Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

A few stray tidbits on the cost of Alexander’s military

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Ancient Greek coins. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Ancient Greek coins. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Professor Frank Holt’s book The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World explains there is little in the historical record on the cost or size of Alexander’s military. Here are a few tidbits which are visible.

Navy

Alexander learned to appreciate the value of a Navy. One data point is that in 334 BC he had 200 ships operating in the Aegean sea. No quantification mentioned of naval forces elsewhere at that or any other time.

Army

Figuring out how much Alexander spent to field his military forces is a game of stringing together many wild guesses. The author accumulated his own long string of guesses and assumptions for small units. He also quotes several other studies.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 30, 2016, 7:00 am at 7:00 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

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One of three major cases against PwC is settled.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Of the three lawsuits against PwC that are large enough to potentially be life threatening, one was settled by PwC after several weeks of the trial. I previously discussed Litigation cases that could possibly take down a Big 4 firm.

On 8/26, the Wall Street Journal reports PricewaterhouseCoopers Settles $5.5 Billion Crisis Era Lawsuit.

Francine McKenna has repeatedly pointed out on Twitter that this is the first major case in a long time against an accounting firm which actually got into court. There are a few weeks of testimony which will likely be a good source for researchers and journalists wanting to understand how audits of large companies can go sour.

Amount of settlement is confidential. This settlement still leaves a $1B suit by the FDIC over the failed bank that was audited by PwC.

Let me give a thumbnail picture of this suit. My simplification will obviously show my confusion. Yeah, my bias will probably be visible too.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 29, 2016, 6:07 am at 6:07 am

Posted in Audits, Pondering

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Good reads for accountants: Twelve minute CPE courses. Big data AI taking over audit work?

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In the near term, your CPE options will include twelve-minute courses.

In the long-term, ponder how much of your audit work could be replaced by artificial intelligence. I can grasp the idea of automating a large portion of detail testing. I can’t see the possibility of replacing the entire audit function. Stretch your brain with two articles from Jim Peterson.

8/11 – Journal of Accountancy – CPE standards update accommodates new forms of learning – It will be a while before you see this in a CPE class, but the AICPA and NASBA changed the CPE rules to allow for nano-learning and blended learning.

Nano-learning is a short course, say 12 minutes that will allow CPE credit in 0.2 hour increments. Picture a 24 or 36 minute course on how to conduct an inventory observation. Or a 12 minute class on how to prepare the planning materiality worksheet.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 25, 2016, 8:08 am at 8:08 am

Guest post: Overview of Changes to NFP Accounting Rules

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Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub before they merged into Adobe Stock.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, since this discussion will be of interest to readers here.)

Gary L. Krausz, CPA, CFF, is an audit and accounting services partner in the Los Angeles accounting firm, Gursey | Schneider LLP. Mr. Krausz works with many not-for-profit agencies and private foundations in Southern California. The firm’s website is http://www.gursey.com. Mr. Krausz offers the following guest post as an overview to help the not-for-profit community understand the major changes about to take place in accounting and financial reporting for not-for-profit organizations.

By Gary L. Krausz, CPA, CFF

This past Thursday, August 18, 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) approved the long-awaited first step in changes to the financial reporting model for not-for-profit organizations by releasing Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-14, Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities. These changes, when effective, will result significant reporting improvements for most not-for-profit organizations including our clients with such diverse operations such as (1) schools, (2) community agencies, (3) private foundations, (4) associations, and (5) religious organizations. The proposed changes will be effective for years beginning after 12/15/2017 (which means calendar years ending on 12/31/2018 and fiscal years ending during the calendar year 2019). Early adoption is permitted.

To highlight just a few of the improvements in Phase I of FASB’s plan:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 24, 2016, 9:29 am at 9:29 am

Posted in Accounting

FASB releases major change to nonprofit accounting rules: ASU 16-14

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

On 8/18, FASB published a massive overhaul to the accounting rules for not-for-profit organizations. The release is ASU No. 2016-14, Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities, which you can find here.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Effective date

ASU 16-14 will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017.

Let’s translate that… it will first be effective for calendar year December 31, 2018 financial statements. For NPOs with fiscal year ends, it will be effective for 6/30/19 or 9/30/19.

Since 6/30/16 audits are underway, for a rough ballpark figure three years from now for required implementation.

Early application is permitted.

Really fast intro

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 19, 2016, 8:33 am at 8:33 am

Posted in Accounting

Litigation cases that could possibly take down a Big 4 firm

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If a judgment at trial were big enough, it could mean the end of a large firm. Writing on August 13th at Market Watch, Francine McKenna explains PwC faces 3 major trials that threaten its business.

That threaten its business phrase in the headline actually means could take down the entire firm.

There are three major cases, each with a serious enough impact, that an adverse ruling in any one could take out the firm. One is in court now, another expected next February, with the final one in court within a year.

Work with me as I try to process through the cases. Here is the thumbnail version.

Two lawsuits over one client

Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp allegedly generated massive amounts of fraudulent loans, a large portion of which were sold to Colonial Bancgroup.  Both companies failed during the financial crisis.

PwC audited Colonial Bank and allegedly did not discover the bad loans that their client, Colonial Bank, bought from PwC’s non-client Taylor Bean.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 15, 2016, 7:14 am at 7:14 am

Some tidbits on the spending side of Alexander the Great’s reign

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Ancient Greek coin. Alexander the Great and Apollo with the chariot of the sun. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Ancient Greek coin. Alexander the Great and Apollo with the chariot of the sun. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I have been discussing Professor Frank Holt’s book The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World . You can find other posts on the ancient finances tag.

The second half of the book explores Alexander’s spending. There is even less historical information available on his spending than on his looting.

One part caught my eye.

Alexander built about 13 major cities according to the educated guess in the book. That doesn’t include dozens of small villages or all the sundry fortifications.

One of these cities, Ai Khanoum, had three miles of wall, which is guessed to have taken 3,000 workers six months to build.

How much would that construction cost? I will make a wild guess.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

August 13, 2016, 10:27 am at 10:27 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

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