A&A news July 2006

A&A

Taking the Heat and Surviving Power Outages in Small Businesses

“With heat waves forecast from coast-to-coast, small businesses must prepare for the consequences of extreme heat and humidity,” says Donna Childs, who co-authored the book “Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery: a Small Business Guide”, with Stefan Dietrich, Ph.D.Advertisement
Practice Management

CFOs Value Communication But Firms Don’t Provide Training

Communication skills have grown in importance for accounting and finance professionals, but workers may be on their own when it comes to developing this expertise, a new survey from Accountemps shows. Among chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed, 75 percent said that verbal, written and interpersonal skills are more valuable now to accounting and finance professionals than they were just five years ago.
A&A

IRS Announces New Tip Reporting Program

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released formal guidance on its new tip reporting procedure, the Attributed Tip Income Program (ATIP). ATIP is a three-year program that does not require employers to meet with the IRS to determine tip rate or eligibility. Employers will participate on an annual basis, however, participation by employers and employees is voluntary and does not require a signed agreement with the IRS.
A&A

Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick Expands Wealth Management Services

DS&F Financial Services LLC, an affiliate of Darnall, Sikes, Gardes and Frederick, a CPA firm with headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, will merge with Wealth Care Group Asset Management LLC, the Daily Advertiser reports. The new company will be called DSF Wealth Management LLC.Larry Sikes, president and managing director of Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick, will be CEO of the merged financial services company.
A&A

Retailers Say Visa and MasterCard Violate Antitrust Laws

Antitrust attorney W. Stephen Cannon, representing the Merchants Payments Coalition, a group of about 20 retail trade associations, in written testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week accused Visa and MasterCard of violating federal antitrust laws through their practice of setting the interchange rates charged by banks to complete consumer transactions. The interchange fee, now close to 1.74 percent, is charged every time a consumer uses a credit or debit card to pay for a purchase.
A&A

A Look Inside IFAC’s Global Forum on Challenges and Opportunities Facing SMEs

Earlier this month more than 130 people from 35 countries attended the International Federation of Accountant’s (IFAC’s) first global forum focused on small and mid-sized entities (SMEs) and small and medium size accounting practices (SMPs). “Small- and medium-sized enterprises drive economic growth, foster innovation and provide employment in developed and developing countries around the world. IFAC fully recognizes this role and is committed to supporting them at an international level,” IFAC President Graham Ward emphasized in a prepared statement.
A&A

IASB and FASB Seek Nominations for Lease Accounting Working Group

On July 19, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced a joint project on leasing to their respective agendas.
A&A

FASB Adds Joint Lease Accounting Project with IASB

Concerns that current lease accounting does not accurate reflect the resources and obligations of lease transactions, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on Wednesday officially added a lease accounting project to their agenda.
A&A

Inside the Small Business Practitioners' Tax Forum

The AICPA’s Small Business Practitioners Tax Forum was held July 17 – 18 in Chicago, Ill. This year’s forum had a new focus on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Compliance, demonstrated by the more than 130 pages of notes that accompanied Monday’s first session “Tax Update”, presented by conference chair Mark Mares.
A&A

Adding Credit Counseling Helps Businesses Build Customer Loyalty, Build Bottom Line

By the end of the first quarter of 2006, U.S. consumer debt totaled $11.8 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. The new bankruptcy reform, higher interest rates, rising gas prices and increased minimum credit card payments, also make it apparent that consumers are in need of financial advice and more businesses need to offer it.A recent study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) indicates that individuals coming to NFCC agencies for pre-bankruptcy-filing counseling “were in desperate financial shape with debts that vastly exceeded their income.
A&A

SAP Buys Partner Praxis to Beef Up E-Commerce Capabilities for SMEs

SAP has completed acquisition of partner Praxis Software Solutions, based in Minneapolis, to incorporate new e-commerce and customer relationship management (CRM) software into its Business One management suite.The move comes soon after research by Yankee Group revealed that integrating the company website with accounting, inventory and other business applications is one of the biggest technology challenges faced by small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).
A&A

Small Trucking Firms Threatened by Fuel Costs

Of the 560,000 motor carriers in the U.S., 95 percent have 20 or fewer trucks and the rising cost of fuel is their number one concern, says Tiffany Wlazlowski, spokeswoman for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the San Antonio Business Journal reports. “So, essentially the trucking industry is a small-business industry.
Practice Management

Six Ways to Avoid the Summer Sales Slowdown

"You hear people say it all the time: business is just slow in the summer," says Steve Johnson, co-author of Selling Is Everyone's Business: What It Takes to Create a Great Salesperson (Wiley, 2006, ISBN: 0-471-77673-4, $24.95). "For many sales organizations, it seems acceptable to slack off, to cut corners, to put off making the tough calls because 'everyone's on vacation' or 'no one's in the mood to make big decisions.' Well, naturally if you expect business to be slow, it will be slow."So how can you keep your sales force from falling prey to the self-fulfilling slow summer prophecy?
A&A

FASB Increases Relevance & Comparability of Income Tax in Financial Reporting

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on Thursday issued an interpretation that increases the relevancy and comparability of financial reporting by clarifying the way companies account for uncertainty in income taxes. “T[his] interpretation reflects our concerns that widespread diversity in practice, including inconsistent measurement associated with uncertainty in accounting for income taxes, has resulted in less relevant, less comparable and less complete information for investors and other users of financial statements,” Edward W.
Practice

Professional Accounting Societies Applaud COSO Small Business Guidance

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Institute of Management Accountants have both affirmed support for new guidance for smaller public companies released during a webcast on July 11 by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
A&A

CPAs Debate FASB’s Pension Draft

The American Institute of Certified Public Accounting (AICPA), state societies of Certified Public Accountants and accounting firms have expressed the views of many in the profession in comment letters published on the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) web site on the Exposure Draft of the Proposed Statement, Employers’ Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans.
Community News

The Business of Powwow

On a manicured, level stretch of soccer field, the drum beat begins. The eagle staff begins the procession, followed by the universal flag of American Indians,next comes the American flag, California flag, three Armed Services flags and a Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action flag. The dancers come next, representing native nations that span the western hemisphere, sharing a pride and dignity that is both difficult to describe and immediately evident. It is Grand Entry on Saturday afternoon at an Intertribal Powwow in Southern California.
A&A

Business Objects to FASB’s Plan for Measuring Future Pension Costs

Participants in a public roundtable held on Tuesday, June 27, at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, engaged in heated debate on FASB’s plan to use a projected benefit obligation (PBO) metric for measuring pension liabilities that will appear on the balance sheet according to a revised standard, rather than the accumulated benefit obligation (ABO) that most companies prefer.