DOJ overuses Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, companies say | Jurors: Evidence was clear in Stanford's trial for Ponzi scheme | Cloud storage complicates e-discovery
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March 20, 2012
AICPA's Forensic and Valuation Services Section
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Forensic Corner
DOJ overuses Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, companies say
The Justice Department is increasing enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to the chagrin of companies operating overseas. The 35-year-old act forbids companies from bribing foreign officials. Critics said the department's overzealous approach hurts business and forces many companies to settle, rather than wage a battle in court. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (3/10)
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Jurors: Evidence was clear in Stanford's trial for Ponzi scheme
Jurors who found R. Allen Stanford guilty of running a Ponzi scheme said there was strong evidence in favor of conviction. The prosecution's case also relied on a trove of documents as well as testimony from Stanford's former chief financial officer, who detailed how the fraud took place. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (3/9)
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Cloud storage complicates e-discovery
Cloud computing could make e-discovery harder for some companies, information technology experts said. Unlike with physical servers, it isn't always clear where data are stored in the cloud. That can make information more difficult to retrieve and raises questions about who has control of it. Companies should know where their data reside and how to access them in case of an e-discovery request. Computerworld (3/6)
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Federal court case could raise e-discovery costs for defendants
A U.S. District Court ruling could have big implications for defendants in class-action lawsuits involving electronic discovery. A magistrate judge held in Pippins v. KPMG that KPMG was required to preserve thousands of hard drives used by employees who could be members of the class action. The company argued that preserving the drives could cost as much as $100 million and give plaintiffs a tool to force a settlement. AccountingWEB (2/14)
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Federal court decision advances use of computer-assisted review
A decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck gave the green light to use of predictive coding in e-discovery. Computer-assisted document review is superior to other methods, including manual review, in some cases, Peck wrote. His decision lays out several factors that judges may consider to determine when the approach is appropriate. Among the most important is cooperation between parties and agreement on how computer-assisted review can be used. Applied Discovery (3/1)
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Other News
Valuation Corner
SEC reportedly targets private-equity firms regarding valuation
The Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly started targeting private-equity firms for possible enforcement action. The agency sent a request to firms for information about their practices, sources said. Officials are concerned about issues including the way firms value and report assets. "Private-equity firms work hard, with auditors and company managements, to provide accurate valuations of their largely illiquid holdings to their investors," said Steve Judge, CEO of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/DealBook blog (2/12)
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Analysis: Data suggest earnings multiples are too low
Investors might have reason to expect big growth in either Treasury yields or earnings multiples for the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the near future, according to this analysis. There is significant deviation in the relationship between the 10-year Treasury and stock multiples compared with the norm during the past 50 years. A correction could lead to a surge in the S&P 500. Seeking Alpha (free registration) (3/2)
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5 mistakes that can sink your company's value
Past performance and higher sales don't always translate to increased value. Focusing on growth or acquisitions for the wrong reasons can undermine a business' strengths as much as neglecting the balance sheet or having a confusing ownership structure. Another mistake is waiting too long to enter an acquisition and being forced to take a lower price. GigaOm (2/20)
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Small-business owners are hurt by shoddy valuation
The average small-business owner is off by about 60% on the value of his or her company, valuation firm Spardata said. It's not enough to compare one company with others in its industry -- each business needs a detailed appraisal based on its financial condition, Spardata said. Getting it wrong can undermine an owner's retirement and estate planning and cause the person to accept too little when it comes time to sell. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (2/27)
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How venture capital is causing a form of Internet bubble
Venture capital firms are fueling a bubble in valuation of Internet startups, according to this article. The reason is that it makes sense to pay more to invest in market leaders. However, many investors are diving in too soon and pumping cash into companies that have yet to prove their worth. CNNMoney/Fortune (3/9)
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New AICPA FVS resource: Ibbotson's Cost of Capital Resources Center
New AICPA FVS resource: Ibbotson's Cost of Capital Resources Center
In your next valuation, use the most widely sourced valuation research in the industry, Ibbotson's Cost of Capital Resources Center. Morningstar and the AICPA's FVS Section have joined forces to offer a special promotion to gain unlimited access to three of five CCRC modules: Industry Analysis, Peer Group Builder and Beta Reports. This free-access promotion is available only to FVS members and ends April 30. If you are interested in subscribing to CCRC, Morningstar will give you a 20% discount from the annual retail price. Not an FVS Section member? Join now. Save $50 when you use promo code FVE11.
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Register for CFF and ABV spring exams
The Certified in Financial Forensics and Accredited in Business Valuation exams will be offered during two windows, and exam registration is open year-round. The spring CFF and ABV exams will be offered June 1 to 30. The fall exams will be offered Nov. 5 through Dec. 8. Keep in mind that candidates may sit for only one exam per calendar year. Registration for the spring exam ends May 25! Register by visiting Web pages for the CFF exam or ABV exam.
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Upcoming FVS Web seminars
FVS Section members can attend for free without optional continuing professional education or may purchase discounted CPE. For more information on this option, contact

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Register: AICPA/AAML Conference on Divorce
The 2012 AICPA/AAML National Conference on Divorce, scheduled May 10 and 11 in Las Vegas, is an intensive program that will provide innovative ideas and timely solutions to help you succeed in myriad circumstances: settle cases, value businesses, split marital assets, identify fraud, utilize electronic discovery and evidence, locate foreign assets and develop strategies to handle high-profile and unique cases. Register!
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AICPA National Forensic Accounting Conference and AICPA National Business Valuation Conference will be co-located in November
The AICPA Forensic & Valuation Services Conference will combine the AICPA National Forensic Accounting Conference and the AICPA National Business Valuation Conference. Professionals in forensic accounting and business valuation can attend sessions from either, closely related discipline. Attendees will learn how to apply complex analytical techniques, scrutinize consumers' online transactions, explore public databases, conduct advanced interviews, face video depositions, analyze written statements and receive updates on fair value, cost of capital, goodwill and size premium. Register to receive super-early-bird savings! FVS Section members save $100.
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If they give you lined paper, write the other way."
-- William Carlos Williams,
American poet
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Learn more about FVS ->Join FVS Section | Become a CFF | Become an ABV
About the Forensic and Valuation Services Section
The Forensic and Valuation Services Section is designed to provide CPAs with a vast array of resources, tools and information about forensic and valuation services. The FVS Section serves CPAs who hold the Accredited in Business Valuation and Certified in Financial Forensics specialty credentials, members of the FVS Section, AICPA members and others.

About the Accredited in Business Valuation Credential:
The Accredited in Business Valuation program provides specialized access to information, education, tools and support that enhance credential holders' ability to make a genuine difference for their clients and employers. ABV credential holders may brand or position themselves as premier business valuation service providers who differentiate themselves by going beyond the core service of reaching a conclusion of value and creating value for clients through the strategic application of this analysis.

About the Certified in Financial Forensics Credential:
The Certified in Financial Forensics credential combines specialized forensic accounting expertise with the core knowledge and skills that make CPAs among the most trusted experts. The CFF credential encompasses fundamental and specialized forensic accounting skills that CPA practitioners apply in a variety of service areas, including: bankruptcy and insolvency; computer forensics; economic damages; family law; fraud investigations; litigation support; stakeholder disputes and valuations. To qualify, a CPA must be an AICPA member in good standing, have at least five years of experience in practicing accounting, and meet minimum requirements in relevant business experience and continuing professional education.
AICPA FVS Section Resources
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