September 22, 2018

Blame

Overstock.com Blames Restatements on Accountants

Last week the financial three-ring circus Overstock.com officially put an end to its 2009 by filing its 10-K with the SEC (after a two week extension). Ring managed to keep his promise about turning a profit and managed to keep his head about it in his letter to shareholders only mustering, “It’s nice to be profitable.”

As you might expect, Sam Antar was not impressed and since the Company’s filing he and others (including Gary Weiss) have pointed out major internal control problems, mistakes in the footnotes, false disclosures related to an alleged “tax dodge” and now, NOW the most unforgivable thing yet.


Sam notes that the Company, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to blame its own accountants and their lack of knowledge for the most recent restatement in its 10-K:

We lacked a sufficient number of accounting professionals with the necessary knowledge, experience and training to adequately account for and perform adequate supervisory reviews of significant transactions that resulted in misapplications of GAAP.

Information technology program change and program development controls were inadequately designed to prevent changes in our accounting systems which led to the failure to appropriately capture and accurately process data.

These are the only two “control failures” identified by the Company in its filing that constitute material weaknesses. Naturally, the management team and the audit committee agreed with this assessment, “Our management concluded, and the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors agreed with management’s conclusions,” that former CFO David Chidester and former Treasurer Rich Paongo are the ones at fault here.

Is that class or what? So did Patrick Byrne finally realize that David Chidester and Rich Paongo, after several years at Overstock, lacked the “necessary knowledge, experience and training” so they and the Company “parted ways” (aka fired their sorry asses) for the latest restatement? What about the previous umpteen restatements? Why wasn’t didn’t the parting of ways occur after those?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, Sam has appealed to none other than Mary Schapiro to make sure the shenanigans don’t continue:

From: Sam E. Antar
Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 3:56 AM
To: ‘Mary Schapiro’; ‘[email protected]’;
Cc: ‘Patrick Byrne’; ‘Joseph Tabacco’; ‘Board – Jonathan Johnson’
Subject: Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 8): Bring Enforcement Action Against Overstock.com for False and Misleading Disclosures
Importance: High

To Chairperson Mary Schapiro:

Enclosed is a link to my blog post entitled, “Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 8): Bring Enforcement Action Against Overstock.com for False and Misleading Disclosures.”

Link here: http://whitecollarfraud.blogspot.com/2010/04/open-letter-to-securities-and-exchange.html

The blog post referred to in the link above, is to be considered a formal complaint to the SEC for continued false and misleading disclosures by Overstock.com and its officers. Please note that as a courtesy, I have cc’d Overstock.com on this email.

Respectfully,

Sam E. Antar

Is the SEC not interested in a slam dunk case? We’ll see.

Study: Founder CEOs Blame CFOs More Often for Accounting Irregularities

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Not that CFOs shouldn’t be blamed for irregularities but at least you’ll know what to expect.

Remember how

If You’re Bored at Work, It’s Because You’re Boring

bored.jpgAlthough we know that the bulk of you have never been bored at your jobs, there may be a handful of you that think your jobs are bit well, dull. Why is that, ya think?
Is it that you’re surrounded by rubes that can’t possibly appreciate your brilliant insight? Is it because the work you’re shuffling around is for amateurs and you should be promoted to the HMFIC to straighten the place out?
Or maybe it’s because you’re boring. Yes, yes, we realize that’s impossible but Bloomberg has something on it, so there must be something to it.
According to Susan Cramm, you’ve got only yourselves to blame for three reasons:
You’re on autopilot – Staring at the same spreadsheets week after week, month after month, you’re bound to get bored.
Your energy level is less than impressive – That Chipotle you inhale everyday doesn’t help.


You’ve become a conformist – You’ve accepted the notion of “that’s the way things are done here”. Even it that “way” is done piss-poorly.
The solution? Cramm says you need to mentally fire yourself and act like you’re a newbie again. In other words, have a really awkward conversation with yourself (not a stretch for some of you), then observe the interns and take their lead. Apparently, nothing will improve your boring self more than embracing that go-getter attitude again. Great, that’s not annoying.
Vote on your boredom level below and if you just woke up from a nap, change thee ways.

Jeremy Newman Has Had It

jnewman.jpgSo much so that he wrote a letter. The BDO International Global Coordiation CEO and infrequent blogger sent his letter to the Financial Times today in response to previous letters to the FT that unequivocally placed the blame for the financial apocalypse on accounting rules.
Newman, who strikes as the mild-mannered sort, comes as close to telling all the haters out there, “OH, HELL NO” as one might expect:

Sir, It is unfortunate if people are persuaded that accounting rules are to blame for bad lending decisions and poor investments (Letters, December 29). Banks, and other financial institutions, needed injections of monies from governments (and others) because they lost money and were short of cash – not merely because of accounting issues. Inadequate bad debt provisions, if such was the case, may have resulted in unduly large bonuses being paid but it was not the bonuses that created the cash shortages – it was the poor lending decisions that resulted in such bad debts. Equally, accounting rules did not result in companies overpaying for acquisitions – it was the poor investment decisions that resulted in a decision to overpay.

It’s pretty clear that J. New is sick and tired of everything being blamed on accounting rules and he figured writing a stern (but cordial) letter to the FT was the best way to draw the line in the sand. While that might have some effect, we would invite him to cut loose (read: go completely ape shit) on his blog to tell those IFRS haters what they can do with their pointer fingers. If you want us to read a draft JN, we’re here for you buddy.
Poor business decisions were behind losses [FT]