Someone make something happen

Accounting Firm List Mania: INSIDE Public Accounting’s Top 100 for 2019

This year’s list from IPA features only one change among the top 10 accounting firms in the U.S.: CliftonLarsonAllen (or CLA, as the cool kids call them) leapfrogged over Crowe into the eighth spot. But there was quite a bit of jockeying in spots 11 through 16, with Baker Tilly now knocking on the door […]

This Auditor Harlem Shake Video Has an Inexplicable Appearance By a Baby in a Pumpkin Shirt

I’m not too hip on the viral dance videos that constantly pop up on the Internet. I didn’t see Gangam Style until it was approaching 900 million views. This is mostly because they are dumb. But now that The Harlem Shake — that isn’t even really the Harlem Shake, mind you — has taken hold, we’ve […]

Here’s a Video Game That Features an IRS Agent Fighting Alligators and Zombies While on the Hunt for a Missing Tax Form That We Thought You Should Know About

For you overgrown adolescent boys out there looking for your next gamer challenge and Madden '13 just isn't doing it for you, let us present Alligators on a Bridge. It's April 15th and Tim the IRS Agent is nearly finished checking the tax forms he’s been assigned. Tim has had to deal with reading multiple […]

As If the FASB Wasn’t Boring Enough, They Will Now Be Debating Semantics

Turns out, everyone is befuddled by the definition of "nonpublic entity": The Financial Accounting Standards Board has added a new project to its agenda to re-examine the definition of a “nonpublic entity,” as part of its efforts to reach out more to private company constituents. […] The decision by FASB chair Leslie F. Seidman to add […]

Ohio CPAs Want Some Answers On This Whole Criminals With PTINs Thing

This is from the November issue of the Ohio Society of CPAs' CPA Voice: OSCPA submitted a comment letter to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and Director of the IRS Return Preparer Office David R. Williams, regarding fingerprinting of certain non-signing PTIN applicants. Written on behalf of OSCPA’s more than 22,000 members, the letter commended the […]

Is It Impossible for a Dancing With the Stars Champion to Get A Decent CPA?

I only ask because Kelly Monaco could use one. Robert Snell reports that she owes about $68k to Feds which is odd considering she beat the likes of Evander Holyfield, J. Peterman, and Joey from New Kids on the Block. Can’t someone help the girl out? And not with the tango. [TW]

Brand New CPA Has a Serious Dilemma

From the mailbag:

Does GC have any suggestions of where to get a frame for my brand-new CPA wall certificate? I searched the site, but if you’ve covered this before I must have missed it.

I appreciate the feedback! Thanks!


Perhaps our reader is referring to this post we did back in July where the reader was impatiently waiting for his certificates so he could decorate his cubicle walls.

Obviously we have a completely different issue here but it’s no less important. So let’s throw a few ideas out there:

1. Make like a Son of Nazareth and build the thing yourself.

2. Hand the certificate over to your young son/daughter/niece/nephew along with a box of Crayolas and hope for the best.

3. Two words: Dumpster diving.

4. Your ideas.

Accounting Firm List Mania: Inside Public Accounting’s Top 100

Big news this year boys and girls! PwC jumped E&Y this year in IPA’s list. Other notable moves are the result of mergers including Dixon Hughes Goodman and EisnerAmper. Previous year’s ranking is in parenthesis.

1. (1) Deloitte
2. (3) PwC
3. (2) Ernst & Young
4. (4) KPMG
5. (5) McGladrey


6. (6) Grant Thornton
7. (7) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
8. (8) BDO
9. (9) Crowe Horwath
10. (10) BKD
11. (11) Moss Adams
12. (12) Plante & Moran
13. (20/33) Dixon Hughes Goodman
14. (13) Clifton Gunderson
15. (24/27) EisnerAmper
16. (15) Marcum
17. (14) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
18. (16) J.H. Cohn
19. (18) LarsonAllen
20. (19) Reznick Group
21. (17) UHY Advisors
22. (21) ParenteBeard
23. (22) Rothstein Kass
24. (23) Eide Bailly
25. (25) WeiserMazars

If you want to peruse the rest of the list, check it out here.

