Accounting Today: "Microsoft and other companies report their progress on rev rec standard"
Microsoft and other companies report their progress on rev rec standard (Accounting Today)
Pace University’s Lubin School of Business held its second annual Pacesetters in Financial Reporting Conference in New York on Tuesday, presenting an award to Microsoft as a 2017 Pacesetter in Financial Reporting.
The conference was hosted by Pace’s Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting, in association with Financial Executives International and EY.
Microsoft received the award in recognition of its leadership in early adopting the new revenue recognition and leasing accounting standards, as well as their proactive approach to educating investors and sharing insights with others. Most public companies are required to adopt the new revenue recognition standard in 2018 and the new leasing standard in 2019. At the conference, Microsoft officials, including senior manager of investor relations Kristin Chester and senior director of corporate revenue assurance Stacy Harrington, discussed how the company adjusted to the new standards.
“Microsoft adopted the new revenue and leasing standards early to simplify communication of our results by providing one set of restated financial statements to investors and eliminating the need for non-GAAP revenue reporting,” said Frank Brod, chief accounting officer at Microsoft, in a statement. “The upfront education that we provided our analyst and investor community resulted in a smooth transition to the new standards in the first quarter of our fiscal year 2018. We are honored to be recognized for this work.”
The conference was hosted by Leslie F. Seidman, executive director of the Pace Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. She and Patrick Finnegan, a former member of the International Accounting Standards Board and currently a senior director at Fitch Ratings, said they were gratified to see the standards they helped develop finally being adopted.
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Encyclopedia Britannnica Advocacy for Animals: "Illinois and New York Pass First Statewide Bans on the Use of Elephants in Entertainment"
Illinois and New York Pass First Statewide Bans on the Use of Elephants in Entertainment (Encyclopedia Britannnica Advocacy for Animals)
As public sentiment continues to turn against forcing wild animals to perform in entertainment acts, a flurry of new legislation has been enacted across the U.S. that reflects this attitude change. Although several cities and counties have passed legislation prohibiting wild animal performances, Illinois recently enacted the first statewide ban on the use of elephants in traveling acts. New York soon followed suit, becoming the second state to prohibit the use of elephants in entertainment acts.
Illinois’s SB 1342, signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in August 2017 and effective January 1, 2018, amends the state’s Criminal Code to make it unlawful to use an elephant in a traveling act, defined as any “undertaking where animals are require to perform tricks, give rides, or act as accompaniments for entertainment, amusement , or benefit of a live audience.” The new section reads:
A person commits unlawful use of an elephant in a traveling animal act when he or she knowingly allows for the participation of an African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) or Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) protected under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 in a traveling animal act. (c) This Section does not apply to an exhibition of elephants at a non-mobile, permanent institution, or other facility. (d) Sentence. Unlawful use of an elephant in a traveling animal act is a Class A misdemeanor.
Soon after, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed New York’s SB 2098B, also known as the “Elephant Protection Act,” into law on October 19, 2017. It amends the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law and its Environmental Conservation Law to prohibit the use of elephants in entertainment acts. The New York law does not specifying “traveling” acts but expressly exempts accredited zoos and aquariums. It takes effect in two years. In contrast to the Illinois law, which makes violation a Class A misdemeanor, the New York law provides a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation because offenses against animals are not part of New York’s Penal Code.
The legislation was drafted by undergraduate students in Pace University’s Environmental Policy Clinic, who also lobbied for its passage and collected student signatures in support of the bill. Several New York chapters of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted letters in support of the bill to Governor Cuomo over the summer.
New York’s law contains a strongly worded “legislative findings” section that clearly enumerates the many problems faced by elephants used in entertainment performances, concluding not only that New York should use its authority to help protect elephants but also that prohibiting their use in entertainment is in the state’s best interest. It reads:
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USA Today: "Origins: Is Black Friday still the day retailers move from loss to profit?"
Origins: Is Black Friday still the day retailers move from loss to profit? (USA Today)
What does all this mean?
