NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR MONDAY - 9.19.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Sep 19, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

James Bowers (Syracuse)
NYSSCPA honors James Bowers with 2016 Urbach CPA Community Builders Award
Accounting Today
The New York State Society of CPAs announced this week that James Bowers, Syracuse-based CPA and NYSSCPA member, has been awarded the 2016 Urbach CPA Community Builders Award in honor of working with multiple nonprofits throughout his career. The Urbach Award honors the late Michael Urbach, partner at Urbach, Kahn and Werlin (now UHY Advisors); former NYS Commission of Tax and Finance; and former board leader of multiple charities. The Urbach Award looks to recognize NYSSCPA members who have made significant contributions serving on the board of directors of charitable organizations.

Matthew Bryant (Rochester)
Tax breaks for homeowners
WROC Rochester News 8
CPA Matt Bryant discussed some tax break for homeowners Monday on News 8 at Sunrise. "There can be tax benefits for property taxes, mortgage interest and for home improvements," said Bryant.  "Everyone who pays property taxes can deduct those on two homes, so they can do it on both their primary home and a second home." Homeowners can also receive a break on mortgage interest.  "For those that have a mortgage, the interest is deductible - once again - on two homes, so if you have a home or a second home or a home for a parent," Bryant said.

Other Accounting and Finance News Stories

S&P 500 Gets Its First New Sector Since the Dot-Com Era
Wall Street Journal
For the first time since the tech boom, the S&P 500 is gaining a new sector. Ahead of the U.S. stock-market open on Monday, S&P Dow Jones Indices was set to split off real-estate companies from the financial sector to create an 11th stock grouping. The new classification—undertaken by a team of executives from S&P and rival indexing firm MSCI Inc., which made the change to its own indexes in late August—will make it easier for investors to track one of the hottest investments of the past decade.

PCAOB Sanctions Audit Firms and Partners for Violating Independence Rules
Accounting Today
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board imposed sanctions on three audit firms, along with engagement partners at two of the firms, for violating independence requirements while auditing broker-dealer clients. Two of the firms and two engagement partners admitted to the violations, a first for the PCAOB. The three firms were Berkow, Schechter & Company LLP of Stamford, Conn., Roth & Company PC of Des Moines, Iowa, and Jackson, Howell & Associates, PLLC of Cordova, Tenn.

New path proposed for CPAs in cyber risk management
CGMA Magazine
Two exposure drafts issued Monday by the American Institute of CPAs Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) are designed to provide a framework for evaluating businesses’ cyber risk management.  The proposed frameworks are designed to lead to: A common set of criteria for management to use to design and describe their cybersecurity risk management programs.

Long-Term U.S. Government Bonds Pull Back After Inflation Data
Wall Street Journal
Long-dated U.S. government bonds were little changed Friday as an overnight rally was snuffed out by a report showing a pickup in inflation last month. In late afternoon-trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 1.701%, down slightly from 1.703% Thursday though still up from 1.671% at the end of last week. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

IRS Looks to Help Plans Amid Determination Letter Changes
Bloomberg BNA
The IRS is looking for ways to alleviate the stress retirement plan sponsors are experiencing because of the changes coming to the agency’s determination letter program. The Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department put out a call for comments on how they can make it easier for sponsors to satisfy qualified plan document requirements, the agencies said in Announcement 2016-32, issued Sept. 16.

A Fed Insider Warns of the Risk of Low Rates
Wall Street Journal
The Federal Reserve official who sent the market into its most volatile week of the summer over fears of more aggressive interest-rate increases couldn’t have been a more unlikely candidate for that distinction. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren has a well-established reputation as one of the Fed’s leading doves—advocates of easy-money policies aimed at spurring faster economic growth.

Exxon's Accounting Practices Said to Be Reviewed by New York
Accounting Today
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s probe into Exxon Mobil Corp. includes scrutiny of why it didn’t write down the value of oil fields during a global collapse in prices that prompted billions in write-offs by rival drillers, according to a person familiar with the matter. The avenue of inquiry is related to larger questions of whether Exxon knew decades ago about the dangers of climate change and failed to alert investors to the financial risks it could pose to the world’s biggest oil explorer by market value, said the person, who asked not be named because the details aren’t public.

When Should a Company Write Down Assets
Wall Street Journal
Exxon Mobil Corp. is under scrutiny for a question that’s fraught for any business: When should a company decide its assets literally aren’t worth it? New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating why the oil giant hasn’t written down the value of its assets even as others have done so due to plummeting crude prices. It is an issue that is particularly knotty in the energy industry, where the rules about valuing and writing down assets are complex.

Survey Reveals New Breed Of 'Exceptional Accountant' Is A Major Untapped Asset For Companies
PR Newswire
While accountants play a much larger role toward achieving business success than previously believed, accounting departments overall are undervalued in their role to the business, according to research results released today by BlackLine, a leading provider of financial controls and automation software that enables Continuous Accounting. More than half (52%) of the survey respondents agreed their Finance teams can be entrepreneurial in the way they help the business grow, yet nearly one-third (31%) said improvements in financial management efficiency are vastly underrated in their organizations, according to the survey of 355 business decision-makers at U.S. companies with more than $250 million in annual revenues.

Why the Paperless Office Is Finally on Its Way
Wall Street Journal
Every year, America’s office workers print out or photocopy approximately one trillion pieces of paper. If you add in all the other paper businesses produce, the utility bills and invoices and bank statements and the like, the figure rises to 1.6 trillion. If you stacked all that paper up, it would be 18,000 times as high as Mount Everest. It would reach nearly halfway to the moon.

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