Monday, October 31, 2005
If you want to see what kind of pages are already in the handbook, you might want to take a look at the "All Pages" page, which has an A-Z list of every page in the wiki. As you can see from the link in the previous sentence, you can create links to any page in the handbook.
If you forget the password for the wiki or have any other questions about it, please contact me.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
- One of the reasons that the accounting students have the "FARS" assignment is that the new, online CPA exam has several questions in which students need to demonstrate the ability to search official accounting literature and, hopefully, find the correct answer to the questions. (In the exam, I am told that there is a "correct answer"; however, as we know "standards" can be interpreted in different ways. Last year I found that many students did not recognize the difference between the word "may" (which is permissive) and "should"or "shall" (meaning required.) Of course, the CPA exam is just the start of their careers and these generally accepted accounting standards will be used throughout their careers, and are revised as conditions change.
For the assignments, the students will most likely need to search the following:
- the Original Pronouncements, as amended, arranged by date issued or by subject.
- the Current Text, which has general standards applicable to all companies, and industry standards applicable to specific industries, which incorporates the applicable sections of pronoucements as amended. In the current text, the original source of the information is cited, to the paragraph, such as (FAS 132R).
- EITF Abstracts are the work of the Emerging Issues Task Force.
- Topical Index--searches all other parts of the database. If a student doesn't know the issue or statement needed, the topical index is the place I would start. Keyword searching is how to start.
The Implementation Guides may be needed and the Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities probably are not going to be needed.
If one searches the Original Pronouncements, the Original Pronouncements as amended will need to be searched.
Here is how the students may access the FARS literature, which is the same as the FASB literature:
- New this year --Students with the latest edition (summer 2005) of the Intermediate Accounting book by Kieso will have a password in the book to access supplemental material including online access to FARS by Wiley. I have done a two part Powerpoint presentation on how to search this version and I will a print out of it at the reference desk. Not all students have this version. The copies on reserve do not have password access. In addition to the Powerpoint explanation, there is a 22 page guide which I have printed out and placed in the folder in the reference desk.
Other means of accessing this literature. (I have listed them in what I think is the easiest to use and best to use.)
- RIA Checkpoint--available in Information Resources. The default needs to be changed from Federal Tax to WG&L Financial Reporting. The easiest way to access the FASB literature is to go to the Table of Contents, then drill down in the WG&L Financial Resources Library, to the FRM Source Materials, then to FASB. This will result in a list including the Original Pronouncements, EITF, Topical Index, the same materials as FARS by Wiley. (If you search from the initial opening screen of the database, it just says FASB and you don't know what you are searching. So, going through the Table of Contents is a good way to start, especially for newcomers.) Search by keyword.
- Advantages of this database: Remote access and many internal hyperlinks, which reduce the number of searches that a student may need to make. Results may be e-mailed, printed or saved.
- CCH Business & Finance. Click on Securities tab. Scroll down to SEC Accountants' Module and then click on Financial Accounting Standards Board. This will bring up a list of documents, just like in RIA, and FARS by Wiley. Search by keyword or by citation, if known. Results may be e-mailed (new feature), printed or saved. Advantage of this database: remote access and ability to e-mail. Disadvantage: Lacks the internal hyperlinks of RIA, so students will need to do new searches to get to referenced documents.
- FARS discs--available at Reference desk and Reserve. Unfortunately, the 2005 disc is back ordered from Wiley. (We aren't the only ones.) The 2005 disc is current as of June 2005. The 2004 discs, which we have, are current as of June 2004. So, if students use these discs, they need to check the FASB web site, www.fasb.org, or use RIA or CCH to see if there is any more current information. There is a print out how to search the FARS disc from last year in the reference desk drawer.
- FASB website, www.fasb.org. Advantages: It's free. It's where the information is updated most rapidly as it is FASB official site. You can set up an e-mail alert for any announcements, etc.
- Disadvantages: can't search through the documents easily if you don't know what document you need. Another disadvantage: the current text is not available so if there have been revisions of any sort one would need to consult the individual documents and incorporate the changes. My advice: use this for checking to see if you are dealing with the most current information and search using any of the other options.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks, Rita
Short workshops on searching FARS (the Financial Accounting Research System) will be offered:
Monday, Oct. 24, 5 pm. Room 135, first floor of the library
Tuesday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. Room 135, first floor of the library
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 4:30 p.m. Room 135, first floor of the library
Saturday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m., Room 135, first floor of the library.
Monday, Oct. 31, 4 p.m., Room 135, first floor in the library
Thursday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m. Room 130, first floor in the library
Friday, Nov. 4, 5:30 p.m. Room 135, first floor in the library
Saturday, Nov. 5, there is a regularly scheduled Accounting Resources workshop at 12 noon in Room 135 in the library. I will incorporate FARS in this workshop. The workshop goes from 12 to 1:15 p.m. (Students should sign up for the Nov. 5 workshop by going to Instruction on the Newman Library homepage.)
