Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Treasury Fails To File Blueprint; CPA Island Coming to TV; Dunder Mifflin CFO Joins FEI

OK, you’re right, the U.S. Treasury Department is not required to file its Blueprint for a Modernized Regulatory Structure with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, CPA Island is not a new reality show like CBS’s “Survivor" (although some CPAs may find it an apt metaphor), and Dunder Mifflin CFO David Wallace of NBC’s “The Office,” has not joined Financial Executives International (FEI) (at least, not to our knowledge). This is just a little April Fools humor for our readers, relating to topics we cover the rest of the year in a more serious vein.

We figured, if SEC Chairman Christopher Cox can promote a little April Fools humor, (as reported by the Financial Times last year in, “The SEC’s Prank Press Release,” and “SEC's April Fuhrst Attempts Lighten Regulation) it’s worth a try! Among those quoted in the SEC’s prank press release last year were SEC spokeswoman April Fuhrst, Deputy Chief Economist Anita Moore-Profit, Ass't Chief Information Officer Edgar Philing, Assoc. Deputy Director of the Division of Corporation Finance Rita Tennkae, and my personal favorite, Ass't Deputy Director of the Enforcement Division Sue Offen. In honor of April Fools, you may want to check out some of the “Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of All Time,” published by the Museum of Hoaxes. See, e.g., #4, “Taco Liberty Bell,” and #67, “Y2K Solved.”

On a more serious note regarding the topics listed in our subject line above:

Treasury Blueprint: see our coverage yesterday; and for reactions to the plan, see e.g.:
Frank Statement on Paulson Plan,” in which House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank which says, in part, “We have not yet analyzed the proposals in detail, and I have disagreements with some specifics… But given the fact that is a contribution to a profound national discussion that cannot be concluded in the months before the election, Secretary Paulson has performed an important service. By rejecting the argument for the status quo; by making it clear that new regulation done properly enhances the function of the market rather than detracts from it; and by explicitly including consumer protection among the core functions of the system he proposes, he has narrowed, albeit by no means removed, the differences between his position and that of many Democrats.”

Dodd Statement on Treasury’s Blueprint for Regulatory Reform,” in which Senate Banking Committee Chair Christopher Dodd says, in part: “The President and his advisors recently put up $30 billion of taxpayer funds to help one company on Wall Street. ... I intend to investigate the deal at a Banking Committee hearing that I will chair on Thursday.” He added, “[I]f the President and his advisors can find $30 billion to help one company on Wall Street, they can surely find a way to help millions of Americans facing higher mortgage payments and falling home prices…This regulatory Blueprint will do little, if anything, for those Americans...on the one hand, it would reduce the fragmentation and balkanization that has often encouraged regulators to compete with each other by weakening rather than strengthening regulation. On the other hand, it would create weaker standards to protect investors and consumers.... We should be guided by a couple of basic, common-sense principles. First, where we can simplify and rationalize regulation, we should... Second, we must restore the trust and confidence of investors and consumers. That trust has been shattered -- not because regulators did too much, but because they did too little.

Chamber Welcomes Call for Financial Regulatory Modernization and Simplification - Treasury Blueprint Advances Needed Debate,” press release issued by U.S. Chamber of Commerce March 31.

CPA Island: CPA Island actually takes place in the virtual world of Second Life, as reported by the Maryland Association of CPA’s (MACPA) blog, “CPA Success.” (We appreciate being listed in MACPA’s recent post, “Read Anything Good Lately? Try These.”) For additional background, see “CPAs Find an Island on Second Life,” by Michael Cohn, Editor in Chief, WebCPA, Nov. 21, 2007.

In related news, speaking of CPA's and Survivor (or survival), the U.S. Treasury Department's Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession (ACAP) announced it will hold a telephone conference call meeting beginning at 1pm Eastern Time today, which will be webcast. The announcement states "The agenda for this meeting is to consider Subcommittee recommendations on how to enhance the sustainability of the auditing profession and whether to use the Subcommitee recommendations as the basis for a report, which will be considered at a future meeting of the Advisory Committee and which will be issued for public comment." See our prior reporting on ACAP's March 13 meeting.

Dunder Mifflin CFO: Ellen Heffes, Executive Editor of Financial Executive Magazine and I had a chance to interview Andy Buckley, for whom acting is a kind of “Second Life,” as he portrays CFO David Wallace on NBC’s Emmy-award winning show, “The Office.” (New episodes return April 10.) Buckley’s ‘other job’ is with an investment bank that we promised not to disclose. Look for our interview of Buckley in an upcoming issue of Financial Executive Magazine or one of its online exclusives columns.

FEI’s blog was named one of the “Smart Stops on the Web” in the March, 2008 edition of the AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy. If you received this blog post from ‘a friend’ and you’d like to receive our blog by email real-time, enter your email address here.

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