MEET THE FIRST COUNCIL

The Financial Accounting Foundation's Board of Trustees named the first members of its new Private Company Council, starting with its inaugural chairman, Billy Atkinson. A past chairman of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Standard-Setting for Private Companies, Atkinson retired from practice after working for 39 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Also appointed to the PCC were: George Beckwith, Steven Brown, Jeffery Bryan, Mark Ellis, Thomas Groskopf, Neville Grusd, Carleton Olmanson, Diane Rubin and Lawrence Weinstock. FASB member Daryl Buck will serve as the FASB liaison to the PCC.

As we went to press, the presidential debates were still a week away, Big Four firm PwC had just attested that Mitt Romney's average effective personal income tax rate from 1990 to the present was 20.2 percent, and was never less than 13.66 percent, and the accounting profession as a whole was betting big money on a Republican victory in the presidential race.

Rosenberg Associates' annual MAP survey indicated that revenue at accounting firms increased 3.8 percent in 2011, a significant improvement from 2010 -- but when the impact of mergers is removed, the growth rate was only 2.7 percent.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is heading to Houston to host its third public meeting on auditor independence and audit firm rotation, on October 18. The meeting will be webcast. Separately, the board reached a tentative agreement to begin observing Chinese regulatory authorities during inspections of auditing firms in China as a kind of "trust-building exercise."

The Financial Accounting Standards Board made its proposed 2013 U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy in XBRL format available for comment.

The American Institute of CPAs is teaming up with XBRL US to develop a certificate program focused on U.S. GAAP reporting in XBRL.

Nearly two thirds of individual investors have at least some confidence in the U.S. capital markets, according to a new survey by the Center for Audit Quality, a rise from 2011.

The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission released an exposure draft of its Internal Control over External Financial Reporting: Compendium of Approaches and Examples, which illustrates how the principles set forth in the proposed updated framework can be applied.

 

BOTH SIDES OF THE IRS

On the plus side: The Internal Revenue Service told Congress that it's not planning to use tactics like tax liens and levies to make sure taxpayers are properly complying with the new health care reform law. It also unveiled its new Web site, with new navigation and language features, based on an analysis of how the old site was being used. And it proposed new regulations governing practice before the agency, including written tax advice and "covered opinions," that should eliminate some of the complex rules governing covered opinions that practitioners have complained about for years.

As if that wasn't enough, it issued new procedures to help nonresident U.S. taxpayers, including dual Canadian citizens, comply with U.S. tax laws even if they have previously undeclared foreign bank accounts.

Somewhere in the middle, the IRS proposed saving more than $111 million over the next five years by requiring employees to share workspace if they often work remotely.

On the minus side, in Revenue Procedure 2012-25, it revised the rules for its letter-forwarding program, saying that it will no longer provide letter-forwarding services to locate a taxpayer who may be owed assets from an individual, company or organization.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, meanwhile, released its usual flood of reports, faulting the IRS for: its onboarding process for new hires; not building sufficient security around electronic powers of attorney; the level of inaccuracy of returns prepared by its volunteers; and the level of effectiveness of its program to refer potential fraud cases to IRS criminal investigators.

On the other hand, it did cautiously praise a new phone system for taxpayers involved in correspondence audits, and it said that the agency was making progress toward its goal of processing tax returns on a daily basis.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service said thatit would cut down its caseload by revising the criteria it uses to accept cases from taxpayers who are having trouble dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, noting that it does not have the resources to help the as many as 12 million taxpayers who may be having problems at any given time.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

California joined 48 states and the District of Columbia when it passed a law allowing CPAs from outside the state to practice across state lines without an additional license.

Global firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. saw its highest revenue growth in the past four years, reaching $31.3 billion worldwide for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2012. Aggregate revenues grew 8.6 percent in U.S. dollars and 8.3 percent in local currency. Financial advisory services led the way in terms of growth, at 15 percent, while consulting revenue grew by 13.5 percent. Audit and enterprise risk services revenue grew by 6 percent, and tax and legal revenue grew by 4 percent. The fastest-growing region was Asia-Pacific.

Top 100 Firm Moss Adams announced Chris Schmidt as its next chair and chief executive officer and Dick Fohn as president and chief operating officer in a transition that will take effect in the first half of 2013. Schmidt will succeed current chairman and CEO Rick Anderson, who announced that he will step down to focus on his expanding role as chair of international firm alliance Praxity.

Accounting Today and Best Companies Group announced the 2012 Best Accounting Firms to Work For; the full list is available on AccountingToday.com. The rankings will be unveiled at an awards ceremony during Accounting Today's 3rd Annual Growth & Profitability Summit, Oct. 28-30, in Boca Raton, Fla., with the full report appearing in our December issue.

 

CORRECTIONS

In our Top 100 Most Influential People report (September 2012, page 56), we gave the incorrect name of Diane Yetter's firm; we should have listed Yetter Consulting Services. Our apologies for the error.

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