Management accounting

  Companies will not have to explicitly declare whether their products contain minerals that originated in mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or its neighboring countries, according to the SEC.

The SEC issued an order staying the effective date for compliance with portions of its conflict minerals rule that require statements that an appeals court ruled last month would violate the First Amendment.

The first reports relating to the conflict minerals rule were due to be submitted to the SEC by issuers on or before June 2.

Issuers are required under the conflict minerals rule to determine whether the gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten in their products originated in mines run by warlords in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or its neighboring countries. The rule also requires issuers to report on their efforts to determine where the minerals originated.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled April 14 that the First Amendment was violated by part of the rule that requires companies to disclose whether their own products are “DRC conflict free.”

The effective date for compliance with that part of the rule was stayed by the SEC’s order. But in the order, the commission denied a motion for a stay of the entire rule, filed by the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Business Roundtable. The D.C. Circuit also issued an order on May 14 in response to an emergency motion by the same organizations denying a stay of the June 2 deadline for the parts of the rule that do not violate the First Amendment.

According to the SEC, staying the specific portions of the rule prevents a risk of First Amendment harm pending future legal proceedings that will transpire after the appeals court remanded the case to district court.

Staying only those portions of the rule furthers the public’s interest in having issuers comply with the remainder of the rule, according to the SEC. The appeals court upheld the remainder of the rule, which was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, P.L. 111-203.

  Many U.S. employers are lacking in preparation for—and awareness of—new health care laws, according to a survey.

More than one-third (36%) of more than 800 corporate decision-makers said they are not very familiar with the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, according to a survey sponsored by global insurance giant Travelers.

Almost one-third (31%) of respondents said they are only somewhat familiar with the law’s requirements. And 25% said they have not yet begun preparing for compliance with the new regulations.

“Advance planning is really what you need to do,” Brian Marks, executive director at Virginia-based employee benefits consultancy Digital Benefit Advisors, said during a recent AICPA webcast on health care. “… You don’t want to wait until you’re right at a month ahead of your renewal to be making decisions about structural changes to your plans.”

Business leaders who understand the new health care regulations are more likely to perceive business risks associated with the PPACA, the survey showed. The 33% of respondents who said they are extremely familiar with the PPACA were three times as likely to be concerned about potential lawsuits related to health care.


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.