Sunday, June 29, 2008

Link Update

Finally found enough time to update my bloglist. Numerous new accounting blogs plus a few others. Among the highlights: the return on "Benefits Blog" and three international blogs (one each from Australia, Canada and England). Hope you enjoy; unfortunately the less pleasant job of jettisoning dormant blogs comes up in July.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

IFRS * XBRL = New Taxonomy

Link to taxonomy:

  • After providing a comment period for a draft taxonomy in March, the International Accounting Standards Committee has published in final form an XBRL Taxonomy for businesses using IFRS for their accounting basis. The document includes an Architecture Paper and Extenders Guide and has been thoroughly reviewed by the XBRL Review Team. Although not clearly indicated, the taxonomy apparently includes notes
    as well as financial statements.

    Congratulations to the IASC on this accomplishment. Users of financials throughout the world will increasingly have excess to all the benefits that XBRL promises.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Taxing Matters at Wayne State

    Linda Beale, lefty tax blogger at "A Taxing Matter," has been named dean of Graduate Studies at Wayne State University. Congratulations to Ms. Beale and thanks to Paul Caron, THE Tax Prof, for the info.

    Still Some Bugs in the IRS e-file System

    Two reports by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) call on the IRS to improve procedures for their responses to e-filed returns. One report calls on the IRS to improve both application processing issues and validation procedures regarding accuracy of returns for a given filing status. The second report cites AICPA concerns about IRS self-help (or FAQ page) for e-filed returns that were rejected by the IRS. TIGTA called for a page on to provide detailed explanations of rejection codes and steps to resolve these problems. A partial response by the IRS was a self-assistance option for the 13 most common rejection codes.

    Given the emphasis that the IRS has placed on e-filing, it is critical that defects in e-filed returns clearly indicate the defect and that preparers can readily determine how to make the return satisfactory. The 13 code provision, while a worthy start, is not sufficient to meet the needs of preparers and taxpayers. Additionally, the accuracy concerns of the first report need attention; public confidence in e-filing will wane if there are questions about accuracy and fairness.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Where's Dan?

    Sorry to have been gone so much the last 10 days, but the combination of an intense summer school session and a canine health crisis which ended in the death of Treasure (who had just turned 14 and 1/2) has kept me swamped. Interesting to see that the mileage rate passed, the abortive post last Monday was to be on that topic. Blogger is about to crash for maintenance; I will have more later.

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Higher Mileage Reimbursement Rate Coming?

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Cutting Age Technology: More User-Friendly, Less Gadgetery

    K2 Enterprises consultant Randy Johnson forecasted that the upcoming tech trends would include simplicity and virtualization at the AICPA Information Technology Conference in Las Vegas. Johnson said that one-size-fits-all technologuy with multiple features will be superceded by more customized and user-friendly device. One of the reasons: reducing electricity costs. Moving from the present to the short-term future, Johnson forecasted that key technological tools would be (at present) remote access, broadband cell phones and paperless work product; very-short term tools include virtualization such as Second Life or CPA Island (a development of the Maryland Society of CPAs, optimized search engines and portals and short-to-mid term include cell phones with video capacity and ultra mobile laptop computers.

    I tend to think of second life as being a topic of conversation between Jesus Christ and Nicodemus and "CPA Island" sounds like a prime-time reality show on the Bloomberg Network. Nevertheless, I am confident that Johnson knows his stuff--I have been to a K2 CPE conference and K2 colleague Brian Tankersley has served the accounting blogosphere well for several years at his "CPA Firm Technology Blog." To the CPA readership--hope you have some IT whizzes who can keep your firm up to date without causing information overload.

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    COSO Speaks Out on Internal Control Monitoring

    The Committee on Sponsoring Organizations released an exposure draft on monitoring internal control (IC) today with comments encouraged until August 15. The draft is designed to clarify and help firm implement the monitoring component of COSO's Integrated Framework for Internal Control according to Chairman Larry Rittenberg. Some specific features of the draft include an emphasis on making internal control a priority for firms regardless of size (small as well as big), identifing commonly-available information which could help monitoring IC effectiveness and effective examples of monitoring as obwerved by Grant Thornton personnel.

    COSO has accomplished a worthy task here, making a concept like monitoring of internal control easier to understand and easier to evaluate via benchmarking deserve commendation. Hopefully, commments during the next two months will improve the guidance on monitoring even more.

    Friday, June 06, 2008

    FASB Considers Expanding Contingency Disclosures

    The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued an exposure draft to expand disclosures on loss contingencies. The FASB has concluded that investors are concerned as to whether present SFAS 5 provides sufficient information to assess likelihood, timing and amount of loss contingencies such as lawsuits. Among proposed topics are: an increase in the quantity of contingencies requiring disclosure, require more specifics (unless such specifics would clearly put the company at a disadvantage in a dispute) about specific qualitative (descriptive) and
    quantitative (numerical) information associated with the contingency and require a tabular reconciliation of contingencies.

    As such, FASB probably has a good idea here, although specifics would matter. A related thought - how about more complete disclosure of GAIN contingencies, including reasonably possibly gains. Additionally, publicly-traded companies should be required to indicate the basis for any contingencies not disclosed on the basis of remote likelihood.

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    GAO to IRS: Improve Internal Control

    The Governmental Accountability Office has recommended dozens of improvements in internal control to the Internal Revenue Service. Among GAO concerns are: inability to trace information in the IRS general ledger, the unpaid assessment process was ineffective in detecting or correcting errors, computer programs on penalty assessments did not necessarily conform to IRS procedures, controls for the IRS purchase card program were not sufficient and fixed assets were not always being recorded in a timely manner. The GAO recommended that the unpaid assessment estimation program should be throughly tested by the chief statistican of the IRS.

    I am glad to see that the GAO is taking internal control seriously. My guess is that the IRS is hardly alone among government agencies with some of these problems; nevertheless, if the IRS is going to collect our taxes, we are entitled to having the IRS run their operations as efficiently and effectively as possible.

    Welcome to the Bloggers of the Association of Governmental Accountants

    Robert Smith, past president of the American Accounting Association's Governmental section, recently e-mailed AAA members that the AGA has developed a new blog. Among scheduled topics for this week are foresnic accounting, AGA's Certificate of Excellence and Performance Reporting by State Agencies. The title includes a link to the new blog; this blog will be included in the blogroll at right in the near future.

    This is great news for two reasons: the new blog fills a hole in blogging about governmental accounting and the bloggers appear to be well-respected practitioners and academics in the governmental area (2008 Twelve Blogs of Christmas could be in this blog's future). Kudos to the AGA!

    My blog is worth $7,903.56.
    How much is your blog worth?