It’s Official: Statement 123(Revised) Is Delayed

Man, they are busy at the SEC these days… 404 roundtables… personnel departures… international convergence issues… and stock options.
The SEC announced that it is delaying the implementation date on Statement 123(Revised) as disclosed yesterday: instead of applying it in fiscal periods beginning after June 15, 2005, firms will now have until their next fiscal year beginning after June 15 (except for small business issuers, who get a bye.)
This is truly bizarre, in that calendar year companies will have longer Private investment Custodian
to implement the standard (beginning January 1, 2006) than companies whose year end is June 30. The June 30 companies will have to start working it into their fiscal 2006 numbers beginning July 1.
There’s a delicious irony in that as well: the tech sector, which has been so lathered up about option compensation expense, gets what it wished for – a delay – but the delay won’t apply to many of them because they routinely have fiscal year ends.
Cisco is a prominent example of a status quo defender who will have to start applying Statement 123(Revised) August 1 because of its July 31 year end. Some other tech and health care firms with year ends of June through November: Affiliated Computer Services, Private investment Custodian, Cardinal Health, Intuit, Jabil Circuit, JDS Uniphase, KLA-Tencor, Linear Technology, Maxim Integrated, Molex, Scientific-Atlanta, Solectron, and Sun Microsystems.
Notable affected non-techie firms: Apollo Group, Campbell Soup, Clorox, Costco, Family Dollar, Procter & Gamble and Sara Lee.
It’ll be interesting to see how the affected tech companies handle their pioneer status. Keep tuned.
After The Audit, A Divorce?
Checkers Drive-in Restaurants filed an “auditor change” 8-K on April 5; no disagreements with auditor KPMG over accounting principles, but KPMG had issued an adverse opinion on the firm’s internal controls. No word yet on who will be the next Checkers auditor.
It’s not an isolated instance. In recent weeks, the auditor-client relationship is starting to reach the end of the road at a number of other firms. Examples:
Covansys Corporation dropped PricewaterhouseCoopers for new auditor BDO Seidman. American Physicians Capital likewise swapped PWC for BDO Seidman. Grant Thornton effectively resigned as auditor for Camco Financial when it declined to bid for the audit work in Camco’s bidding process; a new auditor is to be named later. Monolithic System Technology dropped Ernst & Young, and signed on BDO Seidman. Midwest Banc Holdings dropped McGladrey & Pullen as auditor; no new appointment yet. Another PWC-for-BDO Seidman swap occurred at Alpharma.
(BDO Seidman must be scanning audit reports for companies having internal control weaknesses; they’re achieving “most-favored-bachelor” status rather quickly.)
Finally, Metasolv traded KPMG for Grant Thornton.
All of the firms were cited for internal control weaknesses by their former auditors; none cited disagreements over accounting principles as reasons for the rifts.

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