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Audit & Assurance

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Preventing and detecting elder investor exploitation

Written by Thomson Reuters

The mission of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is “to educate and empower investors so they can plan for a financially secure future.” In October, the SEC held a roundtable to help raise awareness about exploitation against a particularly vulnerable group of investors — the elderly. Older investors tend to lose more money to fraud scams and have less time to recover than younger people.    Educating the elderly about potential financial exploitation schemes is the first line of defense...

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Measuring the fair value of equity-based awards

Written by Thomson Reuters

Cash-strapped start-ups and high growth firms often award stock options and other forms of equity-based compensation to attract and retain skilled employees. These awards can also provide incentives for employees to boost performance and add value. But there’s a downside: Accounting for these payments can be costly and complicated, especially for privately held businesses.  Here’s an overview of the existing guidance under U...

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Simplifying the rules for reporting income taxes

Written by Thomson Reuters

For years, businesses have complained that the guidance under Accounting Standards Codification Topic 740, Income Taxes, includes many mechanical rules and exceptions. As a result, it often yields information that’s challenging for investors to understand. These complaints intensified with the sweeping changes brought forth under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  On September 4, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) unanimously voted to finalize a proposal to simplify the existing rules...

Monday, 09 December 2019

Defining “materiality”

Written by Thomson Reuters

The concept of materiality is used to determine what’s important enough to be included in — and what can be omitted from — a financial statement. In late October, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) voted to finalize a revised definition of materiality in its professional standards.  Breaking away from international standards Under current U.S...

Monday, 09 December 2019

Does naming the lead auditor improve audit quality?

Written by Thomson Reuters

A recent study raises doubt that Rule 3211, Auditor Reporting of Certain Audit Participants, has produced the intended benefits. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) issued the rule at the end of 2015. It requires accounting firms to identify the name of the engagement partner in an audit of a public company. Investors had pushed for the rule, saying that auditors’ performance would improve if they knew that their names would be made public...

Tuesday, 03 September 2019

How strong are your company’s internal controls?

Written by Thomson Reuters

A solid system of internal controls translates into more reliable financial reporting and can help companies prevent, detect and correct financial misstatements. In contrast, weak controls can result in costly errors — and even fraud. Internal controls have become a hot button in the 21st century. If your company seems to be putting more hours into evaluating its control systems, it’s not alone...

Tuesday, 03 September 2019

Accounting for acquired goodwill

Written by Thomson Reuters

Goodwill is an acquired intangible asset that can affect earnings if it declines in value. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is soliciting feedback on this topic as it considers whether to change the subsequent accounting of goodwill and other acquired intangible assets for public companies. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) also is considering improving the disclosures for goodwill, but it wants to keep the same reporting rules. Here are the details...

Tuesday, 03 September 2019

Coming soon: Proposal to improve audit procedures for accounting estimates

Written by Thomson Reuters

In July, the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board (ASB) unanimously voted to propose revisions to the audit standards on the use of accounting estimates. The ASB wants to improve the standards because financial statements increasingly contain estimates that are difficult to measure and verify. Here’s how and when estimates are used in financial reporting — and why the ASB is revising its standards. Using estimates Accounting estimates may be based on subjective or objective information (or both) and involve some level of measurement uncertainty...

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Eye on stock repurchases

Written by Thomson Reuters

Stock repurchases have skyrocketed in recent years, fueled, in part, by cash flow generated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and the availability of inexpensive debt capital. So-called “buybacks” have become a political hot button, and some lawmakers want to enhance the information companies provide to shareholders about these transactions. A troublesome trend Share repurchases by companies have shot up over the last decade. The total value of share repurchases by companies surged to a record $806...

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Public companies: Is it time to update the MD&A requirements?

Written by Thomson Reuters

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is planning to issue a proposal by April 2020 that would “modernize and simplify disclosure rules” regarding management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A) of financial condition and results of operations. Here’s what we know so far...

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