Accounting & Auditing Archives - Page 9 of 12 - Emile Woolf writes

Tax and accounting are the drivers: but where are they taking us?

Purists maintain that accounting and taxation should be neutral in terms of economic impact. Decision-making should be based on what’s good for the business – for its customers, staff and shareholders – without distortion by complex tax and accounting rules. But we have strayed: there is scarcely a decision untainted by daunting tax or accounting […]

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Reduce the deficit? Then reduce waste in public finances

The question of public sector finances has descended into an irrational bunfight. Watch the “contestants” hurl abuse at each other on “Question Time”. Last month I was invited by Eddie Mair of Radio 4’s PM programme to comment on the level of senior salaries in the public sector. My observation that taxes raised from the […]

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Back to square one: Accounting safeguards do not work

The most sombre issue to emerge from the world’s current financial woes is that of trust. Putting it succinctly, who can you trust in markets where it pays to deceive? it was all in conformity with existing EU accounting rules.. Take Greece’s desperation to sell its bonds to reduce the size of the European bailout. […]

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Economic and accounting theory provide no answers if they ignore reality

If ever there was a time for questioning, this is it. How did the collapse of credit and its ensuing crisis creep up so suddenly on the most sophisticated, best informed, global financial community in history? What are its lessons? Do all the frantic short-term expedients provide real solutions? Or will they generate their own […]

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The cycle of litigation – be warned

Litigation warning – remember the cycle!  The pattern of litigation tends to be cyclical since it shadows the economic cycle. When there is general prosperity and businesses flourish there is still plenty of litigation (when is there not?) but its character reflects boom-time activity. Businesses buy other businesses and then claim that they overpaid. Although […]

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Bring back “substance over form” to overcome this accounting farce

When “true and fair” accounts disclose either favourable results that are factually unsupportable, or a position much worse than warranted due to an “accounting quirk”, with no bearing on actual performance, we are bound to wonder what is going on. Arbitrary losses may arise when a business is forced to separate its foreign exchange credits […]

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Reforming banks’ governance is not possible without real sanctions

The reforms recommended by Sir David Walker for the governance of banks would, if implemented, impose a huge moral responsibility on executive and non-executive banking directors alike. The will to exercise independent judgment without regard to personal advantage – whether money, power or status – is a rare commodity in commercial life, and it cannot […]

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The public scandal of parliamentary expenses – here and in Brussels

The sheer inanity of the rules on parliamentary expenses guaranteed they would be open to misinterpretation and abuse. The incomprehensibility of ad hoc, uncodified rules that confuse “reimbursable expenses” with “allowances” has led to a pot-pourri of reactions, devoid of sense or judgment, in which extravagance, genuine error, sly acquisitiveness and fraud are jumbled in […]

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End hypocrisy: only a culture change will achieve G-20 goals

  In the midst of G20 euphoria who can assess the effectiveness of its efforts to stabilize the economic turmoil? When the dust settles it will be people, not governments, who decide how successful the sweeping measures have been. Confidence, after all, is a feeling – and it’s beyond government control. Only when confidence returns […]

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