Randall Bolten Blog

January 01, 2009
Happy New Year! Today’s post is about an easy way to quickly estimate annual return for very high returns over several years, without needing a calculator. My New Year’s wish to you is that this will actually be useful to all of you, and soon.

December 19, 2008
In a New York Times op-ed piece this morning, Paul Krugman rails about the excessive compensation that “Wall Street” has extracted from the economy over the last few years. He makes the interesting observation that over the last few years, the share of GDP going to the finance sector has risen from 5% to 8%.

December 17, 2008
First of all, a confession: I’ve read very little about l’affaire Madoff. I just don’t want the facts as I’m almost certain they are to be muddied by the facts as they actually are.

December 03, 2008
Financial Executive magazine arrived today with “Fraud’s House of Cards: Has Complexity Created an Unmanageable Situation?” by Lynn Brewer, an Enron whistleblower and founder of The Integrity Institute, as the cover story. Ironically (so say I), there’s also an interview with Charles Niemeier, a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, entitled “Can More. . . or Less Regulation Fix What’s Wrong?”

November 18, 2008
Let’s talk about a gritty, real-life issue: What should your car’s collision insurance deductible be? The decision is based on pure math, but every one of you can figure this out. And you might save a few bucks! Here’s how:

November 16, 2008
Well, are they? Should stock options be valued, and treated as an operating expense to be run through the company’s income statement? The accounting issue was “settled” a few years ago by GAAP statement FAS 123R, which requires companies to “expense” stock options.

November 05, 2008
Today’s post by Michael Arrington of “TechCrunch,” is on Newt Gingrich’s call for the repeal of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Often referred to as “SOx,” this law was enacted in 2002 in the wake of some sensational accounting scandals, to ensure stricter compliance with accounting standards by U.S. public companies. Very eloquently, Gingrich asserts that SOx has accomplished very little at very great expense.

November 01, 2008
I met with a Lucidity client this week, and the topic was incentive compensation plans – you know, sales commissions, executive incentive plans, MBO plans, marketing bonuses, engineering project completion bonuses, etc. – where some portion of the employees’ pay is dependent on performance, effort, or results.

October 23, 2008
At a dinner last night, the Northern California chapters of Financial Executives International had the privilege of hearing from Sir David Tweedie, Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the person at the very top of my very short list of nominees for sainthood. Sir David spoke of the need for global adoption of the emerging International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

October 19, 2008
This morning on Meet the Press, Colin Powell announced his support for Barack Obama. His comments about both Sens. McCain and Obama were balanced and largely positive, but two factors seemed key: the negative tone of the McCain campaign, and the choice of Sarah Palin as running mate – a choice you could argue was motivated in the first place by the tone of the campaign.

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