Audit Integrity

Duh of the Day: Consulting Work by Audit Firms Could Possibly Impair Audit Integrity

The rise of non-audit services offered by accounting firms could threaten the quality and integrity of independent audits, said Steven Harris, a key member of the government’s watchdog agency. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission has limits on the kinds of consulting and advisory work audit firms can perform for their clients, that line may […]

Apparently Dixon Hughes’s Involvement Was Needed to Ensure the Integrity of an Elvis Impersonation Contest

You don’t have to be Young Buck to know that quite a few people take the business of impersonating the King seriously.

Competitiveness (some might call it cheating) in this arena rivals that of SEC football and finding impartial judges is not as easy as you would expect.


Accordingly, a top five accounting firm (Vault) has been retained to quell any concerns you might have:

For the semifinal and final rounds of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, the accounting firm of Dixon Hughes oversees the scoring and tabulation of the contest judging. Having Dixon Hughes as the official auditor of the event assures that the tabulation is held to the highest standards of integrity and objectivity.

Accounting News Roundup: Deloitte Names Van Arsdell as New Chair, CEO of AERS; Maryland Might Be Figuring Out This Fiscal Responsibility Thing; Frank Navigates the Waters | 08.12.10

Stephen C. Van Arsdell Named Chairman and CEO of Deloitte LLP’s Audit and Enterprise Risk Services Subsidiary [PRNewswire]
Thtte vet Steve Van Arsdell replaces Nick Tommasino as the head of Deloitte’s AERS.

As is the wont of these particular announcements, SVA seems pretty flippin’ stoked about the new gig, “I am excited to take the helm of Deloitte & Touche during such dynamic times. We know that to succeed we must always be a leader in quality. This is a shared commitment from all within our organization. The goals we set for ourselves will raise the bar for quality throughout the profession.”

Barry Salzberg got in a few words too, “I am fully confident in Steve’s ability to lead Deloitte & Touche through the myriad challenges and opportunities presented by the economic recovery and regulatory environment changes. His extraordinary talent, experience and leadership style will help further the practice’s primary mission to conduct the highest quality audits. As a continuing and integral member of our senior leadership team, I know his contributions will be considerable. Nick Tommasino has demonstrated a deep sense of partnership and commitment to our organization, and we thank him for his leadership. We’re delighted to bring his client service skills back to the marketplace.”

So, Stevey. Time to get down to brass tacks – everyone’s wondering about those raises.

Microloans Helps Some Small Businesses Survive [WSJ]
“When President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law in February 2009 to create jobs and promote spending, the law included $56.1 million for microloans for small businesses, to be doled out through the Small Business Administration through September.

While some critics complain about the government’s economic stimulus efforts, some lenders and borrowers say the stimulus spending that focused on helping small businesses is working.

Targeted toward start-up, newly-established, or growing small businesses, the microloans are short-term loans up to $35,000 each for working capital or inventory and equipment purchases. The intermediary lenders who distribute the loans can choose to lend more than that limit.”

China’s Rich Have $1.1 Trillion in Hidden Income, Study Finds [Bloomberg]
“China’s households hide as much as 9.3 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) of income that is not reported in official figures, with 80 percent accrued by the wealthiest people, a study showed.

The money, much of it likely “illegal or quasi-illegal,” equates to about 30 percent of China’s gross domestic product, the study, conducted for Credit Suisse AG and published last week by the China Reform Foundation, found. The average urban disposable household income in China is 32,154 yuan, or 90 percent more than official figures, according to the report.”

It’s Time to Give Up Spreadsheets for Tracking Carbon Emissions [Green Biz via AccMan]
Give up on spreadsheets? The horror. “CFOs, CIOs and sustainability teams at large companies have used spreadsheets for years to track corporate carbon emissions.

We are now, however, at a tipping point where the benefits of carbon management software, also known as enterprise carbon accounting (ECA) software, outweigh the benefits of spreadsheets.

With many large companies recently completing their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) questionnaires, and entering budget planning in the fall, it is time to move away from spreadsheets to reduce risk, save money, increase productivity, and establish an enterprise-class source of record for carbon emission data.”


Budget surplus in Maryland? Believe it. [CPA Success]
California, New York – Pay attention.

Do I Owe My Employees a Career Path? [You’re the Boss/NYT]
“Being responsible for your workers’ jobs is hard. Being responsible for their careers is harder.”

TrueBlue Named to Top of Forbes’ “Most Trustworthy Companies” List [Business Wire]
“TrueBlue, Inc. ranked at the top of the list of companies with the ‘most transparent and conservative accounting practices and most prudent management,’ according to a new ‘Most Trustworthy Companies’ list compiled for Forbes by Audit Integrity, an independent financial analytics company.

Audit Integrity’s Accounting & Governance Risk rating, or AGR, rates companies’ accounting and management practices from 0 (very aggressive) to 100 (conservative); companies with a lower rating have been more likely to suffer equity loss, issue financial restatements and face class action suits, Forbes.com says.”

Maxine Waters Whacked, Barney Frank Untouched [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
JW on the Maxine Waters’ ethics violations and how Barney Frank managet to be smart enough (or just politically savvy enough) to keep himself clean-ish.

Hertz Has Second Thoughts About Suing Audit Integrity

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lawn chair.jpgTurns out Hertz doesn’t have the stones to follow through on its lawsuit against Audit Integrity, as the car rental company has dropped its libel suit against the independent research firm.
Audit Integrity issued a report back in September that stated that Hertz was one of several companies that “face[d] ‘the greatest risk of bankruptcy’ in the next 12 months.” Hertz took the high road, suing Audit Integrity for saying such mean (and untruthful) things.
Well now Hertz has decided that it’s not worth the time and money. That very well may be, although were more inclined to think that they came to their senses that suing an independent research firm for their opinion wasn’t such a hot idea.


Crain’s New York:

Hertz’s aborted suit joins the pantheon of other unsuccessful legal efforts by companies to silence disagreeable analysts. Those that brought such actions include BankAtlantic Bancorp, retailer Overstock.com and drug-maker Biovail.

Overstock suing an analyst for saying not-so-nice things? There’s a shocker. BankAtlantic went after DB’s favorite woodland creature, Dick Bové (which is sort of embarrassing since he’s so cuddly), and Biovail’s lawsuit caused the SEC and DOJ to launch investigations which resulted in the company paying millions in fines and pleading guilty to criminal charges. Not exactly pristine company.
Audit Integrity — not being one to just bend over for some a company that once was endorsed by a certain acquitted murderer — called on the SEC to investigate Hertz for this dodgy lawsuit and now Hertz seems to have seen the light.
Press Release.pdf
Hertz puts brake on libel suit against analyst [Crain’s New York]
See also:
Hertz caves [Felix Salmon/Reuters]