A&A news

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Report: Large Federal Contractors Miscoded As Small Businesses

Some large federal contractors have been miscoded as small businesses, resulting in skewed procurement statistics according to a report issued recently by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The report found that in Fiscal Year 2002 $2 billion in federal contracts were miscoded as going to small rather than large businesses.“This report clearly shows that there are problems with the federal procurement system,” said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy.

Is it time For You to Consider Self-Employment?

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc. Job security has become an oxymoron. For our parents' generation, lifetime employment with a gold watch and comfortable pension at the end was not unusual. We're now living in a different environment. Seemingly everyday, companies merge, fail, and downsize. It is no wonder that so many employees are forced to update their resumes and hit the streets to find a new job.But these days many are saying to themselves:

Seven Guidelines for Creating an Ideal New Year!

by Gary Ryan Blair, the GoalsGuy, Inc. - It all begins with a vision, a vision of creating an ideal life. The relentless pursuit of that vision will eventually give birth to the picture in your mind. An ideal life born from the unwavering dedication to doing whatever it took to become successful. Creating the ideal life obviously requires intelligence, but that’s just the start.

Class-Action Suit Against H&R Block to Proceed

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for a class-action suit that accuses H&R Block, the nation's largest tax-preparation company, of charging as many as 17 million customers inflated interest on refund loans, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing news wires.The suit contends that H&R Block charged as much as 100 percent in interest on the refund loans and customers were not told that the company profited from the loans, which were advances on estimated tax refunds, the Chronicle reported.The high court this week let stand a lower court's decision that the case should go forward as a c

COSO to Help Small Businesses with Internal Controls

Small businesses are about to get help complying with the stringent new internal control requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) announced Monday that it will develop guidance that will help small firms follow the new rules without breaking their budgets, according to Dow Jones Newswires.The new guidance, which will be produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, will be available online by June 30.
Community News

Best Software and Nextel Help Accountants Go Wireless

Best Software has announced a new partnership with Nextel Communications Inc. (NASDQ: NXTL), aimed at helping accountants across North America instantly contact their clients and access data, while on the go. Through this partnership, members of the Best Software Accountants Network (BSAN) will have access to the benefits of Nextel's products and services at their fingertips.

Industry Oversight Given to House Financial Services Committee

At a time when a new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) stock option rule faces continued opposition, sole oversight over accounting, standard setting and electronic trading companies has been quietly given to the House Financial Services Committee, Dow Jones Newswires reported.The move by House Republicans ends a 2001 deal that called for shared oversight with the Energy and Commerce Committee.

U.S. Falls out of the Index of Economic Freedom's Top 10

For the first time ever, the U.S. does not rank among the world's 10 freest economies in the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S.' score in the 2005 Index did not change from 2004. But improvements in the economies of Chile, Australia and Iceland enabled all three to surpass the U. S., leaving it in a tie for 12th with Switzerland and out of the top 10 for the first time in the 11-year history of the Index.

IRS Clarifies Section 409A, Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans

The Treasury Department and IRS issued on Wednesday clarifications to Notice 2005-1 which provides additional guidance regarding transition rules under section 409A for nonqualified deferred compensation plans. An advance version of Notice 2005-1 was released to the public on December 20, 2004. Two clarifications are being added to the transition rules in the notice. The revised notice, incorporating these two clarifications, will be included as scheduled in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2005-2, to be published on January 10, 2005.

The Value of Trust, A Clients Perspective

By, Joe Heller, The Strategy Samurai - One of the most challenging, if not the most difficult piece of the business development puzzle in a sale is - Trust. Trust today is truly the pivotal point of building a successful business relationship. Trust is rarely tied to a product or service but it is facilitated by the person interacting with the customer. Why is this important? Because everything depends on trust and in this day and age, trust is difficult to come by.

SBA Seeks Comments on Small Business Size Standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration is seeking comments from the general public on key issues relating to its small business size standards, the rules used by the SBA and other federal agencies to determine whether a business is small.

SBA Implements New Policy to Report on Small Business Federal Contracting

The U.S. Small Business Administration today implemented a new policy that enables the federal government to more accurately monitor contract awards when a small business is purchased or merged with a large business through the process of novation.The new policy requires a business to recertify itself as small for federal contracts transferred to it from another business if the contract is to continue being counted as a small business contract. It will also assist small businesses in obtaining contracts as federal agencies seek out new small businesses for contracting opportunities.


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