NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR WEDNESDAY - 10.19.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Oct 19, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

SEC and Anti-Money Laundering Conferences           
CPA conferences to cover regulatory issues
Westfair Communications
Accountants can catch up on the latest regulatory issues at two day-long forums in Manhattan. The New York State Society of CPAs is presenting an SEC conference on Oct. 25 and an anti-money laundering conference on Oct. 27. The SEC conference will cover effective disclosure in financial reporting, strategies for defending Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions and current regulatory issues. Speakers include Craig Olinger of the SEC, Cullen Walsh of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and Claudius Modesti of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

SEC and Anti-Money Laundering Conferences
NYSSCPA announces October 2016 CPE Conferences
Accounting Today
The New York State Society of CPA's (NYSSCPA) Foundation for Accounting Education (FAE) announced on Monday that they will sponsor two conferences this month financial and business industry. 10/25 - The SEC Conference, 8:55 a.m. – 5 p.m., 14 Wall Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY – Addresses the newest developments affecting SEC financial reporting matters, SEC comment letter trends, and non-GAAP financial measures.

Other Accounting and Financial News Stories

Ernst & Young to Pay $11.8 Million to Settle SEC Claims
Wall Street Journal
Ernst & Young LLP agreed Tuesday to pay $11.8 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that it failed to uncover deceptive accounting which inflated earnings at one of its audit clients. The SEC said E&Y disregarded red flags and repeatedly failed to detect moves that oil-services company Weatherford International PLC allegedly made to manipulate its income-tax reporting, which boosted the company’s earnings by hundreds of millions of dollars over a four-year period.

The IRS Spent $12 Million on Software It Couldn’t Possibly Use
The Fiscal Times
The first thing that even a child knows before s/he asks for a new video game for her birthday is whether it will play on that old PlayStation II. Like any software or hardware that’s connected to a computer, there are instructions “before you buy” that tell you exactly what’s required of your operating system, such as Windows 7 or higher. When the IRS decided to comply with the Obama Administration’s directive to preserve permanent records of all emails by December 2016, they chose a very popular cloud-based suite of office applications from Microsoft called MS Office 365 ProPlus and MS Exchange Online Plan 2.

CPAs Urge Treasury To Restore FBAR Exceptions
Law 360
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants urged the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Tuesday to restore certain exemptions for individuals required to file reports on offshore bank accounts, saying the department’s proposed rules could create expensive and duplicative reporting requirements. In a letter to the Treasury, IRS and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the accounting trade body said the department’s intent to revise regulations on who should file a so-called Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR, could expose a “new class of individuals to an unnecessary, expensive, time consuming and duplicative reporting requirement.”

Companies Can Use New Business Definition in 2017
Bloomberg BNA
Companies wanting to use what U.S. accounting standard setters call an improved definition of a business may start to apply the new principles in January 2017. The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s proposed changes to the definition of a business are aimed at better distinguishing a business combination from a purchase or sale of a bundle of assets.

IRS Regulations Clarify Definition of Spouse for Federal Tax Purposes in Light of Obergefell v. Hodges
JD Supra Business Advisor
The IRS has issued final regulations clarifying the definitions of “spouse,” “husband,” “wife,” and “husband and wife” for federal tax purposes. The final regulations now define “spouse,” “husband” and “wife” as any individual lawfully married to another individual, and “husband and wife” as any two individuals lawfully married to each other, regardless of the individuals’ sex. The clarification was needed after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Fed Warms Up to Inflation
Wall Street Journal
Inflation has begun picking up, and it looks as if the Federal Reserve is going to let it keep climbing. The Labor Department on Tuesday said that consumer prices rose by 0.3% in September from August, putting them 1.5% above their year-earlier level. With gasoline prices stabilizing, annual inflation ought to push above 2% on the year within a couple of months. Core prices, which exclude food and energy costs, have been there for a while. Last month they were up 2.2% on the year.

Older CEOs Are Staying Longer, New Report Shows
Wall Street Journal
A chief executive bidding farewell last year to the top job was 61.2 years old and had held the post for 10.8 years on average, according to a new analysis. A report from the Conference Board provides a snapshot on corner office comings and goings at S&P 500 companies last year. Analyzing announcements of CEO departures made in 2015, the research organization found that out of 56 such turnover events, only one—less than 2%-—resulted in a woman being chosen as the new leader. Four departing CEOs, or about 7% of the pool, were women.

Investor Cash Levels Jump Toward Levels Not Seen Since 9/11
Bloomberg Markets
Fears of a bond-market crash, a breakdown in globalization, a new crisis in the euro area? There were a bevy of reasons for fund managers to push their cash balances to 5.8 percent of their portfolios in October, up from 5.5 percent last month, matching levels not seen since the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The share of cash hasn't been higher than that since November 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks in the U.S. The amount of dry powder in portfolios is above that seen during both Europe's sovereign-debt crisis and the U.S. debt-ceiling debacle, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's monthly survey of money managers.

Cuomo urged to sign 'farm to foodbank' bill
Crain’s New York Business
A broad coalition of environmentalists, anti-hunger advocates and agriculture groups is urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation giving farmers a tax break for donating food to food banks. Writing to the Democratic governor on Tuesday the group said the bill would address a growing hunger problem while reducing food waste. Farmers already donate millions of pounds of food every year, but say the credit of up to $5,000 annually would reduce the costs of harvesting and transporting surplus crops that would otherwise go to waste.

U.S. Stocks Rise on Upbeat Earnings
Wall Street Journal
Better-than-expected corporate results lifted the S&P 500 to its biggest advance since September. The rise comes as U.S. stocks have struggled to maintain a rally in recent trading sessions. Before Tuesday, the S&P 500 hadn’t risen 0.5% or more in October. The index has alternated between gains and losses each trading session for nearly two weeks, and the declines have outpaced the advances. On Monday, the S&P 500 closed at its lowest in more than a month.

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