"The truth is that getting into the black in terms of profits has always varied from retailer to retailer, with some getting into the black at different times of the year," wrote Pace University marketing professor Larry Chiagouris in an email to The Motley Fool.
Chiagouris explained that the Internet has forced retailers to become more efficient. It has also eliminated some less efficient players. "The shakeout of inefficient mom-and-pop stores has lifted the entire retail sector so much so that by Black Friday, most retailers are already in the black for the year," he wrote. "Those that are not in the black are likely to be the retailers that end the year in the red."
So, while Black Friday has faded in importance, it remains one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The National Retail Federation said 115 million people are planning to shop on Black Friday this year. For retailers, the day may not mark a move from the red to the black, but it's still a key milestone in the busiest shopping season of the year.
Leaders In Financial Reporting Recognized At Lubin School Of Business’ 2nd Annual Pacesetters In Financial Reporting Conference
Leaders In Financial Reporting Recognized At Lubin School Of Business’ 2nd Annual Pacesetters In Financial Reporting Conference
Microsoft Recognized as 2017 Pacesetter in Financial Reporting
NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 28, 2017 – The Lubin School of Business at Pace University held its 2nd annual Pacesetters in Financial Reporting Conference today, designed to acknowledge companies that are striving to better meet the needs of today’s investors and to encourage ongoing enhancements in corporate reporting. The conference was hosted by Pace’s Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting, in association with Financial Executives International (FEI) and EY.
Microsoft was named the 2017 Pacesetter in Financial Reporting, in recognition of its leadership in early adopting the new revenue recognition and leasing accounting standards, as well as their proactive approach to educating investors and sharing insights with others. Most public companies are required to adopt the new revenue recognition standard in 2018 and the new leasing standard in 2019.
“U.S. companies are poised to adopt several significant changes in accounting in the next few years, starting with the new revenue standard in 2018,” said Leslie F. Seidman, Executive Director of the Pace Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting and former Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). “Today, we learned from the real-world experience of early-adopter Microsoft, with emphasis on how they educated analysts and investors about the effects of the new revenue standard on their financials. The CFA Institute also shared some tips about how to communicate effectively with investors during this period of change.”
“Microsoft adopted the new revenue and leasing standards early to simplify communication of our results by providing one set of restated financial statements to investors and eliminating the need for non-GAAP revenue reporting,” said Frank Brod, Chief Accounting Officer at Microsoft. “The upfront education that we provided our analyst and investor community resulted in a smooth transition to the new standards in the first quarter of our fiscal year 2018. We are honored to be recognized for this work.”
FEI’s Accounting Policy Group shared the results of their updated analysis of corporate disclosures related to the anticipated impact of the change in revenue recognition guidance. The three quarter 2017 trend information shows that companies are continuing to expand their disclosure of the anticipated impact of adopting the new revenue standard. However, as of Q3 2017, only 14% of the Fortune 500 had quantified this impact in their disclosures, and over half of those companies disclosed that the anticipated impact would be immaterial to their financial statements. The complete Professional Accounting Update, which includes insights by industry, is available at www.financialexecutives.org/2017RevRecDisclosures.
In recent years, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FASB have undertaken Disclosure Effectiveness initiatives, and have been reconsidering existing requirements, such as Regulation S-K and S-X. At the same time, SEC officials and others have encouraged companies to enhance their financial reports, with particular focus on risk disclosures. “Risk factors are often criticized as being generic and boilerplate,” said Jonathan Nus, Executive Director, EY, who shared a recent EY study on risk disclosures. “However, a growing number of companies are taking a more insightful and innovative approach in disclosing their risks. This has become increasingly more pertinent as emerging risks such as cybersecurity remain front and center.” The report is available at www.EY.com/disclosures.
