Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

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Get started blogging. Do it for yourself, even if nobody ever reads anything you ever post.

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Just the process of putting into words what you are thinking will produce tremendous growth. Actually thinking about what is going on around you, in your industry, or in the wider world will stretch you like nothing else.

Do it for yourself!

I have grown tremendously from writing on my blogs. Check out Seth Godin and Tom Peters making that point:

 

 

A few great lines: 

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Written by Jim Ulvog

December 4, 2013, 8:06 am at 8:06 am

Need a place to keep track of all sorts of different types of files? Check out Evernote.

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The New York Times has a great article introducing Evernote as a storage tool for all the stray web articles, spreadsheets and photos that don’t have a logical home otherwise.

Check out An App That Will Never Forget a File.

Here is an intro to a superb tool: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

December 17, 2013, 8:05 am at 8:05 am

Posted in Other stuff

Convergence or Co-whatever-its-called-today with IFRS is Co-drifting-away

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The IASB staff have released a report responding to the very lukewarm SEC staff report on IFRS convergence.  Tom Selling at The Accounting Onion characterizes the IASB report as The IASB’s Stages of Grief.

He points out numerous places where there are massive differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS. A few examples he sees are:

Written by Jim Ulvog

November 20, 2012, 7:57 am at 7:57 am

Posted in Accounting

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SEC report that doesn’t address when to implement IFRS reads more like a position paper against IFRS

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As expected, the SEC staff released a report on IFRS that does not contain a recommendation on whether to adopt IFRS or when to adopt.

The report is called Work Plan for the Consideration of Incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into the Financial Reporting System for U.S. Issuers.

I have not read the full 137 page report, and don’t plan to. As I browsed the first 28 pages, what struck me is the large number of observations in the report that are actually fairly major criticisms of IFRS and reasons not to adopt it.

Here’s a small number of examples:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 17, 2012, 11:03 am at 11:03 am

Posted in Accounting

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More context on the sentencing hearing for Scott London. Why I am writing so much about this case.

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Found some more comments from coverage of the sentencing for Scott London that change the perception of the hearing. At least it changes my perception. Mentioned this earlier here. Wish I had been in the sentencing hearing.

Look at the comments I mentioned earlier:

The Wall Street Journal – Former KPMG Partner Scott London Gets 14 Months in Prison for Insider Trading: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

June 3, 2014, 8:32 am at 8:32 am

Posted in Audits

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Workplace rules have changed – You need to take charge of your own career no matter where you work and no matter what your position

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The rules for work have radically changed. The work world that existed when you started college, even if you graduated this spring, is gone.

If you are working, you need to take charge of your career and your reputation. This applies to brand new staff, experienced audit seniors, and especially partners.  People at every level of employment need to absorb that lesson.

Jenna Goudreau summarizes 14 Rules of the New Marketplace That Millennials Need to Master at Business Insider. My only disagreement with her is that these rules apply to everyone at every level, not just millennials.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 6, 2013, 7:33 am at 7:33 am

2018 nonprofit risk alert is available. New edition adds discussion on valuation of GIK as rebuttal to California AG.

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Cover of 2018 NFP risk alert, used under fair use since I’m recommending you buy the document.

The AICPA has released the 2018 edition of Not-for-Profit Entities Industry Developments.

If you are a CPA serving the not-for-profit community, you need to read this document each year. It provides a survey of the accounting and auditing issues affecting the nonprofit world.

If you are an auditor, there are several other risk alerts you ought to be reading every year.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, since this information is useful for many CPAs.)

If you are working for a nonprofit, these alerts would give you a good survey of accounting issues in general and the audit issues your CPA will be dealing with this year.

Valuation of Gifts in Kind

Of particular interest are new comments responsive to the challenge from the California AG over valuation of GIK. The 2017 and 2016 editions had minimal comments on GIK.

The 2018 edition has a new section, Gifts-in-Kind: Reporting Contributions of Nonfinancial Assets, in paragraphs .53 through .57, which describes the AICPA’s interpretation of GAAP.

Years after the mebendazole issue has faded away, the second bullet point of paragraph .56 says that when GIK is sourced outside the U.S. and is not approved for distribution in the U.S., the meds should be valued at international prices. (If you have been following this issue for years, you realize the concession made by that comment.)

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 11, 2018, 8:40 am at 8:40 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Various thoughts from continuing education classes this year, part 2

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As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve reread my notes from several continuing education classes this year. Thought I would share a variety of stray ideas.

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

For what it is worth here are some tidbits you might enjoy:

Presentation of not-for-profit financials – ASU 2016-14

Presenter said that if an organization wanted to break out the with restriction column into more detail there is nothing to resented been broken into two or three columns. Perhaps it could be columns for:

  • donor endowment
  • other with restriction contributions
  • time restrictions
  • total with donor restriction
  • without donor restriction
  • total (total column is not required, but total change in net assets is)

Another possibility to present more detail would be to present multiple lines within the with donor restriction column, such as contributions to donor endowment, various purpose restrictions, time restriction, and a subtotal.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 4, 2017, 9:11 am at 9:11 am

Posted in Accounting

Various thoughts from continuing education classes this year, part 1

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

As part of working on a big writing project, I’ve reread my notes from several continuing education classes this year. (More details later and a link to the published material much later.) Thought I would share a variety of stray ideas. Here are a few tidbits from the classes.

Probably need to note that I have not gone back and read the original pronouncements supporting each idea and therefore I do not have a specific citation for you. (Reading three of the documents is the next step for my writing project.)

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

For what it is worth here are some tidbits you might enjoy:

Leases – ASU 2016-02.

