Nerds

Big 4 Calling On All Blockchain Nerds to Come Nerd Out At Their Firms

From CoinDesk: “Big Four” professional consulting firms Deloitte, KPMG and EY are all in the top five when it comes to posting blockchain job ads, according to new data from Indeed.com. The employment site released its latest figures for job postings relating to blockchain, cryptocurrency and bitcoin in the U.S. on Thursday, with the data covering […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: “You’re an accountant concerned about being around nerds?”

To Whom It May Going Concern is an infrequent feature of some our favorite messages that come across the wire. If you have something important to tell us, email tips@goingconcern.com with "To Whom It May Going Concern" in the subject line, @ us on Twitter or just yell really loud and maybe we'll hear you. […]

Question of the Day: Defunct Firm Edition

From one of the best accounting Twitter…accounts you can follow:

Get to Know Your PCAOB Standing Advisory Group Members

The PCAOB managed to roll out some news at a time other than 4 pm on Friday, announcing new appointments and reappointments to their Standing Advisory Group.

All the major firms are represented as well as some regionals (BKD, EKS&H), academics, industry pros, and others. We haven’t had the pleasure of knowing any of these fine folks (minus Lynn Turner – probably the biggest pot-stirrer on the list) but we’ve got it on good authority that everyone can get audit wonky (e.g. broker dealer auditing, the audit report model, FASB changes affecting auditing). The ushe. So you can rest soundly knowing your audit rules are in good hands.

Standing rs

New Appointments
• Stephen J. Homza, Managing Director of Internal Audit, Legg Mason, Inc.
• Lisa Lindsley, Director of Capital Strategies, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
• William T. Platt, Deputy Managing Partner, Professional Practice, and Deputy Chief Quality Officer – Attest, Deloitte & Touche, LLP
• D. Scott Showalter, Professor of Practice, Department of Accounting, College of Management, North Carolina State University
•Dan M. Slack, Chief Executive Officer, Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado

Reappointments
• Joseph V. Carcello, Ernst & Young and Business Alumni Professor, Department of Accounting and Information Management, and Co-Founder and Director of Research, Corporate Governance Center, University of Tennessee
• James D. Cox, Brainerd Currie Professor of Law, School of Law, Duke University
• Elizabeth S. Gantnier, Director of Quality Control, Stegman & Company
• Arnold C. Hanish, Vice President of Finance, Chief Accounting Officer, Eli Lilly & Company
• Gail L. Hanson, Deputy Executive Director, State of Wisconsin Investment Board
• Jamie S. Miller, Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, General Electric Company
• Steven B. Rafferty, Professional Practices Partner, BKD, LLP
•Samuel J. Ranzilla, Audit Partner and National Managing Partner, Audit Quality and Professional Practice, KPMG LLP
• Lynn E. Turner, Senior Advisor and Managing Director, LECG

Continuing Members
• John L. (Arch) Archambault, Senior Partner, Professional Standards and Global Public Policy, Grant Thornton LLP
• Dennis R. Beresford, Ernst & Young Executive Professor of Accounting, Terry College of Business, The University of Georgia
• Neri Bukspan, Executive Managing Director, Chief Quality Officer, and Chief Accountant, Credit Market Services, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services, LLC
• Douglas R. Carmichael, Claire and Eli Mason Professor of Accountancy, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College
• Margaret M. Foran, Chief Governance Officer, Vice President, and Corporate Secretary, Prudential Financial, Inc.
• Michael J. Gallagher, Assurance Partner and U.S. Assurance National Office Leader, PwC
• Gaylen R. Hansen, Audit Partner and Director of Accounting and Auditing Quality Assurance, Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner & Hottman PC
•Patricia Ann K. (Kiko) Harvey, Vice President, Corporate Audit and Enterprise Risk Management, Delta Air Lines
•Gary R. Kabureck, Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, Xerox Corporation
•Anthony S. Kendall, Chief Executive Officer, Mitchell & Titus LLP
•Wayne A. Kolins, Partner and National Director of Assurance, BDO USA, LLP; Global Head of Audit and Accounting, BDO International Limited
•Jeffrey P. Mahoney, General Counsel, Council of Institutional Investors
•Mary Hartman Morris, Investment Officer, Global Equity, California Public Employees’ Retirement System
•Kevin B. Reilly, Americas Vice Chair, Professional Practice and Risk Management, Ernst & Young LLP
•Barbara L. Roper, Director of Investor Protection, Consumer Federation of America
•Lawrence J. Salva, Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller, Comcast Corporation
•Kurt N. Schacht, Managing Director, CFA Institute
•Damon A. Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, AFL-CIO
•John W. White, Partner, Corporate Department, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

If you’re completely raptured with anyone listed, you can check out there bios over at the PCAOB’s website.

