www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 30, No. 5 May 2014
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Selected Focus

Royal Bank CFO is chosen as prestigious award winner

Managing the top financial job in the country’s largest bank through a decade of major change and global economic turmoil has earned Janice Fukakusa honours as Canada’s chief financial officer of the year in 2014.

"This honour is recognition of our world-class finance team and the progress we’ve made here at RBC. I know my team shares the pride of having received this award. And from a personal perspective, I’ll tell you to be recognized by your own peer group in the business community is the best sort of recognition," said Fukakusa, the chief administrative officer and CFO at the Royal Bank of Canada’s head office in Toronto.

‘Heartbleed’ bug shuts down CRA online access

Revelations of a new major online security vulnerability capable of compromising critical personal data prompted the Canada Revenue Agency to temporarily shut down its online services in April.

The five-day shutdown came while a repair patch was developed to combat the "Heartbleed" computer bug, reported to be as stealthy as it is insidious, allowing a hacker to enter and leave a website without a trace.

"Security vulnerabilities come and go, but this one is extremely serious. It’s believed that over 66 per cent of all websites could be affected," said EY Canada in an announcement, noting that the bug can be used to exploit OpenSSL, an open-source software that is widely used to encrypt web communications.

FASB parts with IASB on insurance contracts

In a decision that signals a convergence plan that’s falling apart at the seams, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has decided to scale back its efforts with the International Accounting Standards Board on insurance — one of four priority projects the boards have been working for many years.

"In February, the FASB voted not to continue with a comprehensive project on insurance contracts," said FASB spokesperson Christine Klimek. "The FASB also decided not to postpone its deliberations until the IASB issues its final standard on insurance contracts."

Instead, "the FASB decided to focus on making targeted improvements to existing U.S. GAAP. For short-duration contracts, the board decided to limit the targeted improvements to enhancing disclosures. For long-duration contracts, the board concluded that decisions reached by the IASB in its 2013 exposure draft, Insurance Contracts, should be considered when contemplating improvements to existing U.S. GAAP."

Europe ties IFRS funding to reforms

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to approve funding for the next six years for the IFRS Foundation, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) — the body responsible for ensuring endorsement of IFRS in the EU — and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB), the three organizations it says "play a key role in the development of accounting and auditing standards."

However, in the wake of the 474-28 vote, strings were attached to the funding. According to a statement released by economic affairs committee chair Sharon Bowles, "questions have been raised by the European Parliament about the governance structures and lack of transparency of these bodies, as well as their close links to the accounting industry. The release of these EU funding streams will therefore only be forthcoming upon sufficient reform to prevent conflicts of interest, which will bring about much-needed trust and scrutiny on how these highly influential public bodies operate."

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