Note: I do not summarise these articles because you should read them yourself.
Page 2: Congratulations to our (SAICA’s) new chairman, Trevor Petersen on his appointment.
Page 3: Congratulations to Futi Mtoba on her appointment to the board of the UN Global Compact.
Page 3: Congratulations to Alta Prinsloo on her appointment to the position of Deputy Director of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. (I would congratulate James Gunn but have never met him.)
Page 6: At last the debate is on – how long have we been fighting to remove the red tape iro SMEs? Why did it take the profession so long to react to the pleas from small practitioners? Anyway, hopefully we are at last on the path to common sense and reality – I can dream can’t I?
Page 7: Circular 8/2006 has been issued to try to undo the embarrassing circular 1/2005 iro BEE accounting.
Page 12: This article commences with the comment that accounting is governed by the principle of “substance over form”. This is actually not true. IAS 8.10 only permits this concept to be used in the absence of an applicable standard. The balance of this article comments on IFRIC 4, the standard that will change the balance sheets of companies once all leases are deemed to be finance leases. Just another small point: when one capitalises a lease one does not recognise the asset on the balance sheet but the right to use the asset. Ownership of the asset remains with the lessor.
Page 18: Estienne de Beer writes about bureaucracy in the work place.
Page 20: Stephen Coetzee writes about the “new” idea of treating settlement discounts as a deduction from revenue. His article uses, as an example, a 10% “settlement discount” for payment in 30 days. Clearly, this was never in doubt as “receivable” would have been 90%. The issue is not 10% but 2,5% for 60 days. To argue that we have always been wrong by not treating settlement discounts as a deduction from revenue is gross arrogance. Is it now wrong to have a different interpretation? We have always interpreted “receivable” to mean what we expected to receive on the date of the sale. The new “correct” method requires us to catch a time machine, go into the future, check what we actually received, catch the time machine back into the past and then pass the journal entry. Clearly this is crazy thinking! And what about discounting of debtors? If we offer a settlement discount of 2,5% do we also have to discount the debtor? Stephen: we need people to challenge stupid ideas. Yes-men are boring.
Page 22: Jenny Greyling writes about managing people through change.
Page 26: Ben Marx and Jan Dijkman talk about the search for people with suitable skills for manning audit and other committees.
Page 27: My last article for the journal was on forex madness. (The deal I had was if they do not allow free speech, I would stop writing for them. They banned my article called “Parents Unit” so no more freebies for SAICA.) See IFRS Buzz 15 for the follow-up short cut journal entries to solve the madness problem.
Based on a survey carried out by E&Y, 66% of users believe that IFRS gives more meaningful information than the old GAAP accounting system. [They are living in a fool’s paradise! If they really knew what went on behind the scenes, they would not be so sanguine about IFRS.] The CEO of BP says (shortened): “Volatility results from the requirement to mark to market embedded and financial derivatives and the effective inability to account for economically matched transactions as hedges resulting in asymmetric treatment of different parts of the same economic event. This produces neither a record of accountability of management nor a measure of economic performance.” [I could not have said it more poetically.] (David Carte (excellent journalist) 26 July)
A scandal has broken out among those entrusted with your investments. It is called “bulking”, i.e. taking the spare cash in all the portfolios and earning a higher return on these funds than could be earned by each of the funds individually and the managing company keeping the excess. Alexander Forbes, Glenrand MIB, NBC and Lekana were the big players in this scandal. [Personally, I cannot see that this is such a problem. Individually the investors could not earn the higher return. It makes good business sense to do what these companies did. They were not harming anyone, the first rule of being a trustee of funds.] (13th, page 45)
Stafford Thomas has constructed a portfolio of ten “safe-haven shares” to get one through the expected turbulence we could be facing. They are:
Pick ‘n Pay*
I think this is an excellent portfolio (sugar, a safe haven?). Let’s see how it performs over the next few years. [Note that four of these counters (*) are in my personal portfolio.] (28th, Page 40)