AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 21

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The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 21
December 17, 1999

In the headlines this week:
1. Consulting and Venture Capitalist Role Blurred at Andersen
2. Keep Poaching Out Of The Firm
3. PWC Starts Its Own Web Seal Program
4. CPA Patricia Gilbreath Elected Mayor of Redlands, California
5. Do Your Clients Need an Angel?
6. Tips for Timely Collections
7. FASB Outlines Fair Value Derivative Accounting
8. Website Acid Test: Can Visitors Find Your Phone Number?
9. IRS Prepares Taxpayers For Paperless Tax Filing
10. New Search Engine To Try:

Editor's Note

Some great feedback this week on our Forecasts and Reflections question, "What is the greatest growth product or service in your firm in the next 12 months." Scroll through some enlightened responses ranging from strategic business outsourcing to client website development to client e-commerce assistance to debt restructuring. See what others have said, and add your own comments at

Please add your vote to this week's poll on which search engine works best for business related searches. Go to cast your vote!

All of us at AccountingWEB wish all of you a wonderful holiday season.

Michael T. Platt

1. Andersen Consulting Blurs Consulting and Venture Capitalist Role - New Venture To Invest $1 Billion in Internet Companies

Andersen Consulting (AC) announced this week the development of "Andersen Consulting Ventures," a new venture capital unit focusing on Internet companies, aimed at making AC a major player in the growth of e-commerce. AC will fund over $500 million in start up costs, and is prepared to invest over $1 billion over the next five years in fast growing Internet based businesses. To date, AC has invested over $40 million in client and non-client businesses, and this new venture will help create a focused division within AC. Conflicts of interest in wearing the hat of an investor versus consultant are obvious, but the firm indicates that it will manage those conflicts in a professional and forthright manner.


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The AccountingWEB Newswire reaches over 3,500 accounting professionals. Worldwide, AccountingWEB is a global community of over 50,000 accountancy professionals. For details of how to reach this audience:

2. Keep Poaching Out Of The Firm

With unemployment at an all-time low, sometimes the only way to get new employees is to "poach" them from a competitor. Unfortunately, many times your firm may be on the receiving end of the poaching. You can reduce your risk of employees being lured away by asking a search firm to analyze who may be vulnerable to poaching, and addressing a plan to increase the "stickiness" to your firm of those at risk. If you are one of the firms who practice poaching, our advice is to tread lightly. Recent court cases have forced employers to defend their recruiting tactics in court, so be aware of the legal issues. Best advice: continue creating the kind of environment where employees can flourish and they will stay with you.

3. PWC Starts Its Own Web Seal Program

PricewaterhouseCoopers has entered the Internet website assurance field with its new "Better Web" Seal Program. For an annual fee of $15,000, businesses who pass the standards have the right to place the PWC Seal of Approval on their website. Standards being measured include the traditional security and privacy issues, along with other customer-focused measurements such as how easy it is to contact the business, site ease of use, logical layout of the site, etc. Similar assurance seals are being offered by TrustE and BBBOnline for $150 - $5000 depending on the size of the site.

AccountingWEB welcomes the Nebraska Society of CPAs to the growing list of organizations that are offering daily AccountingWEB news headlines to their members. Contact Ryan Carmen at AccountingWEB if your organization would like to syndicate our news for free.

4. CPA Patricia Gilbreath Elected Mayor of Redlands, California

Congratulations to a good friend, Patricia Gilbreath, a partner in CPA firm Eadie and Payne, who last week was elected mayor of Redlands, California. Pat holds a Masters in Taxation from USC and specializes in estate planning, litigation support and health care. Congratulations Your Honor!

5. Do Your Clients Need an Angel?

Want to REALLY provide a value added service to your clients? Introduce them to a new breed of investment group -- "angel" investors -- who are looking to provide capital and entrepreneurial mentorship to start up companies. Similar in many respects to venture capitalists, "angels" are popping up everywhere to provide start up funds, often from their own pockets, to fledgling businesses with a good idea. Often these angels have made a quick fortune in technology startups themselves, and are looking to give back to the community that made them wealthy. It's worth a look -- and you can be a hero to your clients by making the introduction and helping them through the process.


Now is the time to diversify your practice to better serve your clients. Join GE Financial Assurance Terra - Independent Accountants Network, a leading resource for integrating financial services & accounting practices. To save $500 off the normal price of becoming a representative, submit your completed application by January 1, 2000! Contact us at 888-988-3772 or for information.

6. Tips for Timely Collections

This is the season of giving, but it is also the season of collecting -- collecting accounts receivable, delinquent payments, bad debts, etc. before year-end. To help improve cash flow, keep in mind that handling delinquencies quickly and firmly is the best way to avoid future problems. If an invoice is even one day late, call your contact at the client organization and remind them in a firm but friendly way that their payment is due. They will respect your business acumen and will help re-shuffle their bill paying priorities. See the article in AccountingWEB for more collection ideas:

7. FASB Outlines Fair Value Derivative Accounting

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released its preliminary views on measuring financial derivatives at fair value this week. These views cover three areas: (1) Types of financial instruments reported at fair value; (2) The definition of fair value; and (3) Ways that changes in fair value can be reported. The impetus for the release is the trade body's goal of giving investors a better understanding of companies' holding of derivatives and their underlying assets. Soon, FASB will implement Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) 133 that requires companies to show the fair value of all derivative holdings. For more information, see:

Reminder: AccountingWEB is relying on your help during our holiday membership drive. Please tell your colleagues about us and encourage them to sign up for the free newswire by going to our website at

8. Website Acid Test: Can Visitors Find Your Phone Number?

If you have a website, please read this: A personal pet peeve of mine is searching endlessly on a CPA firm's website (or anyone else's for that matter) for simple information like a phone number or address. You would be astonished, amazed and embarrassed at how many firms "forget" to put their phone number on their site, or bury it so deep that clients get frustrated looking for it. Have a friend take a look at your site and tell you how easy it is to find the most basic information needed to contact you, like a phone number or an address. Yes, we are moving towards a digital world, but we're still a people business, and people need to be able to reach you, and not just by filling out a form and emailing it back to you. If you disagree, call me. My number is (317) 876-7525.

9. IRS Prepares Taxpayers For Paperless Tax Filing

This week the IRS is sending out 11 million postcards to taxpayers, encouraging them to join the paperless world of electronic tax return filing. The postcards contain ECN's, electronic customer numbers, that taxpayers can use as signatures on electronic filing, thus eliminating the need for any paper transactions completely. This pilot program, along with one that allows taxpayers to select their own PIN numbers for identification purposes when working with tax preparers, is geared towards getting over the e-filing barrier that many taxpayers face. The IRS will select 18,000 practitioners to participate in the program this year, which is expected to generate over 4 million electronic returns this coming tax season. For more info:

Presentation Tip: When you decide to tell a humorous story in a business presentation, make sure you tell it as if it were true, tell it correctly and tell it to make a business point.
Source: The Articulate Executive

10. New Search Engine To Try:

A new search engine located at is now fulfilling its business strategy in partnership with Dell computers to index the entire world wide web which currently has about 800 million URL's. They are just now approaching 300 million URL's catalogued and should have all the searchable URL's on the Internet totally indexed by August of 2000. It is lightning fast and has several enhanced search options such as supporting 25 different languages in the search process. We tested an obscure concept of "depreciation tax rules for Indian reservations" and found over 450 documents in less than one second. Not bad. Give it a try.

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

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