AICPA, NASBA expose UAA draft

The Uniform Accountancy Act Committees of the American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy issued an exposure draft of updated rules governing the profession.

The committees are asking that comments on the proposed revisions (which can be viewed in full at either www.aicpa.org or www.nasba.org) be submitted by Oct. 3.

The revision process began last October and has included over 50 meetings and conference calls by the committees and various task forces. The proposed revisions are intended to enhance the UAA statutory provisions related to mobility, enforcement and professional standards/ethics. In May, the committees came together to review and approve recommendations submitted by the task forces.

Shelter deal in works for KPMG

Negotiations are continuing between federal prosecutors and KPMG, and an indictment of the firm for its role in selling tax shelters appears to have been ruled out, according to published reports.

The Big Four firm may avoid the sort of criminal charges that led to the demise of Arthur Andersen, Enron's auditor, but KPMG could still face fines of up to $500 million. Reports out of Washington in mid-August said that the Bush administration was leery of the demise of another major accounting firm. An independent monitor of the firm's conduct would likely be put in place as part of any deal, and the firm would have to admit guilt publicly.

KPMG has already fired more than a dozen partners with ties to tax shelter marketing in the late 1990s, and in June, the firm released a statement acknowledging "unlawful activity" by former partners. Individual partners may still face indictment.

BDO announces revenue growth

BDO Seidman LLP said that its revenues for the 2004-2005 fiscal year increased to $440 million, a 21 percent increase over last year's revenues.

The company said that the revenue jump was led by the firm's assurance business line, which added more Securities and Exchange Commission audit clients than any other firm for a second straight year. The assurance practice now represents 62 percent of BDO Seidman's business, while the firm's tax and specialized services business lines represent 26 percent and 12 percent of revenues, respectively.

"In the past year, BDO Seidman has experienced unprecedented growth in the core assurance business line, as our superior SEC practice has made BDO the chief beneficiary of companies leaving the Big Four," said BDO Seidman chief executive Jack Weisbaum, in a statement.

WorldCom's No. 2 gets five years

Former WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan was sentenced to five years in prison in mid-August, bringing to a close the sentencings for those who played a role in the $11 billion accounting fraud at the telecommunications company.

Sullivan was the fifth WorldCom executive to be sentenced to prison, and his sentence is topped only by former chief executive Bernard Ebbers, who was sentenced to serve 25 years by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones.

In a settlement announced in July, Sullivan had already agreed to liquidate his 401(k) account, valued at about $200,000, and sell a mansion he was building in Florida, valued at $5 million, after accounting for a number of liens on the property. The agreement, reached with New York's state comptroller, will see its proceeds go to WorldCom shareholders.

Sullivan, who had pleaded guilty to fraud, delivered more than 30 hours of testimony against Ebbers during Ebbers' criminal trial.

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