Apple’s “select” listing on the Nasdaq in jeopardy

Apple logoApple has informed investors that due to the ongoing investigation into their options backdating problems, they may be removed from the Nasdaq‘s special “Global Select Market.” How select, you may ask? Well, a mere 1/3 of companies listed on the Nasdaq are privileged enough to make the cut.

Wait, was that a typo? One-third of companies on the entire exchange are “select?” Kind of redefines the word now doesn’t it? According to the Times Online story:

Membership confers an extra degree of respectability on a company’s accounting and corporate governance procedures and, accordingly, gives investors an increased level of confidence.

Given all the tech companies that are having options troubles lately and the concentration of tech companies listed on the Nasdaq in general, this may not be the last one we hear with their “selectness” up in the air. Heck, Activision‘s on it and they just filed a non-reliance 8K for the past 15 year’s financials last week! More details:

Apple acknowledged in December that it had falsified records to show that a board meeting was held to approve the move when no such meeting took place. Apple also said that Mr Jobs was not aware of accounting implications of backdating and that he returned the options so that he would not benefit from the practice.

Fair enough. He’s not an accountant, after all. But was Mr Jobs unaware of the implications of falsifying records as well? Or is legitimate corporate record-keeping now… obsolete?


Accounting has returned to Nashville

It’s a little strange but within a week of an announcement by BDO Seidman that they were returning to Nashville, Tennessee with an office and aim to focus on the health care industry, PricewaterhouseCoopers makes a similar announcement about said city and industry.

What I’m wondering is why both of those firms are just establishing (or in the case of PwC, re-establishing) offices there now. With a population pushing 1.5 million in the metro area, who was getting all the work? More regional firms I’d bet.


Quit today, get hired back tomorrow

A recent story by the AP highlighted an interesting byproduct of the CA shortage – employees who leave their job at accounting firms are being actively recruited back to rejoin their former firm. Seems employers have realized that more often than not in the accounting business employees leave to explore different career options but leave the door open to returning to public practice.

Audit senior manager Danica Dilligard left Ernst & Young LLP in 2003 after six years with the company. E&Y’s courtship began almost immediately. The E&Y partners she’d worked with called, saying, “Just wanted to make sure you’re happy. There’s always a home for you here.” She was invited to E&Y golf outings, where she played in a foursome with the partners. She was included in professional certification courses and welcomed at networking events.

Granted this is a senior manager we’re talking about, but I have seen it trickling down to just about every level, down to the lowliest junior. It’s smart though.


Back to work after passing the UFE

It was my first day back to work today after passing the UFE on Friday, and I have to say it was pretty much like last Thursday. New client, but one I was at last year around this time. I can’t say as I felt more competent than last week, although inside I felt more confident.

I guess that’s why the work experience requirement exists. You can only learn so much through the UFE study process, writing cases and studying the Handbook. With each new engagement you see different aspects of a business and there is always something that you haven’t seen before.

That being said, I sure learned a lot this past summer, and it was all worth it when the results came down on Friday. Having risen to the challenge of the UFE, I’m searching for the next one. Where does one go from here? I had a short-term goal, but had deferred thinking about anything long-term, partially out of superstition. I didn’t want to count my chicks before they’d hatched, but now that they’re out there, I need my trusty calculator!

Time is on my side, luckily. I still have at least 12 months to go before I can call myself a C.A. In the meantime, consider me looking for a new challenge.


BlackBerry maker getting the probe on options backdating

The Ontario Securities Commission has launched a probe of Research In Motion’s stock option practices. An OSC spokesperson said the review was launched in early October, which is not long after the company announced it would have to restate past financials because of its options accounting.

Another tech company is having difficulties with their options accounting. The reason is clear: the prevalence of stock options as compensation in cash-strapped startups.

RIM revealed Oct. 28 that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had launched an “informal inquiry” into the way the company granted stock options. RIM did not disclose information about any similar OSC probe.

And the SEC had announced an investigation over a week earlier! Seems to me that the two major commissions in North America should have been communication between them.

This whole options backdating thing seems to me like it’s something you would intuitively know is against the rules, isn’t it?