NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR WEDNESDAY - 9.21.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Sep 21, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

Marilyn Pendergast (Albany)
Accounting 'Trailblazer' Celebrates 50 Years of Service
Time Warner Cable News
Long before computers and calculators, accounting was done by hand. "There was pencil and paper, for starters. There was a giant thing called a Contameter, but you didn't carry that around with you," said accountant Marilyn Pendergast. Pendergast knows it firsthand. She's been in the business for 50 years. "My first day was July 5, 1966," she recalled. Pendergast is considered a trailblazer in the accounting industry. She was the first woman president of the New York State Society of CPAs and has traveled the world promoting the profession.

Other Accounting and Financial News Stories

Borrowing Costs Increase Unevenly
Wall Street Journal
The slow creep higher in short-term borrowing costs is creating an opportunity for some crafty debt issuers. The three-month U.S. dollar London interbank offered rate, a benchmark for such lending, has climbed about 0.21 percentage point since the end of June to 0.86%, but the one-month Libor has risen a comparatively meager 0.07 percentage point to 0.54%, according to FactSet. The differential of more than 0.3 percentage point is well above the historical spread of about 0.2 percentage point, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The Perils of Providing Financial and Tax Advice
Accounting Today
Win or lose, CPAs providing financial and tax advice to their clients might be in treacherous territory. Providing solid, accurate advice to these clients might not suffice. There’s trouble brewing even if the CPA’s advice is correct, as it could run afoul of securities administrators who might view the providing of financial and tax advice more broadly. In addition, a CPA who provides erroneous financial and tax advice might be subject to malpractice claims.

IRS Chief Apologizes to Congress for Lost Information
ABC News
The commissioner of the IRS apologized to Congress on Tuesday for information his agency lost and inaccurate statements he made during congressional investigations of its treatment of tea party and other conservative groups. But John Koskinen said he's been truthful and cooperative and insisted it would be wrong to impeach him. Koskinen made the remarks in a written statement prepared for his scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Wall St. Closes Slightly Higher
New York Times
Stocks on Wall Street inched higher on Tuesday in another cautious day of trading as investors kept an eye on the Federal Reserve and Japan’s central bank. Health care and household goods companies led the way, while energy companies slipped. Major market indexes were higher all day, but returned most of those gains at the close of trading. They rose just enough to cancel out Monday’s small losses.

What Business-School Application Trends Say About the Economy
Wall Street Journal
Graduate business programs offering one-year M.B.A.s and master’s degrees in specializations such as data analytics saw a marked increase in applications this year, according to a Graduate Management Admission Council survey of 872 programs around the world. Overall, business programs surveyed by GMAC in 2016 reported a total of 440,000 applications in 2014, 748 programs reported 292,058 applications.

New Overtime Rules: What You Need to Know Before December 1
Accounting Today
In a few months, businesses and some white-collar employees may be feeling some changes to their pocketbooks. In May, the Department of Labor published the final rules revising the “white collar” overtime exemption regulations. Since then, HR experts across the country have been scrambling to help their stakeholders—bosses, clients and employees—figure out what this means to their business, and more importantly, how it will be implemented.

S.E.C. Is Latest to Look Into Exxon Mobil’s Workings
New York Times
The Securities and Exchange Commission has requested information from Exxon Mobil on the company’s longstanding policy of not writing down the value of oil reserves, as other energy companies have done in the recent past, Exxon Mobil confirmed on Tuesday. The inquiry mirrors an investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, into how the company has valued its assets in light of future climate change regulations that may force fossil fuel companies to keep oil, natural gas and coal in the ground.

IRS Appeals Office’s Collection Due Process Program Still Has Problems
Accounting Today
The Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Appeals has improved its compliance within its Collection Due Process program, although some taxpayers are still misclassified and receive the wrong type of hearing, according to a new report. The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, examined the IRS’s Collection Due Process Program, which gives taxpayers a chance for an independent review to ensure a tax levy or lien is warranted and appropriate and that the statutory requirements are met and taxpayers’ rights are protected.

Government-Bond Yields Fall Before Central Bank Decisions
Wall Street Journal
Yields on long-term government debt in Japan, Europe and the U.S. fell broadly Tuesday the day before key monetary-policy decisions from two of the world’s major central banks. The move came as the global bond markets are licking their wounds after a recent rout that had sent long-term bond yields climbing. The selling pressure has been easing lately as some buyers found yields attractive.

FASB Proposes Technical Corrections in Revenue Recognition Standard
Accounting Today
The Financial Accounting Standards Board has proposed a set of technical corrections and improvements to its revenue recognition accounting standard. FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board issued the revenue recognition standard in May 2014 after a decade of work converging the standard under U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards. Since then, they have released several improvements in response to recommendations from a joint Transition Resource Group (see FASB Tweaks Revenue Recognition Standard).

How Companies Like Apple Dodge Taxes and Their Own Investors
New York Times
As an investor, one who has been entrusted with helping to safeguard other people’s money over many years, I value the high degree of disclosure required from American public companies. Corporations and the world in which they operate change every day, so investors need to know the risks their money faces.

Group of 21 States Sues U.S. Over New Overtime-Pay Rule
Wall Street Journal
Twenty-one states and a coalition of more than 50 business groups filed separate lawsuits Tuesday seeking to overturn a sweeping federal regulation designed to qualify millions more Americans for overtime pay starting in December, a step the Obama administration considers one of its signature workplace achievements. Attorneys general in Texas and Nevada filed their lawsuit on behalf of their states and 19 others, arguing the Labor Department rule violates the U.S. Constitution and exceeds congressional authority.

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