AccountingWEB News Wrap-Up - Issue 203
- $750 Million MCI/WorldCom Settlement - Largest in SEC History
- Ernst & Young: SEC's Request is "Outrageous"
- Congress Takes Aim at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- U.S. Shows Willingness to Reform Auditing, Tax Policies Overseas
- California Enacts New ID Theft Law, Federal Bill Introduced
- President Bush Paves Way For SEC to Hire Accountants
- Art Bowman Leaves Bowman's Accounting Report
- Microsoft Reveals "Critical" Flaws in Software
- Deloitte's and Ahold's Offices Raided
- IRS Attacked on Interest Reporting Rule
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While accounting regulators, Congress, and corporate America continue to squabble about how to most effectively account for stock options, Microsoft, in a bold move this week, has completely changed the discussion and has fundamentally shifted the paradigm.
Microsoft, the very definition of a company that used stock options to help build an empire for itself and for many of its employees, has announced an end to options for employees, and will instead begin granting actual shares of stock. "Stock options are dead as we know them," former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt told Bloomberg News. "This is the death knell."
Will this trend take hold? Will options become a thing of the past? Microsoft's announcement is just a couple of days old, but already the marketplace is buzzing with reaction. Read more about Microsoft's move. 
Michael Platt, CEO
Mike Platt 
A federal judge in Manhattan has given a green light to a settlement between telecommunication giant MCI, formerly WorldCom, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The settlement represents a resolution to the largest ever corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history.
2. Ernst & Young: SEC's Request is "Outrageous" 
A lawyer for Ernst & Young is formally speaking out against an SEC recommendation to ban E&Y new client acquisition for six months.
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With the housing market being one of the few thriving sectors of the economy left, Congress has now turned its attention to tighter regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own or guarantee 47 percent of the nation's $7 trillion mortgage market.
In recent months, tension has been rising between the U.S. and foreign governments over jurisdiction over accounting firm oversight, and perceived unfair corporate tax breaks. Now, U.S. officials are publicly expressing a willingness to show some flexibility in their policies to avoid an all-out confrontation.
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