A&A news March 2007

Practice Management

Making Your Practice a Great Place to Work

By Lucie BensonThe recent publications of the "Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For" lists have included several accounting firms, from small companies up to The Big Four. Lucie Benson takes a closer look to see what they are doing for their staff to make their practice such a good place to work. This month saw the publication of the fourth “Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For” list.
Workplace Fitness

How to Motivate Small-Business Employees

Are you a small-business owner who is finding it more and more difficult to motivate your troops? SmartMoney.com offers five easy tips for kick-starting your crew without busting your budgets.While large corporations with deep pockets can easily dangle bonuses, perks and an array of fancy reward programs (often created by outside consultants) to encourage employees to outperform, you company isn't quite there yet.
Tax

Benefits, Dangers of Paying Taxes with Credit Card

Individuals and businesses may choose to pay taxes with one of the major credit cards through service providers that have contracts with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and earn miles, points, rewards or money back from the credit card issuer. For taxpayers whose returns contain an unpleasant surprise, the credit card option allows some time to pull together the cash he needs to pay the tax bill.But preparers should warn their clients that interest on credit card balances is generally higher than interest paid to the IRS on underpayment of taxes (currently 8 percent).
Community News

Massachusetts Extends Deadline for Expanded Health Coverage

Massachusetts, one of the first states to pass a universal health insurance law, requires all residents, including uninsured adults, to purchase some kind of health insurance policy by July 1, 2007 or face a fine; but businesses and individuals will be given until January 1, 2009 to sign on for what the state considers a “minimum standard of care,” the Associated Press reports. The additional time was needed to allow employers, workers and insurers to make the transition to the new standards, which will include prescription drug coverage.
A&A

A Conversation with Barry Goldwater: Handling High Net Worth Clients

As CPAs get deeper into financial services and wealth management, they will have to solve more and more complex financial problems which often cut across unfamiliar planning territory. One group of clients many firms hope to close, can be both challenging and rewarding. They are high net worth individuals, those clients who fit into the $10 million-and-above club. If you are fortunate in grabbing the opportunity to inform and perform for high net worth clients, you must stop and think about what is important to this group.What drives and motivates them?
Practice Management

7 Reasons Why Managers Find it Difficult to Throw Out Bad Apples

A new study shows that your company’s bad apples have a tendency to spoil your entire corporate culture. KEYGroup founder and president Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky, Ph.D, CSP, offers solutions for managers who don’t know what to do with these problematic employees.Every organization has at least one: that employee, who for whatever reason, behaves as though coming to work is a fate worse than death.
A&A

White Paper: Reduce the Headaches of Infrastructure Change in 5 Easy Steps

No matter how well prepared you are, managing change in the network infrastructure can be a bumpy process. There are many infrastructure changes that can cause significant problems for an organization if they are not appropriately planned, implemented, and supported with the right practices and technology.
A&A

Computer Theft Endangers Calif. Firm's Clients

A Santa Rosa tax accounting firm is alerting thousands of clients that their private financial records may be in jeopardy after a key computer was stolen from the office, the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press-Democrat reported.Terry Brown, owner of Tax Service Plus, said a computer containing the records of his firm's 3,000 to 4,000 clients was missing when he arrived at work March 7 and found a back door broken open.He said he's notifying clients by letter what actions they should take to protect themselves against anyone who tries to use the stolen information to open a fraudulen
A&A

Prepaid Phone Retailers Qualify for Refunds

Under the law, retailers and other businesses that sell prepaid phone cards for long-distance service usually qualify for the telephone tax refund. Normally, the phone card retailer, not the phone company that issues the card or the customer who uses the card, is responsible for paying the three-percent federal excise tax.
A&A

Tax Gap Solutions Burden Small Businesses

Proposals recently issued by the Treasury Department to close the tax gap, which focus on small businesses and the self-employed, would generate only $2.9 billion in revenue, one percent of the estimated total, while they would increase the paperwork requirements on small businesses, and even turn them into tax collectors, bizjournals.com reports. “That’s 1 cent on the dollar,” Senator Max Baucus, (D – Mont.) told Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Practice Management

