News

Practice Management

Business Card Manager

I’m running, not walking, to the nearest store so I can check out the latest tool I found. The new specialized scanner and software combo, the Corex CardScan Executive, Version 5.0 ($250), is designed to help me put all the business cards I collect into electronic format. A quick calculation of the time involved to enter business cards tells me this is going to be well worth the green.The CardScan 500 scanner has a convenient tray for catching scanned cards and the companion software, CardScan 5.0, now better recognizes international business cards.

Corporate Giant Under Investigation

Tyco International Ltd. announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company’s books. Securities lawyers say actions such as this underscores how serious regulators are about cleaning up companies' accounting practices.Management of earnings and revenues with specific reference to the acquisition arena is under scrutiny by the SEC. Tyco, with more than 100 acquisitions under its belt in the past seven years, has drawn the SEC’s attention.
Technology

Neat Must-Have Toy: C-Pen Scanner

I was sitting on an airplane last week next to someone who was using a handheld portable scanner no larger than your traditional yellow highlighter. She was effortlessly scrolling through text in an article from Inc. magazine to be stored and shared later with her staff. I came home and looked up the website of C-Pen (http://www.cpen.com) and was amazed to learn that you can store up to 3000 pages of text in the C-Pen, which can then be transferred to any computer documents using infra-red technology.
Tax

IRS Posts 2000 Interest Rates

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning January 1, 2000, will remain at 8 percent for overpayments (7 percent in the case of a corporation), 8 percent for underpayments, and 10 percent for large corporate underpayments.The overpayment rate for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000 will remain at 5.5 percent%.The interest rates are computed from the federal short-term rate based on daily compounding determined during October 1999.Note: The URL below is a pdf file.

Business Valuation Volunteers Honored by AICPA

The AICPA recently honored 10 volunteers serving the profession in the business valuation arena for outstanding service, with specific commendations given for work in developing the Accreditation in Business Valuation (ABV). The awards were handed out at the AICPA's Business Valuation Conference in Las Vegas earlier this week.Hall of Fame Awards were given to Carl M. Alongi, Edward J. Dupke, Larry R. Cook, Terry H. Korn and Gary R. Trugman. Volunteer of the Year recipients included Nancy J.
Community News

Possible E&Y Partner Reports Large Losses

A story ran recently on AccountingWeb discussing the possible merger of Ernst & Young's consulting practice with Paris-based computer services firm Cap Gemini. Now, Cap Gemini reports a loss of $87 million in U.S. business.Cap Gemini says the loss is based, in part, to several cancelled contracts with United Way of America and the U.S.

Standard & Poor's New Capability

Standard & Poor’s (S&P), a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, recently has added a "News & Quotes" capability to its Web-based retirement services product developed especially for 401(k) plan provider and sponsor clients. For the first time, plan participants will have access to Standard & Poor's equity research information, market analysis, news and quotes. The new service provides comprehensive information about participant plans, as well as asset allocation advice - 24 hours a day, on the Internet.

Growth Areas For The Year 2000

What specific services or products do you feel have the greatest growth potential for your firm in the year 2000? Please be as detailed as you can so others can share your vision.Please click on the Add Comments link below to add your responses.You may scroll down on this screen to see what others have said.Thank you for your input!Michael PlattAccountingWEB Editor

SEC Will be Watchdog for Internet Trading

In an announcement to the AICPA, SEC Enforcement Director Richard Walker said the Commission has received $7 million in funds from the President's 2000 appropriations bill.The SEC will use the funds to monitor online trading to ensure companies involved in transactions are reporting figure properly and there is no inappropriate activity. Simply, they are finding that there will be no stock manipulations.In the past year, the SEC has surveyed traders to find 83 people and firms committing fraud.
Practice Management

Candidates Prefer Dot Com Companies Over Firms

Finding qualified employees is getting tougher and tougher, thanks to the rash of online companies. Job candidates are literally lining up to work for high-tech companies with concerns on the Internet and avoiding the brick & mortar routine.What does this mean to CPA firms and companies hiring CPAs? More accounting professionals, especially risk-takers in the younger ages, will go to work for online companies rather than firms.The result?
Community News

Client Security and Social Security Numbers

How secure is your social security number? How about the numbers for your clients?A question for the Washington Post discusses this subject, along with the great concern that a large firm uses social security numbers as ID for client records. Records are distributed fairly loosly around the office for project handling, and have the potential for all sorts of fraud.Over a five-year period, credit theft has risen from 35,000 in 1992 to about 500,000 cases in 1997.

