Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: If 123456 Is Your Password, You May Want to Change It

What the auditor discovers: Plenty
Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen had a chat with Robert McNeill, the newly elected chairman of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and the managing partner of Deloitte's 1,500-employee Philadelphia office, about the auditing profession.

To McNeill, the audit practice provides an opportunity to learn about many different business sectors – without actually having to work in them, she wrote.

“I’m not sure there’s a day that goes by that I’m not learning something,” he told Von Bergen. “That’s what makes me tick.”

Worst passwords list revealed: Is your password safe?
Internet security firm SplashData released its list of the twenty-five most common passwords used on the Internet on January 21. The worst password: “123456,” which bumped “password” from the top spot, according to an article by Headline & Global News.

The list is aggregated with passwords from Adobe users that were posted online by security consulting firm Stricture Consulting Group. The group posted the passwords online after Adobe’s public security breach.

“According to SplashData, users put themselves at risk when they choose low-security passwords that can be easily guessed,” Rebeka Silva wrote. “Among those passwords are ‘iloveyou’ or ‘111111’ and even ‘abc123.’”

Robert Rubin off in accounting wilderness
Jonathan Weil of Bloomberg wrote a column on January 21 about Robert Rubin and his “odd idea” for new accounting standards. The former Treasury secretary and one-time chairman of Citigroup Inc.’s executive committee thinks companies should be required to include environmental costs that they impose on the rest of society as expenses in their earnings reports.

“The problem with this proposal is it makes no sense,” Weil wrote. “A company that emits greenhouse gasses may very well harm the world at large. However, if the emissions aren't creating a cost for the company itself, there is no incremental expense for it to report on its financial statements.”

Weil also added, “Changing the accounting standards the way Rubin suggested would require an overhaul of the Financial Accounting Standards Board's definition of the term ‘expenses.’”

Why Delta, with huge profits, won’t pay taxes for years
Another January 21 Bloomberg article focuses on how years of deep financial losses carry a silver lining for airlines: a reprieve on income taxes when their fortunes improve.

Take Delta Air Lines, for example, which earned $2.7 billion last year but paid no income taxes because of the big losses it posted in 2008 and 2009, totaling nearly $2 billion.

“The third-largest US airline is sitting on more than $15 billion in what are called net operating loss carry forwards, an accounting device that lets a company apply past financial losses to future tax bills,” Justin Bachman wrote. “Under accounting rules, corporations are required to value their deferred tax assets based on the performance of their business and tax rates.”

Stop making excuses for having no financial plan
Financial planner and Forbes contributor Kate Stalter wrote on January 22: “I understand the desire to approach financial planning in an orderly fashion. Often, people are vaguely embarrassed, thinking that the mythical ‘everybody else’ has their stuff so tight that they’ll teach the planner a thing or two!

“But this idea of waiting for the perfect time, waiting for some future event to shed light on one’s financial situation – it’s an excuse. It’s a reasonable-sounding way of putting off decisions.”

Twelve steps to fix your firm’s investment committee
“If you want to fix your investment committee, you have to start by learning how decisions are made within groups. The most important responsibility of the CIO is to build an organization that can make good investment decisions.” Tom Brakke, an Excelsior, Minnesota-based chartered financial analyst, said during the Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference this week in Las Vegas sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), according to a January 21 article by Financial Planning.

He offered several other ways firms can fix their investment committees.

To minimize IRS audit, get injured & have sex (honest)
I won’t even try to summarize or excerpt this January 22 article from Forbes contributor Robert W. Wood. The article is deserving of your time, though.

Vatican monsignor faces further charge of money laundering
Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former top Vatican accountant now on trial for money smuggling, was further charged with money laundering on January 21, police officials and his lawyer said, Reuters reported.

The new charge pertains to alleged laundering of millions of euros through his accounts at the Vatican bank, lawyer Silverio Sica told Reuters.

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