Senator Tom Coburn Explains What Tax Expenditures Are and What They Are Not

Earlier, we shared with you the thoughts of Americans for Tax Reform on Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn’s rock-inspired “Back in Black” deficit reduction plan. Despite a silver lining that will allow whiny rich liberals to pay more taxes if they so choose, ATR wasn’t impressed, calling it a “Trillion Dollar Tax Hike.”

This is partly because Senator Coburn proposes the elimination of many tax expenditures. Of course, if you’re confused about what exactly a “tax expenditure” is, Senator Coburn took the time to explain it to everyone:

Tax expenditures are not tax cuts,” he said. “Tax expenditures are socialism and corporate welfare. Tax expenditures are increases on anyone who does not receive the benefit or can’t hire a lobbyist or special interest group to manipulate the code to their favor.”

It doesn’t appear that ATR has weighed in on this yet (and they are fond of quoting Coburn) but we don’t mind waiting.

House pursues balanced-budget bill; need for backup plan acknowledged [WaPo via TaxVox]
Earlier:
Did the Georgia Tea Party Call Grover Norquist a Socialist?

Here’s a Video of 500+ CPAs Failing to Juggle

The woman who throws a small hissy-fit at 3:05 makes it all worth it.

Earlier:
So You Think Your CPA Can Dance?

What Was Discussed on Ernst & Young’s ‘All Hands Broadcast’?

We’ve heard from a couple people that Ernst & Young had an “all hands webcast” of some kind today but so far, no one has given us any details as to what was discussed.


Of course there were probably kind words about all your hard work this busy season, your commitment to the firm and so on and so forth but we want to get to the crux; this calls for speculation on our part, until we get something more solid. Possible topics include:

1. Hazing methods for the folks from LECG Corp.

2. The announcement of special screenings of In a JIT.

3. Two minutes’ hate for a certain Governor.

4. Mysterious references to “exciting changes” to the compensation structure that won’t be revealed until “details” are sorted out (i.e. management knows what PwC is doing).

5. Your input.

An IRS agent walks into a CFO’s office…

This was sent to me by my 69-year-old landlord who is spending his winter in Florida and we humbly present it to you now for your reading pleasure during this lovely busy season.

At the end of the tax year, the IRS office sent an inspector to audit the books of a local hospital. While the IRS agent was checking the books he turned to the CFO of the hospital and said, “I notice you buy a lot of bandages. What do you do with the end of the roll when there’s too little left to be of any use?”

“Good question,” noted the CFO. “We save them up and send them back to the bandage company and every now and then they send us a free box of bandages.”

“Oh,” replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went, in his obnoxious way. “What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what’s left over after setting a cast on a patient?”

“Ah, yes,” replied the CFO, realizing that the inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question. “We save it and send it back to the manufacturer, and every now and then they send us a free package of plaster.”

“I see,” replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all CFO. “Well,” he went on, “What do you do with all the leftover foreskins from the circumcisions you perform?”

“Here, too, we do not waste,” answered the CFO. “What we do is save all the little foreskins and send them to the IRS office, and about once a year they send us a complete dick.”

Measuring the Career Value of the Big 4 Experience on a Scale of 1 to 5

As most of you are acutely aware, your humble editor is a KPMG alum. By virtue of said alumni-ness, occasionally, I’ll receive an email from the old firm informing me of this or that and the occasional invitation to an event of some sort. Recently, I was asked to participate in a survey called, “The Career Value of Big 4 Experience” and since the firm said that for my participation they would donate a brand new children’s book to First Book, I figured it was worth my time. ANYHOO, since it’s a painfully slow day out there and you guys aren’t making squat happen (with the exception of tax returns, audit workpapers, due diligence and whathaveyou) I thought I’d share my answers with you and put Big 4 career value idea out .