Chris Taylor, VP of Listings and Services at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), provided commentary about the state of the markets and the importance of transparent and accessible information. “There is a renewed sense of optimism in the capital markets as more companies from around the world turn to the U.S. to IPO,” said Chris Taylor, VP of Listings and Services at NYSE. “We are advocating on behalf of private and public companies in support of improved disclosure standards and increased accessibility of relevant data to investors, which will ease the path to going public, while also increasing transparency to make investor relations a less daunting task for public companies.”
“Today, we heard from a number of industry leaders who have taken the initiative to enhance their financial reports by focusing on the simplification of disclosures and on critical information such as the anticipated effects of accounting change. These companies recognize the importance of telling their story as effectively as possible to inform shareholders and the investor community,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, President and CEO of FEI. “FEI will continue to support, analyze and share information to further this important initiative.”
The complete list of sessions and speakers were:
Learning from the Leaders: How to Prepare Your Investors for the New Revenue Standard
Moderator: Patrick Finnegan, Senior Director, Fitch Ratings; former Member, International Accounting Standards Board
Kristin Chester, Senior Manager, Investor Relations, Microsoft
Stacy Harrington, Senior Director, Corporate Revenue Assurance, Microsoft
Sandra Peters, Head, Financial Reporting Policy Group, CFA Institute
At the Risk of Full Disclosure: How to Enhance Your Disclosures About Risk
Moderator: Keith F. Higgins, Chair, Securities & Governance Practice, Ropes & Gray, former Director, SEC Division of Corporation Finance
Sam Eldessouky, SVP and Corporate Controller, Valeant Pharmaceuticals
Mary Morris, Investment Officer, CalSTRS
Jonathan Nus, Executive Director, EY
Lori Zyskowski, Partner, Gibson and Dunn
Demystifying the Investment Process: How Investors (and Others) are Analyzing Your Data
Moderator: Leslie F. Seidman, Executive Director, Center for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Pace University Lubin School of Business
Javed Jussa, Quantitative Strategist, Wolfe Research
Mike Willis, Assistant Director, SEC Office of Structured Data, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis
A Candid Exchange about Financial Communication with NYSE
Moderator: Mark Besca, NYC Managing Partner, EY, Chairman of Board of Trustees, Pace University
Speaker: Chris Taylor, Vice President, Listings and Services, NYSE
* * *
About the Lubin School of Business at Pace University:
Globally recognized and prestigiously accredited, the Lubin School of Business integrates New York City’s business world into the experienced-based education of its students at Pace’s suburban and downtown campuses, implemented by the region’s largest co-op program, team-based learning, and customized career guidance. Its programs are designed to launch success-oriented graduates toward upwardly mobile careers. www.pace.edu/lubin
About Financial Executives International:
Financial Executives International (FEI) is the leading organization representing the views of corporate financial management. Its more than 10,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry. FEI enhances member professional development through peer networking, career management services, conferences, research and publications. Members participate in the activities of more than 65 chapters in the U.S. and a chapter in Japan. FEI is located in Morristown, NJ. Visit www.financialexecutives.org for more information.
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.
World Council Churches: "Pope Francis strengthens condemnation of nuclear weapons"
Pope Francis strengthens condemnation of nuclear weapons (World Council Churches)
Assistant Professor Emily Welty participated in a high-profile Vatican conference on nuclear disarmament. The conference participants included the U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, NATO’s deputy secretary general, 11 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and the World Council of Churches (WCC) for whom Welty serves as the vice-moderator of the WCC’s Commission on International Affairs. She was part of a four-person delegation invited to meet privately with Pope Francis. In an historic move, Pope Francis denounced the continuing possession of nuclear weapons in what appears to be a shift from the Church’s prior acceptance of nuclear deterrence.
Welty is a professor of women’s and gender studies and the director of Dyson’s peace and justice studies program.
Read more here.
El Semana: ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’
‘We Will Not Be Silenced’ (El Semana)
...On the morning of November 9, protesters gathered in the atrium of the Hart Senate office building, silently at first, glancing up at level-upon-level of protesters who had made their way to every floor, patiently waiting for the go-ahead from organizers. At exactly 11:30am, the room suddenly erupted into an overwhelming, boisterous chant of “undocumented, unafraid,” as activists unfurled large banners into the chamber demanding a DREAM Act, denouncing deportation, and bringing forward the December deadline.
