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A&A

American Express Announces Card Issuing Alliance with Citibank

American Express announced late last week that it has reached an agreement for Citibank to issue credit cards in the United States that will be accepted on the American Express global merchant network.American Express anticipates that the new credit card products developed by Citibank will be available in late 2005.Citibank will be responsible for issuing the cards, managing the customer relationships, providing service, billing and credit management and designing the card product features.
A&A

FASB: Companies Must Expense Options

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on Thursday, published FASB Statement No. 123 (revised 2004), Share-Based Payment. Statement 123(R) will provide investors and other users of financial statements with more complete and neutral financial information by requiring that the compensation cost relating to share-based payment transactions be recognized in financial statements. That cost will be measured based on the fair value of the equity or liability instruments issued.
A&A

SEC's Chief Accountants Statement on FASB's Action

On Thursday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued its Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 123 (revised 2004), Share-Based Payment (Statement 123R), which addresses the accounting for employee stock options. The Commission's Chief Accountant, Donald T. Nicolaisen, issued the following comments on Statement 123R:The issuance of Statement 123R represents another important improvement in US generally accepted accounting principles. It will result in more comparable information in financial statements provided to investors.
A&A

Tax Day Is Coming - Helpful Hints For Small Business Clients

Tax Day is fast approaching. CPAs with small business clients are often stressed understanding their client's various business expenditures during tax season. Small businesses rarely have the means to keep up strong accounting files.
A&A

New Law is the 'Sarbanes-Oxley' of the Human Resources Sector

A new provision passed in response to recent corporate scandals is likely to have an unintended -- and costly -- effect on consultants and employees ranging from staff members to top managers at all types of companies. The American Jobs Creation Act, which goes into affect Jan.
A&A

FASB Rules that Companies Must Expense Stock Options

In a long-awaited and sure-to-be controversial move, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ruled yesterday that companies have to begin expensing for stock options given to employees as part of compensation packages. The issuance of Statement 123R represents another important improvement in US generally accepted accounting principles. It will result in more comparable information in financial statements provided to investors, SEC's Donald T. Nicolaisen said in a statement.
A&A

Self-Employment Up Sharply For Women, Blacks, And Latinos

Self-employment rates for women, blacks, and Latinos have risen sharply since 1979, according to a study released this week by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. During the period, self-employment rates increased across ethnic groups and gender, with an overall increase of more than five percent.“Self-employment is a critical part of our economy,” said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy. “Self-employment provides the main source of income for a diverse group of over 12 million Americans.
A&A

SEI Investments Releases Research for Pension Accounting Disclosures

SEI Investments a leading global provider of asset management and investment technology solutions, today announced the release of a new research paper outlining actuarial assumption ranges to be used for Financial Accounting Standards No. 87 (FAS 87).
A&A

IMA and RHI Honor National Financial Executive of the Year

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and Robert Half International Inc.(RHI) today announced that Peggy Scott, chief financial officer of New Orleans-based Pan-American Life Insurance, has been selected as the national winner of the 2004 Financial Executive of the Year Award.
A&A

SEC May Reject PCAOB's Budget

The Securities and Exchange Commission may not approve the budget of the accounting oversight board, which offers an average salary of $203,000 a year.The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which has requested $153 million, offers salary increases of 30 percent a year, according to a report by Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter.The PCAOB, formed in 2002 in the aftermath of massive corporate scandals and bankruptcies, is funded by publicly traded companies.
A&A

Grant Thornton Posts Rise in Fiscal 2004 Revenues

Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, last week reported that revenues climbed 23 percent in the fiscal year ended July 31, 2004 to $565 million. In fiscal 2003, the firm posted revenues of $458 million, up 25 percent from the previous year, leading the global accounting firms in U.S. growth.
Community News

IBM Scraps Pension Plan for New Hires in Favor of 401(k)

In a surprising announcement that may have a ripple effect throughout corporate American, International Business Machines Corp. has stated that as of January 1, 2005 it will no longer offer its cash-balance pension plan to newly hired employees.
A&A

H&R Block Offers Year-End Tax Tips; Seven Rules for Saving Money

With the year's end fast approaching, H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) tax professionals are reminding taxpayers that it's important to begin planning now in order to minimize the taxes you'll owe for 2004 and to build a strong financial base for 2005. The following seven tips are designed to help guide you through the sometimes-confusing ins and outs of year-end tax planning, but are well worth your time and energy.Estimate your income and deductions: Assessing this year's likely income against projected 2005 earnings is the key to making wise decisions at tax time.
Tax

Grant Thornton Offers Year End Tax Tips for Businesses

Businesses should start planning now to take advantage of provisions in the 2004 tax act, as well as opportunities that stem from tax law changes made in 2003, says Grant Thornton LLP, the nation’s fifth largest ADVERTISEMENT
A&A

IRS Simplifies Tax Deposit Rules for Small Businesses

This week the Internal Revenue Service announced it will increase the minimum threshold for Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) deposits, a move that will reduce burden for more than 4 million small businesses. Under the new rules effective January 1, 2005, employers are required to make a quarterly deposit for unemployment taxes if the accumulated tax exceeds $500. The current threshold is $100. "The IRS is committed to reducing burden on taxpayers whenever we can," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "The new rules will help cut paperwork for millions of small businesses.
Tax

The Hispanic Market Segment: Why Are You Missing Out?

By, Blaire Borthayre - It’s no secret that the Hispanic population boom has gotten our attention. There are 39.9 million Hispanics in the United States. Census officials estimate that this figure will rise to fifty million by 2007. According to the The Selig Center for Economic Growth, Hispanic buying power for 2002 was totaled at 580 billion with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 8.7 (The standard rate of growth for non-Hispanics is 4.8 percent). The center’s study predicts that by the year 2007, Hispanics dollar power will rise to 926.1 billion.
A&A

Financial Counseling Critical Component of Retirement Planning

A new study conducted by Ernst & Young LLP and ExecuNet revealed that personalized financial counseling is critical to help employees effectively manage retirement planning. The survey of human resource and employee benefits professionals found that financial education alone is not enough to influence a change in employee behavior. Employers that added more personalized assistance and counseling programs to their financial education programs, such as telephone and in-person counseling, reported a significant increase in the involvement of participants in their retirement planning.
A&A

IRS Enforcing IRA Required Minimum Withdrawals

If you've hit your 70th birthday-or know someone who has-make sure you're taking the proper amount from your IRAs or risk a potential 50 percent tax on money that should have been withdrawn, the Wall Street Journal reported. The rules in question involve “required minimum distributions” from individual retirement accounts, which are required once the IRA's holder reaches the age of 70_. The amount that has to be withdrawn is based on life expectancy.
A&A

Pre-Tax Season Media Tip for Tax Practitioners

Before tax season snows you under, get the attention of your local media. They can keep you visible even when you're not.Do you have aggressive partners who want brand equity? Create a spreadsheet of these partners, their areas of service expertise and industry concentrations to send to key reporters. If you have media savvy partners who are willing to promptly return calls from a reporter on deadline, you might include the partner's cell phone number on the spreadsheet. If a partner is unable to return calls promptly, do not include that partner with your media relations efforts.

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