Apologies for the various sizes, clipping these screen shots were a bitch. And full disclosure: there were six additional questions to the survey that asked about my salary, my company, etc. that are of little consequence.

Now then – the 1 to 5 scale was only offered for the first six questions:

Now, let’s be honest – I wouldn’t be where I am without my experience at a Big 4 firm, so answering #1 was easy. Question 2 on the other hand is a little tricky, as my “current skills and experiences” involve reading blogs, figuring out WordPress, tweeting and stringing together mildly amusing run-on sentences with the occasional quip or pun. Some of my friends describe it as “shit-stirring” but I prefer…well, that about covers it. Is this valuable in the current job market? Sure. But probably not in a way any a Big 4 firm would have imagined. For question 3, it’s simple – I’m satisfied with my job. I don’t make as much money as a Big 4 baller but I don’t have a second job, my work/life is good and it’s fun. Not much else matters.

Moving on:

Career advancement isn’t really an issue since I only have to deal with TPTB if the lawyers come calling. Again, not exactly typical for a Big 4 alum. Question #5 is more or less a joke. Question #6 was interesting. Many people argue that manager is the ideal point to the leave the firm and I suppose if I had become a manager maybe I’d have a little better perspective of the management team but I know enough people at that level to get the gist and if I have questions, they can give me the lowdown. So had I stayed at KPMG a couple more years (I wasn’t given the option, btw) perhaps I’d be marginally better at my job.

And finally:

Okay, so #7 – had I not been shipped off in the fall of ’08, would I have stayed longer? Probably not. I was burned out and had explored as much of the firm as the bureaucracy would allow so it was a good run. Question #8 – after talking to MANY people who have gone on to new careers, I’ve concluded that leaving as a SA is best but I should qualify by saying that you should at least be an SA2 and SA3 is probably ideal. Sure you might be on the cusp of manager but by becoming a manager, you’re fully saturating the Big 4 indoctrination and some employers would prefer if you still have a shred of impressionableness in you. With the manager title and experience, your ideas (right or wrong) about audit/tax/advisory are pretty steadfast and you may be an old dog already. That’s not to say that you people aren’t flexible but I’ve been around enough of you to know that getting into mental ruts is a specialty.

So wrapping up, I’m very grateful for my Big 4 experience. It was unimaginably valuable, I met a lot of great people and have no regrets (except for a few brutal hangovers at national training). So, I’ll give it a 5. But most of you aren’t me so feel free to discuss your own experiences. I need to get back to ignoring AOL/HuffPo headlines.

Ernst & Young Study: U.S. Is Great for Renewable Investment If You Don’t Count the Red States

China has everyone beat, no shocker there, but if you don’t count Sarah Palin’s real America the red, white & blue is #2!

Ernst and Young counts only perhaps half (or is it three quarters?) of the 300 million people in the US as “US”, by considering only those states that are doing anything about renewable energy, like California…The “US” excludes all the dirty states that lack renewable policy; states like Wyoming, Indiana, North Dakota, Kentucky, Oklahoma and so on.

Ernst & Young: U.S. Blue States Nearly as Attractive as China for World Renewable Investment [Reuters]

Some People Are Really Excited That MarcumStonefield Is the Auditor of Fuqi International

That or it’s because they managed to not have an adverse opinion.

Fuqi International, Inc. (FUQI) gained more than 14 percent this morning. After the close yesterday, the seller of precious metal jewelry in the People’s Republic of China filed an 8-K form with the SEC where it disclosed that:

“The principal accountant’s reports of Stonefield on the financial statements of it as of and for the years ended December 31, 2008 and December 31, 2007 did not contain any adverse opinion or disclaimer of opinion and were not qualified or modified as to uncertainty, audit scope or accounting principles. During the years ended December 31, 2008 and December 31, 2007 and through October 1, 2010, there were no disagreements with Stonefield on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedure, which if not resolved to Stonefield’s satisfaction, would have caused it to make reference thereto in connection with its reports on the financial statements for such years.”

