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KPMG Chief Withdraws from SEC Hearings

KPMG chief executive Stephen Butler pulled out of today's SEC hearings because of the lack of time allowed at the stand, according to the Financial Times.Butler was allotted just 30 minutes to give his opinion on the controversial proposals, and would have had to share that time with five others.
Community News

ICAEW President Gives International Outlook on SEC Audit Rules

Graham Ward, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, is scheduled to appear before the Securities and Exchange Commission's hearings on auditor independence in New York at 4.30pm today.
Community News

Second Auditor Independence Hearing Today

Members of CPA firms, representatives of the AICPA and England’s Institute of Chartered Accountants, lawyers, advisers, members of accountancy boards and CPA societies, and corporate accounting officials are gathering in New York today to present testimony before the SEC regarding the proposed limitations on auditor independence.Forty speakers representing both sides of this issue will take the podium, briefly presenting their views in hopes of supporting or swaying the opinion of Arthur Levitt, Chairman of the Securities & Exc
Tax

Estate Tax Repeal Officially Dead

Members of the House of Representatives voted Thursday in an attempt to override President Clinton's veto of the bill that would repeal the federal estate and gift tax.The vote fell 14 votes short, largely due to votes from Democrats who were not present last spring for the original vote on this bill in the House.This marks the official end of this bill as an override vote was necessary from both the House and the Senate to kill the veto.
Tax

Dems May Jump Ship and Side with Clinton

Thursday’s House vote should be close, but analysts are predicting that Congress will be unable to collect enough votes to override Clinton’s veto of the controversial estate and gift tax repeal bill.Some Democrats who voted for the bill initially are considering changing their votes. In addition, eleven Democrats who were absent from the original vote are expected to side with Clinton Thursday.

Auditor Recommendations Offered in Time for SEC Hearings

The Panel on Audit Effectiveness, which was appointed by the SEC to evaluate the way in which audits are performed and the effects of such audits on the public interest, has issued its final recommendations in anticipation of next week’s SEC hearings.The panel has been studying audit effectiveness for two years, and now offers the following suggestions which will be discussed at the next two SEC public hearings on September 13 and September 20.Auditors should perfor
Community News

Panel Chosen for Round 2 of SEC Hearings

SEC Announces Schedule of Witnesses for Public Hearing on Auditor IndependenceSchedule of AppearancesPublic Hearing9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.As previously announced, the Commission is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, September 13, in connection with its proposed rule amendments regarding auditor independence. The hearing will take place in the Pace Downtown Theatre at Pace UniversityNew York, New York The following is a schedule of appearances for the hearing:8:45 am: Opening Remarks Morning Session9:00 am: Panel 1 Laurence H.
Tax

CLINTON NIXES ESTATE TAX REPEAL

As expected on Thursday afternoon, President Clinton vetoed the proposed repeal of the Estate and Gift Tax. The bill will return to Congress where legislators will attempt to override the veto. The White House said that it did not believe the Republican-dominated Congress had enough votes to override the veto. If all those who initially voted for the passage of the bill vote to override the veto, the necessary two-thirds majority will prevail.Under current law, the first $675,000 of property left by a deceased person is exempt from tax.
Community News

PwC Joins in Fight Against SEC

First it was the Big 3, Andersen, Deloitte, and KPMG up against the Securities & Exchange Commission regarding the auditor independence guidelines the SEC is hoping to enforce. Then Ernst & Young jumped in with the others, claiming the SEC’s proposal would make it impossible for audit firms to enter into strategic alliance or joint ventures, even with non-audit clients. That left PricewaterhouseCoopers as the only hold out, sticking up for the SEC and supporting the change in guidelines. Now it looks like the group is a team again.
Tax

Eighth Circuit Overturns Tax Court

Previous tax rulings, notably the INDOPCO Inc. vs. Commissioner case, have required that the tax treatment of officers’ salaries in an acquired subsidiary be capitalized.
Tax

