Another Lesson on Accounting Controls


Royal Bank of Canada has settled charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission over poor accounting controls for software development, which might sound super nerdy — because it is, really — but the case also lets us ponder yet again the importance of a strong control environment. The SEC announced the case late last week.…

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The Rise of ESG Controller Jobs


Back in January I flagged the rise of “ESG controller” jobs as one of the corporate compliance events to watch in 2023. Today I want to unpack that idea a bit more, to understand what these jobs entail, whether corporations really are trying to fill them, and what sort of person might be qualified to…

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Oh Look, A Non-GAAP Warning

The SEC has long cast a skeptical eye toward the non-GAAP financial disclosures that companies like to report to investors. Now we have an example of the SEC warning a company that its non-GAAP numbers are too vague, in case any financial reporting enthusiasts out there want to heed that lesson as you compile your…

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FASB Retreats on Goodwill Reform


Well, good riddance to the proposed reform of goodwill accounting. The Financial Accounting Standards Board has shelved a plan that would’ve had companies amortize their goodwill assets over a fixed period, and instead will maintain the longstanding rule that companies must test goodwill at least once a year and then write down the value if…

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SEC Hits Software Firm on Accounting Fraud


The Securities and Exchange Commission has fined a New Jersey software firm $12.5 million for accounting fraud in the 2010s, in a case offering multiple lessons about poor management and internal control failures in the tricky world of software sales.  The company in question is Synchronoss Technologies, which sells software to telecommunications firms. The SEC…

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An SEC Statement on Restatements


The top accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission wants corporate executives and audit committees to do better at evaluating when financial restatements are necessary, saying that too many tilt their analysis toward the conclusion that, nope, that error we had last quarter doesn’t need to be restated after all.  Paul Munter, the SEC’s acting…

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SEC Hints on Financial Reporting Future

Some red meat today for all the financial reporting diehards out there: the top accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a statement sharing his thoughts about the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s plans for the future.  FASB, the nonprofit group that sets U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, published an “invitation to comment” last…

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SEC Springs Warning on Option Grants

stock option

The Securities and Exchange Commission is warning companies to do better at estimating and reporting the value of “spring-loaded” stock option grants they give to executives, possibly as a prelude to future enforcement actions against companies that continue to ignore the tricky accounting challenges involved here.  Spring-loaded stock option grants are equity awards that companies…

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Bitcoin, We Have a Problem


I have tried my best for years to avoid this subject, but the time has come at last. Compliance officers, we need to talk about bitcoin. Specifically, we need to talk about certain operating businesses in the world that now purchase and hold bitcoin as a corporate strategy. Because some companies are doing exactly that,…

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PCAOB Previews Inspection Focus


The PCAOB plans to shake up how it will inspect audit firms this year, with a specific focus on how the pandemic has challenged financial reporting and audit risks and a promise to “reduce the predictability” of this year’s inspections.  The agency published a staff alert on Tuesday outlining its priorities for 2021 inspections, so…

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