That emphasis is the orig. Supposedly that justifies the stock being up ~17%. Personally, we feel that it’s pretty snooze-worthy but maybe people get really amped when a Chinese company actually complies with the regulations.

Or maybe everyone is gaga over the MarcumStonefield marriage. Could be anything, really.

Who Would’ve Guessed Al Sharpton Knew Nothing About Accounting?

Presumably everyone but if you guessed that the Rev had the good sense to hire a crack-squad of debit & credit mavens to keep everything at National Action Network tip-top, you’d be sorely mistaken.

An accounting firm hired by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network found the civil-rights group in such financial disarray that it flunked its record-keeping — and may not even survive, The Post has learned.

The scathing critique was spelled out in a hard-hitting internal audit of NAN’s books, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.

“The organization has suffered recurring decreases in net assets — and has been dependent upon advances from related parties and the nonpayment of payroll tax obligations — to maintain continuity,” the firm KBL concluded in an April 2 audit of NAN’s 2008 financial records, the most recent available.

The audit, which was submitted to NAN’s board of directors, warned, “These circumstances create substantial doubt about the organization’s ability to continue.”

KBL said it was “unable to form an opinion” on the accuracy of NAN’s financial figures “because of inadequacies in the organization’s accounting records.”

Audit finds Sharpton’s nonprofit on brink [NYP]

Release of Satyam Founder Ensures That No Progress Will Be Made in the Investigation for the Foreseeable Future

We’re getting used to this.

Chances of a speedy resolution to l’affaire Satyam receded on Wednesday with the Andhra Pradesh high court granting bail to the company’s founder and former chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju, freeing, albeit temporarily, the last of the accused in a corporate fraud that came to light in early 2009 with Raju’s confession and whose magnitude has since doubled to a claimed `14,000 crore.

Raju’s release is a setback for India’s federal investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is yet to produce him in court in person. Arrested on 9 January 2009, Raju has been undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad.

On 16 August, he retracted his confession in the trial court by responding in the negative to questions posed by the court about the fraud. The burden of proof for Raju’s fraud now rests with CBI. And now, he is out on bail—for two sureties of `20 lakh each.

India’s minister for corporate affairs Salman Khursheed insisted that Raju’s release would not “hamper the ongoing investigation”.

Satyam case weakens with Raju’s release [Live Mint]

A Few People Noticed That New Century Execs Settled with SEC

There were just a few reports late on Friday about New Century Execs settling with the SEC over the failure to make certain risk disclosures. However, it’s worth mentioning that this is still more coverage than the settlement that KPMG reached with New Century that we reported on in late June – still no press release – but that’s neither here nor there.


SEC statement:

On July 29, 2010, the Commission accepted settlement offers from three former officers of New Century Financial Corporation. Brad A. Morrice, the former CEO and co-founder; Patti M. Dodge, the former CFO; and David N. Kenneally, the former controller, consented to the relief described below without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission’s Complaint. The settlement offers, which have been submitted to the Court for approval, are contingent upon the Court’s approval of a global settlement in In re New Century, Case No. 07-931-DDP (C.D. Cal.).

The Commission’s complaint alleges, among other things, that New Century’s second and third quarter 2006 Forms 10-Q and two late 2006 private stock offerings contained false and misleading statements regarding its subprime mortgage business. The complaint further alleges that Morrice and Dodge knew about certain negative trends in New Century’s loan portfolio from reports they received and that they participated in the disclosure process, but they did not take adequate steps to ensure that the negative trends were properly disclosed. The Commission’s complaint also alleges that in the second and third quarters of 2006, Kenneally, contrary to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, implemented changes to New Century’s method for estimating its loan repurchase obligation and failed to ensure that New Century’s backlog of pending loan repurchase requests were properly accounted for, resulting in an understatement of New Century’s repurchase reserve and a material overstatement of New Century’s financial results.

That “material overstatement” consisted of a $90 million profit in Q3 of ’06 that was actually a $18 loss.

Morrice, Dodge and Kenneally all agreed to cough up some of their ill gotten gains and were subjected to fines but they didn’t come close to Michael Dell sized proportions.