Tractor Pulls Estate Tax Bill to Clinton's Door

The estate tax repeal bill was delivered to President Clinton Thursday for what is expected to be a certain veto. Congressional leaders have promised to attempt a veto override on this extremely popular bill.The bill would entirely repeal the federal estate tax over a 10-year period. Opponents of the bill claim it favors the wealth, while supporters claim it will save untold numbers of family businesses, particularly farms, which often end up being sold to pay exorbitant estate taxes.Clinton has until Labor Day to make a decision about the fate of the bill.
Community News

SEC Makes Auditor Independence Transcript Available

The Securities & Exchange Commission has posted on its web site the entire transcript of Day One of the auditor independence hearings which occurred on July 26.AccountingWEB provided full coverage of the event throughout the day, and will do so again for the second day of hearings, scheduled for September 13.Speakers presenting testimony before the SEC in July included public accountants, industry accountants, educators, memb
Community News

SEC Accepting Applications for 2nd Hearing

The SEC is gearing up for Round Two of the auditor independence hearings, and applications are being accepted for those who wish to participate in the hearings.
Community News

Andersen Consulting: A Frankenstein Monster?

In 1989, Andersen Consulting was spun off from Arthur Andersen as a separate company for the sole purpose of performing technology consulting. The idea was that AC would perform the consulting services for Andersen's clients, and Andersen would stick to auditing, tax, and general accounting services. Because the consulting business was seen as being more lucrative, it was agreed that AC would pay a 15% percentage of its annual revenues to Andersen.
Community News

Senators Urge 'Caution' in Letter to SEC Chairman

Several members of the Securities Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs are urging Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt to extend the comment period on the non-audit services portion of the proposed rules on auditor independence until after February 1, 2001.The extension, if granted, "will allow for careful analysis of the proposed changes," according to the letter. The letter was signed by Securities Subcommittee Chairman Senator Rod Grams, and Senators Evan Bayh, Phil Gramm, Charles E. Schumer, Mike Crapo, Robert F.
Community News

PwC Chief Faces Possible Probe over Audit Violations

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners - including present CEO James Schiro - face possible investigation after a US court refused to dismiss a claim alleging that the Big Five firm had misrepresented audit independence violations at electronic manufacturing firm Emcore. A New Jersey court heard that PwC partners had allegedly held on to shares in its audit client Emcore and so delayed a public offering of the firm in early 1999.

Auditors should audit. It’s that simple.

Among Wednesday’s speakers at the Securities and Exchange hearings on auditor independence was John H. Biggs, Chairman, President, and CEO of TIAA-CREF, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund.TIAA-CREF manages $300 billion for its participants and invests $1.5 billion in new fixed income every month and even more in common stock. Biggs told of an incident that occurred several years ago in which his company relied on audited financial statements in making a $12 million investment.

Auditors and managers have the same interests, says Yale Professor

Speaking before the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Professor Rick Antle of the Yale School of Management indicated it is usually unreasonable to assume an auditing firm than performs non-audit services is going to compromise its audit.Antle has studied the issue of auditor independence at length and is co-author of the white paper, "An Economic Analysis of Auditor Independence for a Multi-client, Multi-service Public Accounting Firm" submitted to the Independence Standards Board (ISB) on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).In an inte
Community News

KPMG Takes a Stab at SEC Auditor Independence Proposals

Terry Strange, Global Managing Partner of Audit for KPMG, took the podium yesterday at the SEC auditor independence hearings, and offered his reservations about the hurried nature of the proposed auditor restrictions as well as the inappropriateness of the barriers to auditing firms providing non-audit services.Noting his complete support of the SEC's desire to modernize independence rules, Strange expressed two troubling aspects of the proposals:The bundling of the much needed revisions of existing rules on investments and family relationships
Community News

CPA Firms Testify (Briefly) Before SEC

The SEC set aside one hour today for representatives from three of the Big 5 CPA firms to make their claims that proposed auditor independence guidelines would impede progress, prevent firms from attracting professionals with necessary specialized skills, reduce competition among CPA firms, increase costs of services, and in general make life miserable for CPA firms that provide consulting services along with traditional auditing services.Stating that CPA firms already enjoy a high level of independence standards and professional ethics, such standards and ethics being applicable to consult

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