman John Connolly, responding to UK lawmakers about the risk of a Big 4 failure.

Fiscal Chickenhawks

“I’m not sure who invented the term ‘deficit hawk,’ but it seems an odd name for a creature too chicken to raise taxes.”

~ Nancy Folbre, economics professor the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Tax Cuts Can Wait

“Congress has gone since 2002 without dealing with the December 31, 2010 expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. What’s another week or two?”

~ Joe Kristan hasn’t considered the risk of tryptophan hangovers.

GAO: SEC Basically Needs to Replace Their Entire Accounting System

“These material weaknesses are likely to continue to exist until the SEC’s accounting system is either significantly enhanced or replaced, key accounting activity in other systems is fully integrated with the accounting system at the transaction level, information security controls are significantly strengthened, and appropriate resources are dedicated to maintaining effective internal controls.”

~ From a report issued by the Government Accountability Office

Spreading the Sacrifice Around

“Everybody must sacrifice so this quiet killer won’t eat us alive before we have a chance to fix what was our doing.”

~ Former Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici who, along with Alice Rivlin, rolled out their fiscal deficit solution today that includes a 6.5% national sales tax.

We’ll Drag Them Kicking and Screaming if We Have To

“Then what we’ve done is lay a predicate for this next Congress to deal with where we have $3 of spending cuts for every dollar of revenue increase.”

~ Erskine Bowles

Nancy Pelosi Will Have You Know That She Wasn’t Responsible for the New 1099 Requirement Sneaking into Healthcare Reform

“One item that I think we all agree on that was in the Senate bill, not in the House bill, but became part of the law was 1099, which affects small businesses and small contractors and how they report their transactions. They know what it means, and they know they’d like to see it go. I think that’s probably the first place we could go together.”

~ The soon-to-be former Speaker of the House is willing to talk about this one.

Dick Durbin Isn’t Buying This Fiscal Commission Report

“I told them that there are things in there that inspire me, and there are things in there that I hate like the devil hates holy water. I’m not going to vote for this thing.”

~ The Illinois Senator doesn’t like the sales pitch from Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

Congress: Come Hell, High Water or Spiteful Democrats, We’ll Patch the AMT in the Lame Duck Session

“We plan to do everything possible to enact AMT relief legislation in a form mutually agreeable to the Congress and the president. We urge the Internal Revenue Service to take all steps necessary to plan for changes that would be made by the legislation.”

~ One of those “letters” that legislators write to bureaucrats as a form of grandstanding. This particular letter was from Max Baucus, Chuck Grassley, Sandy Levin and Dave Camp to Doug Shulman

New Jersey Should Send a ‘Thank You’ Note to California and New York

“In the recently-released 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index, New Jersey finally moved out of its last-place ranking on that list, in part due to Christie’s veto of the millionaires’ tax he mentioned during his interview. While it still ranks a pretty dismal 48 out of 50, it proves that improvement is possible, even in a state with a tax policy legacy as historically abysmal as New Jersey’s.” [Tax Foundation]

Keeping the SEC Out of Our Hair Is Always on the Table

This all started when a shareholder asked Michael about this, and he said that we’re looking into it. Well, of course we’re looking into it.

~ Brian Gladden, CFO of Dell, comes off a little sassy discussing the possibility of the company going private.

Washingtonians Mind Their Own Wallets

“Antitax voters clearly won a victory on Tuesday. But it would be a stretch to say that they don’t want higher taxes on the wealthy. More likely, they just didn’t want higher taxes on the nonwealthy.”

~ Robert Frank, on Washington’s rejection of Initiative 1098.

Wanted: Big Brothers, Big Sisters for Accountants

One of the main reasons [for dissatisfaction] is a lack of role models. Half of female respondents said there aren’t enough women at the top to look up to in top management, while only a third of men complained that there aren’t enough males. On the topic of mentors, however, both sexes feel there aren’t enough of them. More than two thirds of both genders said they haven’t had or currently do not have a mentor to support their career. [FINS]

Handicapping Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, take my word for it, will never be indicted by the U.S. government, as a firm, for its role in any Lehman fraud that’s eventually proven. It’s also highly unlikely – 1000 to 1 odds I’d say – EY will be fined by the SEC or the PCAOB, as a firm, in a civil or disciplinary case.