SEC Settles with Former Officers of Subprime Lender New Century [SEC]
Ex-New Century Managers to Pay $1.5 Million Over Subprime Lender’s Failure [Bloomberg]

Someone in IRS Des Moines Office Didn’t Get the “File the Form 990” Memo

Our contributor Joe Kristan has spent most of July on vacation in an undisclosed location but he returned this week and didn’t waste any time pointing out some irony courtesy of the IRS.


What you see above is a clip from the list of tax-exempt entities in Iowa who have not filed their Form 990 and need to take action by the new drop dead date of October 15th.

Welcome back, Joe.

In Case You Thought Things Were Getting Too Serious…

Here are some accounting jokes for you. Why? Because this is a blog, dammit; we need to lighten things up around here.

Human Resources:
10 explanations that employees might say when they’re caught sleeping at their desks.
1. “They told me at the blood bank this might happen.”
2. “This is just a 15-minute power nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to.”
3. “Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper. You probably got here just in time.”
4. “This is in exchange for the six hours last night when I dreamed about work.”
5. “It’s okay … I’m still billing the client.”
6. “I wasn’t sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement.”
7. “I was doing a yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress.”
8. “Rats! Why did you interrupt me? I almost had figured out a solution to our biggest company problem.”
9. “The coffee machine’s broken.”
10. “Amen.”


On Taxes:
“And there are a lot of new taxes coming. California state legislators want to solve our state’s giant deficit by taxing marijuana. Meanwhile, Oregon wants to increase a tax on beer, while New York wants to tax Internet porn. You know what this means? By the end of spring break, this whole thing could be paid for.” –Jay Leno

“Regis Philbin’s back in primetime, hosting 11 new episodes of ‘Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.’ But because of Obama’s tax plan, it’s been re-titled ‘Who Wants To Win Just Under $250,000.'” –Jimmy Fallon

What’s the definition of a good tax accountant? Someone who has a loophole named after him.

Your lawyer friends might tell this joke:
What’s the difference between an accountant and a lawyer? The accountant knows he is boring.

May I suggest this be your rebuttal:
What’s the difference between an accountant and lawyer? The accountant is never unemployed.

Partners, feel free to use this one at the next compensation meeting:
When do accountants laugh out loud? When somebody asks for a raise.

Accounting and Relationships
If an accountant’s wife cannot sleep, what does she say? “Darling, could you tell me about your work.”
When he arrived at the hotel, there was a letter waiting for him that read as follows: “Dear Husband, I too am 54 years old, and by the time you receive this letter I will be at the Savoy Hotel with my eighteen year old toy boy. Because you are an accountant, you will surely appreciate that 18 goes into 54 many more times than 54 goes into 18.”

Being a Former 007 Does Not Entitle Sean Connery to a ‘License to Not Pay Taxes’

Meant to get this out there on Friday but you know how it is. Anyhoo, everyone’s favorite Bond-turned-Darrell Hammond impersonated celebrity, Sir Sean Connery is having a bit of tax trouble in the country now known as the World Cup champions:

Legendary James Bond actor Sean Connery is being investigated for alleged tax fraud involving the sale of two large tracts of land in Spain.

Investigators say a property firm linked to the 79-year-old actor failed to pay taxes after he and his second wife sold land they owned on the outskirts of Malaga, Spain

The fact that the Connerys haven’t been arrested and are merely celebrities being investigated because some real estate companies involved in some shady dealings should be enough evidence to indicate that celebrity news is waning in the dog days of summer. Dr. Henry Jones wasn’t quote in the Daily Mail’s story but we’re hopeful that, if asked, it would go more or less go like this:

The Latest Proposed Standard from the PCAOB Will Hopefully Keep Future Interns Busy

Yesterday, the PCAOB released a 90 page proposal on confirmations because, presumably, auditors collectively suck at using them.