Free Calls Everyone!

Think nothing in life is free? Think again. You can hop-skip-and-jump over to dialpad.com and make unlimited long distance phone calls for free!You don’t have to use any special equipment (except for a microphone for your computer) and you don’t have to load any special software. The person you are calling doesn’t even need to be on a computer because dialpad calls an actual phone.What’s great about the service is that your voice is not distorted at all and the other person doesn’t even have to know you are calling via the Internet.
Practice Management

Knowledge Management Works

How are world-class companies saving millions and improving systems? They are harnessing the power of knowledge management systems specifically designed to directly contribute to larger corporate goals, according to Best Practices, LLC’s report, “Knowledge Management of Internal Best Practices.The report cites a leading chemical manufacturer that uses a systematic approach to ensure that knowledge management supports corporate strategy as an example.
Practice Management

Tips for Timely Collections

Most of us would rather buy a new car or go to the dentist than deal with overdue collections. Although we are numbers-oriented, we fall flat when it comes to taking the initiative to collect what's due.The trick is to act fast. For example, if a receivable is just one day overdue, call immediately to find out if something went wrong. There may be a very good reason, or the sender may indeed be tardy for no good reason.Still, acting quickly will jog the sender's memory and should help with collections.
A&A

'Tis the Season to Ship - Who's the Cheapest?

In this supersonic age of getting it there on time with few moments to spare, which of the mailing services is the most economical?Kiplinger.com decided to test the waters by sending a 10- pound fruitcake across the United States. They surveyed various overnight carriers as well as the U.S. Postal Service.The results? They found that the service was mostly the same around the country, but found that the U.S.
Community News

E&Y May Divest its Consulting Business

Could Ernst & Young be following in the footsteps of Big 5 rival Arthur Andersen when it spun off its consulting arm to Andersen Consulting? Today, E&Y announced it may sell its consulting business to Cap Gemini, a European services firm based in Paris.Reports suggest that the combined revenue for the two entities would total more than $8.5 billion, not to mention untold more revenues in future consulting services.Analysts are speculating that the split may be difficult given its integration with E&Y's accounting practice.
Tax

IRS Begins E-mail Q&A Taxpayer Forum

The IRS will soon begin a pilot program in which taxpayers may send e-mail to the Service via about 100 approved tax preparers selected for the project.No mail may be sent directly to the IRS.Preparers volunteered for the program, and will send the mail through encrypted messaging, which means that any taxpayer information will remain secure.The pilot program was developed based on the recommendations of a 1997 Congressional commission and the National Association of Enrolled Agents.
Community News

Auditing the Soft Stuff: Firms Step up to the "Touchy-Feely"

Auditing has taken on a new meaning as firms are called upon more and more to audit more than just the financials. Take BP Amoco, for instance. They called upon Ernst & Young Environmental Services Group to audit their social and ethical behavior.The reasoning behind this change in mindset stems from a growing responsibility companies feel they have to stakeholders who more than just the company's financial picture.

There's No "I" In T-E-A-M

Developing a team that works well together can boost productivity and overcome personality conflicts. Keep these points in mind as you lead your “team” into victory.If Johnny’s getting on your nerves, take a break. Remember, no one is perfect and you just may be getting on Johnny’s nerves, too! Give each other space to be individuals within the team. Also, cut people slack for having an “off” day.You are on the same team. Each person on your team is working toward the same goal you are – completion of a project.

Newsletters - What does yours say about you?

The only reason to create a newsletter is to make money by selling goods or services. What's spent on producing literature must show a return. Otherwise, it's money flushed down the drain. If your readers wouldn’t call you when they miss an issue, chances are your marketing dollars are better spent somewhere else.Your newsletter can make your company appear professional, human and established. To do that, keep these ideas in mind:Write for your readers’ level. Don’t talk down to them and don’t technospeak above their head.

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