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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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.
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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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Online Survey Usage Increases Among Small Businesses

According to a recent survey conducted by Zoomerang, usage of online surveys among small businesses has surged 118% between 2001 and September 2004. Other highlights of the survey include:Faster and easier -- 69% of small businesses that have adopted online surveys are able to obtain results more quickly and easily. In addition, 65% have benefited from improved insights about their business; and 48% obtain higher-quality results than traditional research methods. "The feedback is instantaneous ...

FASB Issues Rule to Conform To International Standard

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued FASB Statement No. 151, Inventory Costs, an amendment of ARB No. 43, Chapter 4.

Google Shares Almost Double, Investors Cash In

Shares of Google have nearly doubled since its initial stock offering in August, and the Web search engine's backers and founders are making millions.The venture capital firm that backed Google in 1999 with less than $15 million distributed 5.4 million Google shares to about 200 investors in one of its funds last Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

IRS, Treasury Updating Non-Profit Pensions

The Treasury Department and IRS issued proposed regulations this week relating to retirement annuity contracts under section 403(b), which are generally available to employees of public schools and organizations exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3), along with related temporary regulations clarifying the application of employment taxes to section 403(b) contracts. "These regulations provide the first comprehensive guidance on section 403(b) arrangements in over 40 years," said Gregory Jenner, Treasury's Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy.

FASB Delays Action on Rule

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has removed from this week's agenda a discussion on a new rule that finance companies have said might force them to write down a bigger portion of debt securities that are held for sale, Bloomberg reported. The rule is unlikely to be pushed forward until 2005, since the board that sets U.S.

CalPERS Backs Reform on Abusive Executive Compensation

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) board members this week approved a new executive compensation strategy linking CEO pay to long-term company performance, a centerpiece of California State Controller Steve Westly's reform proposals. "CalPERS has a special responsibility to look out for members and taxpayers, and our new strategy meets that test," Westly said.


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