If you take exception with that notion, so be it, but the Board thought that rolling out a standard was necessary to give the opiners out there some guidance so they can get a little more bang for the buck (and give interns and A1s something to do when there is absolutely nothing going on) from confirmations.


Tammy Whitehouse over at Compliance Week fills us in on some of the details:

PCAOB member Steven Harris said the proposed standard expands the use of the confirmation process by requiring auditors to confirm receivables that arise from credit sales, loans, or other transactions; cash and other relationships with financial institutions; and other accounts or balances that pose a significant risk to the financial statements. Currently, auditors are required only to verify receivables if they arise from the sale of goods or services in the normal course of business.

The standard also would relax the requirements for confirmations written on paper, reflecting advances in electronic communication. The proposal would allow auditors to use electronic media to send confirmation requests and receive confirmation responses, and it would make provisions under certain circumstances for auditors to use direct access to a third party’s records to obtain the audit evidence they need.

Throw in your 2¢ by September 13th and gird your loins for audits after Dec. 15, 2011.

PCAOB Proposes New Auditing Standard on Confirmation [PCAOB]
PCAOB Plans New Requirements for Audit Confirmations [Compliance Week]

Accountant Claims That She Has Trouble Controlling the Volume of Her Voice

This is understandable. We know a few people that have been accused of being “angry” when, in fact, they are just being “loud.”

Negros Occidental Provincial Accountant Merly Fortu denied on Sunday that she acted with arrogance and hostility when she met with the elected provincial government officials on July 1.

Fortu, who faced administrative charges for grave misconduct and gross insubordination for allegedly shouting at elected provincial government officials during the meeting, explained that her normal speaking voice was “a little bit louder” than others.

It is similar (albeit the opposite) to having shy/asshole confusion.

Turns Out the Guy that Joe Biden Called a Smartass Is Just an Ass

Yesterday we learned about Joe Biden not taking too kindly to a custard shop manager’s suggestion that he can eat all the free custard he wants as long as JB & the rest of the crew “lower our taxes.”

The Veep retorted that maybe the dude in the funny paper hat should try saying nice for change instead of being a smartass. It was the typical Joe Biden charm that you would expect. Perhaps he should have suggested visiting the White House’s tax savings tool instead of name-calling but the past is the past and we’ll just chalk up another Joe Biden moment of hilarity/political liability.

But wait! What if the VP was right about this portly custard slinger? We read over a little mini memoir over at Daily Intel that indicates that the guy probably had it coming:

First of all, as anyone who has ever lived in Milwaukee knows: Kopp’s Frozen Custard is the most delicious dessert on the planet. It’s basically ice cream with twice the fat. So when Smilin’ Joe Biden showed up at Kopp’s in Glendale, Wisconsin, last week, you can only imagine his annoyance at being interrupted in the middle of his first taste — from the looks of things, Friday’s special flavor, chocolate chip cookie dough — by a store manager cracking that the cone was free, as long as the vice-president would agree to “lower our taxes.” Biden being Biden, he called the manager “a smartass.” And who was that smartass? None other than my nemesis of twenty years ago — the first boss I ever hated and feared.

Said smartass is Scott Borkin and the author of this piece, Dan Kois, proceeds to tell a tale of a lunatic boss from hell (thanks, Richard Lewis):

Once, very late on a long, hot night of customers piling in and the custard machines jamming and the store’s owner, Carl Kopp, walking around in his apron and hat terrifying everyone, Scott Borkin came over to collect a shake for order number 87. “What the hell is this?” he asked me.

Inside, I panicked. What had I done wrong this time? But I had the ticket right in my hand — malt with chocolate — and was positive that’s what I had made. “It’s a chocolate malt.”

“No, this,” he said, pointing at my Sharpied “7” on the lid. I’d written it with a line through the center because once someone had mistaken my non-lined 7 for a 2.

“Uh, it’s a seven,” I replied.

“This is a seven,” he said, taking the ticket from my hand and drawing a non-lined numeral. “Do it right or you’re outta here.” He plucked the malt off the counter and stalked away. “This isn’t Germany!” he called over his shoulder.

