AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 166

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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

  1. FASB Moves Toward IASB, Big Investors Disagree
  2. KPMG Fights Back at Hearing on Tax Promoter Issues
  3. Economic Fallout Casts Spotlight on Pension Accounting
  4. IRS Cracks Down on Three Tax Shelters
  5. Study Measures Impact of Intangibles on Future Earnings
  6. SEC's Pitt Backs Off on Support For Oversight Board Leader
  7. Federal Reserve Governor Calls on Accountants For Help
  8. NIRI Sets Guidelines For Disclosure in Earnings Releases
  9. Justice Department Clears Path For Tax Consortium
  10. BDO Cyprus Settles With SEC

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EDITORIAL

State societies and accounting associations have been inundated with requests from members and clients in recent years to provide executive and leadership training - citing leadership as the number one skill area that most accountants need help in. Programs are developed, venues are booked, promotions are mailed and guess what - attendance isn't close to what the organization had expected, and many programs are cancelled due to low registration.

This week, I spoke with three different program sponsors who have had to cancel what were otherwise very relevant, compelling programs. Is it that associations and societies are so off-base that they completely miss the mark of what the members are asking for? Or is it that when it comes down to committing dollars to get trained in "soft skills" accountants have a tendency to be leery that it will do any good, therefore "why waste the money?"

Leadership training leading to behavior modification isn't an easy fix. Like the overweight man who wants to look like a world-class bodybuilder, it takes long-term commitment, discipline, practice, skill and proper information to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Leadership training programs are the first step to get you on your way and it is up to you to commit to the follow-through. Successful organizations have that commitment. Does yours?

Michael Platt, CEO
mailto:mplatt@accountingweb.com

THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

1. FASB Moves Toward IASB, Big Investors Disagree

FASB announced its decision to add a project designed to reduce or eliminate differences between U.S. accounting standards and those issued by the International Accounting Standards Board. But a new capital market survey shows big institutional investors don't see the need.

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2. KPMG Fights Back at Hearing on Tax Promoter Issues

KPMG set a precedent last week in a hearing in federal district court in Washington DC. The hearing was 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.

3. Economic Fallout Casts Spotlight on Pension Accounting

Auditors of companies with large defined benefit plans would be wise to pay extra close attention to their clients' pension accounting this year, as investors and analysts cast a wary eye on corporate pension woes.

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4. IRS Cracks Down on Three Tax Shelters

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that participants in three highly-complex tax shelters have a limited time span in which to settle up with the government and avoid the cost of litigation.

5. Study Measures Impact of Intangibles on Future Earnings

Global consultant Watson Wyatt conducted a study that measures the impact of key intangibles on a company's future financial performance. The intangibles are aggregated into a human capital index that assesses the levels of value or risk in a company's management practices.

6. SEC's Pitt Backs Off on Support For Oversight Board Leader

Harvey Pitt, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has withdrawn support for John H. Biggs, chairman of the teachers' pension fund TIAA-CREF, to chair the new accounting oversight board being created as a results of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill.

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7. 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.

8. NIRI Sets Guidelines for Disclosure in Earnings Releases

The National Investor Relations Institute has adopted guidelines for quarterly earnings releases. The guidelines urge companies to consider expanding their releases to add information that would help investors with their analysis of financial statements.

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9. Justice Department Clears Path For Tax Consortium

The Department of Justice has given its approval for several private-sector tax preparers and tax software companies to form a consortium that will offer free tax filing services through the IRS Web site. The free services will be offered to at least 60% of the nation's taxpayers as part of the IRS plan to have 80% of U.S. taxpayers filing electronically by 2007.

10. BDO Cyprus Settles With SEC

BDO Cyprus, an overseas affiliate of BDO Seidman, has reached a settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the audit of collapsed company ACLN Ltd. ACLN, a Cyprus corporation, now de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:ASW), is the subject of a fraud action filed this week by the SEC.

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