Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Next banking fiasco? Manipulating foreign exchange rates?

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The Wall Street Journal reports ”Flipped” Bankers Aid U.S. in Foreign-Exchange Probe – Criminal Charges Are Expected as Early as Next Month.

Looks like it is time to pay attention to a new fiasco. After manipulating LIBOR comes the foreign exchange rates, or forex.

Article appears to be based on lots of leaks. In a tossup between guessing whether the Justice Department or the banks are leaking most of the info, I’ll guess the slightly higher probability is the feds.

This new fiasco is apparently developed from information obtained during the LIBOR investigations.

Individual enforcement action this time

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 15, 2014, 14:58 pm at 2:58 pm

Posted in Other stuff

Tagged with

Mild sanctions on Penn State for covering up child molestation just got milder

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Last Monday the NCAA dialed back the already mild sanctions on Penn State for covering up years of child molestation.

The school is now eligible for post-season games after sitting out two years. The initial penalty was a four-year ban.

The school can resume its full amount of allowed scholarships instead of cutting them back just a little bit for four years. They only took a two-year reduction in scholarships.

The Wall Street Journal describes the end of sanctions: NCAA Lifts Penn State’s Postseason Ban.

This post is part of the conversation on this blog on the severity of punishment for egregious behavior. Should there be capital punishment, as with Arthur Andersen? Or should there be cost-of-doing-business punishment, as with the big banks and Penn State.

I discussed this two years ago: On capital punishment of organizations – Arthur Andersen and Penn State – corporate death versus mild sanctions

Let’s walk through the four penalties imposed on Penn State. Let me explain why this was mild and is now milder.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 15, 2014, 8:40 am at 8:40 am

Posted in Pondering

Can you live with mission critical applications disappearing for a week?

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Consider your vulnerabilities to a software vendor disappearing overnight.

I changed RSS readers for a third time this week. They keep shutting down on me.

As an active blogger, reading a lot of blogs therefore access to news sources is mission critical. Well, I suppose I choose to make it mission critical – it’s a big deal for me.

Substitute your mission critical applications for my reliance on RSS feed and you can think through an assessment of how vulnerable you are to vendors just going away.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. Think about your tax software or audit software as you read this post.)

On Monday Bloglines disappeared. That has been my RSS feed for quite a while. I thought, might be a server problem. Maybe a software upgrade that failed. Down lines somewhere. I can live with that for a little bit.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 12, 2014, 9:39 am at 9:39 am

Posted in Other stuff

Resources about the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative

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I previously discussed the AICPA’s new Enhancing Audit Quality initiative.

The AICPA has made available a number of documents to start the discussion of the project.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 11, 2014, 9:17 am at 9:17 am

Some preliminary thoughts on the Enhancing Audit Quality initiative and some Peer Review implications

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The AICPA has launched an initiative they are calling Enhancing Audit Quality, or EAQ. This will be a coordinated effort to improve the overall quality of audits.

Why the initiative?

There are some serious quality issues. More on that momentarily.

This will be the first in a long series of articles on the EAQ initiative. I think this will be a big deal over the next few years and we probably ought to start paying attention.

I previously did a quick read through of the EAQ Discussion Paper. You can find that and lots more on the EAQ home page, which has an easy-to-remember link of

Today I listened to a one-hour webcast. You can find the link here, and since it was not for credit, I’m guessing you may soon be able to watch it on your own.

Why is there a perceived quality issue?

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 10, 2014, 13:26 pm at 1:26 pm

More thoughts on the resurrected Andersen brand. Part 3

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Here are a few more articles discussing the acquisition of the Andersen brand name by a tax-only accounting firm. My previous articles here and here.

9/8 – re:The Auditors – More on My Reuters Breakingviews Column: The Andersen Tax Name Grab – Francine McKenna brings in more background and other articles on the return of the Andersen brand.

She even quotes the last part of my previous post which said that if a small portion of the worldwide CFOs think the Andersen name denotes quality then there is huge market for the formerly named WTAS firm.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 9, 2014, 9:17 am at 9:17 am

Don’t compare your messy backstage to someone’s presentable front stage

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Things behind the scene are invisible to others. That’s the backstage. The ready-to-go portion shown to the world is the only part others see. That’s the front stage.

The ol’ sage advice is don’t compare your backstage to the front stage you see of others.

(This article is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because it is something accountants need to keep in mind also.)

This applies in so many areas.

You know how your children behave at home or on a long vacation or how much effort it takes to get homework done. What you see in other families is the on-your-best-behavior public face and the brag-ready list of accomplishments that were oh so easy to achieve.

Compare the backstage of your family to someone else’s front stage as if that was actually a valid comparison and you will be distressed with either your children or your parenting skills. The most likely outcome is wondering why you are a failure as a parent.

Jeff Walker has a great video about that idea. He uses a messily hand-tailored shirt as a great contrast of the slick front stage and the messy, sloppy, slap-dash back stage.

Check this out:


Literally the difference between Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

September 8, 2014, 8:39 am at 8:39 am

Posted in Pondering


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