Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: Why CPAs Are Still Loved by Health Care CFOs

Accounting ‘dumping ground’ headed for clean up
A category in a company’s earnings statement that can obscure the true profit and loss picture is slated for cleanup by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), according to Emily Chasan of the Wall Street Journal.

“Other comprehensive income, which includes items initially excluded from net income in a particular accounting period, has gotten a reputation as a sort of dumping ground where companies are allowed to store information that would be too damaging to earnings,” she wrote yesterday. “The other comprehensive income figure is crucial because it can distort common valuation techniques used by investors, such as the price-to-earnings ratio.”

During a recent speech in Tokyo, IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said if the profit and loss statement and earnings are the primary indicators of a company’s performance, they need “to be robust and tinker-free.”

Do CFOs still need a CPA?
David Weldon of Healthcare Finance News wrote that as health care providers grapple with more complex issues, the CFO is being asked to take on a leadership role that in many cases extends beyond the realm of accounting. Because a much more sophisticated skill set is now required of health care CFOs, many will become leading candidates for their organization’s CEO positions in the coming years.

So, do health care CFOs still need CPAs? The answer is “yes,” according to Tom Quinn, a senior partner with Witt/Kiefer, a health care executive search firm. An MBA may make more sense from a strategic point of view, but “the CPA is still very important. It makes for a less risky hire,” Quinn told Weldon.

“As to credentials, a traditional CPA and an MBA degree are preferred today,” Weldon wrote. “If given the option of only one or the other in a hire, ‘most will still say the CPA,’ Quinn said.”

Have you found love at the office?
Not among lawyers and accountants, evidently. According to the 2014 Office Romance Survey from Vault.com, the industries with the most office romances include insurance (72 percent), education (70 percent), and finance and banking (60 percent). The industries with the fewest romances: accounting and law, both at 49 percent.

“Another (downer) thing to consider when thinking about office romance is that if it goes sour, not only do you have to see this person every day, but more than one romance that started out as mutual has ended with one person going to human resources and making a sexual harassment claim,” Suzanne Lucas of CBS Marketwatch wrote. “However, despite the potential downsides, 70 percent of men and 62 percent of women would willingly engage in another office romance.”

Love in the air? Breathe it with caution at work
CGMA Magazine senior editors Neil Amato and Ken Tysiac wrote today: “Workplace romance can have a happy ending. Who doesn’t know someone who met the love of his or her life at the office? But plenty of office relationships have ended on sour notes – for both the couple and the organisation. That’s why HR professionals seem to be keeping a closer eye on workers who suddenly have eyes for each other. Formal policies about on-the-job romance, while absent at many organisations, are increasingly being put in place, and the concerns are numerous, even when a relationship that starts in the office leads to marriage.”

Wyden says tax-break extension goal of Senate panel (transcript)
In an interview during Bloomberg Television’s Political Capital with Al Hunt, which will air this weekend, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said one of his priorities as the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee will be to renew about fifty US tax credits and deductions that expired at the end of 2013. Read a transcript of the interview here.

Jamie Sutherland of Xero: Modern Cloud accounting services
The US president of the San Francisco-based Cloud accounting service talked to Small Business Trends about how Cloud-based solutions are impacting small businesses today. Read a transcript of the interview here.

How the SEC is failing to warn investors on climate risk
According to not-for-profit investor action group Ceres, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has failed to enforce its own rules requiring companies to inform investors of potential threats from climate change, Will Nichols of BusinessGreen reported.

An analysis of S&P 500 companies' reporting on climate disclosure at the end of 2013 found the majority of reports were “too brief and too superficial” when addressing climate risks and were falling short of the guidelines set out by the SEC four years ago, the article stated. More than 40 percent did not include any climate-related disclosure at all in their annual 10-K filings in 2013.

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