As the curtain prepares to fall on 2005 and we present our final issue of the year, this space has traditionally been reserved for reflection on the events affecting the profession over the past 12 months. I see no reason why this year should be any different, especially considering all that has impacted on the profession, whether man-made or via natural disasters.There were headline-grabbing fines against audit firms, including the mammoth $456 million payout by KPMG to avoid prosecution for selling tax shelters, while a total of 19 defendants are currently awaiting trial in that malaise.
The American Institute of CPAs discovered that real estate prices and employee salaries were lower in North Carolina than Jersey City, and announced that it would relocate about 400 workers to Durham. My guess is that season tickets for Duke basketball won't be part of the package.
Over the course of the year, the Securities and Exchange Commission gained a new chairman - former California Congressman Christopher Cox - but lost its chief accountant, Donald Nicolaisen. Additionally, the head of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, William McDonough, announced that he would be leaving.
As of this writing, neither post had been filled.
Meanwhile, the PCAOB released its 2004 reports on the Big Four firms and surprisingly (or perhaps not) it identified various deficiencies and departures in a number of audits that it examined, a troubling redux of the results of the year before. Apparently, it's been a slow build.
The long-awaited report from the President's Panel on Tax Reform was submitted after the group convened a dozen meetings across the country and interviewed nearly 100 experts. The panel's two reform options, however, have already drawn the ire of tax reform interest groups, who lambasted several portions of the plan, in particular the replacement of the mortgage interest deduction.
The Internal Revenue Service said that its enforcement revenues for fiscal 2005 rose 10 percent, to a record $47.3 billion, while audits of individual returns jumped 20 percent, to 1.2 million.
Social Security reform, an issue that President Bush assumed had occupied a front-burner position on his second-term agenda, was last sighted on the side of a milk carton.
This year also showcased the profession's compassion, as evidenced by its outpouring of support and services for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita. We saw CPAs offer time, homes, jobs and financial assistance to those devastated by natural disasters.
As is our custom, the final issue of the year showcases the final piece in our annual Top 100 trilogy - our Top 100 Technology Products. This year's Top 100 Products' theme, "The Name Game," illustrates the rebranding of many software products, while giving readers a preview of what to expect in terms of solutions for their practices in 2006.
We've also kept busy in-house over 2005. In October, our editorial umbrella, Accountants Media Group, launched the inaugural issue of SMB Finance, a quarterly publication catering to CFOs, controllers and financial executives in the small and midsized business arena. Our second issue is slated for January.
And finally from the entire staff at Accounting Today, we wish all of you a healthy and happy holiday season.
We'll get together again in 2006!
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