The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 28February 4, 2000http://www.accountingweb.com
In the news this week:
- Is The PWC Consulting Division The Next Candidate For A Split?
- New Quality Control Systems For Upholding Independence Rules To Be Implemented In The Next Few Weeks
- Audit Committees Need To Rise To The Challenge
- KPMG Consulting, LLC is Formed - Positioning For an IPO?
- E&Y Cuts 5% of its Traditional Consulting Staff
- Sharpen Your Recruiting Efforts With JobDirect.com
- Client Advisory Boards Can Yield Tremendous Results
- Treadway Commission Unveils New Web Site
- Six Steps To A Successful Intranet System
- Internet Tip: Start Your Intranet Right With Intranet.com
That sound you heard this week was the tectonic plate shifting under the accounting profession again as major restructuring is announced by three of the Big 5 to best position themselves to capitalize on the new economy. As everyone explores e-commerce strategy, it is critical to remember that client needs and client service remain paramount, and the best thing you can do is continue to provide outstanding service now and in the future.
Michael T. Platt
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1. Is The PWC Consulting Division The Next Candidate For A Split?
A rumor was circulating this week about the possibility of IBM forming an alliance or outright purchasing the consulting arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. PWC officials are downplaying the rumors, but no one has denied them. An internal task force at PWC will soon recommend strategies for restructuring the accounting and consulting giant, and they have not ruled out any possibilities. PWC Consulting has been hurt by recent bad press about the accounting arm's reported independence violations that were rampant throughout the firm. Meanwhile, as reported here a few weeks ago, Ernst & Young continues its discussions with Cap Gemini to possibly spin off its consulting division as well.
The Sage Accountant Alliance Program
The Sage Accountant Alliance is a network of public accounting practitioners who want access to up-to-the-minute accounting software and services designed specifically with CPAs in mind. When you join on or before March 24, 2000, you will receive all the benefits of membership for only $395.00!! Joining the program is easy. Visit our Web site at http://www.us.sage.com/SAA, or call us at 1-888-SAGE-CPA, or email us at [email protected]
This newswire will be read by thousands of accounting professionals this week. Worldwide, AccountingWEB is a global community of over 50,000 accountancy professionals. For details of how to reach this audience: contact Ryan Carmen at [email protected].
2. New Quality Control Systems For Upholding Independence Rules To Be Implemented In The Next Few Weeks
In the wake of recent harsh criticism by the SEC, and some very public embarrassments for the accounting profession regarding lack of independence, the AICPA this week outlined new quality control systems for auditors who are members of the SEC Practice Section of the AICPA. The new procedures will include (1) automated auditor investment tracking systems; (2) formal disciplinary systems for violators; (3) clearer written guidance for professionals; and (4) better and more sophisticated training programs. Initial elements of the systems will be in place in a few weeks, and the bulk will be instituted by the end of the year.
3. Audit Committees Need To Rise To The Challenge
A survey of over 100 CFOs and corporate controllers by the Financial Executives Institute indicates that CFOs would like their audit committees to be more proactive and challenge management's assumptions and strategies more often. The effectiveness of audit committees overall ranked a fairly unimpressive 2.1 on a 5.0 scale, leaving plenty of room for improvement. Financial reporting and external auditing activity were ranked low on what the CFOs were looking for from their audit committee. The number one answer? Focusing on key areas of business and financial risk. And that's our final answer!
4. KPMG Consulting, LLC is Formed - Positioning For an IPO?
KPMG announces the spin off of KPMG Consulting, LLC as a separate corporate entity, owned 81% by the partners of the firm and 19% by Internet pioneer Cisco Systems. Cisco has invested $1 billion in the operation, which provides much needed capital for the entity to expand at an "Internet pace." The move is seen by many as an interim step towards taking KPMG Consulting public, selling shares on the stock market and raising capital for even more significant growth in the future. One thing is certain: a line in the sand is being drawn between accounting and consulting at the Big 5 firms, and everyone is jockeying for the right business model for success in the new economy.
