A&A news April 2007

A&A

House Bill Promotes Shareholder Say in Executive Pay

The House voted Friday to give shareholders at public corporations a voice in executive pay packages that typically equal 500 times the salaries of workers at those companies. The shareholder vote under the bill (H.R. 1257) would be advisory only. But Democratic backers of this provision said that investors need a say when companies losing money or laying off workers are paying executives eight- and nine-figure salaries and retirement packages.
A&A

More than 78% of CFOs Favor Chairman-CEO Separation

In a national survey of CFOs and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, more than three-quarters (78 percent) believe that the roles of CEO and chairman should be held by different people. Currently, approximately 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by a CEO who is also Chairman of the Board. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the respondents think that shareholders of public companies should have greater access to the company proxy, and more than half the respondents think it would be possible to intentionally misstate their financial statement to their auditor.
A&A

S Corp Still Learning Experience

According to the Journal of Accountancy, life with the popular S Corporation structure can still be a learning experience. By some accounts, the advent of S corporations in the late 1950s was the most notable revolution in American tax policy since the Revolution. And it’s easy to see why: S corporation owners can protect themselves against personal liability and have their income and gains taxed only once, as opposed to the double exposure of C corporations and their owners at the corporate level and again on individual returns.
Practice

5 Start-Up Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Avoid

According to the Small Business Administration, one-third of small businesses fail in the first two years and one-half fail within the first five years, statistics that might discourage even the most determined potential entrepreneurs from trying to realize their business dreams. But avoiding the five most serious mistakes entrepreneurs can make in the startup phase can go a long way towards helping them achieve success, CNNMoney reports.The most deadly errors small business owners make in their first year are:1.
A&A

67% of CFOs Believe SEC Should Revise 8-K Rules

In a national survey of CFOs and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, 67 percent believe that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should revise 8-K rules to require reasons for all company dismissals of auditors, for all auditor resignations and for all instances in which the auditor chooses not to stand for re-election.
A&A

Fewer Healthcare Insurance Choices for Self-employed

Fewer than one-quarter of professional and small business associations still offer basic health care plans, long the choice of self-employed professionals, contractors and freelancers, according to the American Society of Association Executives, the Los Angeles Times reports. Many, including the American Bar Association, which dropped its health care benefit last year, say they would like to offer these plans and may resurrect them.
Practice Management

Outside Controllers Rarely Promoted to CFO

New research reveals that less than 5 percent of chief financial officers hired from outside their company were controllers.The survey by executive search firm Korn Ferry International shows that the number of Fortune 500 CFOs hired from outside of their new companies totals 190.
A&A

SEC Seeks Small Business SOX Relief

In a move designed to benefit smaller companies, the SEC endorsed recommendations to eliminate waste and duplication with SOX compliance.The new PCAOB standard will be submitted for SEC review by early June, in time for the 2007 financial statement audits.The SEC staff will be working closely with the PCAOB to make the internal controls provisions of SOX Section 404 more efficient and cost effective.
A&A

Smith Appointed to FASB

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) appointed Lawrence W. Smith to a five-year term as a member effective July 1, 2007. Smith will replace Edward W. Trott who will retire from the board on June 30, 2007. Board members are appointed by the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF). Smith is currently director of FASB's Technical Application and Implementation Activities, and chairman of the Emerging Issues Task Force. Prior to joining FASB in 2002, Smith worked at KPMG for 25 years. The seven-member FASB is led by Chairman Robert Herz.
A&A

Accounting & Finance Workers' Confidence Rebounds

After cooling in February, worker confidence among accounting and finance workers jumped in March, as the group’s Hudson Employment IndexSM rose 8.1 points to 121.6. Increased job satisfaction and a decrease in expected layoffs drove the rise. The latest reading for this group of workers is much higher than last March’s reading of 108.8. The national Index, based on responses from approximately 9,000 workers across all sectors, climbed up 1.9 points to 109.0 in March.
A&A

A Conversation with Marcus Scholes: Poor Asset Management Risks Business Integrity

Growing risk awareness and recent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, may have prompted an increasing number of companies to invest in disaster recovery (DR) as part of the business continuity program – but how safe is that investment?Just what, indeed, is being recovered? Few organizations have any real insight into the true extent of their corporate assets. In fact, on average, upwards of 50 percent of assets on the register cannot be located.Not only does this challenge the validity of the DR solution but it also raises huge questions in the event of an insurance claim.

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