Audit Committees Responsibilities and Liability
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act subjects audit committee members to increased responsibilities and liabilities. The actions of directors and officers will be more closely scrutinized by the SEC and other regulators, making service on an audit committee riskier. For those interested in making a difference for a public company, its shareholders, and the investing public, the authors provide suggestions on fulfilling the enhanced audit committee responsibilities and minimizing the increased exposure to liability.
Data Confidentiality in an Electronic Environment
A sinister threat has grown alongside the increasing use of laptops: computer theft. The true cost of computer theft of a laptop includes not only the lost hardware, but also the loss of proprietary information. The authors discuss security measures that can mitigate the possibility of theft and subsequent liability exposure.
Organizational Culture and Fraudulent Financial Reporting
Recent high-profile fraud cases increase the importance of identifying companies that have the potential for fraud behavior. Certain characteristics of a company's organizational culture can signal the potential for fraud. The four most predictive factors were found to be the number of related party transactions, the influence company founders exert over the board, the number of CPAs on the board and senior management, and past history of illegal violations.
Implementing and Exiting Rabbi Trusts
In a typical rabbi trust, a type of nonqualified unfunded deferred compensation plan, an employer implements a trust to pay future compensation to employees or independent contractors. The employer owns the trust pursuant to the grantor trust rules, enabling any trust income to be taxed to the employer. Irrevocable grantor trusts and split-dollar life insurance arrangements can allow rabbi trust beneficiaries to convert all or some of their deferred compensation into an estate tax-free death benefit with little or no income or gift tax.
Demystifying The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program
The facade conservation easements available under the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program are an underutilized tax deduction. Many owners are uncertain if their property qualifies and worried about refinancing and marketability. Historic trusts can make the process easier and allow owners to serve the public interest by preserving historic properties for future generations.