Short takes, notes and items of interest.

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Short takes, notes and items of interest


Its Official
¤ The Senate confirmed on April 3 a second term for SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. If he completes this five-year term, he will be the longest serving chairman in SEC history. Levitt has been a champion of investor-friendly initiatives, including plain English prospectuses for investors and more transparent disclosure by public companies. His current term ends June 5.

Thats Mine!
¤ According to Grant Thornton, more states are aggressively pursuing unclaimed property. Most companies hold some amount of unclaimed property, such as uncashed checks, credit vouchers and unredeemed coupons. States have the right (known as escheat ) to transfer custody of such property from the holder to the state until the rightful owner claims it. Depending on the state, penalties, interest and administrative fees will be levied against companies that do not report unclaimed property to the state. According to Grant Thorntons Elizabeth Burton, companies should develop a concise policy for the treatment of unclaimed property and file current reports in the states in which they do business.

None of Your Business
¤ A recent appellate court decision may prevent the IRS from gaining access to documents prepared in anticipation of a lawsuit. The Sequa Corp. hired Arthur Andersen to advise it on the tax consequences of merging two of its subsidiaries. The IRS requested Andersens accounting memorandum. Sequa refused to give it up, claiming the document was protected under the work-product doctrine of Federal Rule of Procedure 26(b)(3). The Second Circuit Court sided with Sequa ( U.S. v. Adlman , CA-2, 2-13-98).

The Leaders of the Pack
¤ The Public Accounting Report (PAR) has come out with its annual list of the top 100 public accounting firms for 1997. The majority of firms on the list grew in revenues between 1996 and 1997. Arthur Andersen continues to lead with more than $4.5 billion in U.S. net revenue, a 16.86% increase over the previous year. Anyone interested in a copy of the report should call PAR at 800-926-7926.

 

FASB Looks at Mortgages
¤ On April 10, the FASB released an ED, Accounting for Mortgage-Backed Securities and Certain Other Interests Retained after the Securitization of Mortgage Loans Held for Sale by a Mortgage Banking Enterprise , to change the way mortgage banking entities account for certain securities. Despite the long title, the statement is relatively short and had only a 45-day comment period (as opposed to the usual 60 or more days), which ended on May 26. The statement, which would amend Statement no. 65, Accounting for Certain Mortgage Banking Activities , would become effective on issuance.

George Washington Rules!
¤ The George Washigton University School of Business and Public Management invited students from 20 top business schools to participate in an MBA case competition concentrating on not-for-profit organizations (NPO's). Each school conducted a case analysis and prepared recommendations for organizational strategies. The home team won this year's competition, which focused on the Habitat for Humanity International. Funded by the KMPG Peat Marwick Foundation, the competition is the only one in the United States focusing on NPO's.

NPO Accountant to Head NASBA
¤ The NASBA nominating committee selected Dennis P. Spackman, CPA, as 1998-99 vice-chairman. The holder of that position is in line for the organizations chairmanship in the following year. Spackman is chief accountant of the Mormon Church and a past chairman of the Utah Board of Accountancy.

When CPA Isnt Enough
¤ For the student who wants to add PhD to his or her CPA, the Deloitte & Touche Foundation grants 10 doctoral students $20,000 each over a two-year period. The foundation has sponsored these awards since 1956. Students interested in applying for one of the 1999 fellowships should write to the Deloitte & Touche Foundation, 10 Westport Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897, or contact their schools accounting departments.

Accounting Pioneer Dies
¤ Marianne Burge, 64, the first woman partner at Price Waterhouse (in 1973), died in New York in February. An authority on international tax issues, Burge wrote on that topic for the Journal of Accountancy . In 1993, she retired as managing partner of the firms international tax services practice.



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