As 2014 came to a close, we saw the usual flurry of last-minute accounting firm M&A deals, and the all-too-usual wrangling in Washington over the tax extenders, which were finally passed just as we went to press. They were passed solely for 2014, so not only do we face the prospect of a delayed tax season at the start of 2015, but another set of Beltway wrangling on the same issues at the end of the year.
The American Institute of CPAs issued a concept paper on peer review, and is looking for input from the profession with the goal of transforming peer review into a technology-driven, near-real-time practice monitoring process. The concept would be powered by continuous analytical evaluation of engagement performance; human review when system-identified concerns are raised; involvement of external monitors, when necessary; periodic inspection of system integrity; and oversight of the system's operating effectiveness. Stakeholders can comment on the AICPA Community site, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Securities and Exchange Commission officials told attendees at an AICPA conference in early December that they are considering allowing U.S. companies to provide some information, such as revenue, in International Financial Reporting Standards as a supplement to their U.S. GAAP financials, on a voluntary basis.
GASB also issued two documents describing its preliminary views on lease accounting for state and local governments, and financial reporting for fiduciary responsibilities, as it solicits public comments on possible standards. The first document, Preliminary Views, Leases, includes proposals to improve the accounting and financial reporting for leases for state and local governments from both a lessee and lessor perspective. The second document, Financial Reporting for Fiduciary Responsibilities, presents GASB's current thinking on fundamental issues associated with the reporting of activities in which a government has a fiduciary responsibility. The documents are available on GASB's Web site; comments are requested by March 6, 2015.
U.S. regulators and Chinese affiliates of the Big Four said they can probably reach an agreement within a few months to end a standoff over access to audit documents belonging to the firms' clients. Representatives of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the four firms said that they don't expect to need more than 70 additional days for settlement talks, according to an administrative order posted on the agency's Web site. The SEC filed an administrative action against the auditors in 2012 after struggling for years to obtain information for dozens of probes of China-based companies.
IN OTHER NEWS
KPMG International announced record revenues globally of $24.82 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014, a 6.3 percent increase over the previous year in terms of local currency. India saw the strongest revenue growth, at 17.7 percent, while the Americas saw revenues rising by 10.1 percent.
BDO announced that its network of member firms around the world achieved $7.02 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2014, an increase of 8.8 percent from last year. The network now has 110 member firms, with a little under 60,000 total staff members operating from 1,328 offices in 151 countries around the world. Revenue growth was led by the United Kingdom (up 27 percent) and the United States (up 22 percent).
Massachusetts Society of CPAs president and CEO Eileen McAnneny will step down at the end of January to take up the reins at the Massachusetts Taxpayers' Foundation, after just a year at the MSCPA. A search for a new president is already under way.
Top 20 firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause elected Alan Whitman to serve as CEO upon the completion of Timothy Christen's term in June 2016. Whitman currently holds the role of office managing partner in the firm's Detroit office. Following the completion of his term, Christen will become vice chair of the AICPA.
Prince Charles issued a challenge to accountants worldwide to mark the tenth anniversary of the creation of his Accounting for Sustainability Project, urging them to convince their peers of the importance of taking action on sustainability. For more details, visit www.accountingforsustainability.org.
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