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1. Report reveals breadth of criminal tax activities   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
From shady tax preparation businesses to identity theft gangs to corrupt IRS agents, the IRS Criminal Investigation division’s annual report reviewing its accomplishments in 2013 reveals the wide range of criminal tax activities it investigated in the past year. And, the report points out, despite a continued significant decline in staffing, the division maintained a conviction rate of more than 93%, which it noted “reflects the quality of ...[its] casework” (IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Annual Business Report, p.

2. “Dirty Dozen” tax scam list now includes telephone scams   WebExclusive

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
Identity theft and telephone scams top this year’s list of the “Dirty Dozen” fraudulent tax schemes released by the IRS on Wednesday. The annual list contains various common scams that taxpayers may be subjected to at any time, but the IRS says many of them reach a peak during tax filing season.

3. How to protect investors’ assets   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The recent financial crisis magnified the importance of investor protection.Regulators can play a vital role in ensuring that securities firms protect client assets. The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on Wednesday published eight principles to guide regulators as they supervise securities firms on the protection of client assets.The guidance refers to securities firms—including derivatives firms—that are subject to regulatory supervision as “intermediaries.” The principles are as follows:1.

4. 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.

5. SEC sanctions total a record $3.4 billion in FY 2013   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
SEC enforcement actions resulted in a record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions in fiscal year 2013, the commission announced Tuesday.The total was 10% higher than in FY 2012 and 22% higher than in FY 2011, when the SEC filed the most actions in agency history. The SEC filed 686 enforcement actions in FY 2013, fewer than in FY 2012 (734) or FY 2011 (735).

6. 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.

7. Whistleblower tips to SEC rise 8%   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Tips to the SEC by whistleblowers rose 8% in fiscal year 2013 over the previous fiscal year, according to an SEC report to Congress.The SEC received 3,238 tips in FY 2013, compared with 3,001 tips in FY 2012, the first full year of the program. The SEC’s fiscal year begins Oct.

8. Anti-corruption steps  

BY Sabine Vollmer
Regulators in many parts of the globe have increased enforcement of anti-corruption laws. Anti-corruption experts offered the following tips on how companies doing business overseas can step up vigilance to reduce corruption risks. Assess internal and external risks. Enforcement actions by the Department of Justice and the SEC highlight the most likely trouble spots: Overseas activities and engagement of third parties—such as distributors, sales agents, intermediaries, or suppliers—tend to increase a business’s corruption risks, especially when the activities and parties operate in developing economies.

9. What's your fraud IQ?   CPEDirect

BY Andi McNeal, CPA
The word skepticism is derived from the Greek word skeptesthai, meaning “to reflect, look, or view.” It has evolved over the past 2,300 years to represent, among other definitions, the application of reason and critical analysis in the search for a factually supported conclusion. In this context, the concept of skepticism has been adopted in many professions—chief among them auditing—as an important attitude for individuals to apply in fulfilling their duties.

10. Fraud hotlines: Don't miss that call   CPEDirect

BY Christine P. Andrews, DBA, and Brian P. LeBlanc, CPA
Tip lines are one of the most effective tools organizations possess for detecting and preventing fraud. Fifty-nine percent of forensic and valuation CPAs participating in the AICPA’s 2011 Forensic and Valuation Services Trend Survey said internal whistleblower hotlines would lead to improvements in preventing fraud in the next two to five years.
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