~ Francine McKenna says it’s a longshot.

Vladimir Putin Is a Proud Member of the IFRS Fan Club

“Russian companies have a range of resource and processing assets abroad and that’s why we should assimilate the international standards of accounting as early as possible.”

~ The Russian Prime Minister won’t be waiting until 2011 to make up his mind.

Death to Death Tax Denial

“We’re confident that a Congress manned with our pledge signers will be prepared to take the necessary steps to pass permanent repeal of this un-American, outdated policy and stand up for small family businesses, the real job creators in our country.”

~ Dick Patten, President of The American Family Business Institute, says the estate tax is toast now that Senate candidates like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Rand Paul are on board with the AFBI’s “Death Tax Repeal Pledge.”

The Big 4 Greeters Aren’t Necessary, Thank You

“We don’t want the Wal-Mart audit.”

~ The aforementioned Lynn Turner, cringes at the thought of low prices.

A Non-Discriminatory Faith Tax

“Whether you believe in L. Ron Hubbard, Jesus, a tree, Mother Earth or Allah, it is time for the tax man to cometh.”

~ William K. Wolfrum wants everyone to chip in.

Tree Huggers Are Indirectly Responsible for Undetected Fraud

“How about going online and printing [the statement or report] every month as if it were mailed to you — and actually looking at it?”

~ Stephen Pedneault, a veteran forensic accountant, isn’t crazy about all the benefits of technology.

What Happens When Congress Says, “We’ve Got Time. We’ll Get to It”

“Ever since the tax cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003, policy makers have known the law would expire at the end of 2010. That ‘drop dead’ date offered an auspicious way to galvanize a systematic effort to reform a tax system that is badly in need of repair. Instead, policy makers pretty much ignored the issue until just before the 2010 Congressional recess, when politically tinged efforts to extend some or all of the tax cuts finally began — a ‘debate’ that was too little, too narrow, and too late.”

~ William G. Gale, Miller Chair at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

Betting on Estate Tax Inaction

“It’s not a sure thing that they’ll actually get around to doing anything about it.”

~ Craig Jennings, federal fiscal policy analyst at OMB Watch, doesn’t have much faith that Congress.

Iowa Pastor Practically Begging the IRS to Sue Him, Consume His Life for Years to Come

“I’m tired of pastors submitting to this tyranny — and I’m expecting to try to get the IRS to sue us so that we can take it all the way to the Supreme Court and restore freedom in America’s pulpits.”

~ Pastor Cary Gordon, of Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, Iowa, has some strange ambitions.

Does That Make PwC Crestor?

“It looks like Gap is schilling for Lipitor.”

~ Dhani Mau, over at our sassy (former) sister site Fashionista, avoids the ED drugs.

Off-Balance Sheet Accounting 2.0

“They will help investors to better understand off-balance sheet risks, and to alert them to the possibility of so-called window dressing transactions occurring at the end of a reporting period.”

~ Sir David Tweedie talking up the new rules that were published by the IASB today.

So ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ Is Out of the Question?

“The largest companies are generally served by one of the Big Four firms and I think that’s going to continue to be true and one of the reasons are the needs of that market place, due to the scale of those enterprises.”

~ Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley (who must have been making the rounds today) doesn’t see a return to the Big 5.

Old Rich Guy Makes It Clear Where He Stands on Taxes

“The question is, Do we get more money from the person that’s gonna serve me lunch today, or do we get it from me? I think we should get it from me.”

Citi Failed to Impress Mike Mayo

“Citi still seems to have aggressiveness with financial targets (well above historical), accounting (tax credits) and corporate governance. Also, the strategy does not always seem in sync with execution and/or financial reporting.”

~ It isn’t known what the Credit Agricole Securities analyst thinks of the auditors.

Exquisite Insults: PCAOB Edition

“The Accounting Board Is a Sinecure Qua Non”

~ Headline over at Bloomberg BusinessWeek

You Won’t Hear This on the Campaign Trail

“The tax cuts need to be canceled. If not now, due to the weakness in the economy, then three years from now.”

