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Print this article  |  Return to Article  |  Return to   GM Controller to Peers: Watch Your Assets Hidden impairments and illiquid assets keep Nick Cyprus awake at night. David McCann , | US November 20, 2008 Being a controller has to be one of the toughest executive jobs right about now, depending on how your company and its industry are  faring amid the general chaos. And the job at General Motors has got to rank among the toughest of the tough. That didn't stop GM's Nick Cyprus from showing up to participate in a controllers' roundtable at the Financial Executives International  financial reporting conference in New York on Monday. That was the day before his boss's boss flew to Washington to ask for billions of  dollars worth of government money to keep the company going. The audience certainly appreciated the irony.  When moderator Thomas Tefft, the controller at Medtronic, asked his first question — "What keeps you up at night? What are the  challenges you're seeing and how are you dealing with them? Let's start with you, Nick" — the hearty laugh that rumbled through the  750-person crowd could have been interpreted as anything from simple mirth to nervous relief to a touch of sadism.  His answer was not all that surprising. With sales way down in the high-fixed-cost automotive industry, "understanding where you might  have hidden impairments that you didn't think about in the past is a trick," said Cyprus. Where most companies look at impairments  annually, GM now is doing it continuously.  His advice to others: make absolutely sure you know what assets might be illiquid and how long they'll be staying on the balance sheet  — and with the end of the year approaching, if you don't know, find out as soon as possible. "The only way to maintain credibility with 
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This note was uploaded on 11/05/2011 for the course ACCOUNTING 101 taught by Professor Online during the Spring '11 term at Colorado Technical University.

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Auditing Article 3 -...

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