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The Daily


Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Apr 5, 2016

Accounting and Financial News Stories

Push on to allow non-CPAs to take top accounting jobs
Albany Times Union
After failing to pass muster as part of the state budget deal, a new press is on to score state legislative approval of a bill that would allow non-certified public accountants to make partner — and reap the benefits of such a position — at accounting firms.

New Rules on Tax Inversions Threaten Pfizer-Allergan Deal
Wall Street Journal
The Treasury Department imposed tough new curbs on corporate inversions Monday, shocking Wall Street and throwing into doubt the $150 billion merger between Pfizer Inc. and Allergan PLC, which was on track to be the biggest deal of its kind. The Treasury move, which was more aggressive than anticipated, sent Allergan’s shares tumbling 19% in after-hours trading and could stall a trend in corporate deal-making that has seen companies searching for ways to escape the U.S. tax net. Pfizer shares edged 0.9% higher.

No Foolin’: Next Version of CPA Exam to Launch April 1, 2017
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) will launch its next version of the Uniform CPA Examination on April 1 next year, and that’s no April Fools’ joke. The new exam is the result of a research project, called a practice analysis, that the AICPA began in 2014 to determine the knowledge and skill set required of new CPAs. The findings and proposal for the next exam version were published in an exposure draft last September, indicating that changes in the business world and technology now require new CPAs to perform more advanced tasks and be involved in more complex projects earlier in their careers.

The Big Number
Wall Street Journal
56% - Share of North American companies that used a third party for internal audits in 2014. Most companies have departments that audit their finances and operations that assess their risks. Even though regulation has prompted them to step up their scrutiny, staffing hasn’t always kept up. So, more companies are calling in outside help. In 2014, 56% of North American companies hired outside firms to conduct at least part of their internal audits, according to a survey by the Institute of Internal Auditors. The group polled 611 companies in North America with revenue ranging between $1 million and $10 billion. Globally, the group surveyed 3,125 organizations.

FATCA Deadlines Coming Up
Accounting Today
Banks that deal with international tax reporting are facing a slew of upcoming deadlines and regulations. Among them are those related to FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax and Compliance Act that was included as part of the HIRE Act of 2010. The controversial law was delayed several times to give the Treasury Department the opportunity to negotiate intergovernmental agreements with the tax authorities of other countries, and to allow banks and the IRS to set up systems for exchanging tax information. The system fully got underway last fall after years of preparation.

The Woman With the Most Stressful Job in Banking
Wall Street Journal
When Bank of America Corp. bought Merrill Lynch in the depths of the financial crisis, the Charlotte, N.C., firm said it would lay off tens of thousands of employees and cut bonuses for those that remained. To wield the hatchet, Bank of America dispatched Andrea Smith, a human-resources executive who moved to New York and spent nearly two years helping to manage the complicated and controversial integration. Almost a decade later, she is tackling a new assignment that may be even more intense: Ms. Smith, 49 years old, this year is leading Bank of America’s stress-test submission, in which the firm’s credibility with regulators, and possibly Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan’s job, is on the line.

New DOL “Persuader” Rule Stimulates Exaggerated Persuader Activities by Proponents and Opposition
The National Law Review
We will try to keep this straightforward and polemic free. We will try. The last time there were any significant changes to the National Labor Relations Act was in 1959, when Congress passed the Landrum-Griffin bill which, among other “reforms,” imposed new reporting and disclosure obligations on unions, management, and “labor relations consultants.” One of these reporting obligations was the following: every person (e.g. “consultant”) who, on behalf of an employer agreed to conduct “persuader activities” – i.e. activities principally intended to dissuade employees from voting for a union in an election – must file a report within 30 days of the agreement.

New York City Council Seeks to Revive Mansion Tax
Wall Street Journal
The New York City Council wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for increased spending on programs for youth, immigrants and women, lawmakers said Monday. The proposal revives a measure previously sought by Mayor Bill de Blasio known as the “Mansion Tax.” Under the council proposal, the transfers of residential properties valued at more than $1.75 million would be taxed at a rate of 1%, and those valued at more than $5 million at a rate of 1.5%. City lawmakers also called for a tax on carried interest for some investment managers.

Saving for Retirement? The Rulebook Is About to Change
Wall Street Journal
New rules aimed at stockbrokers will have enormous impacts on the way Americans save for retirement. The rules aren’t coming from the government’s financial regulatory apparatus but from the Labor Department. This week, it is expected to release final regulations that will require brokers getting paid to provide investment guidance on a retirement account to act solely in the best interest of the investor. Brokers’ recommendations to this point have only had to be “suitable”—a less rigorous standard that critics say has encouraged some advisers to charge excessive fees, favor investments that offer hidden commissions and recommend securities that can be difficult for investors to sell.

Why RIAs May Start Looking More Like Accounting Firms
Financial Advisor
Mark Tibergien has been a highly respected thought leader in the wealth management industry for decades. Author of three of the most widely read books on practice management, he has advised almost every successful firm in the industry. For many years, Mark was the partner-in-charge of the Business Consulting Group at Moss Adams LLP. Over the last eight years, as the CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon Company, he has helped build it into one of the leading custodians for large wealth managers.

Traders Pile Into Bets on a Go-Slow Fed
Wall Street Journal
In the Treasurys market, everything is less than zeros. The juiciest ​source of returns in government bonds this year has been zero-coupon​Treasurys—bonds that pay no interest until they mature and are highly sensitive to expectations around interest rates. The​downside is those same bonds are among the most vulnerable to large price swings if traders start to fear interest rates could march higher.