One of the key on/off switches is whether a particular transaction or document is a lease. That will require an assessment of each transaction.

Right of use assets (the new description) resulting from operating and financing leases need to be listed separately on the statement of financial position. Those two categories (operating right of use and financing right of use) will be presented separately from fixed assets.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 3, 2017, 8:35 am at 8:35 am

Posted in Accounting

Accountants coping with change. PTIN fees tossed out. New audit report from PCAOB.

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Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

A few interesting reads for accountants.

  • If we keep learning, robots will free us up from dreary work but won’t take away our jobs
  • Federal court keeps PTIN requirement in place but overturns the fee requirement
  • PCAOB expands standard auditor’s report

5/30/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute – Robots aren’t stealing our jobs. They’re setting us free. – Mr. Sheridan describes how we as accountants could thrive as computers take away the basic number crunching parts of our work.

Those tasks we do that can be automated will shift. That will leave the strategic thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and anticipation to us.

In my little brain, I have a way to describe this – So let’s say you have a program that can review 100% of disbursements instead of you drawing a sample of 40 or 60 items. Cool.

In any client that still uses humans to run their organizations, how many exceptions do you know think you will need to address?

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 8, 2017, 8:20 am at 8:20 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Like a persistent vampire in a horribly bad horror movie, IFRS just won’t stay dead in the U.S.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I thought IFRS in the US was dead. In case you didn’t know, I have a fairly strong opinion on the issue.

A presenter at the CalCPA’s Accounting and Auditing Conference on April 25, 2017 had the following comment on IFRS at the end of the presentation:

Death, taxes, cockroaches, and IFRS aren’t going away.

My immediate thought:

Unfortunately, that now seems to be true.

IFRS is baaaack

He perceives the pendulum of discussion on IFRS is swinging back to the topic being on the table.

His comments consistently contained the inference that IFRS is one body of knowledge, consistent in its application in every country across the planet that has adopted the rules.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 26, 2017, 7:15 am at 7:15 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Fun reading for accountants

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Manual accounting records. Anyone miss those? Didn't think sol. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Manual accounting records. Anyone miss those? Didn’t think so. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few fun reads for accountants:

  • Why no Hollywood movie will ever show a profit.
  • Adrienne Gonzalez is back at Going Concern, talking about the idea of TBTF Big 4 firms possibly, maybe, becoming SIFI (not likely to ever happen, but a fun read anyway).
  • Talent shortage appearing in the CPA world.
  • Research from Management of an Accounting Practice now available.

9/14/11 (yes, 2011) – The Atlantic – How Hollywood Accounting Can Make a $450 Million Movie “Unprofitable” – If you have never taken a look at the astoundingly creative accounting in Hollywood, this article will give you a superb introduction.

Several years ago I took a fraud education CPE course in which the instructor went on a tangent to explain why no Hollywood movie has ever made a profit and none of them ever will.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

January 23, 2017, 8:31 am at 8:31 am

Posted in Accounting, Other stuff

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Common findings on audits during peer review

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Image is from AICPA. Used under Fair Use since, after all, I am promoting three of their products.

Image is from AICPA. Used under Fair Use since, after all, I am promoting their products.

The AICPA’s annual Audit Risk Alert General Accounting and Auditing Developments—2016/17 provides a useful summary of common peer review findings on audits.

What I like about this particular list is that it is short enough to actually provide focus. Frequently such lists have the filter set so broadly that the list covers practically all the findings that have surfaced during all peer reviews. Sometimes I’m left with the feeling that a list of findings reads like a list of every single step you need to perform during an audit.

Here is the short list provided in the risk alert, along with my explanation:

Incorrect dating of audit report – The auditor’s report needs to be dated no earlier than when sufficient appropriate audit evidence has been obtained to support the opinion. This means Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

January 20, 2017, 8:09 am at 8:09 am

There are more issues revealed by the Panama Papers leaks than just tax evasion. Some contrarian opinions on how to look at offshore banking.

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Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The primary focus in media coverage is on tax evasion. There are other ways to look at the offshore industry. There are more and deeper legal issues involved. The tax evasion concerns under discussion are just the starting point on the list of issues that ought to generate irritation.

Following articles provide a variety of alternative views of what is going on in the Panama Papers leaks. That the articles I mention contradict each other illustrates my point that there are more issues involved than just tax evasion.

4/7 – Jason Zweig at Wall Street Journal – Panama Papers: A History of Tax Evasion from Ancient Rome to the French Revolution to 19th-Century New Jersey

Question for you to ponder: Why have people been hiding their money for over 2,000 years?

In 1934 when Switzerland made it a crime for a banker to reveal a customer’s name, they were a bit behind the curve. Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Bermuda were tax havens a couple of decades earlier. As a depressing note, the Swiss offered confidentiality for a fee all the way back in 1789.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

April 11, 2016, 8:02 am at 8:02 am

Posted in Economics, Fraud, Pondering

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More good stuff for auditors – 3/3/16

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Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

A few articles for CPAs.

  • A ‘virus’ that can infect your quality control system.
  • How to quickly check if someone is licensed.
  • Risks of working for the Big 4.
  • Deep background on the Private Company Council.

2/10 – CPA-Scribo – How Internal Viruses Affect Accounting Firms – No, not the kind of viruses you were thinking. This is caused by staff doing a quick search on the ‘net to find a sample note and pull down an erroneous example, which spreads to most financial statements issued over the next year.

Charles Hall provides a frighteningly real illustration how such a virus could hit a firm.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

March 3, 2016, 8:19 am at 8:19 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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