Recent XBRL guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to help steer companies to provide more accurate information, but some worry it won’t go far enough to fix the problems that prevent better use of open source financial statement data. “This latest guidance is kind of a weak attempt to get things moving in the right direction,” says Dave Frankel, an independent consultant with SlingStone Group. More inside.
French banking giant BNP entered into a guilty plea last month and agreed to a record $8.9 billion settlement—the largest penalty ever obtained by the Justice Department in a criminal economic sanctions case. Worse still, the complaince department at the bank was accused of helping to cover up the wrongdoing. “The message to banks is that they need to take more seriously a culture of compliance," says Jeffrey Alberts, a partner with law firm Pryor Cashman.
This year looks to be a record-breaking one for mergers and acquisitions. The blockbuster deals raise several compliance issues, such as potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations and ethics culture mismatch, but compliance officers may not always be part of the pre-deal diligence from the start. Getting them involved can avoid the threat of “successor liability,” post-merger bribery violations, and fostering the best cultural aspects of both sides. More inside.
Shareholders put a high priority on CEO succession planning, but they have stopped short of calling for more transparency on the plans. That could be changing. A high-profile CEO’s illness and a campaign for more succession plan disclosures in the U.K. may bring greater attention to what companies reveal about the plans. “Investors want to know that boards have thoughtful long-term and emergency executive succession plans,” says Allie Rutherford, director of the Corporate Governance Center at auditing firm EY.
Good news in environmental compliance: Looming new clouds of regulation have been dissipated by the U.S. Supreme Court. A ruling last month trimmed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to enforce cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA cannot necessarily impose such regulations on all facilities, the court said—although it said the EPA can do so for power plants, oil refineries, factories, and the like.
Hurricane season is upon us and Mark Pearson and Larry Kivett, members of Deloitte’s supply chain forensics team, are sounding the alarm that stormy weather can bring with it supply chain fraud. In this week’s podcast, they discuss the connection and offer advice for how to shore up risk mitigation efforts.
At long last, we finally have a new accounting standard on revenue recognition. It’s comprehensive, converged, and principles-based. There’s already plenty of buzz about the new standard, some true and some not. Inside, columnist Scott Taub offers a rundown of 10 things you should know about the new revenue recognition standard.
In recent actions the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has emphasized the importance of effective compliance programs, echoing the approach taken by other federal agencies in a variety of contexts. Even if a legal violation occurs, a robust compliance program may help avoid severe government action and penalties. Inside, guest columnist Stephanie Tsacoumis, general counsel of the CPSC, provides her thoughts on what constitutes an effective compliance program.
Many companies strike confidentiality agreements with employees who are leaving, but some are finding they run afoul of government whistleblower protection rules, especially when employees are asked to forgo whistleblower bounties. "We see a seemingly endless array of efforts by companies to come up with new ways to dissuade individuals from providing information to the government," says David Marshall, a partner at law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks.
Are executives ignoring cyber-risks? Even as cyber-attacks on corporate networks increase in number and severity, such risks have done little to illicit the type of alarm that senior leadership teams should be sounding, finds a new report. "It's a 21st Century risk that a lot of companies have not really come to grips with," says Sean Joyce, principal of PwC's U.S. Advisory Forensics Services practice.
Several companies in the retail industry are banding together to strengthen their defenses against hackers and data breaches. More than 50 of the largest retailers are participating in the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center, which will circulate information on recent attacks, threats, and hacking methods. It is the first such initiative for an industry that has been besieged by cyber-attacks resulting in massive data breaches at companies such as Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels Stores. More inside.
Many companies strike confidentiality agreements with employees who are leaving, but some are finding they can run afoul of government whistleblower protections, especially when employees are asked to forgo whistleblower bounties as part of their severance agreement. “We see a seemingly endless array of efforts by companies to come up with new ways to dissuade individuals from providing information to the government,” says David Marshall, a partner at the law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks.
By year’s end, new accounting standards from FASB will change how companies report discontinued operations in financial statements, whereby companies will only report a disposal as a discontinued operation if it represents a “strategic shift” or has a major effect on operations and financial results. “Often showing something as a discontinued operation and breaking out prior periods to show the reclassifications can be problematic,” Larry Dodyk, a partner with PwC, says. More inside.