~ Ezra Klein is not seeking reelection.

John Boehner: What Have You Done for American Families and Small Business Lately, Mr. President?

“If the President really wants to help small businesses, he should insist that Congress not leave town without cutting spending and stopping his tax hike to help create jobs – particularly small business jobs. By failing to act, the President is turning his back on American families and small businesses.”

~ The House Minority Leader, in a statement, nanoseconds after The President signed The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 into law.

Nancy Pelosi Guarantees a Tax Cut

“America’s middle class will have a tax cut. It will be done in this Congress. There is no question about that.”

~ The Speaker of the House says that a vote may even happen before the election despite the old boys’ (and a few ladies) club has all but thrown in the towel.

Can a Potty-Mouth Get You a Promotion?

“Swearing does provide a sort of release that other language doesn’t provide.”

~ Dr. Daniel Zimmerman, a co-author of a study that says cursing can “clear the head,” and “conveys the sort of aggression that is rewarded with honors and promotions in high-stress workplaces.”

Paul Krugman Doesn’t Like Being Included in GOP Tax Cut Talking Points

“The point is that I’m not a real small businessman, but I play one in anti-tax propaganda.”

~ The Professor was a little too sarcastic the first go round.

The Big 4 Abbott & Costello Routine

“Do you want 7 to go into 28 a total of 13 times? Sure. Just hire a Big Four auditor, and he’s got a rubber stamp with your name on it.”

~ Gary Weiss thinks auditors are a joke.

For Some, There Is An Upside to Dodd-Frank

“Like Sarbox, it is destined to fail—except for all the lawyers and accountants and new bureaucrats it will enrich.”

~ Neil Weinberg found the silver lining.

In Politics, Spite Will Forever Trump Progress

“It’s amazing to me how difficult it is to work together around here, even when we want to.”

~ Orrin Hatch (R-UT), referring to how the U.S. Senate managed to drag out the passing of the small-business bill.

A Big 4 Identity Crisis?

“The Big 4 don’t even like being called AUDITORS. Rather they provide ‘ASSURANCE Services,’ and act as ‘TRUSTED ADVISORS.’ This isn’t just rhetorical. It’s a cynical PR move and an effort to limit their liability.”

~ Francine McKenna, who will be on a panel with Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy Examiner Anton Valukas, NYT Chief Financial Correspondent Floyd Norris and others, discussing the financial crisis.

How Do You Make Up for Ignoring Massive Corruption?

“Whatever good things international accountancy firms are doing in Russia – and I’m sure there are a few – blowing the whistle on massive corruption isn’t really one of them.”

~ Tim Wall, in the Moscow News. [via Re:The Auditors]

Nikki Haley’s Accounting Skills Are Being Called into Question

“Every time she touches a balance sheet, she leaves behind a tral [sic] of tax liens and penalties. If Rep. Haley really is an accountant, she is as incompetent as her mentor is at job recruitment.”

~ Trav Robertson, spokesman for South Carolina Gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen, is talking out of his ass a little but the jab at Mark Sanford is duly noted.

Tax Policy Rhetoric Déjà Vu

“Watching this speech, I’ve determined that Obama will win the 2008 election.”

~ Philip Klein has heard this before, although John Boehner subs for George W. Bush.

Paul Hogan Is Pleased to be Back on U.S. Soil

“I have come to this great tax haven, the USA, where the IRS are gentlemen compared to our lot.”

~ Mick Dundee isn’t making a helluva lot sense but it’s fine, he’s still more or less a celebrity.

How Is the Homebuyer Tax Credit Like Jason Voorhees?

“Like the killers in those really bad slasher movies, this tax subsidy wreaks havoc wherever it goes, appears to meet its demise in the last reel, yet returns to create more misery.”

~ Howard Gleckman

In Other Words, Nicolas Cage’s Accountant Is Probably Counting Some Money

“Nic is happy that it is resolved.”

~ A TMZ “source,” on the settlement reached between NC and his former accountant, who were both blaming each other for Cage’s financial trubs.