PCAOB Announces Standing Advisory Group Members [PCAOB]

Tax Policy Nerds Try to Debunk Each Other’s Debunking Over “The Largest Tax Hike in History”

You may have seen some tax-hating, freedom-loving types waving flags, flying planes with banners and screaming from the rooftops that if the Bush tax cuts expire that it will be “the largest tax hike in history.”

The argument has been made and questioned ad nauseum but yesterday Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform (founded by Grover Norquist, so you get the context) felt the urge to prove the point once again that this will be the largest freedom-hijacking ever:

CBO projects that nominal GDP over the next decade will be $187.7 trillion over this decade. In order for the Obama tax hikes to be bigger than THE TO WIN WORLD WAR II, it would need to be at least 5.04 percent of this, or $9.46 trillion.

Gerald Prante over at the Tax Foundation’s Tax Policy Blog isn’t amused with this latest attempt:

Ellis is thereby admitting that it’s simply not the largest tax hike in American history. When you say “history,” that includes the 1940s. If you want to exclude WWII, say peacetime. Furthermore, the Treasury study that Ellis bases these claims off only goes back to the 1940s, which means that we don’t even know the relative size of tax hikes pre-1940, such as when the individual income tax was initiated and ramped up. So in summary, we can say that you have to knock off about 170 years of American history in order to make Ellis’s claim only possibly defensible.

Hmmm. We have to give that point to Prante there. You can’t just say “the biggest tax hike in history” and then say “except for that one time.”

And while we’re splitting hairs, we (i.e. the US of A) can’t really take credit for killing Hitler, can we? The Führer killed himself under duress from the Soviets. So there’s that.

Anyhoo, back to the subject – Ellis than tallies up all the tax “hikes”:

The 2011 income tax hikes. These are the rate hikes, the capital gains and dividend hikes, the return of the marriage penalty and the death tax, etc. CBO score: $2.567 trillion

Failing to index the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to inflation. CBO score: $558 billion

Failing to stop dozens of business tax hikes (“extenders”). CBO score: $1.969 trillion

Interactive effects of all these. CBO score: $606 billion

Obamacare tax hikes. CBO score: $525 billion

Add all of these up, and you get to $6.225 trillion over the next decade.

Prante fires back, noting that Ellis is making an auditor to tax accountant comparison:

Ellis classifies a compilation of “tax hikes” that are set to go into effect as one giant tax hike, including AMT expiration, the extenders bill, Making Work Pay, and even health care reform. There are two problems with this. First off, Ellis and ATR have a countdown clock on the ATR website (which is off by one hour by the way due to Daylight Savings Time) saying “countdown to the biggest tax increase in American history.” Well, virtually all of the health care tax hikes, which he counts in his tax hike amount, don’t kick in until 2013 (731 days from January 1, 2011). Therefore, this is inconsistent. Furthermore, summing up all the tax hikes and counting them as one big tax hike is inconsistent with the Treasury study cited earlier. If you want to count all the “tax hikes” occurring under Obama as one big tax hike, then shouldn’t you do the same for previous administrations?

Right! If you’re going to have a countdown clock, shouldn’t it be accurate?

Wrapping up, Ellis says:

Expressed as a percentage of the economy, this is 3.31 percent of GDP. That’s the largest tax hike in history, except for the one that was used to fight simultaneous wars in Europe, North Africa, and the Asian Pacific Rim.

You got us, guys. It’s a mere 3.31 percent of GDP.

Final retort from Prante:

The Treasury study referenced wouldn’t even consider letting the tax cuts to expire to be a tax hike because there was no act of Congress. Has Ellis done a review of history to make sure that no tax cut has expired elsewhere in history that was not counted in this Treasury study (given that Ellis considers an expiring tax cut to be a tax hike)?

This is a good question. Have you done your research into historically impotent and unwilling legislative bodies? Because if you haven’t, then you’d find that the group we’ve got up there now seems to have pretty awesome ability to do exactly nothing (read: estate tax).

Whether past flaccidity demonstrated by Congress has resulted in larger “tax hikes” remains unknown but something tells us that since none of this is getting resolved any time soon, we’ll get an answer.

Largest Tax Hike in History? Outside of Killing Hitler, Yes. [ATR.org]
Is Allowing Tax Cuts to Expire the Largest Tax Increase in American History? The Question Revisited [Tax Foundation]