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Alix Stuart


Recent Articles

The Dodd-Frank Act: Where Are We Now?

February 04, 2014

The Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law in 2010, but still about a third of its 398 provisions have yet to be proposed by the government agencies tasked with writing regulations to carry out the law. Many others are either too new to assess or are still being ironed out. Inside, in part one of our special four-part series on the Dodd-Frank Act, we take an in-depth look at the regulations it has spawned and what remains to be finished.

Meet the Enforcers of Health Reform Regulation

October 22, 2013

The Affordable Care Act comes with a few carrots and lots of sticks to push companies to provide health coverage, pay penalties if they don't, improve current plans, and pay new fees and taxes to fund research and other initiatives. And who, exactly, will be wielding those sticks? In the final installment of our series on the ACA, we look at the regulators who will enforce the new requirements.

Fuzzy Math: Calculating the Compliance Costs

October 01, 2013

In Part I of our four-part series on compliance with the Affordable Care Act, we look at the cost of healthcare reform compliance. Taxes and fees are one part of the ACA starting as planned, creating new bills for companies and insurers to pay. Employers still face multiple reporting obligations too, including a notice due to employees on Oct. 1 about how insurance offerings compare to those of the health exchanges. Full report is inside.

Companies Putting More Thought Into Developing Core Values

September 17, 2013

More companies are formally getting down a set of core values or a statement of company beliefs. Now, according to one assessment, nearly 90 percent of public companies have some kind of core values statement. Far fewer put them to practice. "They often have nothing to do with how management actually runs the business," says Wayne Brody, senior leader at governance consulting firm LRN.

How the SEC Is Using Analytics to Spot Reporting Problems

January 29, 2013

The Securities and Exchange Commission is hard at work on a project, the Accounting Quality Model, that when finished could subject all financial filings to sophisticated analysis for risky accruals, accounting problems, and even fraud. SEC Chief Economist Craig Lewis described it as "a model that allows us to discern whether a registrant's financial statements stick out from the pack." Details inside.

Lawsuit Exposes Gaps in Loss Contingency Disclosures

December 18, 2012

Yahoo announced in late November that it was facing a $2.7 billion penalty as a result of a lawsuit in Mexico it lost against a phone directory company. The verdict surprised investors, since Yahoo hadn't reported the potential outcome as part of its loss contingency disclosure. The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the SEC have made such disclosures a top priority in recent years, after complaints about too many litigation surprises. Details inside.

Are New Political Giving Disclosure Rules in the Offing?

November 27, 2012

After a record-setting amount of money was spent on the 2012 election cycle, pressure is mounting for new disclosure rules on political giving and related activities by companies, which could have thorny compliance requirements. "The complexities of what they could be and could create are somewhat mind-numbing," says Mark Renaud, a partner with the law firm Wiley Rein.

Big Data: For All Its Promise, Obstacles Remain Ahead

August 28, 2012

So Big Data has arrived, has immense potential, and could help compliance functions in all sorts of ways. Wonderful news—but that doesn't mean companies will be able to embrace the concept easily. In the last article of our four-part series on Big Data, we look at all the obstacles still remaining, from the availability of data to finding skilled Big Data workers, and more. The full story is inside.

Big Data Playing a Bigger Role in Fraud-Spotting

August 14, 2012

Ferreting out fraud has never been easy. Companies have largely relied on whistleblowers, investigators, and the mis-steps of perpetrators. Increasingly, however, they are turning to high-powered analytic tools that can crunch through enormous quantities of data. In part three of our Big Data series, we look at how companies are uncovering fraud by identifying anomalies and patterns impossible for human investigators to see themselves.

Big Data: Starting Small, Scaling Up

July 31, 2012

Corporate America is taken with Big Data right now, yes—but that doesn't mean the idea is, well, a big bang. "Familiar ideas writ large" may be more apt. In the second part of our Big Data series, we look at several businesses tip-toeing into Big Data for improved auditing and efficiency. "It's a lot of smaller, lower-value things we can do that, over time, should have a bigger impact," says Neil Frieser, head of audit for Frontier Communications.

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