Famous Last Words

“The lawsuit is a bunch of BS. They’re throwing everything at me. I’m not afraid of the IRS.”

~ William Alexander, on allegations brought against him by the IRS.

Good Thing They Had Auditors

“Lehman’s books were in such a mess that I don’t think they knew where they were.”

~ Elizabeth James, a director of Barclays’s futures business, testifying in bankruptcy court.

Bernanke: This Ride Isn’t Over

“[W]e have come a long way, but there is still some way to travel.”

~ The Fed Chairman wants you to chew on that while he kicks it in Jackson Hole.

As to Whether Allen Stanford Knew His CDs Were Worthless

“I think it’s obviously obvious.”

~ Forensic accountant Mark Berenblut, responding in the affirmative that R. Allen Stanford knew he was “misrepresent[ing] the liquidity and soundness of the CDs.”

Dov Charney’s Business Sense Doesn’t Include Reliable Financial Statements

“He flies in the face of business sense, fashion manufacturing and retailing sense.”

~ Bryan Roberts, research director for retail analysts Planet Retail, couldn’t get through to Deloitte in time with this message.

Why Would Someone Want to Buy a Sports Franchise?

“Because of the way the value of sports franchises generally appreciates each year in the marketplace, each owner is in it for the holy grail, and that is to sell the team eventually when they realize very nice capital gains.”

~ Brian Beerman of Beerman, Piper & Associates LLP insists that championships are NBD.

New Jersey Nets Fans May Have Gotten Ripped Off

“She promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.”

~ California Attorney General Jerry Brown isn’t impressed with Roni Deutch’s advertising. And the Nets likely have one less way to try and draw crowds.

Maybe If We Put Internal Controls Last, No One Will Notice

“That is quite a risk to put at the end of the list.”

~ Peter Henning isn’t so sure that General Motors is taking the whole “disclosure controls and procedures and our internal control over financial reporting are currently not effective” serious enough.

This Could Easily Be a Member of Congress

“We are grateful to the courageous taxpayer who came forward to notify the United States attorney’s office of a corrupt public servant.”

~ U.S. Attorney Todd Jones is really just referring to that IRS agent who needed $9,700.

And If Only American Apparel Hadn’t Burned Through All That Cash, They Could Have Made Bigger Campaign Contributions

“If it weren’t for the immigration bust by the Obama administration, the company would have been OK this year.”

~ “[A] source close to American Apparel” quoted in the Post obviously isn’t familiar with the company’s debt position.

Tim Geithner Will Tell You Exactly What He Thinks of Fannie and Freddie

“This administration will side with those who want fundamental change. It is not tenable to leave in place the system we have today. We will not support returning Fannie and Freddie to the role they played before conservatorship, where they fought to take market share from private competitors while enjoying the privilege of government support.”

~ The Treasury Secretary has had it up to his coif.

Charlie Gasparino Suggests That Erin Callan Should Be Shaking in Her Designer Boots

“At least part of it is focused on the March 2008 capital raise where they went out and did a preferred deal. Erin Callan made some very positive bullish statements about Lehman. About how the nature of its finances would mean that it did not need more capital and three months later Lehman Brothers needed more capital and then came the decline of the firm.”

~ The Fox Business Correspondent/Ace Reporter insists that an announcement is “imminent.” That’s what the rumor mill says anyway.

Paging Tea Party Members…

“If you wanted to irritate the raise-taxes folks with tax-hiking proposals designed to nettle and sting their tender flanks, what would you do?”

~ James Lileks puts it out there. His example was taxing professors on their tenure. Ironically, this comes via TaxProf Paul Caron. If you’ve got ideas, leave them below.

Accountants Still Don’t Have the Warm Fuzzies About the Economy

“Uncertainty about the sustainability of the recovery continues to limit planned investment and hiring.”

~ Professor Mark Lang on the results of the AICPA/University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School survey of CPAs in leadership positions.

The CPA That Cried “IRS!”

“No bureaucracy ever thinks it has all the power it needs.”

~ Joe Kristan can’t see the future (to our knowledge) but he did predict that the IRS would try to extend the tax preparer regulations to CPAs.

