FASB issued Statement no. 141(R), Business Combinations , and Statement no. 160, Noncontrolling Interests in Consolidated Financial Statements . Effective for fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2008, the standards are intended to improve, simplify and internationally converge accounting for business combinations and the reporting of noncontrolling interests in consolidated financial statements. The IASB is expected to issue its counterpart standards IFRS 3 (revised), Business Combinations , and IAS 27 (as revised in 2007), Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements , in early 2008.

The standards are available at www.fasb.org/st/index.shtml and in “Official Releases,” page 90.

XBRL US Inc., a nonprofit membership organization working under contract with the SEC, published the draft of the XBRL US GAAP Taxonomies for public review and comment. “We encourage both users and preparers of financial information to participate in this public review so we can advance interactive data to be recognized as, not only amazing technology, but a superior way of doing business and making faster, cheaper, and more-informed investment decisions,” said David Blaszkowsky, director of the SEC’s Office of Interactive Disclosure, in a news release. Comments are due by April 4. For more information or to participate in the review, visit http://usgaap.xbrl.us . See also “ Six Steps to XBRL,” page 34.

FASB released an exposure draft of proposed FASB Staff Position SOP 07-1-a , which calls for deferring indefinitely the effective date of AICPA Statement of Position 07-1, Clarification of the Scope of the Audit and Accounting Guide Investment Companies and Accounting by Parent Companies and Equity Method Investors for Investments in Investment Companies . For entities that have not yet adopted the provisions of SOP 07-1, early adoption would be prohibited. The comment deadline for the ED, available at www.fasb.org/fasb_staff_positions/prop_fsp_sop07-1-a.pdf, was Dec. 17.

For the sixth consecutive year, the AICPA’s Top Technology Initiatives survey identified Information Security Management as the technology initiative expected to have the greatest effect in 2008.

Although the order of the top 10 initiatives, listed below, differs from 2007, there were several similarities between the 2007 and 2008 lists. Among others, Identity and Access Management, Privacy Management, IT Governance, and Mobile and Remote Computing are once again on the list. Several of the new initiatives include: Business Intelligence; and Business Process Improvement (BPI), Workflow and Process Exception Alerts.

Now in its 19th year, annual survey findings are based on a list of 29 initiatives developed by the Top Technology Initiatives Task Force, composed of members of the four organizations participating in this year’s survey: the AICPA IT Section, the Information Technology Alliance, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, and for the first time, the Institute of Internal Auditors.

In-depth materials, a variety of online Web seminars and presentations at the AICPA’s TECH ’08 Conference in Las Vegas, scheduled for June 8–11, are under development. For more information, visit the AICPA IT Center’s Top Technology Web site at www.aicpa.org/toptech.

Top Technology Initiatives 2008
1. Information Security Management
2. IT Governance
3. Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP)
4. Privacy Management
5. Business Process Improvement (BPI), Workflow and Process Exception Alerts
6. Identity and Access Management
7. Conforming to Assurance and Compliance Standards
8. Business Intelligence (BI)
9. Mobile and Remote Computing
10. Document, Forms, Content and Knowledge Management

The AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) has issued an exposure draft proposing a new interpretation in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Interpretation 501-8 would require members to comply with the requirements of certain regulators on the use of indemnification and limitation of liability provisions when providing audit or other attest services that are required by such regulators. The comment period ends Feb. 3. For more information, go to: http://www.aicpa.org/Professional +Resources/Professional+Ethics+Code+of+Professional+Conduct/Professional+ Ethics/Exposure+Drafts+-+Standard+Setting/Proposal+of+Professional+Ethics+Division+Interpretation+on+Failure+ to+Follow+Requirements+of+Governm.htm .

The PCAOB voted to issue for public comment a proposed policy statement that provides guidance on the board’s Rule 4012, Inspections of Foreign Registered Public Accounting Firms , which permits the board to adjust its reliance on the inspections of auditor oversight entities located in the home countries of registered non-U.S. audit firms, based on the level of independence and rigor of those entities.

“The PCAOB recognizes that cross-border cooperation is fundamental to strengthening audit quality globally. The policy statement provides the architecture for the PCAOB to increase its reliance on the inspections of foreign counterparts, including our colleagues in the European Union,” PCAOB Chairman Mark W. Olson said in a press release. Comments are due by March 4. For information, go to www.pcaobus.org .

Convergence to single sets of both international accounting and international auditing standards is very important to a country’s economic growth and development, according to a survey released by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) during the organization’s 30th anniversary activities in Mexico City and New York during World Accountancy Week in December.

Presidents and chief executives of 115 IFAC member bodies and associates in 91 countries, as well as six regional accountancy bodies, participated in the survey. For more information, visit http://web.ifac.org/download/Global_Survey-Summary.pdf .

Jim Freis, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), addressed the role of CPAs in helping businesses apply the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) at the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Conference of the New York Society of CPAs in December.

Freis discussed the importance of independent review of compliance in accordance with FinCEN’s risk-based regulatory approach and the role CPAs can play in achieving this goal. He said the BSA review does not necessarily require engagement of an outside consultant but does require an unbiased appraisal of each of the required elements of a company’s anti-money laundering program, including BSA-related policies, procedures, internal controls, recordkeeping and reporting functions, and training.

“As ‘gatekeepers,’ accountants are in a good position to inform their clients when the BSA may apply to their businesses,” Freis said in his prepared remarks.

The complete text of Freis’ speech is available at www.fincen.gov/NYSSCPA-12-05-07.pdf .

The federal financial regulatory agencies and the Federal Trade Commission have approved proposed regulations and guidelines pursuant to section 312 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 that would allow consumers to directly dispute inaccuracies with financial institutions and other entities that furnish information to consumer reporting agencies. This information is widely used to determine eligibility for credit, employment, insurance and rental housing.

The regulators are proposing guidelines for use by entities that furnish information about consumers to a consumer reporting agency regarding the accuracy and integrity of the information that they furnish. The rules would require those entities to establish reasonable policies and procedures for implementing the guidelines.

The proposed rules were issued jointly by the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the FTC, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The comment period is open until Feb. 11. The complete text of the proposed rules is available at www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2007/pr07098a.pdf .

The AICPA’s ABV Credential Committee has announced the ABV Mentor Program available to AICPA members. The program’s objective is to link new or potential ABVs to an experienced ABV, allowing protégés to ask questions of, and receive guidance from, seasoned valuation professionals. The program will assist practitioners looking to expand their practice or associate members considering a specialization in valuation services.

For more information, go to www.aicpa.org/ABVmentor or e-mail


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.