Strategy and governance

News Highlights for June 2010

The PCAOB proposed for comment an auditing standard, Communications with Audit Committees, and a series of related amendments to its interim standards. The proposal includes a requirement for the auditor to establish a mutual understanding of the terms of the audit engagement with the audit committee and to document that

Audit Committee Considerations for Whistleblower Hotlines

Audit committees should consider the following questions when assessing the design effectiveness of a hotline: Does the hotline have a dedicated hotline number, fax number, website, e-mail address, and regular mail or post office box address to expedite reports of suspected incidents of misconduct? Does the hotline demonstrate confidentiality, including

Navigating the R&D Tax Credit

Although it has a well-deserved reputation for complexity and uncertainty for taxpayers, the research tax credit of IRC § 41 nonetheless remains a valuable source of support to businesses that conduct qualified research and development. In fiscal year 2009 alone, the credit represented an estimated $5.6 billion federal subsidy for

Assessing the Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Calculating estimates of the collectibility of accounts receivable and auditing those estimates is difficult. This article describes three techniques for assessing allowance for doubtful accounts estimates and complying with Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) no. 57 and AU section 342, Auditing Accounting Estimates, which suggest auditors compare prior accounting estimates

Four Options for Measuring Value Creation

In casual, everyday language, it is often said a corporation’s primary role is to generate profits. However, the primary role of a corporation is not to generate profits; it is to create shareholder value. When corporations focus their internal performance measurement systems on short-term profits or accounting returns—not shareholder value—bad

A Path to Financial Stability

A sound business strategy is important no matter what the state of the economy. As you work with clients to determine the best methods of surviving the recession, be sure to discuss the following critical points for seizing opportunities to refocus, contain expenses and reassure customers. Take a fresh look

IFAC Launches Sustainability Framework

The Professional Accountants in Business Committee of the International Federation of Accountants has developed a sustainability framework for businesses. The free Web-based framework tool is designed to support professional accountants and their organizations in integrating a sustainable way of thinking and working in all business processes. The framework, which is

Prince Charles to Host Accounting for Sustainability Forum

Accounting and business leaders from around the world will meet Wednesday, Dec. 17, in London for a forum on accounting for sustainability hosted by Prince Charles. The forum will include remarks from Prince Charles, HSBC Holdings Plc. Chairman Stephen Green and BP Plc. CEO Tony Hayward. The AICPA will also

Linking Strategy to Operations

Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Kaplan is co-developer of both activity-based costing and the balanced scorecard. In 2006, Kaplan was elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame, and received the Lifetime Contribution Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association. In 2008, the Institute of Management

A Better Way to Gauge Profitability

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Return-on-equity (ROE) is the correct profit metric to evaluate the performance of a business. However, the primary emphasis on financial ratio analysis must be on operating performance. The "advanced" version of the DuPont model remedies the original model’s failure to cleanly separate the effects of operating and financing

Fair Treatment of Fair Value?

The Journal of Accountancy ’s May 2008 discussions of fair value “accounting” (“The Role of Fair Value Accounting in the Subprime Mortgage Meltdown,” page 34), more correctly described as fair market valuation, are interesting. Each opinion on this subject presents a compelling argument. Fair Value vs. The Audit Debates on

Unleash the Power of Lean Accounting

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Lean accounting concepts are designed to better reflect the financial performance of a company that has implemented lean manufacturing processes. These may include organizing costs by value stream, changing inventory valuation techniques, and modifying financial reports to include nonfinancial information. Value stream management (VSM) is a different way

More Perspectives on Audit Committees and ERM

We are offering additional commentary on the article titled “Rising Expectations: Audit Committee Oversight of Enterprise Risk Management” (April 08, page 44). I am an internal audit director and part-time NYU faculty member running an ERM consulting business in New Jersey, together with another practitioner and colleague in New York.

Audit Committees Should Lead by Example

The authors of “ Eight Habits of Highly Effective Audit Committees” (Sept. 07, page 46) have identified relevant recommendations. However, these recommendations are for an audit committee that is a new body in the governance of a company or one in a company where formerly the audit committee merely listened

Make Direct Marketing Pay Off

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Direct marketing has become a popular and successful form of CPA firm marketing with the following potential benefits: The process encourages you to define a very specific target audience of prospects most likely to buy your services. The format enables you to develop a specific message for your

Eight Habits of Highly Effective Audit Committees

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY To ensure that your committee is up to its mission, you must first define the mission by drafting a strong charter that identifies audit committee functions, authority and responsibilities, along with the skills and experience its members must possess. Success is not automatic. Specify critical success factors as

Headaches and Stretched Agendas for Audit Committees

A survey of 282 audit committee members—sponsored by KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute (ACI) and the National Association of Corporate Directors—reveals that while oversight of accounting judgments and estimates and SOX 404 compliance remain the top priorities of audit committees, the panels are increasingly focused on information technology risks. Only 15%

Workshop Focuses on Future

Workshop Focuses on Future T he Institute’s Minority Initiatives Committee hosted the 13th annual AICPA Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop in June in Peachtree City, Ga. About 90 accounting students from across the country attended the workshop, which had the theme “CPAs: Leaders in Action.” The committee was established in 1969

Tune Up for High-Performance Wealth

Each year, individuals and business owners should evaluate their wealth management initiatives to make sure they have the appropriate portfolio for their age and investment goals. Practitioners should emphasize the following key points to help clients maximize their saving potential. Maximize retirement plan contributions. The 401(k)/403(b) maximum contribution for tax

SPONSORED REPORT

6 key areas of change for accountants and auditors

New accounting standards on revenue recognition, leases, and credit losses present implementation challenges. This independently-written report identifies the hurdles that accounting professionals face and provides tips for overcoming the challenges.

PODCAST

How tax reform will impact individual taxpayers

Amy Wang, a CPA who is a senior technical manager for tax advocacy at the AICPA, answers to some of the most common questions on how the new tax reform law will impact individual taxpayers.