www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 31, No. 1 January 2015
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PotashCorp lauded by CPA for ‘robust’ financial reports

A concerted effort by PotashCorp to provide clear and transparent communications to investors and customers is paying off.

The Saskatchewan-based mining company, the largest fertilizer and potash producer in the world, walked away with top honours at the 2014 CPA Canada Awards of Excellence in Corporate Reporting event, held Dec. 3 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

The awards, presented annually by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, recognize excellence and best practices in business financial reporting in several categories. Sixty-three companies entered the awards.

PotashCorp won the overall Award of Excellence in Corporate Reporting and also received the Award of Excellence in Financial Reporting and honourable mentions in the Corporate Governance Disclosure and Mining industry categories.

Will others hear when new choir starts preaching?

Having merged the legacy CA, CGA and CMA organizations under one umbrella, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada can present a unified body to the international business community for the first time. But whether this gives Canada more clout on the international stage appears open to debate.

"At this moment, probably nobody can say what’s going to happen," said Karim Jamal, chair of the department of accounting at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "It’s too early."

Umashanker Trivedi, an associate professor of accounting at York University’s Schulich School of Business, who is not a member of any of the three legacy bodies, believes unification will make a difference.

"Now we have one profession speaking for all of Canada" rather than various entities with "different points of view" as was the case previously. "To that extent, it will be positive at the international level," he said.

Ben Affleck to star as hit man accountant

Hollywood — and accountants — are abuzz with the news that Oscar winner Ben Affleck is starring in a new Warner Bros. thriller slated to begin production this month, in which he will play a lethal assassin by night and by day, a mild-mannered accountant.

In 2011, Bill Dubuque’s screenplay for The Accountant made the annual Black List, a ranking by studio executives of the most popular unproduced scripts. When the script was originally with Warner Bros. Mel Gibson was set to direct. It moved to Sony, and Will Smith was cast as the lead. Now Warner Bros. has the rights to the film again and at long last the cameras are rolling.

The accounting profession would like nothing more than to see the profession associated with a big name lead like Affleck. It would help to debunk a common stereotype of accountants: they’re dull.

SEC signals taking another look at IFRS

Securities and Exchange Commission chief accountant James Schnurr has indicated the SEC will revisit its decision-making on international financial reporting standards, but some observers think the comments don’t promise much beyond a rethinking of the U.S. position.

Schnurr, speaking at a Financial Executives International conference, said he is researching the issue for chair Mary Jo White, Accounting Today reported Nov. 18. White said last spring that it was important for the SEC to address any alternatives with respect to use of IFRS for U.S. registrants.

"One of the first things that Mary Jo has asked me is to spend some time with my staff and some others getting the benefit of all the research and the analysis that they have done [on] a number of the alternatives that have been discussed [about] the use of IFRS in the U.S. marketplace," Schnurr said in Accounting Today.

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