Memo to IRS: Regulating Tax Preparers Is Not ‘Mission Critical’

“We believe that the IRS has neither demonstrated the need for extending the non-signing preparer requirements to CPA firms nor that its proposed testing program merits shifting IRS resources away from other mission-critical programs.”

~ Thirty-one members of Congress sent a letter to Tim Geithner, asking TG, Doug Shulman & Co. to, pretty please, reconsider the requirement for non-signing CPAs.

The PCAOB Is Pleased with How the Whistleblowing Has Gone

“We thought auditors and investors would like to have an avenue to report violations of accounting and auditing standards and financial fraud.”

~ Claudius Modesti, PCAOB Enforcement and Investigations Division director. Last year, the Board fielded 179 tips – a record – that alleged wrongdoing by audit firms and their employees.

In Other Words, “Our Numbers Are Good and My Old Boss Is a Pig.”

“We thought it was important for people to appreciate that the announcement today has nothing to do with the operational performance of the company, it is all about Mark’s behavior and judgment.”

~ HP Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak, who is now interim CEO after an abrupt resignation by Mark Hurd amid sexual harassment allegations.

Gird Your Loins, Big 4

“I believe the time has come for us to ask Congress to change the law and make our enforcement proceedings public, unless there is some good reason for a particular matter to be closed.”

~ Dan Goelzer, Acting Chair of the PCAOB, would like to get things out there.

8.5.10 Goelzer Public Enforcement

Warren Buffet Will Bring His A-game Next Time

“It was a very soft sell, but 40 signed up.”

~ The Oracle of O probably didn’t even mention the fact that the estate tax will eventually come back.

Memo to Washington: Please Consider Tax Reform

“Instead of reprising their partisan, tiresome, and largely unproductive argument about what to do with the Bush tax cuts, President Obama and Congress ought to be asking a very different question: How do we build a tax system capable of generating the revenues we need to fund the government we want in the most efficient and fair way possible?”

~ Howard Gleckman

Maxine Waters Takes Exception with the Ethics Violations

“I have not violated any House rules. Therefore, I simply will not be forced to admit to something I did not do.”

~ The California Congresswoman, in a statement, won’t be going quietly.

Tony Hayward Is a Lover, Not a Spiller

“I didn’t want to leave BP, because I love the company. Because I love the company, I must leave BP.”

~ Tony Hayward may, as some have suggested, have a future as a poet.

It’s Been Awhile Since Charlie Rangel Had a Bad Day

“Sixty years ago, I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea and have said that I haven’t had a bad day since. But after today, I may have to revise that statement.”

~ Rangs had a helluva run. Not that it’s any consolation.

California’s Budget Crisis Streak Continues

“Without a budget in place that addresses our $19 billion budget deficit, every day of delay brings California closer to a fiscal meltdown,”

~ California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger probably wouldn’t mind having the ability to go back in time and try to do something. Anything.

Tony Hayward Goes Out on a High Note

“We have followed the IRS regulations as they’re currently written.”

~ The outgoing BP CEO, explaining the $9.9 billion tax credit the company took in the second quarter.

Are Face Tattoos a Dealbreaker at PwC?

“I’m guessing that if Mike Tyson walked into a job interview for a financial analyst position at PricewaterhouseCoopers with his half-face tribal tattoo, he probably wouldn’t be asked back for a second interview.”

~ Brie Reynolds, over at Ology, is making the assumption that the baddest man on the planet wouldn’t be able to provide the PwC Experience.

Charlie Rangel Is Perfectly Aware of the Allegations

“I’m in the kitchen and I’m not walking out.”

~ The 80-year old Congressman would prefer you to bring it.

“Who do I make the check out to?”

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter. We are committed to maintaining clear and accurate reporting of our periodic results, supporting our customers, and executing our growth strategy.”

~ Michael Dell doesn’t seem too broken up about today’s little setback.

Business as Usual at the SEC

“The SEC at least knew of this issue and tried to inquire when they could.”