For all other workshops, students can just show up. They should last about 20 minutes, based on my experience last year.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
For example, one case involves Bernard Cornfeld, also known as Bernie Cornfeld, and Investor Overseas Services (IOS), a Panama Corporation with its principal office in Geneva, Switzerland, and Fund of Funds, Ltd., a Canadian open-ended investment company (mutual fund). Ok so far? The audit failure occurred about 1969, prior to electronic filings of documents. I contacted the SEC, which uses Thomson Financial for obtaining old filings pre Edgar (basically pre-1994 for U.S. firms.). Thomson Financial hasn't gotten back to me, but if the filings are available, it is at a cost of 23 or 26 cents a page. (I will work with Prof. Cherny to see if he wants these in the future for assigments.) IOS and Funds of Funds went into bankruptcy; much money was lost; everyone sued everyone; and litigation ended in the mid 1980s. (See Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis; the case against the auditors is cited in the literature that the students have.) Cornfeld was apparently quite a character; he went to prison for several years. There are books about this fraud which we have here in the library. (I didn't check to see if any financial statements were reproduced.)
Update 10/19 on the IOS/Funds of Fund/Bernie Cornfeld case: The SEC called back and said that since this fund wasn't registered in the U.S., they wouldn't have any financial filings. I relayed this information to Prof. Cherny. Encourage students to select another case if they want to compare financial filings. Checking Thomson Research or the SEC site for Edgar documents or Hoovers would be a good place to start/
Another more recent, from the mid 1990s, audit failure is for Livent, a Canadian-based firm, publicly-traded, that produced/produces live theatre shows, both in Canada and the U.S. (It has continues to operate under bankruptcy protection. There are many stories about both of these frauds in the popular press (WSJ, NYT, Financial Times, etc, accounting journals, etc. The Canadian SEDAR.com, which is like the SEC's Edgar, does have earlier filings for Livent, as does Thomson Research. Disney appears to be the only other publicly traded firm that produces live theatre shows, as a student and I searched by NAICS and SIC codes.)
So, where else to direct the students? CCH Business & Finance probably has some helpful information at its Securities tab. There is a selected Federal Securities Cases Archive 1941-1993 and SEC Releases and other Materials that can be searched. (The SEC Releases and other materials will give you the SEC case number and what happened --for example, in short, Cornfeld reached a settlement with the SEC.)
The new Audit Analytics database, for which one user can be on at a time, might provide some help as there is audit data back to 2000 and one can search by broad industry classifications--such as entertainment and one may also see the audit firm's opinion letters.
When I spoke with Prof. Cherny told, he told me that part of the assignment is also written and oral communication. (He worked in the profession for a number of years before returning to get his PHD.) Definitely, the case studies pose what were real life problems, and the students need to explain, to the best of their abilities, what they would conclude, based on what is available to them. I helped a student on Saturday with information on the Livent case, and she told me that, based on what the case presented, "the young auditor was in way over her head," as she didn't understand the business of financing theatre productions. The auditor unfortunately went along with what was going on....and ended up with a prison sentence.
Prof. Cherny is also looking for suggestions such as what weaknesses were apparent--for example, a lot of cash being handled only by one person, relatives-friends dealing with each other, but of course, perhaps there was nothing easily apparent, because of the nature of fraud.
Perhaps if any of these students come to the reference desk you could refer them to me. I don't know what the other 10 cases are that the students are working on. I think it is a semester project.
I think this assignment has information competency in it--for students and librarians.
Although Freeport had social and human-rights policies in place and set up a Partnership Fund for Community Development, it asked for the human rights audit in 2003. The report is the first of its kind. Business Week in an article, "Freeport’s Hard Look at Itself” (October 24, 2005), says the audit may set a standard for multinationals. Prof. Prakash Sethi is pictured in the article with the Freeport staff.
Friday, October 14, 2005
dates were chosen by Undergraduate Student Government in consultation with
the Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management. The
library will open at 7:00 a.m. on October 19 and remain open continuously
until 11:59 p.m. on October 27. The same rules that we apply during
extended hours for final exams will also apply in this case. After midnight
access to the library will be restricted to Baruch College students.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
If students need to translate SIC codes or NAICS codes to ISIC, there is a Website, Jon Haveman's Industry Concordances , that links to translations of codes for various industry coding systems including ISIC, SIC, NAICS, NACE, HS, TSUSA, and SITC.
For more about the various industry and product coding systems used for trade data, Columbia University has a guide to Codes Used for Reporting Trade Data.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
At the moment, all the new PCs that have been set up do not have full web access (there is no address window in the browser), so users can't get beyond the library web site, the Baruch web site, and things like eSIMS and Blackboard. Saad's staff will change the browsers in these PCs sometime soon.
- Atlanta Constitution (1868-1925)
- Boston Globe (1872-1901)
- Chicago Tribune (1860-1969)
Monday, October 03, 2005
The closing bell was rung by officials of Procter & Gamble, which acquired the Gillette Company today. American Express's and the Procter & Gamble and the Gillette Company's homepages are a source of all the filings that are needed for spinoffs and mergers.
Among the most important things that I learned:
The Economic Census reports are the only census reports that include both businesses with employers and businesses without paid employees. The American FactFinder, a quick link on the Census's web site, and the other reports, do not include businesses without paid employees. Businesses without paid employees number in the millions--ma and pa businesses owned by the couple, taxi drivers who rent their cabs, many used car dealers, and perhaps consultants who own their own business, etc.
The Census Bureau also had good questions for examples of limitations of the data. For example, if one is trying to determine the number of casinos, one must also search for casinos in hotels. (I didn't know that New Jersey requires a casino to be in a hotel.) Connecticut is an example of a state in which the number of receipts from casinos is suppressed to avoid identifying single businesses--Connecticut has two casinos and if you knew the receipts of one casino, you can figure the amount of the other.