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A&A

Poll: Public Divided on Regulating Appearance in the Office

Most would agree that nose rings and obesity are more common than ever in the U.S. workplace, but a new survey says the nation is divided over whether employers should have the right to ban body piercings or compel large-framed employees to drop weight. In the survey released today, 39 percent said employers should have the right to deny employment to someone based on appearance, including weight, clothing, piercings, body art or hairstyle.The survey comes as employer-employee disputes over appearance increasingly spill into the courts and government enforcement agencies.
A&A

Family Partnerships are Under the Microscope

Tread carefully if you are thinking of moving family estate assets into a partnership to reduce your tax burden. A U.S.
A&A

CIO Insight Magazine Releases The Global Outsourcing Report

Three-quarters of U.S. companies outsourced some or all of their information technology activities in 2004, and that percentage is likely to increase this year, according to a special survey on outsourcing and offshoring in the March issue of Ziff Davis Media's CIO Insight magazine. While a smaller percentage of companies are outsourcing those activities offshore (32%), half of them have cut full-time jobs as a result.India is the most competitive and popular technology outsourcing destination in the world in 2005, according to the Global Outsourcing Report and, China will be the No.
A&A

The IRS Asks, Do You Have a Deductible Home Office?

Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction.You can deduct certain expenses if your home office is the principal place where your trade or business is conducted or where you meet and deal with clients or patients in the course of your business.
A&A

Debt vs. Equity: Accounting for Claims Contingent on Firms’ Common Stock Performance

Determining accurate accounting methods for employee stock options and other stock-related claims has long been a headache for companies, investors, analysts, standard-setters and regulators. Contradictory GAAP rulings that classify similar securities as both debt and equity have resulted in inconsistent company reporting over the years.
A&A

Survey Finds Workers Average Only Three Productive Days per Week

Unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings are among the top time wasters that workers around the world say make them feel unproductive for as much as a third of their workweek on average, according to results of an online Microsoft(R) Office survey announced last week.
A&A

Apple Plans to Boost Executive Compensation Through Bonuses

As Apple broadens distribution of its wildly popular iPod music players to retail outlets like Target, the company is making plans to offer cash bonuses to top managers, Bloomberg News reported.Citing a study Apple commissioned, the company said it is not paying its executives enough and is not positioned to be competitive in the area of executive pay with rivals such as Dell and Sony, both of which are trying to copy the success of the iPod. The iPod has fuelled the company's shares, which have more than tripled in the past year.
A&A

Women Sue Small Business Administration Over Missed Goals

Upon viewing the disturbing results of a recent U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce national survey of women business owners which found a remarkable 62 percent unable to access capital they need to be competitive -- despite their preparedness and available collateral --, the leaders of the USWCC decided to take dramatic action.To significantly increase access to capital for the more than 10 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., the USWCC announced a groundbreaking partnership with Newtek Small Business Finance.
Community News

Tax Preparation Support Program: The Next Small Firm Practice Area?

When it comes to understanding their income tax options, nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of employees do not fully comprehend how their W-4 forms impact their taxes and paychecks, according to a national survey by Hudson. That figure rises to 29 percent when looking at workers aged 18-29 years old. Additionally, two in every five U.S. workers (40 percent) would be interested in a tax preparation support program from their firms if it were offered.Further, just one-third (34 percent) of workers report that they prepare their taxes themselves, compared to 55 percent who hire a professional.
A&A

Push is on to Require Finance Education in High Schools

Hoping to stem the future tide of overwhelming credit card debt, personal bankruptcies and foreclosures, seven states are now requiring high school students take a personal finance class, the Associated Press reported.A survey by the National Council on Economic Education found that the seven states require the basic finance course as a prerequisite for graduation, which is up from four states in 2002.
A&A

Small Accounting Firms Shop for 'Safe' Companies

Smaller accounting firms are scrutinizing potential clients like never before.Accounting firms of all sizes and their clients are approaching each other far differently than they did in the pre-Enron business environment. Firms are looking for “safer” companies, and higher-risk companies are searching long and hard to find the right firms, the American City Business Journal Wire Service reported."The client-acceptance standards clearly have been raised, certainly by Grant Thornton, and, I believe, by all the firms," said Richard D.
A&A

