Washington, D.C. - The Securities and Exchange Commission has appointed James L. Kroeker as chief accountant.

Kroeker will replace Conrad Hewitt, who retired from government service in January, when Kroeker became acting chief accountant. He served as staff director of the SEC's congressionally mandated study of fair value accounting standards, which concluded that mark-to-market accounting standards were not responsible for the financial crisis. He has also led the efforts of the Office of the Chief Accountant to address the current economic turmoil, including steps to improve off-balance-sheet accounting standards.

SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, who appointed Kroeker, was also said to be considering Jack Ciesielski, publisher of the Analyst's Accounting Observer, and Charles Niemeier, a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Kroeker joined the SEC as deputy chief accountant in February 2007 from Deloitte and Touche LLP, where he had been a partner in the firm's National Office Accounting Services Group. Kroeker also served as a practice fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board, where he assisted in the development of accounting guidance.

Reaction was favorable from the accounting community. "Jim has consistently demonstrated his commitment to investors and the capital markets through efforts to improve financial reporting and reduce the complexity of financial disclosure," said Center for Audit Quality executive director Cindy Fornelli in a statement.


London - The International Accounting Standards Board has published a set of proposed amendments to 11 International Financial Reporting Standards as part of its annual improvements project. The proposals range from clarification of the measurement of non-controlling interests in its business combination standard, IFRS 3, to changes in wording to remove unintended consequences in the interpretation of some other standards.

An exposure draft of the proposals is available in the "Open to Comment" section of The IASB requests comments by Nov. 24, 2009.


Chapel Hill, N.C. - A new survey by the American Institute of CPAs and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School found that only 12 percent of the 1,093 CPA executives polled indicate that the government should be a major participant in health care reform. Twenty-six percent feel that government should only be a limited participant in health reform, while 46 percent indicated they believe that governmental involvement should be reduced.

According to Mark Lang, an accounting professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler, "While they identify health care costs as a major concern, fears of a rising deficit and increased regulation appear to outweigh benefits of governmental involvement."

Ninety-two percent of respondents offer subsidized health care to employees and only 2 percent have considered dropping it, yet the majority support mandatory health care coverage by employees. Most have been using some combination of increased employee contributions and reduced benefits to deal with rising costs.


New York - Nearly a third of corporate executives expect fraud or misconduct to rise in their organizations this year, according to a survey by KPMG.

Executives believe fraud and misconduct will increase in one of three categories: financial reporting, asset misappropriation, or as another illegal or unethical act. Seventy-one percent of the executives say they worry most about a loss of public trust if such problems are uncovered in their organizations.

Two thirds of the respondents said that combating fraud and misconduct might require more improvements in internal control environments. Inadequate controls (66 percent) and management override of controls (47 percent) were viewed as the top enablers of fraud and misconduct, the survey found.

Approximately 27 percent of respondents reported that their organizations did not fully understand how to conduct investigations, and at what point the board of directors should be alerted to potential concerns. In addition, 33 percent said that they lacked protocols on how to remedy control breakdowns.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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