Christ. Threatening termination because of lined 7 and anti-Germany? PLUS he likes bitching about taxes? This guy could be the next Joe the Plumber. Oh wait, he’s already been on Fox & Friends. Mission accomplished.

Grant Thornton Survey: More Bank Execs Think the Economy Will Suck Less Eventually, Maybe

No! It’s true! Forty-five percent think things are going to be WAYYYY better in the next months, just in time for Christmaskuh!

That’s up from 24% in December ’09.

John Ziegelbauer, national managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Financial Institutions practice, testifies:

Bankers across the country are starting to become more optimistic about both the U.S. economy and their own local economy…Their optimism about the economy is spilling over into their own banks, with bankers reporting that they are also cautiously optimistic about the number of people they expect to hire in the coming months. Overall, it appears that bankers believe that the economy has finally turned a corner.

Except that 55% of those surveyed expect to be the same (i.e. sucks) or get worse and don’t forget, no one is hiring.

On with the jobless recovery!

Big jump in number of bank execs that expect the economy to improve in next six months [GT]

On Top of Everything Else, the IRS Isn’t Green Enough

The IRS’ nagging mother-in-law, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) has once again managed to come down on the Service for something else it doesn’t do well – conserve energy.

According to TIGTA’s report, the IRS is implementing environmental management systems at 11 facilities, which will increase operating efficiency, improve environmental performance and reduce environmental impacts.

TIGTA also identified several steps the IRS should take to improve energy efficiency in its data centers, including eliminating gaps between computer room floor tiles that allow hot and cold air to mix, spacing servers in rows to maximize the efficiency of air conditioning, and using occupancy sensors to control lights in computer rooms.

The IRS does not have policies and procedures for improving energy efficiency in its data centers or for implementing data-center energy-efficiency best practices, TIGTA found. This affects the IRS’s ability to minimize energy consumption and costs, resulting in the inefficient use of resources and taxpayer funds.

“It is imperative that the IRS become more energy efficient to save taxpayer dollars and reduce the nation’s consumption of oil, coal, and other natural resources,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The details of the improvements that are quite impressive – gaps in the floor tiles; spacing of servers, etc. Impressive in the sense that if your performance coach/manager was giving you those kinds of suggestions for performance improvement, you’d give them an eyeroll that would cause you to fall backwards in your chair.

Despite the endless stream of criticism, Chief Nag, J. Russell George managed to stop short of asking the IRS to help BP get all that oil out of the Gulf of Mexico.

TIGTA: IRS Can Improve Energy Efficiency at Data Centers [TIGTA PR]
Full Report [TIGTA]

BDO Breaks Barrier to Be First Accounting Firm to Land on Obscure Employer List

First off, we can’t remember the last time BDO graced these pages twice in one day. You’d think something would come out of B to the D to the O more often but whatevs. BDO 2.0 today is a little bit of good news for the firm in the form of an exclusive spot on an obscure “Best Places” list.

God forbid our lives be devoid of a ranking in the last half of May but since it’s graduation season and there are some job hunters out there that need to start paying back school loans and credit cards debts, perhaps the timing isn’t so bad. A list we might add, that did not previously have an accounting firm on it. Progress people. Progress.


BDO shattered the glass ceiling on Experience’sBest Places to Work for Recent Grads” that “picked 20 organizations whose entry-level hiring and retention practices are exceptional.” The list is specifically aimed at those companies that are hip to the Gen Y crowd, although we don’t really know any “recent grads” list that wouldn’t be.

Regardless, BDO has some decent company on the list that includes Accenture, Kellogg’s and Morningstar but BDO is the sole accounting firm. The fact that not a single accounting firm (let alone a Big 4 firm) is on the list is a travesty of the highest order. We then realized that the list’s very nature is severely flawed.

It’s too short. Any employer list with less than 50 companies on it simply cannot be taken seriously.

And since there were no accounting firms on last year’s list, this might as well have been random list of companies thrown together for the sake of keeping communications professionals busy.

