ACCOUNTING & AUDITING HIGHLIGHTS WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 17, 2017


ACCOUNTING HIGHLIGHTS:

REVENUE RECOGNITION

November 13: Top Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accountants don't expect to see perfect, first-time reporting of revenue when sweeping new standards take effect. However, they will monitor closely any problematic areas that emerge from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) revenue recognition rules, SEC Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker and Division of Corporation Finance Chief Accountant Mark Kronforst said. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

November 13: The SEC has prepared a near-term regulatory agenda that's “shorter than in the recent past,” Chairman Jay Clayton said. The smaller docket is “rooted in a commitment to increase transparency and accountability,” giving the public information about work the agency has a “reasonable expectation” of finishing in the coming year, Clayton said. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

BLOCKCHAIN

November 14: Executives from Microsoft Corp., International Business Machines Corp., and Dow DuPont said they are seeing huge efficiency gains from their increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in their finance operations. AI tools, blockchain—the technology that powers digital currencies—and robotic process automation (RPA) aren't the future; they're here now. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 17: Securities regulators have a renewed focus on protecting investors from fraud as growth explodes in the use of cryptocurrencies, tokens, and other digital investments. However, the technological advances actually could contribute to more reliable financial reporting. “I think blockchain could allow for potential low-cost, high assurance in auditing,” said Zimbelman, a professor at Brigham Young University, told Bloomberg Tax. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

ACCOUNTING STANDARDS

November 14: The FASB is tracking congressional tax overhaul efforts, preparing to field queries about the impact of corporate tax changes on financial reporting. After getting those questions, the FASB will “re-evaluate” its pending draft rules to improve and add to tax-related disclosures in financial statements, said Chairman Russell Golden. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).    

CYBERSECURITY

November 14: The SEC is looking to give companies more direction on reporting cybersecurity issues, a top agency official said following Equifax Inc.’s massive data breach. The SEC may issue a “refresh” of 2011 staff guidance on disclosing cyberattacks to help give companies a better understanding of the agency's thinking on the matter, William Hinman, director of the agency's Division of Corporation Finance, said. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

TREASURY DEPARTMENT

November 14: The Treasury Department is looking at taxpayers that have a “boots on the ground” foreign business in crafting a “limited exception” to rules to stop the abusive shifting of intangibles offshore, officials said. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

TAX REFORM

November 14: Individual owners of partnerships could benefit indirectly under the House Republican's tax plan that largely ends a federal deduction of state and local taxes for individuals. Individuals would only be able to claim the state and local deduction for property taxes up to $10,000 a year. However, the tax bill preserves the full state and local tax (SALT) deduction for corporations and passthrough entities. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 15: The SEC is watching closely potential changes in the corporate tax rate and other areas of tax reform for their impact on income tax accounting rules. SEC Deputy Chief Accountant Sagar Teotia said “Just like the FASB we are trying to make sure we understand, for example, if the corporate tax rates does ‘X,’ how would that impact accounting” under rule ASC 740, Accounting For Income Taxes. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 16: President Donald Trump's proposed corporate tax reforms are putting pressure on Canada to consider how to continue to attract business investment. Even if Congress doesn't approve proposals for a lower corporate income tax rate and enhanced investment write-offs, Canada should review how it can make its business tax system more attractive. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 15: The Senate Finance Committee's tax plan cranks up taxes on nonprofit organizations with provisions that are absent from the House bill. The plan took nonprofit experts by surprise by resurrecting two proposals: a tax on royalties from licensing a logo and a requirement that nonprofits tabulate unrelated-business tax owed separately for each trade or business. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 15: The Senate tax plan doesn't deliver the 25 percent passthrough rate included in the GOP unified tax framework, but it does give partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations a more straightforward formula to compute their tax rate. The Senate's plan would tax top-earning partners at a 31.8 percent rate. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).  

VIRTUAL CURRENCY

November 14: Coinbase Inc. will likely lose their bid to block an Internal Revenue Service probe of customer gains not reported to the IRS. A federal judge is poised to allow the government to proceed with a limited investigation into those gains over the company's objection. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

NEW STANDARDS

November 15: Companies should start applying new lease accounting rules and install systems to use far-reaching revenue rules simultaneously. “While not required, we have observed a best practice is for companies to commence efforts to implement the new leases standard concurrently—or partially concurrently—with the new revenue standard,” SEC Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker said. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 16: Companies fear lease accounting software isn’t ready for implementation of the new leasing standard. Some companies would welcome a FASB delay of the new leasing standard to give systems and software vendors more time. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

FASB

November 15: The Financial Accounting Foundation reappointed FASB Vice Chairman James Kroeker to his second and final term in the post through June 30, 2024. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

NEXT GENERATION ACCOUNTANTS

November 16: The next generation of accountants will be digital minded, savvy multi-taskers with a strong involvement in sustainability issues, executives and accounting educators told a financial reporting issues conference in New York. At a campus level, students are being taught enhanced skills beyond accounting. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

CONFLICT MINERALS

November 17: Securities bills addressing corporate governance, capital formation, and Dodd-Frank Act disclosure requirements were approved by the House Financial Services Committee. The measures would require proxy advisory firms to register with the SEC, permit issuers to sell more unregistered securities, and repeal an SEC rule requiring companies to disclose their use of so-called conflict minerals. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

PCAOB

November 17: The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board unanimously approved a 2018 budget of $259.9 million, together with a 2017-2021 strategic plan. The plan guides the activities of the audit standard setter and audit inspection agency. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTING HIGHLIGHTS

ENFORCEMENT

November 13: U.S. authorities extended a review of Standard Chartered Plc's compliance operations that has already spanned a half-decade. Standard Chartered has been under the eye of the Justice Department since 2012, when the sides entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement to resolve U.S. allegations that the bank facilitated business with blacklisted Iranian parties. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE MEASURE

November 14: Several large U.K. companies provide thorough explanations in their financial reports about use of measurements that fall outside of commonly accepted accounting standards, an analysis by a regulator has found. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

November 15: Company management commentary could become more useful to investors and compatible with other financial reporting systems under a research project approved by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Corporate reporting has expanded significantly since the IASB last issued a management commentary practice statement (MCPS) in 2010. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

RUSSIA

November 15: The Russian parliament will consider a draft law on amending the rules for taxation of controlled foreign companies in December. The bill, introduced in the State Duma suggests a number of changes to current rules. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

November 16: Russian authorities amended legislative provisions to set sector-specific financial penalties for insufficient financial reporting disclosures. The law imposes financial penalties for failure to meet financial reporting disclosure requirements covering intellectual property and copyright transactions. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Composed and Compiled by Gery Brownholtz, Accounting Editor, Bloomberg BNA

Rely on expert practitioners for practical guidance and real-world approaches to complex accounting issues with Bloomberg BNA’s Financial Accounting Resource CenterTake a free trial today.