You Can't Learn the Most Important Business Skill in School

In a recent study that asked more than 2,500 businesspeople what impacted their bottom line the most -- nearly 75% said it was networking. So why has almost nobody been taught to network in school?Dr. Ivan Misner, CEO of the world's largest networking firm and a business professor at Cal Poly University in Pomona, CA, has recently released data he compiled in a comprehensive study of businesspeople around the world.
A&A

Corporate Taxes Shrinking, Panel Investigating

Corporate tax collections are down, a sign that companies are making use of sophisticated tax planning, stock options and other tools to reduce their tax burden, the Wall Street Journal reported.Another factor cited by a leading tax expert at a forum on Tuesday is that the global economy is outpacing an income tax that was set up for the industrial age."The corporate tax base is under attack from many directions," Douglas Shackelford, professor at University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, said in prepared remarks before the Federal Advisory Panel on Tax Reform.The
A&A

Be Wary of Unlicensed Tax Preparers

Taxpayers beware-unlicensed tax preparers can mean big trouble, leading to hefty fines and jail time for those who file fraudulent returns, the San Antonio Express-News reported.With half of the 8.9 million signed returns filed in Texas last year coming from unlicensed tax preparers, the potential for fraud is huge. It is critical to check the background of the person preparing individual returns, the IRS cautions. Certified public accountants and other IRS-licensed tax preparers must pass a test and meet certification requirements.
A&A

AICPA Issues Report on Social Security Reform

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) released this week a comprehensive analysis of the factors that should be considered for Social Security reform. The intent of this publication is to provide a tool that will aid in this important debate. The goal of the report is to provide unbiased facts on the degree of the Social Security program’s financial problem and the impacts on the economy and society.
A&A

Reducing Marginal Tax Rates Increases Entrepreneurship, Study Shows

Reducing marginal income tax rates on entrepreneurs increases entrepreneurial entry, decreases exit from entrepreneurship, and lengthens the duration of entrepreneurial ventures, according to a study released last week by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration."This study shows how tax rates directly impact entrepreneurship," said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy. "Reducing marginal tax rates on entrepreneurial income provides a clear incentive for entrepreneurial activity.
A&A

Seven Ways to Get Your Clients to Pay You on Time

By Christopher KnightTeach them to pay you on time. You do this by being consistent in your enforcement of your payment policies and calls to them within days, not weeks, if they miss a payment. Accept all major credit cards. You are about service, right? You do want to make it easier for your client to do business with you, right? Lastly, you do want their money in your bank account overnight, right? Then accept MC/Visa/Discover and American Express. Give them a direct debit option, if you are billing them a recurring charge.
A&A

GOP Proposes Big Tax Relief for U.S. Businesses

Senate debate continues today on a proposal to offer $4.2 billion in tax relief for U.S. businesses to lighten the burden of a higher minimum wage.The proposal, offered by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., calls for tax breaks and regulatory relief combined with raising the minimum wage by $1.10 to $6.25 per hour over 18 months, according to Dow Jones Newswires, quoting Senate aides.Santorum's plan counters a proposal by Sen.
A&A

Treasury, IRS Issue Proposed rules for Roth Contributions to 401(k) Plans

The Department of Treasury and IRS this week announced proposed regulations regarding designated Roth contributions to 401(k) plans. Roth contributions, which were created in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), will allow for employees to designate all or a portion of their 401(k) employee deferrals on an after-tax basis. Most distributions of the amount contributed as well as any earnings on those contributions will be tax-free.
A&A

IBM Demands Bonuses Back from Former Consultants

IBM is demanding bonus money back from some consultants who left the company last year.IBM has been sending the letters to consultants who joined IBM from PricewaterhouseCoopers after IBM bought PwC Consulting in 2002, Forbes reported. When the former PwC employees started working for IBM, they received lower salaries, but IBM later made up for it by paying bonuses that amounted to 2 percent of salary, the former consultants say. The 2 percent payouts, ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand, were made in February 2003, July 2003 and February 2004.

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