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1. How preparers can cut down on disclosures in financial reports   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Changes to disclosure requirements are on the horizon as the SEC ponders updating its rules in an effort to make information more useful for investors.The commission is reviewing specific sections of regulations S-K and S-X to see if requirements can be updated, SEC Division of Corporation Finance Director Keith Higgins told the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section during a speech Friday.The goal is to eliminate duplicative disclosures while continuing to provide material information and reducing costs and burdens on companies.

2. Companies lagging in conflict minerals process   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Conflict minerals reporting may be a significant challenge for executives this spring as many companies are just in the early stages of compliance exercises as the May 31 SEC filing deadline approaches, according to a report released Wednesday.The SEC’s new conflict minerals rule grew out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, P.L.

3. Unnecessary disclosures targeted by SEC   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
A targeted, step-by-step approach is the best way for the SEC to review and overhaul its financial disclosure requirements under securities laws, SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher said Monday.In a speech at the Forum for Corporate Directors in California, Gallagher said he hopes the SEC can “make real headway” in its initiative to reduce unnecessary disclosures.

4. SEC plans to consider whether global standards are achievable   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The SEC plans to consider whether a single set of high-quality global accounting standards is achievable, according to one initiative described in a draft of the commission’s strategic plan for 2014 to 2018.An initiative described on page 8 of the 39-page document, which was released Monday, says the SEC will continue to promote the establishment of high-quality accounting standards by independent standard setters.

5. SEC delays municipal adviser rule compliance date   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Compliance with the SEC’s final municipal adviser registration rules will not be required until July 1, 2014, the commission announced Monday.The SEC extended the date for compliance to give market participants additional time to analyze, implement, and comply with the final rules. The rules had been scheduled to go into effect Monday.As required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, P.L.

6. New regulations among SEC’s 2014 examination priorities   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Issues posed by new rules and regulations will be among the issues the SEC scrutinizes most closely in 2014 in its examination of issues at financial institutions reviewed under the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ National Examination Program.The SEC on Thursday announced its examination priorities for 2014, which cover a range of issues at financial institutions.

7. What accounting fraud risk factors will attract SEC’s attention?   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Rising stock prices may be correlated with increased risk of financial reporting fraud, the SEC’s David Woodcock said this week, and that creates urgency for him and the new task force he chairs at the agency.Woodcock chairs the SEC Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force, which was unveiled in July.

8. FASB releases proposed 2014 U.S. GAAP taxonomy   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
FASB released its proposed 2014 U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy on Friday. The taxonomy consists of a list of computer-readable financial reporting labels coded in XBRL. The proposal contains updates for accounting standards and other recommended improvements to the official taxonomy, which is used by public issuers registered with the SEC.

9. Fraud in financial reporting, auditing among targets of new SEC initiatives   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Fraudulent financial reporting and auditing are among the targets of three new Division of Enforcement initiatives the SEC announced Tuesday in its efforts to detect and investigate fraud and misconduct that harm investors. The new Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force will be dedicated to detecting fraudulent or improper financial reporting.

10. AICPA provides guidance on auditing conflict minerals reports   WebExclusive

Recently implemented federal rules on disclosure of conflict minerals have mandated new audit requirements for some U.S. issuers. The AICPA Conflict Minerals Resources webpage provides background and other useful information about the use of conflict minerals, which are gold, tantalum, tin, and tungsten. In addition, new Questions and Answers have been issued to provide nonauthoritative guidance and describe the key similarities and differences between the two services—an examination attestation engagement and a performance audit—that can fulfill the SEC’s mandate of an independent audit of the conflict minerals report.
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