Accounting & Auditing Highlights Week Ending December 22, 2017


Accounting Highlights:  

Securities and Exchange Commission  

December 18: The Securities and Exchange Commission will treat some initial coin offerings (ICOs) as security offerings if they promise a return based on the management practices of those offering them, SEC Senior Associate Chief Accountant Kevin Vaughn told an accounting standard setting body. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required). 

December 18: The SEC has trimmed some more from its rulemaking list under President Donald Trump after making deep cuts to it earlier this year, according to the agency's newest semi-annual regulatory docket. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required). 

December 21: Shady brokers may have more to fear from the SEC in the coming year than investment banks and other large corporations. In December, the SEC heralded what it called a “crackdown on brokers defrauding customers” when it sued a pair of New York traders for allegedly making unsuitable recommendations. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required). 

December 22: Companies can now access two taxonomies for their interactive data files, including a new one that contains elements necessary to meet SEC requirements for financial schedules. Taxonomies define the specific tags that are used for individual items of eXtensible business reporting language (XBRL) data, their attributes and their interrelationships. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required). 

Financial Accounting Standards Board

December 18: The 2018 objectives for Financial Accounting Standards Board include assisting companies with accounting implementation challenges on four important standards—revenue recognition, leases, credit losses, and hedging—FASB Chairman Russell Golden told Bloomberg Tax in a video interview Dec. 4. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Revenue Recognition

December 19: Companies that don't expect new revenue rules to have significant influence on their financial reporting must still conduct much of the same extensive analysis and modeling as those for whom it will affect their economic results. Financial statement preparers might have underestimated the level of effort required to implement the rules. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Foreign Income

December 19: The Internal Revenue Service proposed new tax rules for foreign currency gains and losses, covering such issues as accounting methods and exclusions. Taxpayers would be able to use the mark-to-market method of accounting for these gains and losses under the new rules. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Disclosures

December 19: The death of CSX Corp. Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison just two days after the railroad announced his medical leave resurrects questions about just how much companies should disclose about the health of their leaders. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Leasing

December 20: Companies will have the option to recast their comparative financial statements when they adopt the new leasing rule in January 2019 under a decision by the FASB. James Barker, partner with Deloitte LLP, discussed this and other developments in an interview with Bloomberg Tax during the AICPA's conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Government

December 20: State and local governments now have a guide to help them navigate accounting rules that focus primarily on retiree health care benefits. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued the guide to clarify and better explain accounting and financial reporting primarily for Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (OPEBs). Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Hedge Accounting

December 21: U.S. companies will get a new benchmark to replace the problematic LIBOR when they acquire derivatives to cut risks of interest rate changes if the FASB proceeds with their plans. The FASB agreed to a Federal Reserve Board request to add to market benchmark rates for hedge accounting. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Tax Reform

December 21: The collision of tax code reform and the 2018 tax filing season looks likely to create the perfect storm for tax practitioners. How does a preparer digest a tax code rewrite while also processing 2017 returns for clients? Some practitioners aren't quite sure how it will all work out, but many agree that early planning can help ease tax tension. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

December 22: Life Insurers said a portion of changes coming next year for long-term insurance contracts would bring them major balance sheet headaches. One change—a retrospective adjustment to unlocked assumptions—would distort earnings and turn off investors from the insurance sector, chief accountants told Bloomberg tax. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).    

Auditing Highlights:

December 19: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is considering selling off its government consulting practice for about $500 million, Reuters reported this month. Such a move by PwC, a provider of tax, audit, and advisory services, would allow the company to focus on the federal auditing services market, which is expected to grow significantly. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Pharmaceuticals

December 19: McKesson Corp.’s board failed to audit the company's system to spot suspicious shipments of opioid-based painkillers even after agreeing to do so as part of a settlement, according to a summary of board minutes unsealed Dec. 8 in a shareholder lawsuit. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Audit Deficiencies

December 20: Deloitte & Touche LLP had performance deficiencies in 13 of the 55 audits that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspected in 2016. Deloitte responded to PCAOB's draft version of the 2016 inspection report that it was investing in digital technologies and taking other steps that would significantly enhance its audit quality. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

Audit Overseer

December 21: The PCAOB imposed a $1.5 million penalty on Grant Thornton International Ltd and a $750,000 fine on the Turkish unit of Deloitte LLP for violating its auditing rules and standards. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).

International Accounting Highlights:

XBRL

December 18: Companies using international financial reporting standards will find it easier to create financial statements that can be transmitted in digital format because of a new guide that explains how to use international financial reporting standards (IFRS) taxonomy. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required). 

Russia

December 18: The Russian parliament is considering a bill that proposes to reduce the duration of tax audits and raise the threshold for transfer pricing control. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).    

Accounting Standards

December 19: Banks and other financial institutions in the U.K. that use the nation's generally accepted accounting practice will have simpler—and probably less expensive—accounting options for classifying financial instruments. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).   

Digital Currency

December 19: European governments are pushing for bitcoin regulation amid mounting alarm that the world's most popular digital currency is being used by money-launderers, drug traffickers and terrorists. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).   

December 20: The government of Anguilla could soon become the first country to formally harness the red-hot growth of initial coin offerings (ICOs) through legislation aimed to create regulatory clarity for the industry and attract new investment to the island jurisdiction. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).  

United Kingdom

December 20: U.K. government officials are “aware” some multinational companies are struggling to use a recently launched e-portal as they submit their first global tax reports. Click here to see the full story (Subscription required).   

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

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