FASB exposure draft on contributions and grants.

September 12, 2017, 8:09 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

FASB has released an exposure draft which slightly redefines the distinction between revenues and contributions for the nonprofit world.

Exposure draft is called Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958) – Clarifying the Scope and the Accounting Guidance for Contributions Received and Contributions Made.

On 9/11/17 I watched FASB’s one hour webcast on the exposure draft. This is only the second time I’ve seen a presentation on the issue and I haven’t yet dived into the 51 page document. That means I’m just starting to understand the changes.

What I’m going to do here is give a high level introduction. Keep in mind this is just an overview without all the details. Furthermore it is my preliminary understanding after having only heard the presentation twice and looking at the slide deck once. Please don’t cite this in your workpapers!

This exposure draft does not call for any change in how transactions are presented in the statement of activities. Organizations can present particular transactions as either revenue or contributions as they wish. The point was made several times in the presentation that the rules spelled out here determine which model is used for recognizing a transaction, not what presentation is used on the statement of activity.

There is a fantastic graph in the slide deck that provides a good visualization of the current and proposed accounting. It is copyrighted and thus I won’t be presenting it here. I’m sure you’ll be seeing the graphic before you get very far into your study.

Here’s a breakout of how exchange transactions are currently handled. These are also called reciprocal transactions. Currently we think of these as revenue, although the verbal comments in the presentation indicate that is no longer necessarily how exchange transactions must be presented.

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Final thoughts on the tale of Silk Road. Part 9.

September 7, 2017, 8:28 am

Cover of “American Kingpin” from Amazon. Used under fair use.

This is the 9th and final part of a discussion of Silk Road, as discussed in American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road, written by Nick Bilton. For the longer story, you may enjoy reading parts one, two, three, four, five, sixseven, and eight.

Other thoughts on the book

If you have previously been following the Silk Road story, you will enjoy the book. It reads like a good detective novel, except it is all true.

The book describes the mutual low opinion held of other federal agencies by the staff of most of the federal agencies that had a part in the investigation. This is not the first time I’ve read of those attitudes or heard of poor cooperation across agencies.

Lack of technical discussion

A couple of the reviews at Amazon indicate there is minimal technical detail in the book. That is absolutely the case.

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The Silk Road perps. Where are they now? Part 8.

September 6, 2017, 8:02 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This is part 8 of a discussion of Silk Road, as described in American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road, written by Nick Bilton. To learn how these three individuals earned an extended stay in federal housing, you may enjoy reading parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven.

Current status:

In good ol’ Dragnet style, where are bad guys now?

Here is the info from the federal Bureau of Prisons website:

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It didn’t end well for two of the feds investigating Silk Road. The tale of Silk Road, part 7.

September 5, 2017, 7:56 am

The wages of corruption. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Two of the feds working on the Silk Road investigation went rogue. That did not turn out well for them.

This is part 7 of a discussion of Silk Road, as described in, American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road, written by Nick Bilton. Check out parts one, two, three, four, five and six, if you wish.

Since the book was written, there have been more developments. I stumbled across the additional info after drafting this series of posts.

Let’s take a look at how things turned out for the two crooked federal agents.

What did the two feds do and what did they get for their trouble?

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Where did one guy wind up by making moral decisions with no moral frame of reference other than himself? The tale of Silk Road, part 6.

September 4, 2017, 9:03 am

Mr. Ulbrecht’s housing for the rest of his life (plus the next 40 years). Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

How far did he go?

So as a result of running the drug bazaar called Silk Road, where did Ross Ulbricht wind up with his efforts to forcibly legalize drugs and simultaneously remove God from His throne and take over the throne for himself?

What did he get for his efforts? The feds claim he had tens of millions of dollars in his personal accounts.

(This is part 6 of a discussion of Silk Road, as described in, American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road, written by Nick Bilton. Check out parts one, two, three, four and five, if you wish.)

He ran a web site at which he knowingly sold to anyone who could pay:

  • pot,
  • coke,
  • heroin,
  • many varieties of synthetic drugs,
  • equipment & supplies to manufacture drugs,
  • automatic weapons,
  • grenades,
  • rocket launchers,
  • body parts, including but not limited to:
  • livers,
  • kidneys,
  • bone marrow,
  • deadly poisons,
  • counterfeit identification,
  • counterfeit currency,
  • keystroke loggers,
  • spoofing software,
  • sundry hacking tools, and
  • fake passports.

He also contracted for and paid for what he thought was the murder of five people who offended him.

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Permanent injunction halts proposed overtime rule

September 1, 2017, 9:07 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The proposed new overtime rules that would have required overtime pay for anyone earning less than $47,476 a year will not go into effect. I do not know if any parties will try to file an appeal, but doesn’t seem to me that is very likely.

The federal judge who issued a temporary injunction last fall has issued a final ruling that the proposed rules violate federal law. The reasoning (if I understand a condensed explanation correctly) is federal law includes a duties test which the proposed rules would essentially make irrelevant.

For more details, check out a Wall Street Journal article on 8/31/17: Texas Judge Quashes Obama-Era Overtime-Pay Rule.

Article says the current administration is working on a new rule, which would likely set a new dollar threshold, but which would be lower than in the previously proposed rules.


The power of rationalization when you have no frame of reference other than your own opinion. The tale of Silk Road, part 5.

September 1, 2017, 8:31 am

According to ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, his ordering the execution of a renegade employee is morally the same as the U.S. President ordering one of the above wartime launches. Illustration courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This is the second of two posts describing the frightening power of rationalization on display in the story of Ross Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, as he developed the Silk Road website where you could buy anything you wanted. The story is told in American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road, written by Nick Bilton. This is the fifth post in a series. You may enjoy reading parts one, two, and three.

You might want to read part four before diving into this wrap-up of the rationalization discussion.

How can body organs be okay?

Shall we extend this discussion into body organs?

I suppose there might be some way for informed consent to be given in a situation where a body organ is extracted and sold on the Dark Web. I can’t get my brain around it, but I suppose there might be some possible way to do so that would be consistent with libertarian concepts.

I have a real problem with thinking that organ providers in China gave informed consent.

Maybe I’m missing the boat or maybe just can’t stretch my brain far enough, but I don’t see how libertarian concepts can be used to justify the sale of either hand grenades, rocket launchers, or livers & kidneys. That seems to be a rationalization to do what you otherwise feel like doing.

There is even more rationalization in play.

How do beatings and torture fit in?

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