A&A news

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.
A&A

CEOs of Top Brokerage Firms Get Dramatic Pay Raises

Chief executive officers at four major brokerage firms received dramatic pay increases in a year when stocks rose an average of only 4.7 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.The four executives, from Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., made a total of $110.1 million, an average raise of 33 percent.Morgan Stanley's shares fell 8.2 percent in the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, while CEO Phil Purcell received a 47 percent raise over the previous year's pay.
A&A

NASD Warns Investors Too Much Company Stock Can Jeopardize Financial Future

NASD today issued an Investor Alert warning workers against concentrating too much company stock in their 401(k) plans and stressing the importance of diversifying retirement investment accounts. The Alert, Putting Too Much Stock In Your Company -- A 401(k) Problem, identifies the problems with owning too much company stock and explains how investors can balance their 401(k) portfolios. "For some people, a 401(k) plan is their only form of retirement savings," said John Gannon, NASD Vice President for Investor Education.
A&A

Majority of Executives Claim They Don't Deserve Customer Loyalty

Companies continue the downward trend of taking their customers for granted and the overall relationship between company and customer is getting worse, according to the 2004 annual survey and Customer Experience Management (CEM) report from Strativity Group, Inc. in cooperation with CustomerSat, Inc.
A&A

Verizon to Acquire MCI for $5.3 Billion in Equity and Cash

Verizon Communications Inc. and MCI, Inc. this week announced that Verizon has agreed to acquire MCI for $4.8 billion in equity and $488 million in cash. The transaction adds new strength to the telecommunications services both companies provide.
A&A

Strategies For Communicating With Your Clients

By Sandra L. Wiley, Boomer Consulting, Inc. - Congratulations! You accomplished the first step towards success in your company, you have clients! So… now what?Everyone knows that retaining current clients is MUCH easier than finding new ones, or is it? Have you put some serious thought into how you are going to keep those clients you worked so hard to get? Retention requires attention! You will only keep clients if you continually provide them with ongoing value that not only satisfies them, but bonds them to your company!
A&A

Accounting Firm Opens Accounting, Payroll Processing Center in Charlotte, NC

Richard A. Beauchemin, CPA/Carolina Accounting & Tax Service, PLLC announced the opening of its new payroll and accounting facility. The center will provide the requisite room, equipment and infrastructure necessary to continue to produce and deliver the high level of quality services its customers have come to expect, while allowing room for expansion and growth. Richard A.
A&A

Is Your Business Eligible to Use Schedule C-EZ?

Your business may have become eligible to use the abbreviated Schedule C-EZ instead of the longer Schedule C when reporting business profit and loss on your tax year 2004 federal income tax return, according to the IRS.
A&A

NACM Applauds Movement on Commercial Bankruptcy Reform

The National Association of Credit Management (NACM) commends U.S.
A&A

Marsh & McLennan May Get a Tax Break on Bid-rigging Settlement

Insurance brokerage, Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), parent to insurance company Marsh Inc., agreed last week to a settlement that, among other things, establishes an $850 million trust fund to compensate clients that may have been overcharged as a result of the actions of certain employees of the company.
A&A

IRS Warns: Don't Be Taken In By Tax Scams

The IRS reminds taxpayers not to fall victim to a variety of tax scams. These schemes take numerous shapes, ranging from promises of special tax refunds to illegal ways of “untaxing” yourself. Frequently, taxpayers are charged money for the incorrect advice by those promoting the scheme. If people think something may be unscrupulous, they can report suspected tax fraud to the IRS at 1-800-829-0433.The IRS urges people to avoid these common schemes:Return preparer fraudUnscrupulous return preparers can cause a lot of problems for taxpayers who use their services.
Education & Careers

Don't Let Your Best Employees Jump Ship: What You Can Do

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President of The Discovery GroupTHE PROBLEM:The last few years have been very difficult for employees. They have experienced large scale layoffs, the outsourcing of their jobs, limited advancement opportunities, and low, if any, pay increases. In private, many have said to their colleagues, "When the economy turns around, I'm outta here." In fact, our research in 60 organizations over the past 10 years shows that 32 percent of employees claim that they plan to leave within the foreseeable future.
Community News

Block to Expand into Small Business Services Sector

H&R Block has announced plans to expand into the business services realm, with services such as year-round tax preparation and planning, bookkeeping and payroll processing, and advisory services for businesses with 25 or fewer employees, the Kansas City Star reported.Known for its tax services for individuals, Block is hoping to open as many as 1,000 offices over the next five to seven years, with some located in nine states in former American Express Tax and Business Service Offices, which were bought by Block.
A&A

AMEX Plans to Pursue Spin-Off of Financial Advisors

American Express Company this week announced plans to pursue a spin-off to shareholders of its American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) unit. Shareholders would receive 100 percent of the common shares of American Express Financial Corporation, through which the financial advisors business is conducted.
A&A

Marsh & McLennan Agrees to Apologize, Pay $850 Million

Marsh & McLennan Cos. has agreed to pay $850 million to settle civil fraud charges brought by New York state's attorney general and the state insurance department, the Wall Street Journal reported.The agreement also involves an apology to the clients of the New York City-based financial services company, which allegedly rigged bids for insurance contracts and directed business to insurance companies that paid lucrative “contingent commissions" to the Marsh Inc. insurance brokerage.
A&A

Working Next to the Competition Embracing Opportunity in a Multi-Provider Environment

By Gale Crosley, CPA - For decades, a simple, one-to-one relationship existed between CPA firm and client. Now, Sarbanes/Oxley has changed the landscape, potentially pairing a single client with multiple providers. Although the legislation chiefly affects the public environment, it has brought heightened sensitivity to conflict-of-interest in the private sector as well. The scenario is analogous to 1984 and the breakup of AT&T, which had held a virtual monopoly in the telecommunications industry.
A&A

CCH Launches Salestax.com for Sales, Use Tax Professionals

Sales and use tax professionals now have a destination site where they can find relevant news and everything else they need to make sales and use tax compliance as painless as possible, from the latest, most accurate data through integrated software tools that optimize how quickly and easily they can put that data to work.
Tax

Final Regs. for Certain Defined Contribution Retirement Plans Announced

The Treasury Department and IRS issued final regulations this week to conform to changes made under section 411(d)(6)(E), as added by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), relating to defined contribution retirement plans that offer lump sum distributions. The regulations are substantially similar to proposed regulations that were issued in 2003.The regulations are effective immediately. These final regulations retain the general structure and much of the substance of the proposed regulations, including an example illustrating the provisions.
A&A

KPMG LLP Reports Revenues of $4.1 Billion

KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, last week announced revenues of $4.1 billion for its most recent fiscal year ended September 30, 2004, an 8 percent increase over the prior year's revenues of $3.8 billion. KPMG Americas' combined revenues, representing member firms of KPMG International in Latin America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada, also rose 8 percent for the same period to $4.9 billion."The U.S. firm achieved strong performance in a challenging environment, recording its 10th consecutive year of revenue growth," said Eugene D.

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