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A&A

Top Secrets to Hiring the Best People for Your Firm

By Christopher KnightTo hire the best, you must be the best. What can you do today, to take another step closer to being the best? When possible, do a quick seven minute telephone interviews, and have some key qualifying questions ready, so that when you are in a real 'face to face' interview, you're already 50% closer to hiring a real candidate. Don't assume that you know what is important to your interviewee, because until you ask them what is important, you don't know. Always Be Recruiting!
A&A

FASB Establishes Small Business Advisory Committee

In an effort to increase involvement by the small business community in developing U.S. accounting standards, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has established a Small Business Advisory Committee. Committee members will be a resource to the FASB in providing additional and ongoing input on accounting issues before the Board.
Community News

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Plans IPO

Cendant Corporation and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary, announced this week that Jackson Hewitt has filed a registration statement with the SEC for the sale by Cendant of 100% of its ownership interest in Jackson Hewitt in a planned initial public offering. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. are serving as joint book-running managers of the offering. The initial public offering is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2004.
Tax

Do You Have a Deductible Home Office? IRS Tax Tip

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.
Tax

Selling Your Home: IRS Tax Tip

If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return. This exclusion is allowed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years.To be eligible for this exclusion, your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two out of the five years prior to its sale. The two years may consist of 24 full months or 730 days. Short absences, such as for a summer vacation, count as periods of use.
A&A

KPMG’s Independence Questioned by States in WorldCom Bankruptcy Proceedings

As WorldCom strives to emerge next month from bankruptcy-court protection, several states are questioning the independence of KPMG, the company’s auditor.The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is claiming it was denied $89.9 million in tax revenue because of an aggressive KPMG-promoted tax strategy that helped WorldCom cut its state tax obligations by hundreds of millions of dollars in the years before its 2002 bankruptcy filing, the Wall Street Journal reported.Thirteen other states have joined the action led by Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue Alan LeBovidge, who filed documents yest
A&A

Study says Organized NCAA Pools Could Save Firms Money

It’s that time of year again — time for basketball fans to put aside their work to study stats, ponder possibilities and start picking the teams they hope will end up in the Final Four.Are NCAA office pools a wasteful disruption or a pleasant diversion? A recent study suggests that March Madness may cost companies more than $1.5 billion in lost productivity.
A&A

Big Four Accounting Firms Express Their Support of the FASB to Congress

On Wednesday, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), along with the other "Big Four" accounting firms sent a joint letter to members of Congress regarding the independence of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
A&A

Martha’s Case Serves Up New Batch of Lessons

While plenty of Martha bashers are enjoying the idea of the style maven locked behind bars, there are those even among her detractors who can’t fathom how she is suddenly a convicted felon when those people who caused Enron’s downfall are still walking the streets. According to one pundit, they committed REAL crimes.
A&A

Don't Wait for Tax Time to Look at the Bottom Line

By C.J. Hayden, MCCA curious thing happens to entrepreneurs in the spring of every year. They wake up one day and realize they had better figure out how much money they made last year so they can pay their taxes. But wait, shouldn't a business owner already KNOW how much money he or she made last year, last quarter, or last month? If you don't keep track of how much money you're making, you have no idea whether your business is successful or not. You can't tell how well your marketing is working.
A&A

Franchise Tax Board Announces Latest Tax Shelter Crackdown; Targets Promoters

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced this week that it is sending another 10,000 notification letters to both the taxpayers who may have used illegal tax shelters and to the businesses that sell them. This latest effort is on top of the 18,000 letters already sent as part of a continuing effort to crackdown on this costly problem. California has obtained thousands of abusive tax shelter leads from the IRS, states, and other sources of information. These leads identify taxpayers, promoters, and tax schemes involved in sheltering income.
A&A

'How Do We Do That Around Here? A Question of Policies & Procedures'

By Kenneth M. McCall, MBA, MCPPut yourself in the position of a newly hired staff accountant in your firm. You’ve just completed the Human Resources orientation, received network login credentials from the computer department, and even had a little orientation training on the software that the firm uses for various job functions. Now it’s time to go to work!Will it be clear to you how the job functions of the firm are carried out? Whether you’re an auditor or assigned to the tax department, will it be clear to you how the firm expects you to do your job?
Tax

Industry Issue Resolution Program Seeks New Applicants

Business taxpayers are encouraged to submit tax issues they believe could be resolved more efficiently with new or improved guidance for the Industry Issue Resolution Program (IIR) by March 31, 2004, to be considered for the next selection process.Under the IIR Program, taxpayers, industry associations, and other interested parties submit business tax issues for possible resolution through published or administrative guidance.
A&A

FASB Stock Option Rules Subject of House Bill

If RSA Security Inc. had to record the stock options it gives to 80 percent of its workers as expenses, its $14 million profit in 2003 would have instead been a $21 million loss. If the Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB) prevails with new stock option rules, that’s exactly what will happen to some companies.This month, FASB is expected to propose new rules to require options be shown as an expense as opposed to a footnote in financial reports, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A&A

CBIZ Announces Tender Offer to Repurchase Stock

CBIZ (Century Business Services, Inc.) announced this week that it has commenced a tender offer to purchase up to 7,500,000 shares of its outstanding common stock at a price per share of $5.00. On March 3, 2004, the Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase of up to 8,500,000 shares, 7,500,000 of which are being sought in the offer.
A&A

Former WorldCom CFO Charged in Multi-Billion Dollar Financial Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil enforcement action this week against Scott D. Sullivan, the former Chief Financial Officer of WorldCom, Inc. The Commission charged Sullivan with engaging in a fraudulent scheme to conceal WorldCom’s poor financial performance.
A&A

Small Businesses Ripe for Insurance Fraud: What Your Company Needs to Know

Health insurance scams are a real threat for small business employers and employees. Insurance failures hurt real people – workers and their families – who are seldom equipped to absorb large dollar losses. Small-business owners are often the targets of such scams, which resulted in at least $252 million in unpaid medical claims from 2000 through 2002, says the GAO, an investigative arm of Congress.Health insurance scam artists steal from the most vulnerable consumers," Assistant Secretary of Labor, Ann Combs testified.
A&A

FleetBoston’s Specialist Unit Settles With SEC, NYSE

FleetBoston Financial Corp. has disclosed that its Fleet Specialist Unit will pay $59.4 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange.The settlement stems from an investigation of the NYSE’s five largest specialist firms, who were accused of failing to oversee traders who improperly traded ahead of their customers. In a preliminary agreement announced Feb.
A&A

State Farm Launches Online Financial Education Program for Students

State Farm(R) this week unveiled a new financial education website that provides fun ways for K-12 students to learn basic principles of financial responsibility and money management.With only a handful of states requiring students to complete a personal finance course before graduating high school(1), the State Farm "Common Cents"(TM) online program can help parents and educators give children the real-life skills they need to become smart consumers, sensible savers and responsible investors. Located in the "Kid Stuff" section of State Farm's website at
A&A

President Bush Urges Congress to Make Tax Cuts Permanent

President Bush last week called on Congress to make his tax cuts permanent and discussed with taxpayers his plan to create jobs in America and to continue to grow and strengthen the economy. New figures released last week by the Treasury Department demonstrate the real benefits of the President's tax relief for all Americans. Last July and August when tax relief checks went out, families with children received up to $400 per child ¡V in all, 24 million families received tax relief totaling $14 billion.

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