The building was packed with protesters wearing identical orange “Clean DREAM Act Now” shirts. Joining them were students participating in a mass walkout from nine Washington-area schools, including universities, as well as hundreds of youth from across the country in what United We Dream said was part of a nationwide campaign in solidarity with DREAMers.
Not everyone there was a DREAMer. Alik Schir, a student in the Washington, D.C. area, said he was sympathetic to the cause while gleefully waving the orange shirt he had been handed. “I know what it’s like to be the odd one out,” Schir said, “so I’m standing here to make sure that DREAMers and immigrants know that we stand with them and that we’re fighting for them so they won’t be deported.”
After about ten minutes of chanting in the building, a signal came to stop, to prevent the risk of arrest due to strict Capitol rules against disruptive protest. In a pre-planned act of civil disobedience, a small number of protesters kept chanting around a banner before being detained by Capitol Police. Rally-goers later announced their names via megaphone, praising them as heroes.
Flowing out from the Hart building, their call for a DREAM Act continued with a march to the Capitol in the hopes of coming face-to-face with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) himself. They crowded onto the sidewalk on Independence Avenue, demanding Ryan show himself. “Show your face, show your face,” they chanted as they passed the Rayburn building, rising into thunderous cheers and applause whenever they spotted a staffer waving or taking photos from their offices.
Ryan, who has sent mixed messages regarding a vote on a replacement for DACA, was the subject of frustration and anger among many attendees — some who jeered, shouting “coward” while below the Speaker’s balcony on the west end of the Capitol, where youth and DREAMers linked arms in a circle and held a speakout for DACA recipients before wrapping up.
“I am here because I have an expiration date, because I have a mother that works three jobs to support our family, because at one point I worked six jobs to pay for my education,” said one DREAMer. “I want to graduate, I want to make America great, I want to give back to my community, I want to give back to the country I love, to the country that I call home.”
“DACA, the DREAM Act, this is a human issue,” said another DREAMer, a student who had joined the Washington event from Pace University in New York. “We’re dealing with real lives. This is not about one, this is about all. Paul Ryan, pass the Dream Act.”
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The Riverdale Press: "DeWitt Clinton safe from state takeover, for now"
DeWitt Clinton safe from state takeover, for now (The Riverdale Press)
The school known as the “castle on the parkway” will remain under the control of the city’s education department.
The state recently announced DeWitt Clinton High School, located at 100 W. Mosholu Parkway S., would not become the responsibility of Albany after the struggling school made headway in a number of areas that concerned state officials, including its low four-year graduation rate.
The state’s education department defines struggling schools, also known as “receivership schools,” as the lowest performing 5 percent of schools in the state academically.
Under the receivership law, the city has the authority to make a number of changes to improve Clinton, like expanding the school day or even the school year, work with a community-based organization to provide support services, and also remove teachers or require them to reapply for their jobs.
Or, in the most extreme circumstance, the city could phase out and close Clinton.
If Clinton fails to show “demonstrable improvement,” the state could have appointed an independent “receiver,” who would take over the management responsibility of the school from the city.
Educators and an education advocate panned the state’s decision to leave Clinton under city control.
“The message (the state is) sending is that we don’t care,” said Jennifer Pankowski, an education professor at Manhattan’s Pace University and former public school teacher.
“I think if the demographics of the school looked differently, I don’t think so many would have turned the other cheek. The school is predominately Hispanic and African-American students with a very small population of Albanian students, and I think that does affect how quick the state is to step in and say, ‘Clearly you tried to do this, it’s not working. We need to take it a step further.’”
Clinton’s academic fortunes have been on the decline since 2009, which a blip of improvement in 2012. However, other issues have plagued the school in recent years, including one former principal allegedly changing a student’s grade, a sexual relationship between a teacher and student, and the high rates of students bringing weapons to school.
