Short takes, notes and items of interest

¤ The SEC named Joseph H. Godwin to serve as academic accounting fellow in the Office of the Chief Accountant for a one-year term that started in August. Godwin is chairman of the Department of Accounting and Taxation at the Seidman School of Business at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his new position as fellow, Godwin will work on various projects, including rulemaking. His recent research has focused on issues near and dear to the SEC: derivative financial instruments and international accounting.

Leading Government Accountant Dies
¤ Lorin Hall Drennan, retired chief accountant and principal adviser at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) died recently. Drennan had a long career in federal government auditing: From 1958 to 1961 he was audit manager for several government agencies, including the Corps of Engineers. In 1963, as assistant director of the civil division of the GAO, he supervised the auditing and accounting practices of the Veterans Administration. He joined a predecessor of FERC in 1969. He won the GAO Distinguished Service Award and the FERC Chairmans Medallion. A navy veteran, Drennan was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

I Spy
¤ The FBI estimates that in 1996 corporate spies stole information worth $300 billion from 1,300 companies. This is up from 1992 when only 242 companies reported such theft.

How the Other Half Is Taxed
¤ In 1995, an individual had to have an adjusted gross income of at least $96,221 to rank in the top 5% of taxpayers, according to the IRS. To be in the top 1%, a taxpayer had to earn $209,406. Only 565,437 returns reported income taxed at the top rate of 39.6%.

Comments Wanted on Insurance and Investments Guidance
¤ AcSEC has issued exposure drafts of two audit and accounting guides. Life and Health Insurance Entities (product no. 800122) will help financial statement preparers and auditors with GAAP issues and includes discussions of statutory accounting practices. Comments are due by December 4. Audits of Investment Companies (product no. 800123) will provide new guidance on accounting for offering costs, amortization of premium/ discounts on bonds, liabilities for excess expense plans and reporting complex capital structures. Comments are due by December 22. Both EDs are available online at or by calling the AICPA order department at 888-777-7077.


The Aardvark Accountant
¤ Every parent and grandparent knows about Arthur the Aardvark, a character in Marc Browns popular series of childrens books who has his own animated show on PBS. Recent Arthur books revealed that his mother is an accountant who prepares tax returns out of the family home. In one story, Arthur is disappointed when, during tax season, his mother needs the computer and he cant play his video games.

Online Scholarships
¤ Once again, AccountingNet, Great Plains Software and John Wiley & Sons are offering three $1,000 scholarships to students who embrace the relationship between technology and consulting. Judges from the three companies and the Big 5 will evaluate applicants on their academic records, career goals, communication skills and understanding of the accountingtechnology relationship. More details and applications are available at . Applications are due by December 15.

GASB Invites a Guest
¤ The GASB held a two-day task force meeting recently to discuss its reporting model undertakingone of the most important projects the board will ever address, according to GASB Chairman Tom L. Allen. To get additional input, the board invited George A. Scott, a former member of the AICPA government accounting and auditing committee, to participate.

Your Money and Y2K
¤ Examiners have visited the 6,034 institutions regulated by the FDIC and rated them for Y2K readiness. About 88%5,296are making satisfactory progress in all key areas; 12%695need to improve their efforts; and the remaining 43 institutions were rated as unsatisfactory. Examiners will closely review institutions with less than satisfactory ratings at least once each quarter.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.