~ Don Whalen, AuditAnalytics.com’s director of research, is referring to the Commission’s knowledge of repurchase agreements used by various companies as early as 2004, but could easily be talking about Bernie Madoff.

Was the $550 Million Not Enough for You?

“I couldn’t tell you, Mike, that there is a company in the world that does not have a threat of a criminal investigation at some point in time. I mean, every company in the entire world has that. All I can tell you is that we are not aware of any criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs.”

~ Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar, responding to CLSA analyst Mike Mayo, who really, really, really, really wants to know if there is a threat of a criminal investigation into Goldman Sachs.

Accounting = Weapons of Mass Destruction

“Accounting is the CEO’s “weapon of choice” that transforms the perverse incentive into what economists, regulators, and criminologists agree is a “sure thing” in crises (means).”

~ William K. Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Thumbs Up or Down on Financial Regulatory Reform?

The answer to that question for both proponents and detractors of the bill is to read it. All of it. Then decide.

~ Steven M. Davidoff, the Deal Professor, read all 2,300 some-odd pages and just assigned all of you some homework. It’s going become law after all.

The Frank-Dodd Act Could Solve Part of the Unemployment Problem

“In 2,500 pages of dense prose, we’re about to receive legislation that could better be entitled ‘The Lawyers’ and Lobbyists’ Full Employment Act.”’

~ Harvey Pitt, former SEC Chairman, graduated with his law degree from St. John’s in 1968.

Have Americans Embraced…Saving?

“[I]t’s like saving money when they shop is a new kind of game, a way to stick it back to the man.”

~ Pat Conroy, vice chairman and Deloitte’s consumer products practice leader, is proud of all the consumers out there.

For Starters, PwC Pays Their Attorneys a Lot of Money

“How can any self-respecting attorney still argue – and any lucid judge still believe – that PwC’s global firm is not just a sham legal construct, an artificial vehicle for the strongest member firms to control and potentially exploit their weaker ones, all under the guise of ‘improving quality and seamless delivery to multinational clients…’ ?”

~ Francine McKenna still isn’t buying it.

LeBron James’ CPA Needs to Get to Work

“Wouldn’t you love to be Mr. James’s tax accountant right about now?”

~ Rob Lieber

Who Says No One Loves the IRS?

“She was probably two when she did that because she looks fantastic.”

~ Michelle Obama, referring to 60-year IRS vet, Pauline Fenderson, who started as a typist during the Truman years.

The AICPA Is Jumping on This Audit Committee Trend

“The audit committee is essentially its organization’s financial conscience. The responsibilities have grown demonstrably, and committee members need appropriate guidance to carry out their essential charge. That’s the AICPA’s goal for its first audit committee forum.”

~ Carol Scott, AICPA vice president for business, industry and government thinks it’s about time we got down to business.

This Fall, It’s Do or Die for Accounting Rule Convergence

“If we can’t get converged (on financial instruments), it would suggest the convergence effort is going to be challenged and questioned on a significant basis.”

~ FASB member Tom Linsmeier levels with everyone on the FASB’s big test in the convergence process this fall.

Goldman Sachs Isn’t Perfect, Ya Know

“During the course of the financial crisis, we made our fair share of mistakes. We lost a considerable amount of money through our exposure to leveraged loans and mortgages.”

~ Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar, in his opening statement before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

In Other Words, Determining AIG’s CDS Losses Was a Big Game of Darts

“I did not expect actual, economic losses on the portfolio. That said, I was truthful at all times about the unrealized accounting losses and did my very best to estimate them accurately, in consultation with others at AIG-FP, as well as with my supervisors, AIG’s senior accounting staff, and its internal and external auditors.”

~ Joe Cassano, in his prepared testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

A Meaningless Win for Free Enterprise Fund and Beckstead and Watts

“Beckstead and Watts, LLP, and the Free Enterprise won, but there is no prize for them.”

~ Professor David Albrecht (guest posting at JDA), pointing out that despite a victory, the petitioners basically get jack squat.

Sarbanes-Oxley Lives

“The Sarbanes-Oxley Act remains ‘fully operative as a law’ with these tenure restrictions excised.”

~ Chief Justice John Roberts, in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion.