NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR FRIDAY - 9.9.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Sep 9, 2016

Accounting and Financial News Stories

Hey Xero - New Chatbot For Accounting Users
CPA Practice Advisor
Xero has launched an innovative chatbot codenamed Hey Xero that will provide small businesses and their advisors with a completely new way to access the Xero ecosystem and their accounting data quickly, from their platform of choice. Available later this year, Hey Xero will have the capability to connect the more than 50 million small businesses who use Facebook Messenger every month into the wider Xero ecosystem, opening a new way for businesses to discover the cloud accounting platform and find the right advisor for them.

Regulators Seek Tighter Curbs on Investments by Big Banks
New York Times
Regulators are seeking to impose further restrictions on the ability of Wall Street banks to make risky investments with their own money. If the new rules proceed, banks will be prohibited from buying and selling commodities, like copper, and would have to shut down what remains of their in-house private equity operations. The biggest banks have already been scaling back these businesses, but Goldman Sachs continues to have significant operations in these areas. Most of the recommendations are unlikely to take effect soon because they would need to be passed by Congress.

The Estate Tax Used To Be Sort Of Popular -- Even With Republicans
Forbes
Today the federal estate tax will turn 100. And that brings to mind one of the most familiar set pieces of modern American politics: Republicans call for repealing the estate tax, and Democrats denounce the idea. This year Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have dutifully assumed their respective roles. And voters have the pleasure of watching this argument unfold.

FASB Proposes Changes in Hedge Accounting Standards
Accounting Today
The Financial Accounting Standards Board proposed improvements Thursday in the accounting guidance for hedging activities. The proposed accounting standards update is part of the financial instruments project that FASB has been working on with the International Accounting Standards Board for converging U.S. GAAP with International Financial Reporting Standards.

Deloitte announces new 'Family Leave Program' including 16 fully-paid weeks off
Accounting Today
Deloitte announced this week that beginning September 2016 professionals celebrating the arrival of a new child, caring for a spouse or significant other, or supporting aging parents, will have extra support from the firm with the new Family Leave Program. Both men and women are now eligible for a maximum of 16 weeks of fully-paid leave to support the range of aforementioned life events affecting them and their family.

Absolutely Fascinating - Apple's EU Tax Bill Explains Ireland's 26% GDP Rise
Forbes
Or rather the events which followed on from that European Union investigation into Apple's AAPL -0.28% Irish tax bill are what led to that extraordinary report that Ireland’s GDP grew by 26% in 2015. All of which is a useful reminder that while GDP, gross domestic product, is an interesting and useful number it’s simply not the be all and end all of trying to measure the economy. Because not very much did change – some accounting changes of how Apple allocated its intellectual property and cash flows – and apparently an island nation is 26% richer?

Three Ex-Tesco Executives Charged in U.K. Accounting Scandal
Bloomberg Markets
Three former Tesco Plc executives were charged with fraud and false accounting by the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, after a multi-million dollar shortfall discovered two years ago led to a criminal investigation of the grocer’s finances. Former U.K. chief Chris Bush, Carl Rogberg, the former British finance director, and John Scouler, another one-time executive, were all charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting by the U.K. Serious Fraud Office Friday. The alleged activity occurred between February and September 2014.

ECB: More Bond Purchases, Just Not Yet
Wall Street Journal
It may be September, but the European Central Bank is still in summer-vacation mode. It left interest rates and its €80-billion-a-month ($89.9 billion) bond-purchase program unchanged Thursday. President Mario Draghi argued there was little need to do anything, particularly since the U.K. vote to leave the European Union hasn’t unsettled markets. Markets were slightly disappointed, with stocks falling and the euro and bond yields rising temporarily—a hint of their addiction to continued flows of central-bank money.

Workers Paid by Card Will Gain Protections in New York State
New York Times
Workers in New York State who receive their wages on prepaid cards will gain consumer protections next year that advocates say are among the strongest in the nation. The new rules are intended to guarantee that employees do not have to pay any fees to gain access to their paychecks. An estimated 200,000 workers in the state are paid through debit cards, and activists have for years complained about high fees, concealed costs and other abuses.

French Government Pledges to Slash Taxes Ahead of Elections
Wall Street Journal
President François Hollande’s government on Friday offered sweeteners to voters ahead of France’s national elections in the spring, pledging to cut taxes on households by €1 billion ($1.13 billion) in 2017 and gradually reduce the burden on businesses in the next three years. The measures would cut the income tax bill of around five million households by 20% in 2017 and gradually reduce corporate tax to 28% in 2020 from around 33% currently. The 28% rate would be introduced as soon as 2017 for small and medium-size companies.

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