Friday Footnotes: Big 4’s Tech Push; An Audit Fix?; Best Cities For Accountants | 1.3.20

A puppy for no reason

The Best Cities in America For Accountants [Blackline Magazine] Oof this intro graf tho: “Accounting jobs are typically classified as a safe option for those looking to enter an industry that will maintain a steady stream of demand and plenty of opportunities to grow. Right around tax season, everyone is looking for an accountant, and major companies are always looking for someone who can run the numbers and help with budgeting and finance.”

FASB Homes In on Key Accounting Issues in 2020 as Chairman’s Term Nears End [Wall Street Journal] The U.S. standards setter is preparing for a changing of the guard as Chairman Russell Golden steps down at the end of June after seven years in the position. And for at least the remainder of Mr. Golden’s term, the board is focused on two issues: differentiating liabilities from equity and improving the measurement of goodwill. Those are among the more significant proposals the FASB expects to address before June. Richard Jones, chief accountant and partner at Ernst & Young, will succeed Mr. Golden in July. “With less than seven months left in my term, I’m reminded of Yogi [Berra]’s most famous quote, ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over,’ ” Mr. Golden said this month at a conference hosted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Washington.

SEC proposes updating auditor independence rules [Journal of Accountancy] Auditor independence rules would change under a new SEC proposal designed to permit relationships in situations when independence is not substantially threatened.

A 2020 Global Auditing Forecast [CPA Journal] In the United States, because the incidence of financial malfeasance is a trailing economic indicator, the resilience of the securities indices has meant a period of relative quiet. Further muting the rhetoric is the somnolent attitude of the major American regulators, notably the wholesale turnover of the members and senior staff of the PCAOB that has made it essentially a high-salaried housekeeper.

Deloitte to Guide Young Legal Tech Companies Via New Program [Bloomberg Law] Deloitte’s law arm has launched a program designed to “propel” early-stage legal tech companies while using their products, in its latest of many forays into global legal services. Through Deloitte Legal Ventures, the young companies, many of which are still startups, will allow Deloitte Legal to become users of their products and services from their beginning stages, so the Big Four behemoth can help with testing and scaling.

Big Four Invest Billions in Tech, Reshaping Their Identities [Bloomberg Tax] The Big Four accounting firms, through an unprecedented investment of billions into technology, are transforming not just how they operate, but also their very identities. The tech crusade goes far beyond automating standard auditing and accounting work. Through a focus on artificial intelligence, data analytics, and massive tech training throughout their organizations, the biggest players in accounting are making tech part of their DNA. “We haven’t become a pure technology firm,” Christian Rast, KPMG LLP’s global head of technology & knowledge said in a recent phone interview. “We are a professional services firm, but technology is core to our future.”

The IRS Tried to Crack Down on Rich People Using an “Abusive” Tax Deduction. It Hasn’t Gone So Well. [ProPublica] The scheme they’re all trying to kill is what’s called a “syndicated conservation easement,” which the IRS calls “abusive” and says has resulted in bogus deductions for the rich that have cost the U.S. Treasury billions in revenues.

Investors sue Florida’s biggest marijuana company claiming stock fraud [Miami Herald] Trulieve is the largest of Florida’s 22 licensed medical marijuana operators. According to the Florida Department of Health, the company has 42 locations statewide. In a statement, Trulieve said the Grizzly report contains “several false, slanderous and misleading statements about the company.”

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