A&A news February 2007

A&A

7 Ways to Keep Employees Focused, Committed to Change

Companies large and small spend millions of dollars each year in order to make change initiatives a success. And yet the results are frequently dismal—changes fail to achieve their objectives, and leaders are left wondering what went wrong. Managers blame change-phobic employees, and employees say leaders didn't manage the change effectively. If you're responsible for driving change, you find all the finger-pointing frustrating and, frankly, unhelpful. If only you could pinpoint where the failure originates, perhaps you could head it off at the pass.Here's some good news.
Practice

White Paper: 10 Reasons to Outsource Remote Data Protection

In today’s information-driven organizations, the costs to generate, keep available, manage and recover data are staggering. Many businesses today depend on 100 percent data availability to keep mission-critical functions operating. With the increasingly widespread reliance upon data, the costs of interrupted access to data or data losses could financially compromise an organization and, in some cases, leave it no room to recover. The price of downtime is just too steep. 
Practice Management

Clients Seek 2007's 'Dirty Dozen' Scams

The Internal Revenue Service’s release of its "Dirty Dozen", 12 of the most common – and blatant – tax scams offers tax preparers a most wanted list of don’ts and an opportunity to prepare themselves for customers seeking illegal means for lowering their tax liability.Firm owner Kent West, CPA/PFS, from Mooreland, Okla.
A&A

FEI Comments on Proposed SOX Changes

In separate letters submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Financial Executives International’s (FEI) Committee on Corporate Reporting (CCR) and Small Public Company Task Force (SPCTF), voiced concerns with recent changes proposed by the SEC and PCAOB to Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley.The letters, which come in conjunction with today’s comment deadline on proposed auditing standards and management guidance by the SEC and PCAOB, emphasize the importance of alignment between both agencies.
A&A

Online Posting of Delinquents Creates Revenue

Pennsylvania has recently joined the 20 states and the District of Columbia in posting the names of individuals and businesses who owe taxes on their web sites, using names such as Maryland’s “Caught in the Web,” or South Carolina’s “Debtor’s Corner,” to bring pressure on tax scofflaws.In many cases, the threat of disclosure is enough to persuade taxpayers to pay, says Illinois Revenue Director Brian Hamer.
A&A

HSA Rollover Transition Deadline

The Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury recently issued guidance regarding how employers can rollover their health Flexible Spending Arrangements (health FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for their employees. The guidance provides a special transition rule for transfers for 2006. Under the transition rule, the amendment, election and transfer must take place by March 15, 2007.The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-432, enacted Dec.
Technology

The Accountant’s Guide to a Career in Technology

By John StokdykWhen he recently asked in an AccountingWEB opinion article, Why aren't there more accountants in IT?, Microsoft's Tim Lennard began by suggesting there was a potential surplus of talent within the profession that could be more gainfully employed in the technology business. One of the reasons Lennard's article was so popular was that it managed to provoke reactions from both sides of the fence. Several IT industry veterans dropped into the conversation to describe their front-line experiences, while technophobes highlighted some of the reasons not to go into IT.
A&A

A Conversation With David Maister: The Preconditions For Strategy

Managers build their plans and strategies on the assumption that people in their firm are ready and willing to be team players, acting collectively to create or achieve something in the future.The truth, however, is that these attitudes cannot be assumed to exist. In fact, they may even be relatively scarce. In many firms - perhaps even most - these preconditions for strategy may not exist.It is hard to identify and create buy-in for what the firm should do if there is no strong sense of a mutual commitment and sense of group loyalty and cohesiveness.
Practice Management

Accounting for Employee Health

When Canadian employees at PricewaterhouseCoopers get sick, they can call up a new internal website that offers help and an unusual personal invitation -- to walk into the CEO's office and talk confidentially about their health challenges, reports The Globe and Mail.PwC is not alone in its desire to be recognized as a leader in building a wellness into its culture. Conference Board of Canada surveys reveal that health information and promotion programs are quickly becoming important components of human resource strategies.
A&A