Those issues alone, Pankowski maintained, requires the state to get involved.
“Until the City of New York gets its act together, everybody’s got to watch them,” said Charles Moerdler, who legally represents the United Federation of Teachers and American Federation of Teachers.
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Taipei Times: "Chinese, N Korean distrust grows"
Chinese, N Korean distrust grows (Taipei Times)
This article is written by Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, a professor of history at Pace University in New York City.
The six-party talks launched by former US presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to denuclearize North Korea failed to achieve the desired objective, even though China participated in this multilateral platform and ensured that the US would not launch military actions against the North.
Worse still, a nuclear North Korea has destabilized Northeast Asia and endangered relations with neighboring countries.
China cannot draw on its experience of developing atomic bombs in the Maoist period to evaluate the danger of North Korea’s nuclear weapon programs.
A nuclear arms race among North Korea, South Korea and Japan is definitely the last thing that China wants. It has become increasingly clear to China that dealing with a power vacuum in the event of a regime change might not be as bad as preserving North Korea at all cost.
Whatever Kim is doing to antagonize Trump is not within Xi’s level of tolerance.
Like it or not, the denuclearization of North Korea has become an integral part of US-China diplomatic encounters.
The Trump administration has publicly complained that appealing to China for help has achieved little because Washington and Beijing share irreconcilable geopolitical agendas.
As Beijing’s insistence on diplomatic engagement contradicts Washington’s preference for coercive measures, the two powers will not reach a consensus over North Korea’s future.
Emphasizing denuclearization as a prerequisite to holding bilateral talks with the North, the US has yet to demonstrate its capability to mobilize allies and enforce stricter sanctions.
However, the gradual evolution of the US-Japan-South Korea triangular defense alliance, the potential risks of a nuclear conflict in Northeast Asia and the consequences of a collapse of the North Korean state are bound to dictate the pragmatic calculations of decisionmakers in Washington and Beijing.
As Trump and Kim engage in a rhetorical war, one can only hope that they know where the red line is and will not escalate the crisis into a full-scale Korean War II.
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The Journal News: "Making the Grade"
Making the Grade (The Journal News)
Pace’s Learning Assistance Center was featured in Education Outlook, the education supplement of The Journal News. Brian Evans, Sue Maxam and Ross Christofferson were interviewed for the article which focuses on available services for students including tutoring, workshops and mentoring.
Read the article here.
Associated Press: "Story of Louis Vuitton: As travel changed, so did luggage"
Story of Louis Vuitton: As travel changed, so did luggage (Associated Press)
The exhibition’s timing coincides with the holiday shopping season, and the location is in New York’s financial district. But most visitors will likely lack the means to buy Vuitton products, which can run in the thousands of dollars. Still, attention-getting temporary displays like this are becoming a standard way for brands to tell their story.
“Many of these brands pop something up, draw a big audience, get some publicity, get reporters to talk about it,” said Larry Chiagouris, professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. “You don’t need to be there 12 months a year. You just need to establish a little publicity and move on.”
Chiagouris says this type of showcase can also be far more effective than a traditional ad campaign. “Ads are very fleeting and don’t generate the kind of independent interaction with a brand the way an exhibit would,” he said. A show like this “takes something that has almost become wallpaper and suddenly puts it into your current mindset and consciousness.”
Exhibitions also give designers the space and flexibility to fine-tune their message. In this case, the subdued, museum-like atmosphere creates a “mood that reflects the brand, somewhat elegant and somewhat understated,” he said.
Pace University’s Manhattan campus is near the exhibition site, and Chiagouris said his students have been buzzing about the Vuitton show. They’re working on a competition among business schools to come up with a campaign for Ocean Spray, the cranberry brand, and the concept of telling a company’s story this way, through history, products and workmanship, resonated with them.
“It’s an interactive experience not because of electronics or pressing a button,” he said, but because “you get a sense of the identity of the brand.”
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