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May 16, 2013

Factbox: IRS’s rich history of scandals, political abuse

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A crisis engulfing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service over its scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status adds to a long history of scandal and abuse – both real and alleged – at the tax agency.

Here are some high-profile cases over the past 80 years, based on historical articles, books and news reports.

May 16, 2013

Factbox – U.S. IRS’s rich history of scandals, political abuse

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A crisis engulfing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service over its scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status adds to a long history of scandal and abuse – both real and alleged – at the tax agency.

Here are some high-profile cases over the past 80 years, based on historical articles, books and news reports.

May 16, 2013

Global accountants stick to plan to get leases on balance sheets

LONDON/NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) – Company balance sheets
could swell by trillions of dollars under an international plan
being pursued by two accounting bodies to show more clearly the
cost of leasing everything from photocopiers to property.

If the revised draft the International Accounting Standards
Board and U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board issued on
Thursday is adopted, tens of thousands of firms worldwide will
have to add all leases over a year to their balance sheets.

May 13, 2013

U.S. banks push back on change in loan loss accounting

NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than a dozen of the biggest U.S. banks have questioned a proposed accounting change meant to boost reserves for risky loans, saying the results would be vastly different from those of a similar rule being developed by global standard-setters.

A key reform arising out of the 2007-08 global financial crisis, the proposal would require banks to look ahead and reserve for expected losses on the day a loan is made.

May 9, 2013

Auditors miss basic steps in corporate fraud cases: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Auditors sanctioned in U.S. corporate fraud cases are making simple mistakes, like overlooking suspicious documents, according to a study released on Thursday that sheds light on why auditors sometimes miss blatant accounting scams.

The long-term analysis of frauds from 1998 through 2010 found that auditors sometimes did not question documents that appeared to be fabricated or that they overlooked discrepancies between real inventory and amounts on the books.

May 8, 2013

U.S. companies’ overseas earnings hit record $1.9 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Large U.S. companies boosted their offshore earnings by 15 percent last year to a record $1.9 trillion, avoiding hefty tax bills by keeping the profits abroad, according to a new report.

The overseas earnings stockpile has climbed by 70 percent over the past five years, said research firm Audit Analytics. Data in its report covers the Russell 3000 index of the largest U.S. corporations.

May 7, 2013

Audit watchdog wants more insider business deal scrutiny

By Dena Aubin

(Reuters) – Corporate auditors would be required to look more closely at insider business deals, like those used in many Chinese company frauds, under a rule the audit regulator proposed on Tuesday.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s rule takes aim at so-called “related party transactions,” or deals between a company and corporate insiders. These kinds of transactions have played a role in many accounting frauds.

May 7, 2013

U.S. audit watchdog wants more insider business deal scrutiny

May 7 (Reuters) – Corporate auditors would be required to
look more closely at insider business deals, like those used in
many Chinese company frauds, under a rule the U.S. audit
regulator proposed on Tuesday.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s rule takes
aim at so-called “related party transactions,” or deals between
a company and corporate insiders. These kinds of transactions
have played a role in many accounting frauds.

May 2, 2013

Lease accounting fight tests resolve of global standard setters

NEW YORK/LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) – Corporations may have to
shoulder trillions of dollars of new balance-sheet liabilities
under an accounting change for leases that is meeting stiff
resistance from businesses in a test of international accounting
standard-setters’ resolve.

Already pared back once to reduce its impact on real estate
leasing, a proposed new international lease accounting standard,
under development for years, will reach a turning point in May
when standard setters unveil a detailed draft rule.

Apr 26, 2013

U.S. SEC turning to technology to spot accounting abuses

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) – The top U.S. securities
regulator will ramp up its use of technology to analyze public
securities filings for potential accounting abuses, one of its
enforcement heads said on Friday.

George Canellos, who was named co-director of the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division on
Monday, said the commission will look at publicly traded
companies for instances of “earnings management” – when firms
take advantage of gray areas in accounting rules to make
earnings look better than they really are.