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The big four

February 2018

Jenner causes Snapchat shares to drop

Snapchat’s shares dropped by 7 percent, approximately US$1.5 billion loss in market value, on 22 February after reality-TV star Kylie Jenner criticized the usefulness of the social network and asked her 24.5 million followers on Twitter the day before: “Does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” The incident highlights the inadequacies of traditional accounting for technology companies, according to Reuters. “Celebrity users definitely create value, or destroy it, as Jenner just did at Snap, but their potential influence doesn’t appear in a company’s accounts,” reported the newswire. Jenner’s tweet followed a widely criticized redesign of Snapchat’s interface.


New AML watchdog launched in the U.K.

As part of a range of reforms to strengthen anti-money laundering (AML) oversight in the United Kingdom, the British government has established the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS). Based within the Financial Conduct Authority, OPBAS oversees the accounting and legal professional bodies that act as the country’s AML supervisors, and has the powers to investigate and penalize. The new office will not, however, directly monitor the member businesses that these professional bodies supervise. “This sends a clear message to criminals and terrorists that their dirty money is not welcome here,” said Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen.


Trump advocates online sales taxes

According to United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump “feels strongly” that the country should permit the collection of state taxes on Internet purchases, reported Accounting Today. Despite a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that says out-of-state retailers cannot collect sales taxes if they do not have a physical presence, Trump has previously said that e-commerce giants like Amazon.com Inc. do “great damage to taxpaying retailers” by not being subject to the same taxes as their brick-andmortar counterparts. Brent Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer of Americans for Prosperity, an influential conservative lobby group, argued that such a move would affect everyday items and “disproportionately impact those who can least afford it.”


PwC launches workforces engagement app

PwC has released a new app called Digital Workforce Transformation, to engage workers digitally to solve problems. The app uses a four-stage approach to assess each user’s digital fluency and to develop a curated digital training regiment based on relevant topics like cybersecurity, blockchain and user experience. It is part of the firm’s larger initiative to promote digital culture within various organizations, reported Accounting Today. According to PwCsurveys, businesses  believe that unskilled teams, lack of new data and technology integration and use of obsolete technology to be the primary causes for their lack of digital innovation. Digital Workforce Transformation is available to any company, and users can sign up for a free demonstration before purchasing the service.