News

Beware of Y2K Viruses and Hoaxes

They come in all shapes and sizes. They are called viruses. Y2K has inspired malicious hackers to concoct some doozies for your viewing pleasure. From a worm that displays “Hi 2000” as it eats away your data to a trojan horse virus that uses chat rooms to spread its disease, they are up and running in 2000.And then there are the “hoaxes” that masquerade as viruses. Among the most notable are the Happy New Year Virus and the AOL Year 2000 Update.

Don’t Let Your Y2K Guard Down

Although the lights are on, the water’s running and you are able to withdraw money from the bank, this isn’t a time to get cozy with the Y2K bug idea. According to The Gartner Group, a U.S. information technology research company, Y2K glitches aren’t over until 2000 is over.The Gartner Group estimates that fewer than 10 percent of Y2K-related failures will occur during the two weeks surrounding January 1.

New Profit Center Emerges

According to a recent survey conducted by RHI Management Resources, 39 percent of chief financial officers believe services related to e-commerce will the be the biggest growth area for public accounting firms in the next five years.The survey, which polled 1,400 CFOs from various sized companies employing more than 20 employees, shows that financial systems consulting was cited as the number two growth area for public accounting firms.

Q&A Forum Feature Added

A new feature called Q&A Forum has been added to allow subscribers to post questions directly on the site, and to encourage members of the AccountingWEB community to share their experiences and help one another.
Technology

A Great Story To End The Year With

Microsoft's free Hotmail email system was crippled over Christmas weekend because the $600 billion giant forgot to pay a $35 bill.The shutdown of the system came after Microsoft failed to pay the annual $35 fee for it's registered passport.com domain name, which verifies user names and passwords for the Hotmail system. The mistake was discovered by Michael Chaney, a programmer who works with Linux, a competing system to Microsoft's Windows.

Reporting Illegal Software Use Brings Big Bucks

Forget about Y2K for just a minute and think about your software licensing. Do you take licensing seriously in your firm? Microsoft is going to make it worth a person’s while to report it if you don’t have your licensing in order. Three individuals recently were awarded the combined amount of $50,000 for information that led to three companies that were illegally using the software giant’s software.
Practice

Outsourcing HR Functions - It's Time to try it!

Small- and medium-sized CPA firms should know that, in many cases, their employees can receive the same benefits afforded to the large firms because of a group buying effort through outsourced HR resources.Outsourcing the HR function is nothing new; firms like ADP have provided services for some time in this market known as the "Professional Employee Organization (PEO).However, sometimes a wake-up call is inorder.

Work, Home, Life: The new B-School Curricula

Look out Martha Stewart! Sure - business schools still stress economics (remember supply and demand?), finance and basic accounting, but it's a whole new world for enrollees in today's business programs.Schools across the nation, including the Wharton School of Business, have added classes on personal work, life and time management to their prestigous curriculum.

Tips for Prioritizing

Is your life moving at the speed of light? Does it feel like it? It can. When prioritizing tasks feels suffocating, It’s time to look outside for help. Use these guidelines to go forward toward your goals instead of running away from them.Is what you are doing important or urgent? Just knowing the difference can help. Important means something needs to be done. Urgent, on the other hand, means the item must be done.What will happen if you don’t do the item today? So many people have unrealistic expectations for themselves.

Economists Optimistic for 2000

It's a time for predictions, and economists are optimistic about the economic outlook for the U.S. economy in 2000, with annual growth predicted to range from 3.1 to 3.8 percent.At the beginning of 1999, the same economists who review annual growth, as well as the outlook for stocks, bond and other funds, predicted the economy would grow to a little more than two percent. Year-end estimates actually were twice as high with growth of four percent.Experts say we should not be concerned about the missed spread for 1999 because this year's figures were heavily tainted by Y2K bug concerns.