6 Keys To Growing Your Company The Old-Fashioned Way

When the average joe thinks "big corporation," the images that spring to mind are primarily negative: backdating of stock options. . .fat cat CEOs who jet around in luxury while workers barely scrape by. . .huge mergers that spawn both big bonuses (for executives) and layoffs (for lower-level peons). . .companies reporting record profits while cutting employee health benefits. Watch the evening news and you'll see why so many people take such a grim view of the corporate world.
A&A

E-mails As Evidence: Business Owners Face New Procedures

Changes in federal employment law may change the way you and your employees store e-mails and e-messages, but Business & Legal Reports reports that one of the key changes facing small business owners this year is not a change in law at all.The U.S. Supreme Court established a set of new procedures dealing with electronic messages that may be needed as evidence in trials. Why is the procedural change important to you? One look at your computer inbox, electronic communication has exploded in recent years, leaving the postal carrier feeling a bit lonely these days.
A&A

IRS Offers Free Small Business e-Newsletter

The IRS has started a news service, e-News for Small Businesses. Distributed every Wednesday, it brings timely, useful tax information right to your computer, including, but not limited to:Important, upcoming tax dates What’s new on the IRS Web site Reminders and tips to assist businesses with tax compliance IRS news releases and special IRS announcements E-News’ convenient format will put IRS tax information at your fingertips.
Tax

IRS Shuts Down Preparers Seeking Bogus Phone Refunds

IRS e-News reports that search warrants were carried out in seven cities this week by special agents from the Internal Revenue Service. According to affidavits filed in federal court, the IRS is seeking evidence from tax-preparation businesses suspected of preparing returns on behalf of clients requesting egregious amounts involving this year’s special telephone excise tax refund.IRS criminal investigators served search warrants at tax preparation businesses in Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas, Tyler and Athens, Texas; Riverside, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; and Baton Rouge, La.
A&A

Small Business Tax Breaks Included In Minimum Wage Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives agreed on Friday to attach $1.3 billion in tax breaks for small businesses to legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years.
A&A

IRS Launches Virtual Exempt Organizations Workshop

There's a new learning alternative for tax practitioners, financial professionals, and others who have an interest in the tax matters relating to not-for-profit entities. Effective immediately, the Internal Revenue Service has begun offering its popular Exempt Organizations Workshop in an online format on the Internet. The five modules of the workshop, which take approximately three hours to complete, can be accessed at www.stayexempt.org .
A&A

Tips For Reporting Misclassified Employees

Most employers make every effort to meet their employment tax obligations. They take the care to review all factors affecting their relationship with their workers and classify their workers as employees or independent contractors accordingly.
A&A

A Conversation With Allan Boress: It All Boils Down To Marketing

What are the biggest problems or concerns you have with your accounting practice?
A&A

CEOS Make ‘Strong Execution’ High Priority In 2007

As CEOs develop their growth strategies for 2007, a top priority focuses on the strong execution of all major business processes, according to the Grant Thornton LLP Survey of U.S. Business Leaders, 14th Edition. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) say they are putting more emphasis on strong execution today than a year ago. More than eight out of 10 (83 percent) survey respondents place the quality of execution throughout the organization among their top three priorities.
A&A

Legislation To Boost Electronic Payment Processing

Many treasurers dream of eliminating paper from their processes and are moving both data and funds entirely electronically, according to Business Finance magazine.Several new pieces of legislation will facilitate the move to electronic payment processing. One is back-office conversion, or BOC. Effective March 2007, BOC will allow retailers and other businesses to convert checks to electronic data streams.
AccountingWEB Life

Legacy Assurance Financial Joins BKR Group

BKR Cornwell Jackson Group is pleased to announce the addition of Legacy Assurance Financial Group, L.P. to the BKR Group of companies.Legacy Assurance Financial Group, L.P. focuses on wealth management and business succession solutions designed specifically for entrepreneurs and closely held businesses owners. The managing director of this new division is Robert D. White, a chartered Financial Consultant and 19-year veteran in the financial services profession.

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