Power of Publicity: Finding Your Business’ Media Niche

Whether you are the owner, manager, or public relations director of a company, chances are, you’re always looking for ways to get your name in the public eye. While advertising is a great start, enhancing your advertising with publicity creates a perfect marriage of exposure for your company, says Marsha Friedman, President, Event Management Services, Inc. What is publicity? It’s non-paid communication to promote your company in a positive light using media vehicles like television, radio, magazines, and newspapers.
Tax

U.S. Business Leaders Seek Reg. Reductions

A all-star panel of American business and government leaders pushed Tuesday for a rollback in regulations they say are necessary to keep U.S.
A&A

Wisconsin Proposes Privacy Protection for Tax Preparers

The Wisconsin Legislature is considering a bill designed to prohibit a tax preparer or an entity that employs tax preparers from disclosing information obtained in the preparation of a client's tax return unless the tax preparer or entity discloses the parties to whom the tax preparer or entity intends to disclose the information, and the client consents in writing.The Bill, WI SB 69, has been referred to the committee of jurisdiction.
A&A

Microsoft to Launch MySpace for Accountants

Microsoft has announced its plans to launch an online community site for financial professionals, similar to the popular MySpace networking site.Calling it a “MySpace for financial pros,” Microsoft has yet to give the Dynamics Live Beta Community site a more marketable name.The site will be aimed at corporate controllers, finance managers, finance staff and accountants and includes blogs, forums, tagging, RSS syndication and other community-specific features.The news follows Reuters’ recent announcement that, it too, will launch a “MySpace for Finance” in the near future.
Practice Management

Allen Boress: How to Measure Your Firm's Marketing Performance

Recently we received the following email:Dear Allan:How can we know if people are doing personal marketing? We know that the economy is booming, our firm revenues are up over last year, but that has to be temporary -- it just can't go on forever! So how can we ensure that everyone is doing their job in keeping the momentum going? It's so hard to stay focused on marketing individually when there is more work to do. Why is it that some people and some firms are so much better at this than we are?
Practice Management

Accounting Shortage Increases Outsourcing

Today’s shortage of skilled accounting staff may be widening the need for outsourcing, reports the Ohio Society of CPAs Corporate Focus.Cutting costs is cited as the primary reason for finance and accounting outsourcing, according to 42 percent of those surveyed by FAO Research Inc. Lack of internal accounting and finance staff followed with 33 percent.
A&A

Junk the Junk: Dealing with the Information Explosion

By Steve RothI am a hoarder. I have always been a hoarder. My school desk used to be a treasure trove of "useful" items – old pens, bits of rubber, half eaten cheese sandwiches, broken bits of Action Man and sticks. Most lay in the desk for years – just in case. Regrettably I can’t have a desk at work. But I have something almost as good – Outlook. Anything even remotely “useful”, contacts I will never contact, things that I’ll “get round to” – when I have the time, can all be stored in Outlook. No doubt they will still be there when I retire.
Practice

Can Your Firm Use a Global Payroll System?

As the world becomes more and more a global village, organizations are having a greater presence in countries worldwide and where there are people there will always be a need to pay them and the systems to support this. And as we move to this global village state organizations are looking for global solutions and so are looking for global payroll and HR systems. But does such a thing as a global payroll system truly exist or is it all smoke and mirrors? Would such a system be appropriate or even truly necessary?
Tax

IRS Extends Tip Income Program

The IRS has extended the 2007 deadline until June 30 for restaurant or beverage businesses to elect to participate in the Attributed Tip Income Program.The extension is in response to requests from restaurant and beverage industry members and is only applicable for the 2007 calendar year.Normally, eligible establishments must elect to participate in ATIP by Feb.
A&A

5 Practical Steps to Becoming a Sustainable Leader

General Electric. Allstate. Yahoo! These companies share some enviable traits—they’re all household names and they’ve all been in business for years. Not easy to achieve in today’s frenetic marketplace. What do leaders at these companies know that you don’t?They know what it takes to build a sustainable business; a business that will be around for years. According to USA Today, every year, nearly 1.5 million Americans start their own business. If they survive the first three years, chances are they’ll stay afloat.So how do you create an enduring business?

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