This year, the Experience folks must have recognized their gross error and that since no employer list could be taken seriously devoid of a professional services firm. Not wanting to make it too complicated, BDO’s inclusion be probably chalked up to an alphabetical advantage.

Best Places to Work for Recent Grads [Experience]
BDO Press Release

AICPA, Others Ask U.S. Senate to Kindly Keep Their Filthy Mitts Off Accounting Standards

After the wisdom displayed by Senators in the Goldman Sachs hearing a couple weeks ago, it must have become evident to a group of concerned organizations took it upon themselves to voice concern with regard to any elected official that might give consideration to tipping his or her toe into the accounting standard waters.


Enter Son of Ohio, Sherrod Brown (D) who has proposed amendment SA 3853 to the financial regulation reform bill. The amendment would legislate financial reporting standards by forcing companies to “submit reports to the commission under this section record all assets and liabilities of the issuer on the balance sheet of the issuer.”

But don’t worry if you can’t figure out what the value of a liability is because you can just leave it off altogether granted that you don’t mind explaining:

“(i) the nature of the liability and purpose for incurring the liability; (ii) the most likely loss and the maximum loss the issuer may incur from the liability; (iii) whether any other person has recourse against the issuer with respect to the liability and, if so, the conditions under which such recourse may occur; and (iv) whether the issuer has any continuing involvement with an asset financed by the liability or any beneficial interest in the liability.”

While this seems all very well thought out, the CAQ, CFA Institute, AICPA, FEI and a gaggle of others smelled amateur hour and wrote a letter to the old boys in the Senate letting them know, in no uncertain terms, that this pretty much the worst idea they’ve ever heard:

[W]e are concerned with any amendment that would legislate accounting standards, including Brown amendment SA 3853 regarding “Financial Reporting.”

The accounting standards underlying such financial statements derive their legitimacy from the confidence that they are established, interpreted and, when necessary, modified based on independent, objective considerations that focus on the needs and demands of investors – the primary users of financial statements.

We believe political influences that dictate one particular outcome for an accounting standard without the benefit of a public due process that considers the views of investors and other stakeholders would have adverse impacts on investor confidence and the quality of financial reporting, which are of critical importance to the successful operation of the U.S. capital markets.

So in other words, Sherrod Brown, you can suck it. The FASB might not be hottest piece of ass around but by GOD, it’s what we’ve got. And we’ll be damned if you’re going to propose your hocus pocus American people Main St. financial statement Act.

Accounting Groups Object to Brown Amendment [Web CPA]
Standard_setter_independence_letter_to_Senate

Eight Accountants Opt to Risk Their Professional Reputations

We kid! We’re sure it it’ll be a rocking time being a Professional Accounting Fellow with the Office of the Chief Accountant and it will get them all into their respective partnerships with no problem.

The OCA hasn’t been overtly chastised by anyone to our knowledge so maybe this wing of the Commission is idiot and porn free.

• Jouky Chang, currently a director in Duff & Phelps LLC’s Valuation Advisory Services group based in Detroit, Mich.

• John M. Donohue, currently a senior manager in Moss Adams LLP’s audit practice based in Portland, Ore.

• Rachel M. Eckstein, currently a senior manager in Ernst & Young LLP’s National Professional Practice Group based in New York, N.Y.

• Michael Keehlwetter, currently a senior manager in KPMG LLP’s Department of Professional Practice based in New York, N.Y.

• Neil J. Laverty, currently a senior manager in Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Global IFRS and Offerings Services Group based in New York, N.Y.

• Josh D. Paul, currently a senior manager in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s assurance practice based in San Jose, Calif.

• Christian J. Peo, currently a senior manager in KPMG LLP’s Department of Professional Practice based in New York, N.Y.

• Jason K. Plourde, currently a senior manager in Grant Thornton LLP’s audit practice based in Chicago, Ill.

Congrats to all honored. Try to stay out of trouble.

Office of the Chief Accountant Selects Eight Professional Accounting Fellows [SEC.gov]