Government

Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance - Seven Questions For Executives & Boards

Corporate governance is the new watchword for U.S. companies working to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and requirements proposed by the major stock exchanges. But according to Protiviti, an internal audit and risk consulting firm, businesses may need to take additional steps to preserve value for shareholders and build the public's confidence.

Federal Reserve Governor Calls on Accountants For Help

Speaking to a risk management symposium at Fordham University, Federal Reserve Governor Susan Bies commented on lessons learned from recent accounting scandals. She said confidence can be restored in the capital markets, if companies improve their risk reporting and accountants return to their core values.Ms.

Media Accuses Accountants of 'Shameful' Lobbying

Still struggling to regain their good name after a string of well-publicized accounting scandals, accountants around the nation were smeared with yet another round of unfavorable publicity. The media accused accountants of lobbying to gain control of appointments to the new accounting oversight board, fueling a sense of public outrage so strong the White House felt obliged to step in with an unusual offer of help and support for U.S.
Tax

KPMG Fights Back at Hearing on Tax Promoter Issues

KPMG fought back today in a hearing in federal district court in Washington DC. The hearing is viewed as a testing ground for the extent to which tax practitioner privilege serves as a defense against summonses issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Earlier this year, the summonses received wide press coverage when the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed the names of clients, while trying to enforce summonses issued to KPMG.

President's Progress Report Omits Audit Lessons Learned

President Bush released a fact sheet showing the government's response to recent accounting scandals. It was part of an on-going effort to restore confidence in the U.S. capital markets and the economy. But this effort left market indexes at four- and six-year lows.
Community News

Accountants And Politics in Election Year 2002

If you are curious to know how much the accounting firms are giving to political campaigns this year and how the funds are being spent, a new web site will rack and stack the numbers and even allow you to drill down to the contributions made by individual partners and staff members.The Web site is opensecrets.org. It is maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Technology

Report Lists Ways to Protect U.S. From Cyberattacks

One year after the September 11th terrorist attacks, U.S. officials warned that rogue nations are preparing for attacks that could cripple America's vital computer-run infrastructure. U.S. cybersecurity czar Rickard Clarke has taken the initiative in this area with a draft report containing 86 recommendations on how to protect U.S. homes and businesses from these cyberattacks.Mr. Clarke presented the draft report at Stanford University.

Andersen and Indian Trials Show Two Faces of Justice

After its aggressive prosecution of Arthur Andersen for matters involving alleged destruction of records related to the Enron audit, the Department of Justice (DOJ) showed the public a very different face in a case of missing records related to the American Indian trust fund.

SEC Narrows Search For Chair of New Oversight Board

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been trying to recruit a chairman for the new accounting oversight board created under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. But it hasn't been easy. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that forerunner Paul Volcker has all but turned down the post.Mr. Volcker has many supporters who believe his reputation would help instill public confidence in the board. In addition to being a former Federal Reserve Chairman, Mr.

New York City's CFO Estimates The Financial Impact of 9/11

When New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson stood up to present his report on the financial impact of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he began with a quote from John F. Kennedy: "To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future." All told, Mr. Thompson said, the attacks could cost the city up to $95 billion.The 64-page report must have been as difficult to prepare as it was to deliver.
Tax

Senate to Probe Tax Aspects of Accounting Settlements

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said his committee is reviewing rules that permit companies to take tax-deductions for settlements related to the recent wave of accounting scandals. Sen. Baucus is responding to a Wall Street Journal article that explained how huge tax breaks are softening the financial blow of the settlements. The Journal reported that government lawyers don't usually worry about whether or not a settlement is tax-deductible.
Tax

Tax Executives Oppose Law That CEOs Sign Tax Returns

Tax Executives Institute (TEI) has written to the Senate Finance Committee to express its opposition to S.1971. Consistent with Section 1001 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, S.1971 would require corporate Chief Executive Officers to sign corporate tax returns.
Practice

Labor Day Report Exposes Excessive Executive Pay

On-going publicity of lawsuits and investigations related to accounting irregularities have brought the issue of excessive executive pay back into the limelight this Labor Day. Leading the rallying cry for reforms are two liberal policy groups, the Institute of Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy. A report recently released by these groups shows that poor accounting pays off for some CEOs, despite the harmful consequences for workers and shareholders.
A&A

The Top 10 Investment Scams

The North American Securities Administrators Association updated its list of the top 10 investment scams being investigated by state securities regulators.
Tax

Support Grows For a Tax Relief Package For Investors

Capitol Hill is abuzz with talk of a tax relief package for investors. President Bush has said his Administration is considering a variety of possible tax breaks that would give the stock market a boost and speed the pace of U.S. growth before the November congressional elections.

Audit Shows DOJ Needs a Lesson in Accountability

Attorney General John Ashcroft's ears must really be ringing now. It was bad enough when the Department of Justice (DOJ), which he heads, was criticized for its handling of the Andersen obstruction-of-justice charges. Those charges cost thousands of innocent workers their jobs. Now, Mr. Ashcroft has received an audit report showing his entire department suffers from "a lack of accountability" for its assets, including laptops and firearms. The report, which was issued by the Inspector General, shows that at least 400 laptop computers are missing, lost or stolen.

Silicon Valley Workers Get Hotlines to The FBI

Silicon Valley workers were provided with telephone and e-mail hot lines to send tips about accounting irregularities and securities frauds directly to federal authorities. These fraud tip services are believed to be the first of their kind in the United States. The services were established by the Northern California divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), working with the Northern California divisions of the U.S.

President Bush Signs Bill Establishing New Rules For The Accounting Profession

President Bush has signed into law the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, one of the most far-reaching bills ever to address corporate fraud and public accounting.Support for the Bill, which many thought was too aggressive just a few weeks ago, was fueled by multiple reports in July of corporate accounting scandals, defrauding investors, and a plummeting stock market.The Bill establishes a number of provisions, including the following which directly affect the accounting profession:The establishment of an independent not-for-profit Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, su

CCH Analysis of Securities Reform Law

While Stock Market Goes Up, Down, Reform Legislation Heads Straight To White House - CCH Looks at Impact on Companies, Investors, Industry President Bush asked for fast action on a corporate reform bill and Congress obliged. Now, the time-intensive task of sifting through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to see how it changes existing law and what it means for companies, investors and the securities and accounting industries begins, according to CCH Inc., a leading provider of securities law information and software.
Community News

U.K. Takes Slower, Gentler Approach to Audit Reforms

While U.S. lawmakers were reaching agreement on tough accounting reform legislation, Patricia Hewitt, Britain's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was outlining the U.K.'s slower, gentler approach to audit reforms. The difference in approaches between the U.S. and U.K. seems to be rooted in the perceptions that U.K. accounting and auditing standards are superior in some respects to U.S. standards.

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