Client relations tip: Publish your home phone number on business cards and other promotional pieces and invite your clients to contact you at home in case of emergency. Chances are the clients will never call, but they'll be terribly impressed that you care about them that much to make the offer!
5. E&Y Cuts 5% of its Traditional Consulting Staff
Approximately 400 seasoned consultants are on the market this week as Ernst & Young announces layoffs of 5% of its stable of 8000 US-based consultants in a move to help focus the firm more towards a growing e-commerce consulting future. Client demand is shifting towards the need for e-business solutions, and E&Y - like everyone else - is trying to meet those demands.
6. Sharpen Your Recruiting Efforts With JobDirect.com
The votes are in, and the Number One student-oriented job search web site on the Internet is www.jobdirect.com, according to a recently released survey by PC Data Online. The site offers a way for employers to conduct accurate, customized database searches to pinpoint candidates. The site's unique search capability allows employers to access the database of resumes and conduct customized searches for students based on their own criteria, such as graduation date, major, GPA, geography, course work, school attended, or even activities. So as you sharpen your recruiting talents and identify future candidates for your organization, you might want to take a look and see what this site can offer.
7. Client Advisory Boards Can Yield Tremendous Results
What value would you derive from being a fly on the wall and overhearing the conversation of a group of clients who are talking honestly and openly about the effectiveness of their CPA? If you could get your best client to sit down and point out what's working and what's not working at your firm, do you think that would be helpful? Ryan Travis of Results Accountants Systems led a lively online discussion in the AccountingWEB workshop this week about the utility and logistics of client advisory boards, a vehicle in which you invite 6-12 clients for a 2-3 hour session monthly to talk about your business. Key ideas for how to establish an advisory board -- and to do it successfully -- were shared, including ways to turn it into a service that you can facilitate for clients' businesses.
More About The Sage Accountant Alliance (SAA) Program
Our SAA program provides: both MAS 90Â® and BusinessWorksÂ® software, support services, no-charge upgrades, discounts on training, an alliance with a local Sage reseller and much more! The entire SAA program is designed to provide easy access to information, software and services to professionally respond to your clients' request for guidance when they invest in a new accounting system. Join on or before March 24, 2000, and receive all the benefits of membership for only $395.00!! Visit http://www.us.sage.com/SAA, or call us at 1-888-SAGE-CPA, or email us at mailto:[email protected].
8. Treadway Commission Unveils New Web Site
A new web site has just been set up by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) of the Treadway Commission, the ground-breaking Committee organized in the mid-1980s to improve the quality of internal controls and related systems. The site, http://www.coso.org, features COSO's landmark report, Internal Control - Integrated Framework; other key publications; links to COSO's sponsoring member organizations and their related publications, articles, and educational events; and full search capabilities. New materials are being added regularly, so be sure to visit the site and see what's of benefit to you.
9. Six Steps To A Successful Intranet System
Every day, companies are jumping onto the Intranet bandwagon as a way to share files and get employees connected. Whether you're a novice or an experienced Intranet user, there are some things you'll need to remember in order to maximize the benefits of the system: Check out the article for details on these top tips: (1) Be sure there's plenty of bandwidth; (2) Give it time; (3) Focus on the phone list; (4) Use it; (5) Use layered privileges; (6) Make the Intranet the start page. There is a world of benefits waiting for those who utilize Intranets properly. Make sure your organization is one of the ones doing it right!
10. Internet Tip: Start Your Intranet Right With Intranet.com
If you are a small organization and want to explore the benefits of an Intranet system, one of the best places to start is with http://www.intranet.com, a free intranet provider offering standard features including members, contacts, calendars, documents and announcements. They make their money through advertisers on the sites, so you can get the service for free.
If you know of an Internet tip, or a technology tip that others can benefit from, you are encouraged to send it in to us at [email protected].
Several new questions have popped up this week on the new Any Answers feature on AccountingWEB. Please take a moment to help if you have any information that is appropriate on any of the following issues:
* CPA exam review software options
* Taxation of a child's mutual fund
* Administering client surveys
* The de-skilling of the accounting profession
* Accounting for interstate truckers
* Repossession of installment sale property
For full details of these questions, or to post your own, see:
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