Priority One – Internal Communications

Toast the new year and resolve to make internal communications priority one in your firm. That’s the idea from Jim Shaffer, author of The Leadership Solution which is due out in early March. According to Shaffer, employees who are informed outperform their uninformed counterparts, all things being equal. He also says that your words should match your actions. Employees do what you do, not what you say. Be careful in your day-to-day interactions.
Technology

Internet Tip: Using a Picture of a Web Page in Communications

If you are working in a Word document (or PowerPoint or other graphics package) and would like to add an image of an Internet page, do the following: (1) Bring the page up in your browser. (2) Get rid of as many of the toolbars on the top & bottom of the browser as possible so you can maximize the size of the page on the screen (put your cursor at the edge of the toolbar frame just above the web page and click and drag up). (3) Copy what's on the screen by holding down the WINDOW button (the Microsoft Windows logo) and the PRINT SCREEN button simultaneously.
Tax

IRS Image Tarnished; Still Unpopular With Taxpayers

Throughout the year, AccountingWeb has presented a variety of stories on how the IRS has made attempts to shine its tarnished image by presenting a "kindler, gentler" outlook on pursuing audits, offering concessions to taxpayers and just being plain nice.A new ranking from the American Customer Satisfaction Index claims that the attempts were unsuccessful, and the Service still ranks as one of the most unpopular government agenices in the Americas.While some tax professionals have gone on record to say the IRS is, indeed, doing a better job, taxpayers are the heart of the concern, and on

AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 23

The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 23December 31, 1999http://www.accountingweb.comIn the headlines this week:1. Three CPA Firms Make Fortune's 100 "Best Places To Work" List2. 10 Biggest M&A Bloopers of 19993. New Offers In Compromise Program Unveiled By IRS4. Compute The Cost of a Bad Hire5. Post-Y2K Security Checklist6. CBIZ Starts Shaving Offices and Staff7. Customer Covers $35 Microsoft Debt - Saves Christmas for 52 Million!8.
Practice Management

California CPA Society Insurance Company Grows

CAMICO, the professional liability insurance company owned and operated by the California Society of CPAs, will begin managing the liability insurance offered by DPIC as of January 1.CAMICO is based in Redwood City, CA, and administers insurance products not only for members of the state society, but for other state societies as well.

DSL Moves To Smaller Markets

The chance to secure a high-speed connection to the Internet is hard even in large metropolitan markets like Dallas. It all depends on where you are located. Although large carriers are concentrating on saturating the top 50 markets, there’s still plenty of room for small providers to get in on the action.For these companies looking to provide Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) in smaller markets, the coast is clear. Currently, in second- and third- tier markets, the only competition is from Baby Bells.
Practice

Focus Your Efforts For Results

Do you know that old tradition of meeting with bankers and other "referral" sources? Or maybe you have participated in many of the "happy hours" designed to get people talking and referring business. The question, though, is how much business did you really get from the event?Many firms participate in referral activities, however, the results are often sketchy. Ask yourselves about the last one you attended. How many referrals did it actually yield? Often, people will say that it increased the potential for referrals in the future.
Practice Management

News You Can Use

It’s a competitive market out there. With consolidators gobbling up firms and others hiring salespeople to sell services, it’s important to keep an edge on competition. Soliciting feedback can help. It might even point you in a strategic direction that’s best for your firm.When clients are dissatisfied, they usually won’t complain to you; they will simply leave. What’s more is that when that person leaves, they take 250 contacts with them (this is the average number of people each person knows).
Tax

IRS Simplifies Offers-In-Compromise Program

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a simplification of it's Offers-In-Compromise program, a program instituted in situations where individuals want to pay the tax they owe, but can't afford to make good on the entire liability.The IRS has indicated in a news release that it will offer taxpayers a new payment option providing for fixed monthly payments over the life of the agreement, which can run for as long as ten years.

Web Sites for Accountants

Grand Rapids, MI - Greatland Corporation and Nelco announce the launch of a web site creation product, developed specifically for accounting professionals. Cytax Sitebuilder allows accounting professionals to build their own business web site completely online. Step-by-step instructions on Cytax guide an accountant through site set up. Cytax is designed for novice Internet users with little knowledge of HTML or similar web expertise.

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