Bramwell's Lunch Beat: Seidman Lands at Pace University

Former FASB chairman to launch financial reporting center
Leslie Seidman, who served as chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) from December 2010 until June 30, 2013, is embarking on a new venture. She is launching a center at Pace University in New York next month aimed at solving practical problems in financial reporting, Emily Chasan of the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting at Pace’s Lubin School of Business will focus on brainstorming solutions and best practices for challenges companies face in gathering and reporting financial results to investors,” Chasan wrote.

Seidman hopes to find efficiencies in applying fair value accounting rules that require managers to come up with market values for hard-to-price assets, the article stated.

What business owners should know about the new budget deal
In this Washington Post article, J.D. Harrison explained the key components of the new bipartisan budget agreement and, if approved, what it would mean for business owners in 2014.

Smooth sailing at Senate panel for Obama’s nominee to head IRS
John Koskinen, picked by President Obama to be the next commissioner of the IRS, received key Republican endorsements during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on December 11.

According to a Reuters article, Koskinen received the endorsement of Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who told the nominee, “I want to see you confirmed, and I will do what I can to see it happen.”

Koskinen also received the endorsement of Senator Rob Portman (R-OH).

Reuters reported that Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he would like to hold a committee vote on Koskinen’s nomination on December 13. Approval would send it to the full, Democratic-controlled Senate.

Debating the value of integrated reporting for CFOs and investors
On December 8, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) issued a final framework for integrated reporting (IR) in an effort to bring a more cohesive and efficient approach to business reporting.

While he is in full agreement with the IIRC that disclosures must be improved and simplified, Jeff Thomson, CMA, president and CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), wrote in Forbes that “to make IR a reality we must define our goals, adopt better technological standards, embrace a ‘learning and growth’ approach, and shift our ROI focus.”

“I believe the adoption of IR will not reach its full potential, including in the United States, unless we, as an accounting community, take several actions to lay the groundwork for a transformation in external corporate reporting,” wrote Thomson, who laid out four issues in his article that he said must be addressed to reap the benefits of IR.

Six end-of-year questions to ask your tax advisor
Forbes contributor Laura Shin offers six important questions to ask your tax advisor before the close of 2013.

“Your tax advisor, such as a certified public accountant or enrolled agent, can help you figure out exactly what financial moves you need to make before year’s end to do so,” she wrote. “While a face-to-face meeting is preferable, a phone call or e-mail could also do the trick.”

IRPAC issues annual report for 2013
In its 2013 annual report that was released on December 11, an IRS advisory committee made several recommendations to the IRS on new and existing information reporting issues.

According to an IRS press release, some of the recommendations the Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC) made to the IRS include:

  • Extend truncation of taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) to employer identification numbers (EINs).
  • Expand the TIN matching program to permit matching on a greater number of return types.
  • Improve instructions to reduce errors on Form 1099-MISC.
  • Provide additional guidance with regard to merchant card reporting on Form 1099-K.

The group also commented on cost basis reporting for debt instruments, specifically addressing requirements, practices, and capabilities for reporting market premium and discount. There are also extensive discussions of reporting requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Affordable Care Act.

US Mega Millions lottery up to $400 million, second-biggest ever
Good news, everyone: Nobody won the US Mega Millions lottery drawing on December 10, so the jackpot for the next drawing on December 13 has grown from $344 million to $400 million – the second-largest purse ever for Mega Millions, Reuters reported.

So what are you waiting for? Buy your ticket! I know my wife has.

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