A new Transparency International report examining public sector corruption reveals both good news and bad news: More countries saw their anti-corruption scores improve, rather than decline—but corruption, overall, is still rife globally. Compliance and risk officers can use the benchmark to help reassess where to focus their due diligence and auditing efforts in the highest risk countries in which they operate.
Companies looking to implement the new revenue standard are faced with the difficult choice of going full retrospective, modified retrospective, or somewhere in-between. Those at the forefront of implementing the standard are starting to favor the idea of presenting three complete years of historical data under the new rules, but many companies are still lagging in the assessments necessary to make any determination at all.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is seeking comment on “enforceable guidance” that will require banks with assets of $50 billion or more to create “recovery plans.” While resolution plans, orchestrated by the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, largely focus on liquidity and asset quality, the new proposal encompasses a variety of other risk factors and stress events, including business interruptions, cyber-security, and leadership succession.
The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security is considering proposed rules that, on the one hand, would significantly raise the stakes for companies that run afoul of export control regulations but, on the other hand, bring greater transparency to the enforcement process. “The guidelines generally provide for significantly higher civil penalties for egregious cases than BIS has historically imposed,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement David Mills noted during recent remarks.
Amid discussion about reforms to the SEC’s disclosure regime, perhaps no idea is as controversial as the rethinking of how frequently companies must disclose financial information. While it may seem a cornerstone of public filings, quarterly 10-Q financial statements have only been an SEC requirement since 1970. There’s now a push to turn back the clock, with concerns that a standard reporting timetable encourages short-term thinking by investors and company management.
The SEC has updated its ongoing “Frequently Asked Questions” document on interactive data disclosures to address when calculation relationships, which provide key information to show relationships among elements and their corresponding numeric facts, are required in XBRL filings. The FAQs come in response to the SEC’s issuance of a “Dear CFO” letter in mid-2014 that directed public companies to include calculation relationships for certain contributing line item elements for financial statements and footnotes.
As talent and staffing challenges persist for the internal audit profession, 43 percent of public companies other than those in financial services reached outside the organization for help, according to the latest data from the Institute of Internal Auditors. Financial institutions, public and private alike, make the greatest use of third-party services at 45 percent globally.
Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department said it would begin demanding to know the names of folks behind the shell companies, which ultra-wealthy foreigners use to hide behind multimillion-dollar real estate purchases. Efforts by the U.S. Treasury Department to police more closely large cash purchases of real estate as a method for money laundering are an important step toward combatting terrorism. But more work remains to be done.
Big 4 firms exhibited problems in 35 percent of all audit engagements inspected in 2014, and a whopping 84 percent of those deficient audits involved problems with internal control over financial reporting, according to an analysis by Dan Goelzer, a former member and acting chair of the PCAOB. The analysis shows the board found fault with slightly fewer Big 4 engagements in 2014 compared with 2013, but the share that involved problems with the internal control audit was even higher at 89 percent.